Small Business Advice

How image-based social platforms can help small businesses

Jack Stratten

This guide looks at the small business value of image-based social media platforms like Instagram.

Recently, oursocialtimes.com reported a whopping 81% of businesses are employing some combination of social websites to reach clients, with Twitter proving to be the most popular choice. Facebook is also a common tool for engagement, but these methods share one important attribute - they both employ text as their primary way of engaging customers.

For those businesses wishing to explore the concept that a picture is worth a thousand words, it's worth acquainting yourself with Pinterest and Instagram. The use of these essential tools could make – or break – your marketing dreams.

Instagram

Imagery is an essential part of the marketing experience and you want your photos to be as good as possible. If you're a photographer of the 'point and press' variety, this is where Instagram comes in. The service allows you to take square photos using a mobile phone and apply a wide variety of digital filters to give them a more professional look.

Since the service was purchased by Facebook, it's introduced a number of features to make things easier for company-use, including business accounts and seamless sharing – perfect for those owners who just want to get started as quickly as possible.

Pinterest

Pinterest is the online version of the cork pinboard. The site has even more in the way of special features and tools for the small business than Instagram. Particular highlights include seamless sharing for businesses that utilise eBay.

Pinterest also offers a number of customisable options to help you personalise the business pinboard. Make sure you differentiate your platform from the others around it – if it looks generic, potential customers will be turned off and won't engage.

Content

No matter which social media platform you choose, the content is the most important aspect. People simply won't come back if they don't like what you're sharing. Try to adapt the tone of your photos to suit the business. If you're selling high-brow, stay professional. If you're interacting with pet-loving customers, for example, it's fine to be relaxed. Cat memes go down a treat.

Try to think of innovative campaigns that get clients sharing your content. Get them involved in your business by taking photos of the manufacturing or marketing processes, for instance. If you're a restaurant, pictures of that night's special dishes will go down a treat. The most important thing to remember is this: be creative.