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Instagram For Business: A Guide for the Modern Entrepreneur

Upload, Edit, Share. It’s as simple as that! Instagram offers a unique, inexpensive, and easy way to market for your business and create a community for your customers. If you are launching a startup business, Instagram is a great way for you to create rapid buzz and growth for your company on a medium with over 300 million active users.

For those less media-savvy, Instagram is a social networking site entirely based on photos and videos that was established in San Francisco.  You can follow other people, comment on photos, and discover new users and businesses through hashtags – a simple and effective way of marking your posts by its subject material.

Getting Started

When creating your account, try to use

  • A simple username so your customers can find you easily.
  • Introduce your business and services briefly in the bio section and;
  • Add a profile picture that most users will be able to easily recognize as your company.


One of the appeals of Instagram to many of its users is its clean and simple design. This allows for more focus on the content of each post. Creating beautiful and captivating pictures is key to making your business’s image more attractive. With Instagram’s preprogrammed filters and editing tools, you can add a professional touch to enhance your images taken right off your phone.  However, be careful not to make your images appear overly edited.

Add a personal aspect to your photos by sharing behind the scenes experiences or images of a lifestyle made possible through the assistance of your business. For example, GoPro gives a taste of what stunning experiences can be captured with their extreme action and all-purpose durable camera.

Interacting with Users

Once you’ve covered the content you wish to produce, it’s time to cultivate a following and build a community. To increase your follower count, start by connecting your Instagram account to any other social media you use, including Facebook and Twitter. You can also embed or link to your profile on your company’s website.  Then start following your followers and other usersin the bay area or anywhere in the world  to help expand your network.

Additionally, commenting and liking posts boosts your user-friendly nature and online personality. You can reply to a comment or directly mention a specific user by using the @ sign before their username (ex. @Netflix). Becoming familiar with your customers opens the door to constructive feedback. Asking your followers to share their opinion on a product or experience with a service can improve the quality of your business by adjusting to your customers needs and wants.

Hashtags are #Useful

Hashtags are an easy way to label and market each photo with associating phrases or adjectives. For example, if you’re promoting your San Francisco restaurant’s fresh strawberry lemonade, you could add hashtags such as #SanFrancisco, #StrawberryLemonade, #Summer, or #Refreshing. If a user searches for any of those in the Discover portion, your post would automatically appear.  However, try to keep your number of hashtags small and effective.

Using trending or popular hashtags are a great integrative marketing strategy to widen your online market. Posting a photo to accompany #MothersDay, #SpringBreak, or #BlackFriday will market your service or product to customers looking for ideas, presents, or good deals.

Valuable Marketing Benefits

Now that you understand the basics of the Instagram interface, you can start to use some of these efficient and integrative marketing services to promote and expand your business.

Display New Services or Products

Instagram is a quick and useful way to inform your customers of new offers from your business. Whether your business is introducing a new summer line of fashion or now serving Happy Hour, your followers will be the first to know. Starbucks keeps its customers coming in by announcing new drinks and treats available via their Instagram page.

Offer Exclusive deals

Maintain your audience by giving your followers a special incentive through exciting specials. This marketing strategy will help bring in more customer interest and revenue. One way to do this is simply by advertising specials coming up in the near future, like Ben And Jerry’s #FreeConeDay on April 14. Another way is to provide instructions in your post on how to receive an exclusive deal, such as using a coupon code or displaying proof at the register that they follow your business online.

Promote Through Others

Create a business specific hashtag that will allow your customers to use it whenever they post a photo of or using your product or service. For example, if you own a dining establishment, you can advertise your hashtag on the menu and ask for your customers to use it if they choose to post a photo. Then, their followers will know where to go to buy the same product. Taco Bell’s popular expression, #FourthMeal, can be used by anyone posting a photo enjoying a Taco Bell meal.

Hopefully this will help you get started using Instagram as a strategic and innovative marketing technique.  The possibilities are endless so be creative and have fun!

Looking for advice on your business? Need a Business Consultant or Marketing Expert? Thinking of Starting a Business in the San Francisco Bay Area?

Contact us today to schedule a free consulting session to review how we may be able to help. Piedmont Avenue Consulting is a San Francisco Bay Area based business development and marketing consulting firm who creates brand awareness, strengthens customer loyalty, and increases lead generation through leveraging new technologies and streamlining business processes.

Want to learn more about Piedmont Avenue Consulting?

Call us at 510-761-5895 or use our self-scheduling tool to book an appointment to discuss your business further.

Piedmont Avenue Consulting, INC.
8 Yosemite Avenue #6
Oakland, CA 94611

Satellite Offices:

WeWork Berkeley
Piedmont Avenue Consulting, INC.
2120 University Avenue, 5th Floor
Berkeley, CA 94704

Contra Costa Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
David Mitroff, Ph.D., Piedmont Avenue Consulting
300 Ellinwood Way, Suite 300
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
Alameda County Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

David Mitroff, Ph.D., Piedmont Avenue Consulting
475 14th St #100
Oakland, CA 94612

Hispanic Chamber Of Commerce Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

David Mitroff, Ph.D., Piedmont Avenue Consulting
100 E. Santa Clara St.
San Jose, CA 95113

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Summary of Piedmont Avenue Services

  • Business Development Consulting
  • Customer Experience; Loyalty Marketing Programs
  • Brand Awareness and Positioning
  • Business & Sales Strategy
  • Internet Social Media Marketing
  • Website and Internet Marketing Optimization
  • Managed Marketing and Email Services
  • Creative Front of Mind Customer Interactions
  • Streamlining Operations; Technology Integrations

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