According to Instagram research, around half of its user base strongly associates the platform with the discovery of local brands and small businesses. It says, “a business presence on Instagram is like being on one of the busiest street corners in the world.”
However, with more than one billion users and countless big brands sharing polished content around the clock, standing out on that street corner can feel like an overwhelming task for SMEs with limited marketing resources.
The good news is that it is possible to make Instagram work for your small business, if you are armed with a few tips and tricks along the way. In its new guide created specifically for small businesses just like yours, Instagram has lifted the lid on the many different ways that it can benefit SMEs operating with limited budgets and little spare time.
1. Set up a business account
One of the easiest ways that you can get more from your Instagram activity is to convert your account into a Business account. This gives you access to a dashboard which unlocks lots of useful information such as insights and trends, to help you share more targeted content with your audience.
In addition, this acts as the central hub for a series of tools which can amplify your presence on Instagram including advertising, Badges and Shop, which allows you to sell your products directly from your Instagram feed.
Having a Business account rather than a regular personal account also gives you access to Instagram resources such as tips for improving your feed’s performance and best practise advice from the platform to hone your creative output. Again, this is available via the Professional dashboard.
2. Encourage your audience to tag you and use branded hashtags
Brand and product discovery on Instagram is largely tag driven so it makes sense to ask your audience to tag you when they’re using your product, service or location associated with your small business. Encourage them to share their posts, tag it with a specific hashtag and @mention your Instagram handle. This can create a buzz around your brand and also means you can easily keep an eye on audience experience’s, reviews and comments on your brand.
3. Engage with your audience as much as you can
Requesting your customers tag you and use your hashtag on their posts makes it easy to keep tabs on whether they’re happy or not and nip any potential negative reviews in the bud. It also means that you can engage with your customers too. Like and comment on the posts on their feed where they have tagged you to bring them closer to your brand. In addition, when posting to your own feed, encourage your followers to interact by inviting questions and encouraging comments.
Don’t forget, you can also like comments, reply to comments on posts and nurture engagement via Stories – use buttons for polls to allow viewers to vote in poll and routinely share question boxes for example.
4. Schedule, but not too much
If you don’t have any kind of posting or creation schedule in place, you’ve probably seen how easy it is to get out of a routine of regular updates. Having a schedule which you treat like any other to-do means you can be confident you’ll be serving up regular content to your Instagram followers. You also need to leave room for spontaneity too so you can quickly react to viral trends and hashtags as they appear.
5. Have a mix of formats
Instagram posting is no longer about sharing photos to your grid alone. You can now also post short videos known as Reel, go Live and share videos via Instagram TV. Use Stories, grid posts, videos, Reels and Lives regularly to give your audience a nice mix of different types of content and encourage them to engage with you. When creating content, be aware of your trends and insights data and also consider how you can invite audience participation with links, stickers, count downs, question boxes and polls.
If you’d like to bring in the experts to elevate your Instagram performance, schedule a consultation with us today.