Startups on Instagram

There is no better way than social media to effectively share business stories and innovative ideas with the millennial generation for young entrepreneurs. There is no denying that photo-sharing is also an effective form of word of mouth marketing – e.g. the power of organic conversation on Instagram. Some well-acknowledged brands such as Burberry and Marc Jacobs are very adept at outstanding imagery-focused content, focusing on the 3Es: Engage, Equip, Empower. In contrast, others treat every social platform simply as an ‘online catalogue for showcasing their products’  (via Business Insider).

With a limited budget scope, startups may tend to lag behind when it comes to the size of followers and engagement. But startups – from food to fashion – should never shy away from using leading social networks such as  Instagram to spread the good word of their companies and ideas.  In fact, there is a new wave of innovative startups that are excelling at communicating their business ideas with the millennials on Instagram.

Find your unique tone of voice


48,236,832 – that’s the number of posts with #coffee you’ll likely to get on Instagram. One can only imagine how many coffee-related pictures are posted each day. So what are the chances of getting noticed among the tens of millions of similar images? But few coffee businesses like Four Barrel Coffee (@fourbarrelcoffee) from San Francisco are growing their fandoms by making their accounts more than just photos of coffee beans and caffeinated drinks. It’s about a certain lifestyle ranging from architecture, art, rock ‘n’ roll and black and white photographies (and anything compatible with their not-talking-about-annoying-hipster rule.)


Are you using the relevant hashtags?


Beautiful and consistent imagery is not the only key factor for startups to have a successful and influential presence on Instagram. Choosing the right hashtags is also crucial to reach your particular target audience. When it comes to a restaurant business, use of a combination of popular and general hashtags such as #foodporn along with more niche hashtags that are trending in your location is more effective, according to toasttab. For example, some posts by The Ground @thegrounds strike the balance between general and location-specific hashtags.  

Witty captions keep users amused


Speaking of coffee, this Australian skincare brand @frank_bod

Sells and promotes their coffee-based products through showcasing fun, playful and candid images and captions on Instagram (via hubspot). The brand combines images like behind-the-scene and less pretentious photos – in other words, not a typical beauty-themed Instagram account filled with ostentatious influencers and models. Their witty and cheeky captions are another thing that make users keep coming back.

Combine GIFs, Videos and photos

@staples  is another Instagram account that uses smart captions to enhance their engagement with their fans. For example, it features a series of emojis paired with captions such as ‘That’s pretty much our day. How about yours? Tell us in emojis’’ – Now that’s how to engage with your audience, not to mention the use of various kinds of content including videos and GIFs (via Hubspot).  

Go behind the scenes

For almost any kind of business or brand in Instagram, followers want to see behind-the-scene contents which they wouldn’t be able to see through other media otherwise. From well-established brands like Burberry to hip and contemporary startups like Mast Brothers, they post exclusive photos and backstage images to give a sneak peek. For startups, the inside look of the office space also gives a positive vibe as their followers can see that ‘your employees enjoy doing what they do and what’s going on inside the office is fun and worth sharing well’ (via). Since millennial consumers are particularly good at spotting non-authentic brand content, Instagram’s photo-sharing service offers unique opportunities to prove that authenticity and consistency of what your brand stands for across every aspect of your business.     

What do you think?

Appnova is a digital agency specialising in web design, UX, e-commerce, branding, digital marketing and social media.

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Cover image: @fourbarrelcoffee



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