Can Instagram Be a Branding Tool for Your Business?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

1. Yes

While TheBeautyBean.com is all about having an eye for beauty, we see Instagram as a personal view into the life of each of our editors. So we encourage each person on our team to engage her own audience and publish her own views. For us, Instagram is a snapshot into a life, not a business.

- Alexis Wolfer, The Beauty Bean

2. Yes

As a lifestyle apparel company, Instagram allows us to showcase lifestyle photos of customers enjoying our products. We get more engagement on Instagram than any social media platform because it’s where people are spending their time (for now). Instagram is also appealing because paid advertising hasn’t entered the foray yet, which doesn’t limit the reach of our posts (looking at you, Facebook).

- Brett Farmiloe, Digital Marketing Agency

3. Yes

For my wine store, I use Instagram to post about new wines, tastings and even quick how-to videos of me making cocktails at home. While I can’t measure the ROI, I have received “real-life” positive feedback, and I enjoy doing it. I know that I am both educating and engaging a growing audience, which makes for more loyal customers as well as increased and diversified purchases.

- Henry Glucroft, Henry’s / Airdrop

4. Yes

We have an account that our U.S. and U.K. teams both post to. Not only is it a great way for us to show off our latest updates to fans, but it also keeps both teams connected and shows the fun, human side of Blippar. With tech products, it’s easy for users to forget there’s a great team of people behind each blipp. We see Instagram as another way to connect fans to the root of Blippar’s brand: our team.

- Jessica Butcher, Blippar

5. Yes

Instagram is among the most powerful social networks for building brand engagement and awareness. If your audience is using it (and most are at this point), there’s no better way to visually share your brand and allow them to express what it means to them.

- Derek Flanzraich, Greatist

6. No

I believe that it’s better to focus on optimizing a few social media channels at a time instead of using a shotgun approach and ending up with a half-baked strategy on everything. Right now, our prospects are most engaged on Facebook and LinkedIn, so that’s where we focus our resources and energy.

- Patrick Conley, Automation Heroes

7. No

Just because it has a lot of people doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Instagram is better for younger audiences and especially brands that have products or services that are very visual. Don’t get me wrong — it’s tremendously valuable for the right brands. Social media is important, but don’t get caught up in the buzz and jump on everything you see.

- Andy Karuza, brandbuddee

8. Yes

We love Instagram because it lets us build our brand by allowing us to really express what and who we are with pictures. It allows you to create awesome pictures on a bootstrap budget by basically turning any good creative picture into something great, and it allows great exposure if you know how to market your brand. Also, use multi-channel marketing to promote your Instagrams.

- Pablo Palatnik, ShadesDaddy.com

9. Yes

We do have a Lemonly account on Instagram. I think the adage of “a picture is worth a thousand words” is perfect for Instagram. I feel that showing what’s happening at the office and what we’re working on gives people an inside look at what it’s like to work at Lemonly. It helps share our culture.

- John Meyer, Lemon.ly

10. Yes

Yes! Instagram has been great for our cookie business. We have mason jar packaging, so it looks cool, and our cookies are beautiful. We started Instagram to show potential customers the cookie experience we provide. Just this month, we had an Instagram user buy our cookies from a retail shop, and now they’re hooked! Displaying your creativity and product will inspire others to try it.

- Kyle Clayton, Jackrabbit Janitorial

11. Yes

Instagram is such a popular medium for photographers of all levels. As a company that makes camera bags and accessories, it makes a lot of sense for us to engage with our audience through it. It’s a fun way for us to express our personality as a brand through behind-the-scenes photos, cool shots of New York City, and reposts of photographers using our products.

- Tracy Foster, ONA

12. No

I think Instagram (and Snapchat) are amazing ways to market a business and cultivate community. When you’re a startup, you really have to concentrate your marketing efforts and be efficient with your time. For us, we are focused on content, so if the social network isn’t built around content, we don’t have the luxury of playing around with it.

- Sarah Ware, Markerly

13. Yes

When we have birthdays, work events and other photo ops, we take pictures and use Instagram to post to Twitter. Instagram is a great tool, and we utilize it when we can. That being said, most of our social efforts go toward Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

- Michael Patak, TopstepTrader

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