Instagram Small Business Strategies

Many people love scrolling through their Instagram feed to see pictures shared by their friends and favorite influencers. Small businesses also benefit from showcasing their style on Instagram, afterall, you want to meet your ideal customers where they live online. Implementing effective Instagram small business strategies can be challenging for many small brands.  We hope these ideas help you get started.

How to Drive Engagement on Instagram

Remember to Be Social

Sometimes small business professionals use social media to promote their brand, but they rarely or never engage with others. In rare cases, the content is so good or their customer base is passionate so they still see results. Most of the time, this approach is unsuccessful. A better approach is to include engagement in your content strategy.

Internet marketing personality Gary Vee popularized a strategy to build your Instagram following through engagement. A similar strategy also works for other channels where users post public content like Twitter. He describes this as the $1.80 Strategy. Basically, you give your 2 cents in the form of authentic, non-spammy contents on other user’s Instagram posts. You may leave a compliment, a question, or another short meaningful comment. You don’t ask for a follow or spam. You repeat this process until you commented on the top 9 posts for 10 relevant hashtags. Before you begin, research popular hashtags in your community, industry, or area of interest.

The $1.80 strategy is just one way to include engagement in your Instagram strategy. Getting into the habit will make it more natural and you will grow your account’s following organically providing that your profile and content are valuable to your intended audience.

Optimize Your Profile and Your Funnel

Your profile on any social media channel offers the opportunity to subtly promote your brand. Treat it like your first piece of important content on Instagram and revisit  to improve it periodically. Instagram users often use emojis in their profile biography since it is a highly visual platform. If you have a brand hashtag, be sure to include it in your profile. This is one way to encourage followers to tag you when posting about your brand.

Next, keep in mind that you have room for one URL in your instagram profile. Some small business markets find this frustrating because it makes it more difficult to track traffic to specific pages from Instagram.

One solution is to set up an Instagram landing page either on your own website or one of the many specialized services who offer Instagram bio landing pages. Optimize this page to help transform Instagram visitors into prospects, leads, and customers. If you run an e-commerce store, look into whether Facebook’s new Shopping on Instagram service is right for your business.

Finally, be aware that you may save highlights from your Instagram stories to your profile. Each profile may save up to 100 clips and curate them into categories.

What Type of Content in Best on Instagram?

Since Instagram is a visual platform, images and videos work best. There are many approaches to the look and feel of your Instagram feed. Some brands follow a very strict set of aesthetic guidelines including only phosting images containing a certain color palette. Others focus on a hodgepodge of candid behind the scenes images of their employees and customers in action. Both can work well on Instagram, when the strategy is focused on your ideal audience and supported with consistent engagement.

Here are some ideas about types of content that perform well on Instagram:

  • Candid and behind the scenes photographs
  • Inspirational or motivational quotes
  • Short GIF-like videos
  • Instagram stories — either images or short videos
  • Flat lay photographs displaying relevant products in a still life style environment
  • Lifestyle images, these may feature your product but they don’t have to
  • Quick games like polls, quizzes, or questions

Just because Instagram is a visual platform doesn’t mean that you should disregard the written word. Many top brands hire copywriters to create their Instagram captions because a well written post may help establish a relationship with a potential customer. Keep the tone conversational and friendly since traditionally people used Instagram to share images with friends. Use the caption to offer context to the image and include keywords to aid with search discovery. Appropriate use of hashtags also helps users discover your content. Avoid spamming and choose several relevant yet popular hashtags as well as your own branded hashtag.

Content Strategies For Instagram

To do well on Instagram, you need to regularly publish engaging and attractive visual content such as photographs, memes, GIFs, short video clips and illustrations. The captions should reflect your brand voice and use a conversational tone. Users should feel there is a real person behind the account.

Beyond those suggestions, use these ideas to help you brainstorm different approaches to creating content that supports your small business content strategy:

  • Contests including user generated content contests.
  • Create a themed series including short tips, recipes, or statistics of interest to your customers.
  • Challenge your followers with an image including a thought provoking question or game. For example, a toy store manager may publish a post asking users what their favorite toy was when they were children.
  • Instagram stories may be effective and fun ways to promote events and promotions.
  • Repurpose a portion of your long form content into simple infographics.

Instagram is a creative and vibrant platform that attracts a younger audience than Facebook. Since it is owned by Facebook, Instagram also includes sophisticated advertising options that make it an attractive platform for brands involved in a visual industry. if you find that customers become interested in your product or service after seeing pictures, then chances are that Instagram may be a platform you should focus on.

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