Instagram: Open for Business

In-sta-gram: Trademark. The name of a social networking, mobile photo and video sharing service, launched in 2010.

Instagram is my favorite social network and if I added up the amount of time I spend browsing it just on the weekend alone, I’m sure it would be an embarrassing number. Part of the reason why I prefer Instagram over other social networks is because of the e-commerce aspect. As I browse the app, I have found that more and more shops and boutiques have created Instagram accounts for their businesses to be able to sell products online. When checking out products that a company has online, I now default to searching for their Instagram account versus their website.

Instagram enables businesses (or people) to get the most out of e-commerce, and here’s how:

  • Image-centered visual platform
  • Your average consumer
  • Ease of purchase
  • #hashtags

Image Centered Visual Platform

People love images due to the fact that 50% of our brains are involved in visual processing. Not to mention, we suffer from information overload. One of my favorite aspects of Instagram is its simplicity and strong focus on images. Concentrated pictures, all the same size, posted in a grid layout – how much more simple can you get.

Your Average Consumer

We know that models make everything look good (I mean, it IS their job), but being able to relate to the person wearing a clothing item you’re trying to picture yourself in offers a better connection for many consumers. It’s nice to see an average person wearing the shirt or pants you’re interested in buying.

Ease of Purchase

Purchasing items you see on a company’s Instagram account can go a few different ways depending on how the seller has it set up. I have found from my past Instagram purchases that the easiest is simply commenting “SOLD” on the item. Next thing you know you have a PayPal invoice from the seller in your inbox!


Instagram for businessSocial media runs on hashtags. Hashtags (the # symbol for those of you used to actually dialing phones) are a quick way for users to search what they’re looking for and to see what others are talking about online. For example, say that I want a new pair of Nikes, I can search “#nikesforsale” on Instagram and the search results bring up 5,573 posts of people, businesses, etc. that have posted an image of – you guessed it – Nikes for sale. I can then see which pair of Nikes I want to purchase.

This only downside is that the search yields almost 6,000 images – that’s a lot of scrolling! Narrowing the search (for instance my co-worker’s favorite shoe: #nikezoomelitesforsale) can help reduce the overwhelming amount of results.

If your business sells products online, do yourself a favor and create a (free!) Instagram account. It takes no more than 30 seconds to snap a picture and post it as a “listing”. Putting an item for sale on Instagram allows for any of their 150 million users to see your post. Happy selling!

For more information on leveraging social media for business, please contact me by email or phone 410-843-3826.

Sarah Engel is a Marketing Consultant at G.1440 who joined the team after graduating from Towson University with degrees in Business Administration and Electronic Business. She’s an infographic nut and a forever-long Apple fan. When she’s not behind one of her Apple devices, she is often found volunteering with her dog King, or heading to the beach for the weekend.