Kati McGee of Instagram: How SMBs are Using Instagram to Connect with Customers

While many may still view Instagram as a great place to post pictures, more and more video is being consumed on the platform. According to Kati McGee, Instagram Lead for Facebook’s small and midsize (SMB) team, just in the past three months alone time spent watching video on Instagram has jumped 40 percent.

In a recent conversation with Kati during an event Facebook and Instagram held for National Small Business Week, Kati shares how small businesses can use Instagram’s advertising platform to reach more targeted audiences with video. She also shares how many small businesses are using Instagram as a second storefront to complement the eCommerce efforts.

Video On Instagram

Kati McGee explains the benefits of video on InstagramSmall Business Trends: It’s National Small Business Week and you guys are doing an event here in Atlanta. Why Atlanta?

Kati McGee: Atlanta’s a thriving community, for one, but it’s also one that I think in the past few years has really become a home for small businesses. We chose Atlanta’s Ponce City Market specifically because there’s companies like Citizen Supply here and a couple of the other thriving business owners in this space. We wanted to make sure that for us, being present, being in front of small businesses, where we thought we could affect change, was really important.

Small Business Trends: What are some of the things that small businesses may not know about Instagram and how it can help them grow their business?

Kati McGee: What most small businesses don’t know is we actually launched ads on Instagram eight months ago. Anyone can purchase ads. It’s done the same way through Facebook. We think it’s a real opportunity to help small businesses grow where they already have a community present. One of the things we’re most excited about is later on in this summer we’ll actually be releasing our Instagram business tools: Instagram business profiles, insights, and then the ability to promote a post right from your Instagram account. We’re really excited about it.

Small Business Trends: Maybe you can give us some ballpark stats about how small businesses are currently using Instagram?

Kati McGee: We know they’re already finding a home there. When we do launch our Business Suite this summer, we’ll be able to tell you exactly how many. We always knew that Instagram was community first and small businesses thrive on communities. It’s where they’re going to have conversations, to kind of visually engage their customers again.

Small Business Trends: Give us an example of how video is helping small businesses on Instagram?

Kati McGee: Within the past three months alone, video on Instagram has actually increased by 40 percent in terms of the amount of time spent watching the videos. What we know about SMBs is it’s given them an opportunity to showcase products in a brand new way. We see a lot of SMBs actually using Instagram almost as a secondary store front or a commerce front. There’s a lot of Etsy shops. My favorite is Mae Woven. What she does is creates videos on her Instagram account just to show what products look like in her own home. Trying to provide more of like that lifestyle, aesthetic feel. For us, videos are incredibly important. We see it being a big power play over the next few months and SMBs bringing to live video on Instagram apps like Boomerang and Hyperlapse. We see that being really exciting.

Small Business Trends: Maybe you could talk a little bit about advertising on Instagram and how small businesses are starting to use it?

Kati McGee: Advertising on Instagram is easy. That’s kind of the big thing we wanted to get across. We’re using the same targeting as Facebook, so we need to think about real people and real identity. It gives small businesses the opportunity to speak to exactly who they know their true target customer to be. We also know that small businesses don’t have a lot of time. It was important for us to make it as seamless of a process as possible. We fully integrated Instagram into Facebook ad offerings. The lady who buys Facebook ads, you buy Instagram ads the exact same way. You don’t have to learn a whole new process to get started. Finally, we also wanted to use the same formats that Facebook does. We know that Facebook has a lot of photos and videos and also very compelling objectives, like website conversions and website clicks. We actually use that same back end to bring those formats to Instagram as well.

Small Business Trends: Where can people go to learn more about how Instagram is helping small business?

Kati McGee: Our home for small businesses right now is our Instagram for Business Blog. There is an inspiration page for small businesses to help get started. There’s a lot of our best practices, an online help center and then help getting started with advertising.

This is part of the One-on-One Interview series with thought leaders. The transcript has been edited for publication. If it's an audio or video interview, click on the embedded player above, or subscribe via iTunes or via Stitcher.

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Brent Leary Brent Leary is the host of the Small Business Trends One-on-One interview series and co-founder of CRM Essentials LLC, an Atlanta-based CRM advisory firm covering tools and strategies for improving business relationships. Brent is a CRM industry analyst, advisor, author, speaker and award-winning blogger.

3 Reactions
  1. Time to be honest…. 98% of the advertisers on Instagram and most other websites are also SCAMS… and that isn’t an acronym for anything….

    Payday loans, Cash for Gold, Miracle herbal supplements, Financial advice for the coming end-times, Secrets to make any woman your love-slave…. do I need to go on?

    Oh, yeah…. and political ads….. which may actually be worse!

    • Anita Campbell

      Um, 98% of ads on Instagram and other websites are scams? That’s not my experience.

      A lot of ads these days are retargeted ads. Many ads are based on sites a person has visited recently. If one visits a payday loan site, one is going to be bombarded with payday loan ads everywhere.

  2. Was curious to see examples of good business videos on Instagram. Did not see any for Mae Woven..? Just photos.