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Express Your Business' Story

“I’m trying to bring a little more cuteness and happiness to people's daily lives, whether it's through posters on the street, illustrated products, or social media publications,” says Melissa Westphal (@melissa_westphal) of Manifesto Cuti Cuti (@manifestocuticuti).
Melissa started the design and illustration studio in 2011, while attending Brazil’s University of Visual Arts at the Federal University of Pelotas – RS. Her initial plan – to hang wheat paste posters with positive messages and illustrations in the cities to which she traveled – grew into a project to develop a project that upholds principles she believes are integral to society. She launched her Instagram account in 2014.
"Instagram encourages me every day to produce more and more illustrations and always have new content to post on my profile,” Melissa says. “It's a way of expressing good feelings, not just to the people around me, but to myself. Why not spread small doses of cuteness in a world that lives an exhausting and stressful routine?"
Melissa says that Instagram has “played a fundamental role in breaking the geographical limits in which we live” and credits the platform will allowing her to make a living doing what she loves. What advice would she offer other businesses thinking about starting an account? “Know how to extract the best of what you produce on a daily basis, and turn it into genuine, essential content for followers,” she says. “Photos and videos are cool, but sometimes we just want to see the ‘raw reality’ behind that well-crafted project.”

Today we’re excited to announce two new ways to discover the world around you on Explore: location stories and hashtag stories. Now you can see what’s happening around you and find stories related to your interests.
You’ll see a new story ring at the top of Explore filled with stories happening near you. You can also search for any location around the world, and you’ll see a story ring for that place at the top of the location page.
We’re also beginning to introduce hashtag stories on Explore. When you search for a hashtag, you may see a story ring at the top of the page filled with stories using that hashtag.
Add a location sticker or hashtag to your story and you may be included in the larger story. If you want to use a location or hashtag sticker but don’t want your story to appear on Explore, tap the X on your stories viewer list.
From discovering new parts of your hometown to jogging alongside the #fromwhereirun community, location and hashtag stories help you share these experiences as they unfold.
To learn more about location stories and hashtag stories, check out
Location stories on Explore are available on iOS and Android as part of Instagram version 10.22 in the Apple App Store and Google Play. Hashtag stories will be rolling out over the coming weeks.

"Books Are Magic went from being a figment of our imagination to an actual business very, very quickly,” says Emma Fusco-Straub, co-founder – with her husband Michael Fusco-Straub – of Books Are Magic (@booksaremagicbk). “We found out that our local indie bookstore was closing, and we sprang into action. And now here we are!"
That 35-year-old bookstore, Bookcourt – at which Emma, an accomplished novelist, had worked for several years – closed in December 2016. Deeply saddened, Emma and Michael decided that their dream to oneday own a bookstore was going to happen a little sooner than expected. They posted a letter assuring local residents that they would be opening their own store, launched their Instagram account, and THEN set about finding a retail space.
"I love Instagram,” says Emma. “It’s all the good parts of the Internet – pictures, little movie, comments, interaction – and I couldn’t wait to use it to share everything that we were doing with the store. How else would people know about our pink walls? And our buttons? And most importantly, the books we love?"
Emma says it’s been amazing to watch people get to know what they’re building through their Instagram account. What advice would she offer fellow businesses looking to reach customers through Instagram? “As the Beach Boys say, ‘be true to your school. Or yourself. Or your store,” she says. “I think social media only works when people can tell it’s genuine. Don’t fake the funk!”

Today, we’re introducing face filters, an easy way to turn an ordinary selfie into something fun and entertaining.
Simply open the camera and tap the new face icon in the bottom right corner. Tap a filter to try it on and send it to your friends or add it to your story. They even work with Boomerang.
Also today, we’re rolling out three new creative tools. Make videos that play in reverse with “Rewind,” add context to your story with a hashtag sticker and get creative with the eraser brush.
Instagram has always been the place you can go to turn regular moments into something you can’t wait to share. Now, you have more fun and easy ways to express your business and connect with the people you care about most.
To learn more about today’s updates, check out These updates are available as part of Instagram version 10.21 for iOS in the Apple App Store and for Android in Google Play.

“Good On Ya has become like a little community in itself—so much so that our customers do the majority of advertising for us,” says Valerie Fleming of Newfoundland, Canada-based Good On Ya Natural Skin Care (@goodonyanl). “When they receive products they are quick to promote them. Our story is their story."
Valerie and her daughter, Megan, were inspired to launch their small batch, all-natural skincare line in 2015, when they realized that their eczema-prone skin was becoming even more sensitive due to chemicals and fragrances found in regular mainstream skincare products. They use their brand’s Instagram account to showcase their collection as well as their incredible bond and their distinctive location.
"We value family above everything else and try to put forward images and stories that are reflective of who we are and where we are from,” says Valerie. “Instagram has literally opened up our little family business to the world. Here we are, in a little remote community of 250 people on the most southern tip of Newfoundland, and we have followers from all over the world. How cool is that?"
Valerie says that Good On Ya’s exposure on Instagram has enabled the brand to collaborate with other beauty bloggers and businesses nationally. What advice would she give to businesses considering an account or advertising with Instagram? “The best approach is to keep it simple and minimalistic—choose photos that flow with your theme as well as complement your brand identity,” she says. “And be sure to capitalize on the opportunity to be creative and have fun with how you promote your own business. You should be proud of all you've accomplished—don't be afraid to show it off!”

“We want people to understand that Greats is not just a sneaker company but an authority on style as well,” says Ryan Babenzien, founder of Brooklyn-based @greatsbrand. “Our audience knows it's okay to buy status, but not to overpay."
Greats launched its Instagram account before launching its beta web site in August 2013, and calls the platform its core channel of customer acquisition. “That was basically our marketing strategy, to have as many relevant Instagram followers as we could before launch,” says Ryan. The brand procured many Instagram followers in the first five weeks of having an account, and at its site launch, sold a pair of sneakers every 90 seconds on average.
“In the beginning it was pure instinct and on-the-go posting,” says Ryan says who says that the @greatsbrand’s marketing strategy hasn’t changed much since then, though they do plan a bit more now. “But Instagram has built some robust tools that allow us to do more than post photos or video, so we're more analytical than we were in the early days."
What advice would Ryan give to other businesses that want to start an account on Instagram? “Experiment and be creative,” he says. “I'd encourage businesses, especially younger ones, to have some fun and try new things."
Photo by @greatsbrand

“I want to show the value of handwork, the possibilities of free embroidery and how it can be used as a form of expression and a tool of empowerment,” says Marina Burity of her São Paulo-based company, Bordados de Burity (@bordadosdaburity). “My main works are phrases that translate my ideas and beliefs."
Marina began embroidering out of curiosity, and was soon so enamored of the craft that she spent nearly all her free time making pieces. One year ago, the hobby became a business when people began buying and commissioning her work, and today, she uses Instagram as the main sales tool for her business.
"Instagram is where I am known, seen and where I can show what I do,” she says. “There, people get to know my work and get in touch to buy or order an exclusive commissioned piece. Embroidery takes a long time make, so it’s nice that people see all the steps I go through to get to the final result."
What advice would Marina give other companies that want to start an account on Instagram? “I think the main thing is to work hard and really dedicate time to build your profile,” she says. “Have nice photos, post regularly and answer all your comments and messages. I’ve found that the results come pretty fast when you cultivate your profile and value your followers."
Photo by @bordadosdaburity

“We always say that no one ever frames anything they don’t love,” says Tessa Wolf, creative director of Framebridge (@framebridge).
After a few terrible custom framing experiences, Susan Tynan founded Framebridge in early 2014 to make custom framing of both physical art and digital photos easy and affordable.
"Starting with the very first frame we shipped in 2014, we’ve included a card in every box encouraging customers to Instagram a photo of their newly-framed piece in their home—and they actually do it!” says Tessa, who also mentions that Instagram has become the most powerful way that customers, partners and future employees to discover the brand. “We’ve found that by sharing customer content on our channel, we can give people a really good idea of what our frames look like in real homes and show them ideas of what to frame and gift."
What advice would she give to other businesses that want to start an account or run ads on Instagram? “Don’t do all the work yourself – consider having your customers create content for you.” Tessa says. “If you ask them to share your product or service on their feed and then reward them by sharing their stories and photos, your followers will love it and more of them will be inspired to do the same. There is no better way to tell your story than through the eyes (and photos) of your consumers."
Photo by @framebridge customer Shay Cochrane

“Creating ad campaigns can be a long and meticulous process,” says Richard Christiansen, founder of Chandelier Creative (@chandeliercreative). “We founded our agency to manifest our curiosity on a day-to-day basis, to be more volatile and reactive to the outside world."
Chandelier Creative was started 11 years ago on Richard's kitchen table. The initial team had all worked in magazines together, and as the print world started to dissolve, they saw an opportunity for an agency that could bring an elevated aesthetic to digital, social and the moving image. The brand’s creativity manifests itself on its Instagram account, documenting everything from its latest ads for Old Navy to its innovative monthly lecture series to Richard’s expeditions in Antarctica or its collaboration with Jane Goodall.
"It's our effort to build our identity, our tone of voice, separate from client work,” Richard says of Chandelier’s Instagram strategy. “But beyond that, it's the manifesto for a world we want to live in, the values of an inclusive and brilliant humanity.” He describes @chandeliercreative’s account aesthetic as National Geographic meets Vogue. “We love compelling visuals, but the story, the human component, is what matters more to us,” he says.
Richard says that more and more often, Chandelier’s client meetings begin with “I like your Instagram.” What advice would the agency give other companies that want to start an account or run ads on Instagram? “Avoid self-scrutinization and find your voice,” says Richard. “There is way too much noise out there, so make sure you have something to say that isn’t fickle, but uplifting."
Video by @chandeliercreative

We’re thrilled to announce our community has grown to more than 700 million Instagrammers. And the last 100 million of you joined faster than ever.
We’ve made it even easier for people and businesses across the globe to join the Instagram community, share their experiences and strengthen connections with their friends and passions. With new features like stories, live video and disappearing messages in Direct, people and businesses now have more ways than ever to express themselves and feel closer to what matters to them.
From all of us at Instagram, thank you.
Photo by @heysp

“We all learn so much about our cities when we find ourselves on a bicycle, and at tokyobike we want to celebrate that,” says Juliana Rudell Di Simone (@julianarudell), director of tokyobike Americas (@tokyobike_nyc).
tokyobike is a small, independent bicycle company founded in 2002 in the quiet Tokyo suburb of Yanaka. Today the brand has 12 direct shops in cities around the globe, from Tokyo to Melbourne to London to Los Angeles. Juliana says that the tokyobike audience tends to consist of members of the creative class who appreciate good design, many of whom are active on Instagram.
"Our customers see tokyobike as an extension of who they are, and we see that expressed every day in the way that they capture, post and speak about tokyobike on Instagram,” says Juliana. She says that many tokyobike customers found out about the brand through the Instagram account, and that the platform is the brand’s first channel for communicating brand stories, collaborations, and news to its dedicated followers.
What advice would she give to other companies that want to start an account or run ads on Instagram? “Speak to Instagrammers on their terms—in a clear, honest and authentic voice. Also, embrace your audience and use it as a two-way channel. Instagrammers are great at communication and you can learn a lot about your brand through them,” she says.
Photo by @tokyobike_nyc

“With Osmia, I’m telling a lot of stories,” says Dr. Sarah Villafranco, founder and CEO of Osmia Organics (@osmiaorganics). “There’s the ‘chase your dream’ story, the ‘women in business’ story, the ‘choose your health’ story and the ‘notice your life’ story. Most importantly, there’s the ‘save the world one bar of soap at a time’ story, where I try to bring some attention to the small ways in which we can help repair some of the damage we’ve done to the planet and its creatures."
Dr. Villafranco started Osmia five years ago, after ten years of practicing emergency medicine. Having grown frustrated by the confines of western medicine and wanting to empower her patients to heal themselves through daily choices, she took a soap-making class and was instantly hooked. She soon realized she could make beautiful, healthy products for people to use on their skin, in turn inspiring them to choose their health and happiness—in big and small ways—every day.
"My brand of medicine is helping you help yourself, and Instagram is the perfect way to share it,” says Dr. Villafranco. “Our audience is anyone who wants to live his or her happiest, healthiest life. So they’re drawn to the way Osmia reminds them of their own power to change."
What advice would Sarah give to other companies considering an Instagram account? “Take good photos,” she says. “It’s critical in this photo-centric platform. Poor lighting, sloppy composition or too many selfies with the same expression are all recipes for a less interesting feed. If you’re not a natural, hire someone who is.”
Photo by @osmiaorganics

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