Instagram evolved from just being a social network to a possible marketing and selling platform for businesses and individuals. If you are a business owner and don’t have an Instagram account for your business, you are missing out on the powerful marketing and visibility that the app can give to your small business.
Instagram has proven to be one of the powerful business tools for marketing in our world today. Businesses from big to small have leveraged this platform to increase visibility and the presence of their brands.
You don’t have to be a big company or an established brand before thinking about your business’s Instagram marketing. The app makes it possible for small businesses to compete with the “big sharks.” You might be wondering if it is possible; yes, it is possible to compete with the big companies; you have to get the right marketing tips and strategy.
Before we dive into the tips you can use as a small business to grow your brand for visibility on Instagram, I want you to know that personal accounts are not suitable for marketing your business. You should create a business account for your small business.
Enough of the fluff, now let’s talk about the tips on how to use Instagram for small businesses to drive audience’s engagement and get great results from your marketing efforts.
How To Use Instagram For Small Businesses
1. Set Up Your Account The Right Way
When it comes to how to use Instagram for small businesses, you need the right way to set up your account for maximum exposure. The important things to consider when getting your Instagram account ready are your profile picture, username, and bio.
It is essential to use either your picture or business logo for the profile picture, but for this case, you are setting your account up for your business, so it is advisable to use your business logo.
Secondly, your username should be a name that is very easy to remember, and it should be something related to your business so that it becomes easy for people to search and find you.
Finally, you have to write your bio. Your bio shows your audience what your business is all about. It shouldn’t be boring, add some fire to it (Emojis or vertical spacing), you should be creative when it comes to your bio. You can check on your competitor’s bio and tune yours to appear similar to what they are doing. You can also include your contact details and your website URL to your bio so that it becomes easy for your audience to contact you.
The app allows you to connect other social media accounts so that what you publish on Instagram can automatically be posted on your other social media profiles. This move helps your audience to find you on Instagram quickly.
2. Find And Engage With Your Ideal Customers.
Your customers need to know that your business exists on Instagram. How do you find them and engage with them? It is straightforward; find your competitors, and you will find your ideal customers.
The first thing to do is compile a list of your competitors on the platform, keep them in a folder, and track your progress as you go on the customer finding journey. Get to your first competitor’s page and follow like 50 people, like and comment on their post and wait for them to reciprocate.
Note: You don’t have to follow all the 50 people at once; otherwise, Instagram will limit your account. You can follow 20 people within one hour. Again, not all of the profiles you follow will follow your account back. But some will, and if you have good content, they will engage with it.
It would help if you interacted with them genuinely by leaving meaningful comments on their posts. This increases the chance of them doing the same on your posts, thereby increasing trust and loyalty.
3. Create And Post Relevant Content That Will Appeal To Your Audience
After finding your audience, the next thing to do is find out which content they find relevant and interact with.
It is time to do your research and find out about those content that will appeal to your audience. Go to your competitor’s page and find out those pictures and content that get the most engagement. There is no need to copy their content and post it on your profile; you are just there to find inspiration and use those ideas when creating content for your audience.
You can post content around:
- Product creation or packaging
- Quotes about your industry
- Images of customers using your products
You can try these post ideas with those you found on your competitors’ profile and see what your audience engages with the most. Then you can know what to invest your time in when it comes to creating content.
4. Leverage The Use Of Hashtags
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, where their search feature looks for keywords, the Instagram search feature looks for hashtags. For example, you can search for “cars” on Facebook and Twitter, and you will see all the posts that have that keyword. But with Instagram, you have to add the hashtag to the keyword, e.g., #cars.
Hashtags show your content to a new audience searching for content related to your niche. When you use hashtags in your posts, it makes it appear in the apps search feature. It’s a great way to reach more people interested in your brand.
When using hashtags, you have to think about keywords that your audience will use when searching for your brand or industry and include them in your posts. For example, if you are running a pet shop account and posting pictures about dogs, you should use hashtags like #petphotography #petlovers.
You can use a tool like hashtagify to research hashtags you can use in your niche when posting content on your Instagram account. You can use a combination of different hashtags to know which one works for you when it comes to your niche. Your hashtags should correlate with your content.
You should use between 20 to 25 hashtags in your post even though the app allows you to use 30 hashtags and don’t use the same hashtags for all your posts. Try different hashtags and also limit the number of hashtags you use in all your posts.
5. Post More Quality Videos
Instagram is known as the platform that entertains quality images/videos, and it gives more visibility to images/videos that are of high quality. Recently, it introduced IGTV and REELS, which allows individuals and businesses to engage with their audience through videos.
The use of videos for marketing purposes is on the rise now, so it is advisable as a small business to create more quality and engaging videos for your audience. Since Instagram wants to motivate brands to create more videos, it prioritizes videos compared to images nowadays. Don’t wait for the big companies/brands to dominate this space before you play catchup; start taking advantage now.
Instagram videos don’t require much when producing the videos; all you need is just your phone, content, and creativity.
You can spy on your competitors to know the kind of videos that their audience engages with and then model after them.
6. Leverage Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is becoming popular on social media; recently. They are celebs or non-celebs who have thousands or millions of engaged followers on the platform in a particular industry or niche. Influencers can introduce your brand to their followers for more visibility and exposure.
At first, we use celebrities to endorse our products, which is very expensive but now influencer marketing has made it possible to have access to more people with a limited budget. Influencers don’t charge so much to advertise your brand to their audience.
You may have a limited budget that will not make it possible to afford a celebrity to endorse your product, but you can link up with an Instagram influencer with quality followers to do the job.
Search for influencers in your industry or any industry related to yours, check whether those influencers have quality followers and whether they engage with their content. Most people can buy followers to grow their accounts, but those followers tend to be ghost followers; they don’t engage with any content. So, you have to check all this when looking for influencers to work with. Check out how often they post and how many comments and posts like they get.
After your research, reach out to them and tell them how you want to work with them; they might have some ideas on how both parties can benefit from working together. They can do the endorsement through shout outs, contest, etc.
7. Capitalize On The Use Of Instagram Ads
Social media advertising helps acquire more leads and followers, but small businesses find it very costly, which prevents them from taking advantage of the opportunity it provides. If you are on a limited budget, it’s more challenging to consider sponsored ads. But Instagram ads are extremely affordable, so as a small business, it is advisable to take advantage of it.
If you are already familiar with Facebook advertising, you can equally do Instagram ads because it is built into the same platform. The only difference is the image sizes and shapes, which you need to adjust to suit the Instagram platform.
Conclusion On How To Use Instagram For Small Businesses
You know, to be successful at anything, you need to put in the effort, and getting results from your Instagram marketing will require you to do just that. Our 7 tips on how to use Instagram for small businesses will only work when you put in the effort.
Follow the tips, be consistent, and you will begin to see results on your Instagram page. Instagram can be one of the powerful marketing channels for small businesses when they take their time to execute the methods outlined in this article.
If you are already using any of the tips mentioned, or have other tips to add, drop them in the comment section.