There are rumors afloat that Instagram, the popular photo-sharing phone app, may have a web presence in the works. What it might look like is complete conjecture at this point, as are the implications it may have for small business owners. Using vague rumors and personal projections (outside-the-box is king), I delved into how an

US Chamber Summit Photo Winner via Instagram

actual webpage profile for users could change the landscape of Instagram, and potentially make it more attractive to small business owners – but you don’t have to take my word for it.

The main reasons for this, insofar as I can see, are that

  • It’d be another mode of expression. The business world of today is all about giving personality to your business, about making other people think of your small business not as some cold-hearted entity bent on taking their hard-earned cash, but a friend who welcomes you any time and always wants to help. Tweet This  You know the shop you loved or love because the owner paid attention to everyone who came through their door and could interact personally with them? That’s social media for businesses; it creates their personality. People take pictures, so why not your business.
  • Ease of access.If your pictures (and profile) were accessible from any computer with an internet connection, you would have greater and easier access to changing information, photos, etc., which means you can better keep track of the image you’re promoting, partly because you’re not limited to a 3×5 screen.
  • Synchronicity with other social media platforms. Instagram already allows sharing across mulitple social media platforms, but an Instagram specific profile would allow for users to actually connect through other platforms;  In other words, having a business Instagramprofile would make more sense, especially with the information revolution Pinterest is helping to instigate by changing our mode for expressing information from purely written to integrated with visuals.

    Intern #Instawalk in Malibu

  • People will browse at work. Business owners everywhere are cringing. Holding a cellphone is a pretty clear sign you’re doodling about. But with a web version, people can cruise through pictures while still looking at their computer. They may like a picture you or your business posted and follow the person or entity that posted it, much like Twitter.
  • Increased business exposure due to profile. If there are profiles, and they allow you to list where you work, then consider that some of your employees may have myriad follows on Instagramwho really like their pictures. Those followers could get some information about your employee, including – possibly – where they work, which might influence their purchasing decisions in the future.

However, there are cons as well, the biggest being that you’d have another website to monitor. Ideally, a program such as Hootsuite would allow for the profile to be stored on its platform, thus reducing the need for multiple internet tabs. There might be issues with spammers as well, though seeing as Instagram is now owned by Facebook, and they have largely curbed spam, I can’t image they’d tolerate it on Instagram either.

You might be thinking, “But there are already websites that allow you to view Instagram photos online”. Of course there are, but, to use an analogy, if your favorite band (disbanded groups and those with deceased

Bring Your Dog to Work Day 2012

members have for this purpose been regrouped or, if needed – resurrected) was playing in one area at the same time as a professional cover of your favorite band was playing in another city (ticket prices and travel distance are equal), to which show would you go? Touché.

Instagram is the Real McCoy. It would still provide everything that currently makes it great for business owners, with a web presence.

What’s not to like?