How to launch a small business on Instagram

Instagrammers @geo_fleur and @hopeinthewoods have turned side projects into successful ventures through posting their products on Instagram. We spoke to the pair about launching a new venture on the platform, and asked Instagram’s head of small and medium business for some tips and advice on promoting a business through the site

With 600 million monthly users and a focus on visuals, Instagram is a great marketing tool for small businesses. Some brands use it to trade in place of a website or physical store, while others use it to boost their profile and reach consumers in distant markets.

Clothing brand Lazy Oaf has just one shop in London, but over 500,000 followers around the world on Instagram. Stationery store Present and Correct, meanwhile, has gained over 100,000 followers with images of artfully arranged office supplies and rare printed ephemera. Fiona and Bobby Burrage of Norfolk design consultancy The Click launched their lifestyle brand Nor-Folk through Instagram before setting up a website, and now have 11,000 followers, while northern brand Ley Clothing takes orders for handmade clothing and bags.

With so many people (and brands) on the platform, it can be difficult to make your voice heard – but post the right content to the right people, and it can lead to orders, commissions and collaborations, as well as a global fanbase.

“One of the first things anyone should do if they are thinking about setting up an Instagram account for their business is to spend some time on the platform to understand how the community connect with each other and get some inspiration,” says Jen Ronan, head of small and medium businesses at Instagram. “Find businesses like yours and see how they’re expressing themselves, using different creative approaches and how they’re engaging with the community.”

“A business I really enjoy following is @matchaeologist who sell premium-quality matcha. It’s quite a quirky concept but using Instagram, and in particular video, they’re able to reach and educate people from all over the world about their products in a visually compelling way.”

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