In just a few short years, Instagram has grown from an app with a loyal following, to one of the fastest growing social networks in the world.

Today, Instagram has more than 200 million active users. And those users have shared more than 20 billion photos!

There are several benefits of using Instagram for your business, but my favorite reason is simply that it’s easy and fun to use.

For those of you new to Instagram or hesitant to start, I’ve outlined answers to 10 of the Instagram questions I’m most often asked from small business owners.

1. What is Instagram?

Instagram allows users to take pictures and videos from a mobile device, apply digital filters and a caption, and then share the image on a variety of social networking services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr.

Instagram makes it easy to create stunning photos that make you, and ultimately your business, look professional and creative.

2. What is the difference between Instagram and Pinterest?

With Pinterest, a user’s intent is primarily focused on the discovery and curation of other users’ content. Similar to a search engine, users can use Pinterest to search for specific content or products. They can then create visually appealing boards by pinning and grouping the content they discover.

On Pinterest, every pin is a link to the source of the image, usually an external site. Therefore, one of the common goals for businesses is generating website traffic and using Pinterest for SEO purposes. Pinterest is also a proven sales generator for retail businesses.

On Instagram, users are looking for a much more personal experience with the brands they follow and engage with. The content you share on Instagram should give your audience an authentic view into your business.

Here are a few other differences to be aware of:

Instagram vs. Pinterest v2

3. Can you connect your Instagram account to your Facebook Business Page?

Yes! Under Share Settings in your Instagram Account Setting, you can connect to your Facebook Business Page.

This will not only make it easier for you to share your Instagram photos on Facebook, but also makes it easier for people on Facebook to connect with you on Instagram, as well.

4. I don’t have a smartphone; can I still use Instagram from my computer?

Unfortunately, you can’t post to Instagram from a computer, but you can use the web browser version to look at profiles, follow people, and comment on photos.

5. How can I grow my following on Instagram?

Leverage all of the social channels you currently use to tell customers and supporters about your new account.

Let your contacts know you’re on Instagram in your next email newsletter, and make it easy for those interested to follow you. Also include your Instagram username so those without a smartphone can check you out on the web.

Find your customers on Instagram with this social media trick (see #3) to see who is sharing photos while visiting your business. Or access Instagram’s ‘Find People to Follow’ feature within your Account Settings.

Lastly, help your customers find you by adding an Instagram badge to your website or blog.

6. I’ve seen people create collages on Instagram, how can I do that?

Pic Stich and Pic Collage are both great for making beautiful collages.

Additional popular apps to use in conjunction with Instagram are Repost for Instagram and Repost & Regram for Instagram. These apps allow you to repost your favorite photos or your customers’ photos from your account.

For more tips on creating eye-catching images with your smartphone, check out this post: How to Create Stunning Visual Content with Your Smartphone

7. How can a business measure their success on Instagram?

Iconosquare (formerly Statigram) is an easy-to-use, free analytics platform for Instagram. Iconosquare allows you to easily check out which of your photos are generating the most engagement, track your likes and comments, and see even more analytics.

Do you use HootSuite? You can install the Iconosquare app as a stream in your HootSuite account to manage your Instagram presence more easily.

8. Is there a way to switch back and forth from your personal Instagram account and business account?

There isn’t an easy way to switch from your personal Instagram account to your business’s account using the Instagram app yet.

If you’re looking to simply monitor your Instagram feeds, there are a few apps you can use.

With Iconosquare’s integration with HootSuite, you can monitor multiple Instagram feeds and analytics from the HootSutie mobile app.

Fotogramme is another app that allows you to switch between multiple accounts for monitoring, but not posting.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed Instagram releases an app for brand manager, similar to Facebook’s Page Manager app soon!

9. Why would a business or nonprofit want to start using Instagram?

Instagram gives you the perfect opportunity to show customers a personal side of your business and tell your business’s story. As with most social media networks, using Instagram isn’t just about selling your product, it’s about connecting with the people who matter most to your business.

When you showcase your personality and what goes on behind the scenes, it helps build a level of trust and familiarity that allows people to connect with your business. This is one of the best ways to build long-lasting relationships for your business.

10. What should I share on Instagram?

Small businesses actually have an advantage over big brands when it comes to using Instagram for visual storytelling. Unlike big brands, small business owners know every detail of their business and are present every day to capture authentic, timely content.

You also know your customers in a way that big businesses don’t. By adding the personal touch that big businesses lack, you can humanize your business, show off your values and personality, and foster customer loyalty faster.

For inspiration, here are ten great ideas and examples of small businesses using Instagram successfully:

Can’t see the examples below? View them here. 

Make an emotional connection: Visuals are a great way for you to show off your cause and your volunteers. The advantage to being a nonprofit is your emotional connection, and visuals are a great way to show that.

Introduce your employees: This is a great way to show the human side of your company.

Show the steps: Let your audience get involved by offering a sneak peek at a new product.

Go behind-the-scenes: This will leave a lasting impression on current and future customers.

Get customers involved: Encourage the use of a specific hashtag or show the customers themselves at your business!  By capturing customers in the moment, you can create authentic content that truly connects your audience to your business.

Capture a real moment: Instagram is an effective social media channel for conveying authentic emotive content that can inspire someone to act.

Provide a glimpse of the past: Include the hashtag #TBT for ‘Throwback Thursday’ or #WayBackWednesday with an image that highlights a milestone or a good time from an earlier time.

Promote your events: Show followers the excitement of an event they’re missing out on.

Offer Inspiration: Share motivational quotes or a great personal anecdote so others will come to associate a feeling of positivity with your business.

Promote something: Tease your followers with a photo showcasing a new product, special offer or upcoming event.

Have fun: Through engaging and lighthearted posts, businesses can create a personal connection between its brand and its followers.

Not using Instagram for your business or organization yet?

Check out these 10 steps for setting up an Instagram account for your business.

Follow Constant Contact on Instagram for a behind the scenes look at the happenings in our office!