MUMBAI: Small businesses and start-ups have as good a chance at finding the right audience on Instagram as big brands do – as long as they have a good story to tell.

“Instagram is a product discovery goldmine like no other,” Gautam Reghunath, EVP and branch head, Dentsu Webchutney, told the Business Standard.

And the costs of reaching an audience are lower than using sister-site Facebook or traditional advertising, he noted.

Put these two things together and you have a platform that “empowers small businesses and democratises opportunity, giving individuals, creators and emerging brands the ability to reach a global audience,” said Sandeep Bhushan, director Facebook India and South Asia.

“That’s because when your store front, marketing, advertising, and customer service are done in one app, on one device, everything changes,” he added.

This prospect is especially useful for those brands operating in fashion, the third most-followed category by young people globally on Instagram, after music and entertainment, and one which readily lends itself to the visual nature of the platform.

“In India, and around the world, Instagram has become the fashion community’s home for discovery, inspiration and visual storytelling, and a way for all of us to get an inside look into upcoming trends,” said an Instagram spokesperson.

That has happened because of the stories that fashion brands are telling, said Bhushan, using the platform’s various features to help consumers understand how stylists and designers work and then convert them into brand fans.

As well as telling their own stories, brands also can tap into user-generated content from bloggers and fans, which typically generates much higher engagement levels.

“Audiences have learnt to distinguish between genuine and over-promoted content but there isn’t a more relevant, native-to-medium brand building technique than influencer marketing at the moment,” said Reghunath.

“That said, there’s no blanket influencer strategy. Every brand needs a unique one to break out in the marketplace full of influencers.”

Sourced from Business Standard; additional content by WARC staff