The large presence that Instagram has in the social media sphere is unavoidable. Everyone from your relative to your favorite restaurant to your doctor has a profile. This social sharing site has developed into a strong tool for brands to connect with their customers. Your small business can use Instagram as a tool to encourage sales, strengthen brand loyalty, and more quite easily.
Table of Contents
- Using Instagram for your SMBs
- Advertising on Instagram
- The untapped potential
Using Instagram for your small business
Getting started with Instagram may seem like a task for your business. After all, it’s just another thing to add to your never-ending list of tasks as a small business owner. However, Instagram can lead to conversions since 72% of Instagram users have purchased a product after seeing it advertised on their Instagram feed.
Following a few best practices, you can get your small business’ Instagram up and going in no time and aligned with your retail marketing strategy as well.
Ready to dive in? Let’s go.
Build out your profile
Before you can use your Instagram profile to target new customers and connect further with your existing clientele, you’ll need to cover your basics.
Check to make sure that your Instagram account is set to a business profile. Not only will this allow you to see the analytics behind your post, but it will also bring a level of professionalism to your profile not offered with the personal account options.
Fill out all information on your profile including your bio, name, location, website, and more. This information will ensure that when potential customers come to your profile, they’ll be able to get in contact with your brand easily and won’t be turned away due to the lack of information.
Include a call-to-action link in your profile that directs consumers back to your website. You can promote an event, specific landing page, specials, or more through this link. This will help you convert more of your social traffic into page visits.
If you have more than one link to promote, use a bio link service like solo.to to give your visitors an easy way to find all your links, social media, music, videos, and more on one page.
You’ll need to brand your Instagram profile in a way that aligns with the current branding of your organization. Write your Instagram captions in a tone that’s similar to your website. Don’t be overly formal if that’s not the voice your organization usually has. Additionally, make sure that your pictures reflect your company as well. If you use bright colors on your website and/or product, your Instagram profile needs to reflect that as well in your posts.
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Focus on quality posts
When you’re starting off with your profile, it may seem like a large number of posts may be superior to the quality of your photos. That’s not the case. It’s better to have five high-quality images that reflect your business accurately than 15 low-quality blurry images put up just to fill your feed. And that’s why, you should edit your images by leveraging the power of Instagram’s tools before sharing them with your audience
You’ll want to ensure that you vary the types of posts that you’re publishing. Posting similar pictures of your product or service over and over again isn’t exciting and will likely lead to your followers unfollowing your profile. Mixing in quotes, user-generated posts, product pictures, and adding more variety is the best way to ensure the growth of your Instagram profile. You can use various Instagram post templates to create unique and new posts to keep your profile fresh and also attract more followers
Avoid using stock photos at all costs. Although they are high-quality images, they’ll give an inauthentic image for your brand and will weaken consumer trust in the content you’re promoting. Encouraging your followers to send in pictures they’ve taken with their cameras of your product or them experiencing your service is an easy way to collect images without incurring additional costs. For example, When you promote products like “Bobbleheads“, your customer will most likely want to share their “before and after” shots. If you want your photos to have a creative flair and not just be your average photo, consider posting an animated GIF or creating a video for your Instagram feed using an Instagram video editing tool.
Remember, quality is always greater than quantity.
Instagram is not a platform where you can set up your profile and then forget about it. Even if you only spend 10 minutes each day on the platform, you’ll be setting yourself up for success.
Posting regular posts at a consistent interval will help ensure that your account is active and your followers will be reminded of your account’s presence. You can decide a cadence that works for you, but posting at a bare minimum of twice a week will help keep your posting regular. Consider implementing a marketing automation tool to schedule posts ahead of time and ease your job.
Vary the types of posts that your account publishes. Instagram now offers a variety of options between normal posts, video posts, story posts (that can be both static or video), or going live on for your viewers to tune in. Your audience will interact with your profile in a variety of ways, including using different emoticon types, so it’s important to put out content that will appeal to all users. You can even use your Instagram profile as an avenue to go behind the scenes and showcase what goes into your small business. Get creative! Don’t forget to disclose any advertisements on Instagram by using #ad or #advertisment.
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Growing your following
You can post all you want, but if you don’t have anyone seeing your posts- then what good is it? You’ll need to grow your followers in order to have success in reaching a group of potential customers. Include your Instagram handle on a sign in your business by your QR Codes or at the bottom of the receipts. Make an announcement about your new profile on your other social accounts or in your email blast. Start following local accounts in your area to connect your small business with the local small business community in your area.
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Once you’ve gained a following and started following other accounts, engage with them! Reply to Instagram comments from followers or a like on the posts you see. The Instagram algorithm will influence what posts you see but spending a few minutes each day interacting with profiles and finding new accounts to follow will go a long way in strengthening relationships.
Maximizing your posts
An easy way to maximize the reach and potential of your posts is to incorporate hashtags into your Instagram strategy. It’s easy to go over on the hashtag game and come off as spammy. However, a few strategic hashtags can grow your reach and your following. Try to use local hashtags such as #Chicagobrews or #NYChairstyling to find influencers and other accounts relevant to your niche. To find perfect hashtags for your post you can use social media tools.
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Advertising on Instagram
The simplest way to market your small business on Instagram and expand your reach is to dive into the paid options on Instagram. After you’ve established your business profile, you’ll be able to find the advertising options on your main profile page by clicking promotions or on a single photo where the “promote” button is below the photo.
You’ll need to have a Facebook account connected to your account to manage the ad campaign. However, once you get it started, you’ll be able to manage or customize the campaign at any point. This is a great tool to grow your following and reach if you’re willing to allocate funds from your marketing budget to grow your Instagram. In addition to paying for advertisements, you can add royalty-free music to your videos and Instagram Stories to give them a professional feel. You can also add a soundtrack that plays automatically when someone opens your story and disappears after a couple seconds.
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The untapped potential
Instagram is a gold mine for spreading your small business’s name is an overcrowded marketplace. Getting started with the platform is easy, but you’ll need to make sure to prioritize the quality of your profile over just creating a simple profile and promising you’ll update it later. There’s plenty of tools available and resources, so get going and tap into the potential of Instagram.
Want to use QR Codes in your small business store to direct your customers to your social media channels? Talk to an expert today!
Anastasia Masters is a Content Marketing Associate at G2. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in history. In her spare time, Anastasia enjoys eating her way through different neighborhoods, planning her next trip, and binging a new show on Netflix. You can follow her on Twitter at @anastasia_mm0.