How to use Instagram to tell your business story

19 October

Have you considered Instagram for your business? Instagram is a powerful platform for connecting with customers. Think of it as micro blogging – sharing small pieces of carefully curated content that can help you connect with your audience.

Last week I was training a group of business owners about different social platforms and how to use them. The fears we have about sharing online content usually boil down to two things: I don’t know what to say and I’m scared that no-one will be interested in listening. It makes sense to name these issues as clarity and confidence. I know that clarity is the key to social media marketing. If you know exactly what you do, it makes it much easier to share that message on the web. Take time to do that first. Your confidence naturally grows when you can communicate clearly.

I’ll share some key statistics at the end of the post. First though, lets look at examples of businesses who are using instagram well. I want to highlight the importance of combining images with brand language. The ‘voice’ of your brand is important here.

Dirty Fabulous – Living their brand

Sisters Caroline and Kathy own vintage clothing store, Dirty Fabulous. I’ve known these two for years and admire their huge passion and commitment to their business. One of the things that makes this business a success is that they live their brand every day. Vintage is their life and fancy dress is part of their everyday world! Kathy, seen on the right is “Twirling in my 50’s dress at our friends wedding in France.”

Dirthy Fabulous sisters

Balyvolane House – We are professional and personable

We tell our business story in different ways on different platforms. Ballyvolane house is a luxury, historic, Irish Country House. If you visit their website, you will get a sense of their high standards and attention to detail. On other platforms like Facebook and Instagram they show more of the human side of their business. The message is clear; ‘We are professional and personable. We understand our guests and want to make their stay with us memorable and fun.’

Ballyvolane House

Juniper Ridge – Taking you on the journey

Juniper Ridge make ‘Wilderness Perfume’ by distilling and extracting fragrance from wildflowers and plants. “Our company is built on the simple idea that nothing smells better than the forest and that the only way to bring this beauty home is to first strap on your boots and go there.” You get the sense that the business was set up to allow them to earn a living doing what they love; being out in nature. Whatever their reasons, they want to bring you on the journey. Their instagram feed takes you trekking with them. It activates your sense of smell. And it makes you feel part of a community. There is no hard sell here – if you are part of this niche market, you will want to sample their products. This account makes you feel part of the Juniper Ridge team.

Juniper Ridge, wilderness perfumes

Sugru – enabling you to fix things and have fun in the process!

I’m a big fan of Sugru because they are making the world a happier and better place. Most of us want to feel like we can do this too, even in tiny ways. Jane Ní Dhulchaointigh developed a new kind of silicone rubber to fix things. She was tired of buying stuff and wanted to improve and re-imagine the things she already had. In the process, she sparked the imagination of millions of people. Sugru uses their Instagram account to promote and inspire their worldwide community. The attention is firmly on the users of the product. Watch one of their fun videos below –


Kathryn Davey – Sharing sneak peaks into her creative world

Kathryn designs serenely beautiful, hand-crafted dolls. She has a huge following of loyal fans who are interested in getting a sneak peak into her creative world. We get glimpses into Kathryn’s indigo and linen world. Times slows down as we imagine how many tiny stitches have go into creating each piece. “I grew up in a creative household in Dublin, Ireland with very resourceful & talented parents. I came from Grandmothers who lived through wars & rations. Whites were boiled and socks were darned & if you needed a dress for a special occasion it was made from what was available. Although I am self-taught in my craft of doll making & indigo dying, I am grateful to the women of my family for the creative resourcefulness that they taught me.” Kathryn sells her products online – Instagram helps her to make an emotional connection with people who she can’t meet in person.

Kathryn Davey

Video Meals – showing you how to do something {in easy steps}

OK, I followed this guy on Instagram because he was doing something very different and he has a huge following because of that. I find him irritating but that is beside the point; I am not his target audience! This guy has found a way to solve a problem for people. He shows you how to cook recipes that are quick and simple to follow. He saves you time and inspires you to give cooking a go. ‘How to’ content is very valuable because it enables people to do things for themselves. In 15 seconds he will show you how to make chocolate and banana muffins.


Anthony Claffey – creating a memorable series that tells a story

Anthony Claffey is a movement coach and works with Andy Myers at ‘Always Move’. Part of the skill of being a coach is to inspire and motivate people to make change. Anthony gives Handstand Workshops with Andy and has used his instagram feed to illustrate a 365 day challenge he has set for himself. In addition to publicly recording his challenge, he chooses interesting historical locations, which he tells us more about. Instagram allows you to build up a sense of trust with the people behind a business. If they’re popping into your feed every day, you feel like you’ve established some sort or relationship with them.


Here are some interesting Instagram statistics:

  • Instagram’s per-follower engagement rate for top brands is 58 times higher than on Facebook and 120 times higher than on Twitter
  • Instagram is more effective for ‘business to customer’ than ‘business to business’.
  • The average engagement per Instagram post has grown by 416 percent over two years

    * Stats via a Hootesuite More information contained in the full article.

    To sum up this post – Instagram can be a great platform to build trust and engagement with your target audience. It’s not just about pretty pictures. First of all let’s find out if your target audience use this platform. Then we can create a strategy with clear goals for your business. I help businesses to get clear on what they are offering and to whom. From there, I can train you to communicate that message on the web. Let me know if you’d like some help with that!

    On a personal note, I’ve been invited to curate the ‘Picture This Dublin’ instagram account. I’m sharing images that tell the story of my city. I’d love your company over there. (I’ll be posting from 19th to 25th October).

    Instagram Links to explore:
    Dirty Fabulous
    Ballyvolane House
    Juniper Ridge
    Sugru
    Kathryn Davey
    Video Meals
    Anthony Claffey