Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms, especially among younger generations. The beauty of Instagram is that it’s highly visual – the focus is on images and videos rather than text posts. Facebook still dominates the game, but Instagram holds second place for highest engagement.
With that many eyes on the platform, you can’t afford to ignore it. So how can you use it? We’ve got some tips for using a small business Instagram marketing strategy to take your enterprise to the next level.
1. Set Your Account Up For Success
When you’re setting up your business Instagram account, you’ll want to do it so it has the maximum marketing impact. You’ll also want to make sure prospective customers have a way to find you online with ease.
Connect your Instagram account to your other social media accounts. Adding your business’s Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, Tumblr and Flickr sites to your Instagram profile can help your customers keep up with you through other social media forums. Make sure your privacy settings allow everyone to see and comment on your posts – your account isn’t going to help your business if no one can access it!
Just like your other marketing efforts, your Instagram strategy needs to be consistent with your brand. That means using the same logo, style, and tone you use everywhere else. And if your brand does something unique, make sure you share it! Maybe your brand uses only recycled materials or local produce – that’s an important part of your image and you’ll want to weave it into every aspect of your Instagram presence.
2. Share High-Quality Content
Instagram is a visual medium. People come to Instagram to see beautiful images and videos. Make the effort to make your content on Instagram stand out.
Luckily, Instagram has a user-friendly format so you can create archive quality images with the touch of a finger. Instagram provides an array of filters to shade your photos, change the contrast settings, and add other visual effects. Play around with the platform and you’ll find that there are literally hundreds of ways to customize your images. It may take a little trial and error to find what fits with your brand and works for your followers, so don’t be afraid to experiment!
Here are some things to remember as you work to create eye-catching content:
- Vibrant colors stand out
- High-resolution photos convey quality
- Unusual, arresting, and intriguing images will capture the eye better than common ones
- Short videos are a great way to show your product in action
Consider sharing content that isn’t just about your brand. That will help draw a greater viewership and make your account feel less commercial, which is a big draw for the Millennials. Just remember that all of your content should be consistent with your brand – your children’s toy store shouldn’t be posting adult content.
3. Use Those Tags And Hashtags
Instagram puts the “social” in social media by allowing you to “tag” others in your photos. By tagging a follower or another business, you make a connection with that person and share your content with them and their followers.
Additionally, hashtags allow you to add your own content notes to your photos. Use hashtags to convey what your photo or video is about. If you run a spa and salon, you would consider using #spa, #dayofbeauty, #nailservices, or #manipedi. If a user clicks on a given hashtag, they’ll be able to see all of the posts with that hashtag. In other words, hashtags are a way to make sure your brand is part of the conversation for topics that relate to you.
A note on hashtag use – make sure they actually relate to the photo so they make sense. Some businesses post random hashtags with no connection to the visual image, which can be confusing for the audience and make the post seem spammy and inauthentic.
4. Build Your Reach
Your small business Instagram marketing strategy is all about increasing your reach, brand awareness, and brand goodwill. Whatever content you’re posting, these should be your goal and the metric you pay the most attention to. If your images and videos aren’t getting “liked” or shared, it’s time to retool your strategy.
Another key element of creating reach is engagement – you need to actively manage your account and engage with other users. Start conversations! Respond to people that comment on your posts! Show that you’re an active part of the Instagram community – that makes your brand feel more authentic and more relevant, especially for younger demographics.
You can post all you want on Instagram for free, but you also have the option to pay in order to promote your content. Depending on your budget and your target customer, this may be worth the cost. However, it’s not a requirement for building a following.
5. Share The Right Information
Your small business Instagram marketing effort is supposed to bring in customers – which means you need to let them know how to find you. Your account should include full information on how to contact you. Most importantly, include a link to your website. The Instagram audience is a much more likely to click than call. You can also include a quick professional bio so customers who stumble onto your Instagram page know exactly what your business is about and what it can offer them. Again, this is a great place to share what makes your brand special.
If you’re not sure what to write in your Instagram bio, here’s a great resource on how to write a bio that will appeal to your prospective customers.
6. Show, Don’t Tell
Since Instagram is a visual forum, use it to show your customers what your business offers. If you’re running a brewery, rather than just posting a photo of a foamy lager, show patrons that are enjoying the brew. If you’re selling hand knitted cashmere scarfs, post a video of a behind-the-scenes look showing how your scarfs are made. Make it personal and interesting – we’ve all seen enough photos of beers and scarves.
By sharing what your company does and why it’s special, you’ll show the value of your products and services to your followers. Instant branding!
7. Follow Influencers
One of the best ways to use Instagram for small business marketing is to find industry influencers. These are individuals with large followings that have the power to direct their followers toward certain brands. They’re common in the health, food, and fashion industries but you’ll find influencers for every niche. Follow them and engage with them – a brand mention from an influencer can give you a huge boost. You can also create sponsored posts with influencers. They can be pricey, but they give you a lot of reach.
A Small Business Instagram Marketing Strategy Isn’t Instant, But It’s Worth It
Instagram can be a terrific, free resource for small businesses eager to expand their social media marketing efforts. Like all marketing efforts, it’s going to take some work and time to figure out what’s best for your brand. Use our tips to start your own small business Instagram account and start racking up the followers!