12 Ways to Use Instagram for Small Businesses
Instagram continues to remain the ‘road less traveled’ for small businesses. As a social media platform, it is going through a transition of sorts, from the selfies, food snaps, and cute pet videos to a more business-friendly eco-system. We give you a dozen tips on how you can use Instagram to do wonders for your small business.
- Creating a business profile – You may already have a personal Instagram account that you are using for your business promotion. To use it for your business, Instagram gives you the option of a business account as well. You can easily convert your account to a business account by clicking the “Switch to Business Profile” option in the Settings. Even if you don’t have an Instagram account, you can directly open a business profile. You may not consider it to be a ‘must-have’ for your small business, but you do get many additional business features in a business account. Even if not immediately, you may prefer it over a personal account in the long run for your Instagram marketing.
- Creating a great profile – Instagram is a highly visual platform. There is not a lot you can do here with text-based content. Having said that, you have to create an attractive bio within the given word count. Your Instagram bio is the window to your brand and the only space where you can fit in a link. Your website, a killer punch line, any upcoming events, etc. can all be a part of this section.
- Creating appealing content – Being a visual platform, you must post high-quality images with good aesthetic sense. Your content should have parity with your line of business. If it is a restaurant, excellent photographs of your mouth-watering cuisines is an absolute must. You can seek professional help with the photography if your budget permits. If you are on your own, you should familiarise yourself with photography and photo-editing basics. However, Instagram nowadays is much more than just beautiful photos.
- Storytelling – We don’t mean literally, of course. Instagram stories are a great way to connect with your network. Available for a short span of 24 hours, a stroke of creative genius on Instagram stories can lead to a lot of engagement and buzz.
- IGTV and videos – On the other hand, you can unleash the hidden video maker in you and post interesting videos on IGTV. Videos can also be posted on the Instagram feed. Instagram videos don’t require a lot of production value. Capture interesting videos on a mobile phone, use a bit of smart editing and creativity, and have your very own engaging video.
- Using hashtags – The importance of hashtags on social media is immense. Combining the campaign-specific hashtags with popular and relevant hashtags increases the discoverability of the posts universally. Hashtag trends are dynamic, and you should be aware of the trending hashtags and use them intelligently. Using too many hashtags is not advisable, but don’t forget to put your brand name as one of the hashtags.
- Explore new features – New innovations are being designed on Instagram that can add to your posts’ quality. Take the various stickers, for instance. You can add a ‘DM Me’ sticker to your post that instantly enhances the post’s CTA trigger. Similarly, hashtag stickers are clickable hashtags that direct the audience to the hashtag feed directly. You can insert polls and questions in your posts to increase the possibility of engagement.
- Publish consistently – Posting on Instagram should be scheduled with a measured consistency. Look at your competitor’s posting frequency to get a better idea. If you post too irregularly, you may seem detached from the platform. While, if you post too often, it may irk some of your followers. Striking a balance between the two will help you optimize your publishing frequency.
- Building exclusivity – Your business may have a physical store and presence on multiple eCommerce and social media platforms. However, your Instagram page should give your followers a reason to keep following you. You can do so by running campaigns, offering discounts, and generating content that is exclusive to your Instagram profile. This will help you retain your network and engage them.
- Engage – You have to be inventive in your posts and comments to increase the engagement level. Going back to the restaurant example, while posting a photo of your sushi cuisine, you may add a description that says, “Tag a friend who loves sushi”. You can add questions, opinions, trivia, etc., which are more likely to generate a response from your audience. You can also increase engagement by responding to the comments on your posts. The more people that engage with your posts, the wider your audience will be.
- Influencer marketing – Through an influencer, you get access to a large group of followers who follow the influencer. Influencer marketing is your brand’s collaboration with the influencer. This can include sponsored Instagram posts and blog posts, or partnering on other social media platforms or offline events. Having the right mix of followers is important for brand awareness as well as lead generation. Some of the influencer’s followers often end up following you and/or engaging with your content.
- Measure and analyze success – We have discussed the importance of goals and strategies while using Instagram for a small business. Once your Instagram activity is up and running, it is also important to regularly monitor your page’s performance. When you use Instagram for business, you can use the business analytics tools that offer you various insights. Instagram’s built-in analytics provide information like the audience demographics and details about the interactions. Third-party tools provide many additional insights like hashtag analysis, reports, and dashboards, detailing your posts’ performance in great detail.
Existing and upcoming Instagram profiles of small businesses can follow these tips and make their presence felt on this popular social media platform. As your business reaches new heights, you can hire experts to manage your social media marketing and grow your Instagram presence further.