The process of starting a business has changed dramatically in the past decade or so, and while you may no longer need bricks and mortar, what you will need is a grasp of social media, and an understanding that, when wielded correctly, it can grow your customer base, sell your products, and act as the virtual - and free - shop front of your dreams.
So if you've got an idea, a dash of drive and a phone, why not use social media to your advantage? And the number one platform for showcasing your fledging enterprise? Why, Instagram, of course. It's helped grow the prospects of hundreds of businesses, from big brands using it to enhance their existing offering (see Nike) to small start-ups for whom Instagram has become a lifeline (like geo-fleur).
Instagram is a storytelling platform, so make sure you tell yours
People want to find out so much more about your business than just product or service information. They want to understand who you are, what you stand for, what you're passionate about and what makes you special. Instagram Stories make it easier for small businesses to share everyday moments, and build lasting connections with both new and existing customers.
Have a strong, consistent visual message
If you tell a different story every time you come to Instagram, others will struggle to understand what you're trying to communicate. Make sure that you¹re thoughtful about what you want people to know and that you're consistently reinforcing this over time.
Make your account a Business Profile
It will enable customers to find you or contact you more easily, because you can add a location, email address and phone number. You can also link your Instagram account to Facebook, so you can more easily share content on both platforms when you post.
Use Instagram's Insights
This will help you better understand how your posts are performing and learn more about your followers, like who and where they are and how they behave. Then you can create and promote posts that are more likely to engage them and connect with potential customers. As with all marketing, you should set objectives, focus on what matters to you and the results that are likely to drive your business forward.
Instagram is easy to update, so don¹t worry too much about being perfect the first time around. With Stories, content disappears after 24 hours, giving businesses even more scope to be experimental on the platform. And our standalone apps, Hyperlapse and Boomerang, let businesses get creative in capturing their customers' attention.