Instagram: The Business Tool


Instagram is by far my favorite social media outlet. I can not tell you how this app has helped me grow my business. In fact, in my opinion, if you are a business owner and not using Instagram, you are truly missing out.

Instagram was created in 2010 by Kevin Systrom & Mike Krieger as a mobile photo & video sharing app that allows you to post and share with other users. I started my IG gallery back in 2012. I was using it back then as a personal account and had around 300 followers steady for a few years.

Last year in 2014 I decided to start using my IG gallery for my photography business. In the last year I have gained almost 2,000 followers. Now, yes, just like with anything, it takes time. You won’t wake up one day and have an abundance of activity on your account. However by knowing how to successfully use this truly amazing social media tool, you will get there. I am no Instagram genius by any means, but these helpful hints have helped my business grow so I am sharing with you!

JCP Instagram
Your bio. When people first go to your page, the first thing they see is your personal photo, bio, & follower stats. Be sure to have a profile photo that shows who you are. Not necessarily a photo of you, but a photo of something that represents you. You, your logo, your product, your hobby, your interest! A little bio about you and what you are about, basically what you want potential clients (or followers) to know about you and your business. Be sure to include your website or contact info if you want them to be able to contact you for business!

Post quality photos. When you post images to your IG feed, you’ll want to post good, clear images. I’m not saying go by an expensive camera for this reason by any means. Many times I use my phone camera for IG images and they still look good. I know some IG users that only use their phone photos and are simply beautiful! Just make sure your images are clear and have good lighting.

#Hashtag. I know you see it everywhere. Almost every social media outlet nowadays uses hashtags. There is a good reason for that. Hashtags are used to identify a specific topic or theme. When you attach a hashtag to your image, everyone that clicks that particular tag will see your image, thus leading users to your gallery. Use hashtags that relate to your image. For example, every image I post of Charleston I use the hashtag #Charleston or #CharlestonSC. If you go to the Search page on IG it will show you what popular hashtags are trending that day. If your image can relate to one of those, use it!

Add Locations. When you post an image on your feed you have the choice to add a location. DO IT. When you add a location, every other user that tags or searches that same location can also see your image as well. If it is a business location, they may even see your image and Repost to their account for others to see. This will lead their followers to your feed!

Like & Comment! Take time to scroll hashtags that interest you to see what other users post! Do you like travel? Search #travel. Enjoy fashion? Search #fashion! See an image you like, give them a LIKE! When I see an image that really catches my eye I will leave a nice comment. By interacting with other users, this in turn lets them see YOU as well. Most IG users will return the favor on your own feed, and if you have common interests, they will follow to see more of what you post!

Follow! Typically, my own rule of thumb is to follow users that post what interests me. Some users will follow everyone that follows them, and that is ok if that is what you choose. I personally choose to follow users that post things of interest to me. I follow photographers, magazines, travelers, bloggers, etc. If I like what they are posting, I will follow them so I can see more of their good stuff. If you follow every user you come across, you will clog your feed with posts that may not interest you too much and see less of what you’re actually interested in!


How has Instagram helped my business grow? By doing these simple things listed above I have had such success with my business through IG. I have met fellow photographers, both locally & nationally, that with whom I have become acquaintances and some even friends! I have teamed up with local photogs I’ve met on IG and have done photo tours and even photo swaps! Whatever your business is, it is always fun to meet others in your field to share ideas & discuss similar interests!

I have been introduced to businesses through Instagram that have payed me to use my images on their IG feed. Yes, you read that right, PAID me to share my images with their followers. This is actually something I did not know existed until recently. Some businesses will pay, offer store credits, or free goodies from their business to IG users to be able to use their images on Instagram. Some businesses will do the same for users with high followers to post their product or brand. Very cool.

I have been able to work with and contribute to magazines, locally & nationally, that have shared my images through IG with their followers leading them right back to my gallery!

I have met bloggers & models through Instagram and have teamed up for collaboration! When either of us post the collaborations to our feed, we tag each other. This in turn lets our followers see the other one of us!JCP IG BLOG
My BIGGEST gain from allowing IG to help me grow is this: I have gained clients through Instagram! I get emails at least every other day from a potential client saying “I found you on Instagram”. I cannot tell you how rewarding that feels.

Our business is founded and revolves around one thing: our clients & customers. Without them, there is no business. Of everything that I do on Instagram by tagging, using hashtags, & SOCIALIZING with others, people see me. They come to my page and see what I do and what I can offer them as a business. And I grow…

What marketing & networking tools do you use as a business owner to help your business grow? Share it with us!