On Small Business has a new feature in which young entrepreneurs will answer common questions about small business owners’ social media needs. The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of young entrepreneurs.
How can entrepreneurs use Instagram?
Paul Gollash, founder and CEO of New York-based Voxy:
“We use Instagram to personalize our brand. On Facebook and Twitter we produce useful content and receive real-time feedback. But on Instagram, we snap casual photos of team members, employee activities and general office shenanigans and post them. Instagram is a great place to show the personal side of your company or brand.”
Erin Blaskie, CEO of BSETC in Ontario, Can.:
“While Instagram is not a tool that is not necessarily targeting entrepreneurs, it is still a fabulous tool to help them build relationships with potential partners and customers because they help cultivate a trust factor. Instagram allows you to post photos on the fly, which means that throughout your day, every day, you can share tiny snapshots from your life.
“Whether this means sharing the food you are eating, what you are up to or where you are, you are sharing a piece of your world with the audience that is following you. People buy from people — not companies — and Instagram allows you to be more human and more accessible, with the ability to connect on a level that is not solely transactional. All entrepreneurs should consider getting on Instagram. It is not a tool that will necessarily produce dollars, but it will help you to build trust with your audience base.”
Emerson Spartz, CEO of Chicago-based Spartz Media:
“Given Instagram’s massive growth and the ease with which users can share content, it can be an incredibly useful tool to quickly reach a large audience. Your photos could capture your product in use, your team at work, or things entirely unrelated to your product but showcase your company culture and interests on a relatable level. Building a visual library allows your audience to understand your product, your team and what you value as easily as they can view an image.
“If you establish a personality through what you capture, you upgrade yourself from an unknown producer to someone people can and want to relate to. On top of the transparency for your own business that Instagram allows, its popularity allows your users to express themselves as well.
“This creates a great platform for customer feedback as users can share their reactions to your product or the photos you release. However, not every business is right for Instagram — if you have limited resources to devote to social media and there is no obvious visual component to your business, then your time and energy would be better off devoted to maximizing the potential of other platforms like Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.”