Instagram has come a long way – that’s the social media app Millennials use to share mega-filtered photos of fancy plates of food and vacation selfies, right? It’s this stigma of these curated lifestyle images associated with this social media platform that, just a few years ago, created a whole new job: the Instagram Influencer.
But, Instagram is so much more than that – 71% of all U.S. businesses use Instagram for business purposes. And nearly 1.4 billion people use Instagram every month, giving businesses a big opportunity to connect with potential customers. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Should I use Instagram for my small business?”, the answer is YES! Keep reading to learn how to get started with Instagram marketing.
How to Use Instagram for Small Business
1. Set Up an Instagram Business Account
Before you do anything, you’ll need to set up an Instagram account. It’s important that your account is a business account, not a personal one. A business account gives you in-depth insight into how many potential customers are viewing and interacting with your Instagram posts. If you already have a personal account associated with your business or brand, you can easily switch to a business account without starting from scratch. If you don’t know how to set up an Instagram Business Account, follow these simple steps to get set up.
2. Brand Your Instagram Account
Once your account is set up, you’ll need to add a profile picture. We recommend using your logo for this, as it increases brand awareness – just keep in mind that the Instagram icon is round, so take that into consideration when creating the image file.
For your Instagram bio, you’ll want to add some information about your brand and a link to your website. Your Instagram bio shouldn’t be too wordy – a sentence or two is plenty! Here are some small business Instagram tips on creating an effective Instagram bio:
- Use your brand persona: Convey the personality you want your business to be associated with. Are you casual, professional, or something else? Communicate in a way that makes the most sense for your business.
- Branded hashtags are a good idea: Instagram hashtags in your bio are clickable, allowing you to show off the content that you want Instagram users to see.
- Use line breaks: Appropriate spacing and line breaks make your bio easier to digest and understand.
3. Create an Instagram Marketing Strategy
Identify Your Target Audience
If you want your small business to be successful on Instagram, the content you share should be relevant to your audience. You probably already have an idea of who you want to reach, but consumers today want to feel felt. Consumers want to buy from brands that really know them. Here are some pointers to help you define your small business audience:
- Determine who already does business with you.
- If you have other social media marketing channels, look into the analytics to see who’s following you there.
- Keep an eye on your competitors. Research the audience that’s following them and what their interactions look like.
Set Small Business Goals for Your Instagram Strategy
When it comes to digital marketing, it’s important to have a purpose for every move you make. Setting goals will keep your small business Instagram strategy on track so that you don’t lose focus when it comes to your efforts. If you’re fairly new to marketing your small business on Instagram, your goals might be based on post likes and page follows. This is fine to do, but make sure you also set goals that relate to actual business objectives as well.
Create a Regular Posting Schedule and Commit to It
Once you’ve created your Instagram and gained a following, your Instagram followers expect to hear from you. A quick way to lose the trust you’ve earned with your audience is to ghost them, so don’t do it! Research the best times to post on Instagram based on your industry and competitors, and stick to it.
4. Share Quality Content that Matters to your Audience
Create a Consistent Visual Theme for Your Brand
Instagram is a highly visual platform, so your content needs to be on-brand and aesthetically memorable. Make a plan for what you want to showcase in your posts. For some small businesses, the content will be a no-brainer: a women’s boutique might showcase its apparel and accessories, while a restaurant might choose to share pictures of its dishes. If you’re a small business that offers services, focus on showcasing customer and client experiences or company culture.
Once you’ve determined the theme of your content, keep your visuals consistent. This includes using a color palette and an overall vibe that sets you apart from your competitors and is easily identifiable as your customers scroll through their Instagram feed. One of my favorite examples of a business Instagram’s visual theme comes from f45:
Take Advantage of the Instagram Stories Feature
Approximately 39% of Instagram users surveyed said they became more interested in a small business after seeing their brand on Instagram Stories. Stories content disappears after 24 hours, but if you want to extend the life of your stories, you can use the Instagram Stories Highlights feature.
Write Compelling Captions
Just because Instagram is a predominately visual social media marketing platform doesn’t mean you should neglect your captions. Use your captions to enhance the story that your photo is telling. If you want your followers to feel connected, captions are crucial.
Back to You
That’s the gist of it, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Instagram marketing has so many layers, and the more you learn, the more successful your small business will be with your social media marketing efforts.
If you’re curious to learn more and get started, we’re here to help. Reach out to the Insta enthusiasts at HighClick Media, and we’ll work hand in hand with your small business to design a perfect marketing strategy that will convert!