Instagram is a wonderful space to grow any type of small business with millions of users, even if you’ve just launched yours.
Instagram for small businesses provides all the needed instruments for growth. Namely, It allows you to :
- Reach your target audience
- Generate sales
- Raise brand awareness
- Build a trustworthy brand image
- Interact with customers
- Get creative with your business representation
But how do you make the most of using Instagram for your small business?
Here are 16 pro tips to help you maximize growth:
16 Pro Instagram Tips For Small Businesses
1. Post Product Teasers
When you’re coming out with a new product, make sure your audience knows about it. You can either show some sneak peeks or reveal the product entirely — both are great ways to prime followers for future purchases.
You can warm up your followers with product teasers at any stage of product development. Post moments from team meetings or parts of final products ready for the launch, such as the packaging.
When the sales start day and time are around the corner, make sure to indicate the details in the post and tell your followers how they can purchase it.
Here are some excellent product teasers from Puma and Kylie Cosmetics:
Yes those are big players, but you can use the same approach for your small business.
2. Use Sponsored Ads
According to a report published in July 2021, ad reach on Instagram is 100 million users, bigger than it was a quarter before.
Such impressive growth makes Instagram ads a powerful instrument to grow your small business on the platform.
It offers accurate targeting, hence exposing your brand to the audience likely to be interested in it.
With an Instagram business account, you can run your campaigns in different formats, such as photos, videos, and carousels. You can also use Stories to create and run Instagram ads for your small business.
To help you master running Instagram ads, read our guide to paid advertising on Instagram.
3. Use An Organic Instagram Growth Service
Improving the presence of your business on Instagram requires time and effort, but there are helpful solutions to speed up this process – Instagram growth services.
In essence, such services recommend your business to potential followers based on your competitors, niche, and other target points.
With Instagram growth platforms, you can:
- Increase number of followers
- Get in recommendation feed quicker
- Increase Engagement
- Get new customers and more sales
For instance, Kicksta can grow your Instagram account organically and quickly, using AI technology that they have developed in-house.
The service approaches your target audience, then you receive new followers, who convert into potential customers. You can focus on your brand, content, other Instagram for small businesses strategies while your exposure and followers grow.
When choosing an Instagram growth service, avoid using platforms doing bad practices like spamming, bots creation, etc. It can only harm your Instagram account.
4. Create Interactive Stories
Instagram Stories may not be the perfect high-quality pics or videos that align with your account aesthetics. But while simple and easy to make, Stories have to be engaging and increase brand-audience interaction.
Here are some ideas for your Stories to make them more fun and engaging:
- Create boomerangs
- Tag followers or partners
- Use the voting sticker
- Embed links
- Add the Q&A sticker
- Use the countdown sticker
While some of these make the Story eye-catching, others provoke reactions and start a conversation with the audience.
Here are some examples of how small businesses (ShoreMaster, Stan’s Donuts & Coffee) use features of Instagram Stories to engage and interact with the audience:
For a small business on Instagram, it may be enough to create something simple yet appealing. At the same time, you’d probably require some skills in Pixlr, Canva, and other graphic design software to create images.
5. Add A Link To Your Bio
Everything should be straightforward for the customer in an online business. They don’t have to struggle when looking for how to buy your product.
You can also add it in the post captions, but links won’t be clickable, nor is it convenient to copy them.
6. Create Unique Hashtags
Hashtags are a real power when it comes to Instagram for a small business, and you should make the most of them to get a wider reach. But besides using the most popular hashtags in your industry, a unique branded hashtag will bring your Instagram game to the next level.
Use a slogan your brand has or come up with one to create a hashtag. It will grow brand awareness among your followers’ audiences. Free advertising!
Here are some branded hashtags from Wizz Air (#IAmWizzTraveller) and Harveys (#happyharveys) that followers love to use:
Additionally, a unique hashtag helps create a community around your brand by sharing the same values or interests.
7. Repost People Using Your Product
Encouraging your followers to create content you can post is beneficial for your small business on Instagram. Supporting your customers’ content designed for your brand by featuring them in your feed will help you build a consistent flow of user-generated content for your profile. Also, don’t forget to credit the author by tagging them.
Such reposting will also boost your account activity (along with your followers), act as proof of trust for potential customers, and add a human touch to your small business Instagram account.
Mac Cosmetics loves to feature followers in their account:
8. Post At The Right Time
When your audience is the most active on the app, posting increases your chance to appear on their feed and get engagement.
Overall, it is best to post at 6-10 AM EST from Monday to Thursday. While Sunday still remains an offline day for most people.
You need to understand that there’s no ideal time to post for every small business on Instagram. It highly depends on the industry and your follower’s activity. For instance, Wednesday afternoon is arguably the best time for retail.
Check out our guide to know more about the best time to post on Instagram for every industry.
9. Show Behind-The-Scenes Of Your Brand
Perfect pictures of final products are great, but the audience loves to see the people behind a brand. So be sure to include moments from your brand’s life on Instagram for your small business.
Behind-The-Scene (BTS) can include but is not limited to:
- Product development process
- Brand’s highs and lows
- Your company’s history
- Life stories of your employees
- Bloopers and fun moments
- Content/ads creation process
Such content will surely increase transparency and help connect with the audience. In addition, this will give you some good ideas to add to your content plan.
10. Partner With Influencers
Collaborations with influencers give your brand more exposure, increasing sales and brand awareness. This partnership starts with searching for influencers in your niche.
So how do you choose an influencer to work with?
Discover influencers based on your customer personas and relevancy to your and related industries. Follow them, start building connections and relationships foremost.
However, in terms of Instagram for a small business, working with influencers may be expensive. When you have a limited budget, you can:
- Let a potential influencer know about your business by presenting a small gift, special offer to connect.
- Propose a swap (exchange of your goods/discounts for promotion)
- Make your customers brand promoters
- Search for micro influencers
- Create own new influencers (find people who have their own and relevant audience and offer them partnership)
It’s essential to have different influencers and understand that such collaborations require time. Eventually, you can look for influencers with a more extensive following — the bigger the audience, the more potential followers, buyers, and activity you get.
11. Create Special Offers for Your Followers
Discounts are great, but exclusive sales are better. Whether you’re in e-commerce or not, find a way to offer deals that are available to your followers only.
These can be promo codes like Thirty Years provide in their posts or free shipping like in Dezi’s account:
Besides increasing sales, special offers can boost account activity since followers may want to share the deal with friends and family.
Don’t forget to emphasize the urgency and uniqueness of the deal with such words as “limited,” “followers only,” etc.
12. Talk To Your Audience
Use all possible ways to keep the conversation with your audience going. Direct messages, comments under your posts/your followers’ posts, and Stories featuring your brand — these are just some of the places you can use to start a conversation with your followers and leverage your business on Instagram.
Use the power of Instagram live. It’s a great way to communicate with your audience, show people behind your brand. Vertical videos are on the vast rise nowadays, and only 6% of people prefer horizontal content when it comes to social media video posts. More than 90% of users appreciate vertical videos.
Or, start involving your audience in product development by asking their opinion on materials, designs, and basically anything. This will also give you an insight into what’s in demand.
Two-way communication shortens the distance, builds a trustworthy brand image, and keeps your account activity up. All these are beneficial to practicing on Instagram for small businesses.
13. Plan Your Content
Being consistent is one of the key rules of a successful and growing Instagram for small businesses. And planning your content is the only way to stay consistent.
Think of different content types you will include in your content plan. Of course, the majority has to introduce your products, but you can consist of something fun and slightly off the topic here and then.
For example, there are so many ways to create a post around #OnThisDay — it can be dedicated to your brand’s history, the world history, or any event celebrated on the day of your publication.
Here’s the example from Nintendo:
Also, don’t skip holidays or special days. Plan to post something special on such occasions as Christmas, national holidays, anniversaries. Here’s an example from OrriDesigns, a handmade jewelry store. The owner prepared a ‘spooky’ sale for Halloween:
Having a content plan, you’d never find yourself unprepared for when it’s posting day. You can use simple notes, docs, or spreadsheets to collect the dates, posts, descriptions and check them constantly. Alternatively, you can use planning apps or timeline tools, many of which are free and convenient to use.
14. Add Geolocation To Your Posts
Geotagging your posts gives you a chance to reach a wider audience of your interest.
Depending on your industry, choose relevant places or locations where people may be interested in your product or service and add that location to your post.
Be sure to add geotags to your previous publications that don’t have one.
However, stay away from locating big cities and other massive areas since these usually get tagged a lot, and your post may get lost among the others.
15. Create Guides
Instagram Guides allow creating an article-like publication. The editorial format makes it different from your profile posts so that you can offer some content variety to your audience.
You can use guides to dive deeper into your products or services, show the history and people behind your brand.
Lush Cosmetics uses guides to introduce their products, give recommendations on what products to get for different purposes, and suggest what products to get as gifts, among others:
Guides don’t have to be published as often as main posts — they’re rather an optional content piece, yet valuable practice on Instagram for a small business.
16. Use Calls To Action
Use the space in Instagram post captions to the fullest with CTAs. There are many ways to go about it — it depends on the purpose.
Ask a question under your post to encourage people to leave comments with their answers or opinions on it. Or publish a carousel of pics and ask which one they like most. These will increase users’ time on your profile and boost your account’s activity.
Another type of CTA is directing the audience to your website, such as by leading them to click your website link in the bio.
You can also ask your followers to tag their friends or share your post with someone who may find it useful or relative. Experiment with CTAs and track how these impact Instagram of your small business.
There’s so much you can do with Instagram for your small business. From short sneak peeks of your upcoming product launches in Stories to full-on ad campaigns via an in-built ad manager — the app has a lot to offer.
Don’t hesitate to try out the tips listed to find your best working Instagram features for growing your small business.
Dmytro Zaichenko is a Marketing Specialist at Coupler.io, a data integration service helping to export data from Trello, Slack, HubSpot, Shopify, and other popular platforms. He has 6+ years of experience in content making. Apart from writing, he’s passionate about networking and the NBA.