How can Instagram help your business? - Hilton Smythe

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How can Instagram help your business?

Story: Ella Beaumont


OK, so you’ve just bought a business. You’ve inherited an Instagram account. What in the world are you meant to do with it? Surely this is just something millennials use to boast about their lives? Or can it be useful for your business? Here we give you a few quick, easy ways in which Instagram can promote your business.

What is Instagram?

Instagram is an app which allows you to post photographs and videos with captions, tags and locations. It was started in 2010 and has since been bought by Facebook. Instagram has around 1 billion users, with users “liking” around 4.2 billion posts and sharing around 95 million per day. That’s a lot of people and a lot of interaction. Even better, 80% of Instagram users follow a business on Instagram and 60% of users find new products on Instagram. I could throw these numbers at you all day, but they basically all mean one thing. Instagram can be great for your business. Now that you know that, I’m guessing you want to know how to use it? Well lucky for you, I’ve taken the time to write some basic ways in which you can use Instagram to promote your business.


The first thing you can do on Instagram is post a photo. This might seem too simple but it can be a really effective way to promote your business. For example, if you’re a hairdressers, posting a transformation pick of your client’s hair can be a great showcase of your skills. At a “location” to the photo to let users know where they can get this style. Tag your client in the photo and encourage them to share it on their own social media. Their friends might see the pictures and want the same style. Three guesses for where they’ll go to get the same look?


Running “like and share” competitions is a great way to get more followers and engagement with your brand. For example, if you’re a deli or food shop, you could put together a hamper of some of your products and start a competition. The competition could be “like this photo, follow us and tag the friend you would share it with to be in with a chance of winning the hamper.” By doing this, the users will tag their friends, who will see the photo and tag their friends and so on. Because they have to follow you to win the hamper, you’ll gain followers whilst also brining new people to your business who might be interested in purchasing your products in future. Powerful, right?

Engage with other brands

It might seem initially like every other brand similar is competition. In some cases they are, but sometimes engaging with other brands will help you to find new ideas and make important connections. You might even be able to work together to promote your brands.

Say you own a takeaway sandwich shop which gets plenty of lunchtime customers throughout the working week. The deli shop down the road doesn’t provide sandwiches, but makes other products such as chutneys and cheeses. This shop doesn’t do as well in the week, as people tend to visit on the weekend for a spot of shopping rather than a quick lunch. Together you can partner up to make a sandwich in your shop which uses the chutney from the deli. This sandwich could be a “special offer this week” and promote the chutney from the deli. This will encourage more sale of the sandwich as it’s on offer, whilst also promoting the deli down the road. Both of you can share the offer with your customers on Instagram. Instantly you’ve increased the number of people looking at your sandwich, and they’ve increased the number of people looking at their chutney. Not bad!

User Generated Content  

Another great way to promote your business is to get your customers to do it for you. This can work for pretty much any business type. Take a service business such as a bar. Your bar serves good looking cocktails which you want to promote. Encourage your customers to post pictures of them with their cocktails. By doing this, their followers will be encouraged to visit your bar to try the lovely drinks. You can even re-post the photos they share, and start another competition. Re-post all your favourite photos (which is also an easier way to get content for your account without having to take the photos). Then, the re-posted photo which gets the most likes in a month wins a free cocktail. This will encourage customers to share their photos, which increases the number of people who see your bar. It also creates content for your account which you didn’t have to take. There are some really artistic customers out there who take great photos, so why not encourage it?

Get instagramming!

I hope this little blog got the creative juices flowing. Now you know what to do with that Instagram account you’ve inherited, so go for it!

Instagram for business

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    *Completions figure is comparable to K3 Capital PLC from 2017. Data based on our nearest competitor k3 Capital PLC, results in 2018 against comparable period.

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