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7 Ways You Can Use Instagram to Grow Your Small Business

Brand Development

Over 1 billion people worldwide are on Instagram every day. Do you know what this means? It’s a great opportunity to promote your small business!

Think about it, 140 million Americans are thumbing through Instagram posts at every chance they can get - whether they’re at work, on the bus, or at home. It’s basically a land of ]endless possibilities.

Next to Facebook, Instagram is the biggest social media channel. While it was originally intended as a place where people can share their memories through photos and videos, it has since become a platform for companies of all sizes to grow their brands.

Sure, big names like Nike and Chanel may be dominating the virtual space, but that doesn’t mean that small businesses aren’t getting any value from Instagram. As a matter of fact, many local businesses across the country continue to thrive.

Their secret? Consistently using the right Instagram marketing strategies.

As a Florida internet marketing company with years of working for companies of different industries and sizes, we know how big of a difference having an Instagram business profile makes.

As long as you have a solid plan and stick to it, gaining a large and profitable following won’t be a challenge in the long run. 90% of Instagram users are currently following at least one brand, and after applying the tips we’re about to reveal, you might just be the next brand they follow.

With that in mind, here are seven ways you can use Instagram to grow your small business:

Identify Your Goals

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As with any digital marketing approach, having a goal or set of goals is important. Before investing your time, money, and efforts in Instagram marketing, ask yourself this question: What do I want to achieve?

Will you be using Instagram to boost brand awareness? Sell your products or services? Expand your market?  Form a deeper relationship with your loyal customers?

Whatever your goals are, be sure to write them down and track them every now and then. Regularly monitoring them makes it easier for you and your team to ensure that you’re on the right track with your content.

Optimize Your Bio

Your bio is one of the first things Instagram users set their eyes on as they land on your page.

Since you’re only allowed to reach 150 characters, include one link, and add a couple of action buttons to win the hearts of prospects, you need to spend time crafting a killer bio.

Switch to an Instagram business profile. It offers additional features that give you the options to expand your profile, track your content performance, and most importantly, sell what you’re offering.

As soon as you’re set, proceed to writing a compelling bio that stands out. It should have the following:

  • A brief description of your small business
  • Your category or industry (ex. restaurant, retail, dental service, etc.)
  • Business contact information
  • A link

Your bio is the only place on the Instagram app that lets you share a clickable link, making it valuable real estate. It doesn’t have to be a static link - you can change it as frequently as you want to reflect your content and keep your followers up-to-date.

Also, make sure that your tone is warm and engaging. Sounding too professional isn’t such a good idea, considering that most Instagram users prefer brands that give off an inviting feel.

Action buttons are another feature that business accounts have. These are extra clickable buttons for various calls to action such as Contact, Book Now, and View Shop. You can use these buttons for two good reasons: Getting more links into your profile and interacting with your followers.

As for your profile picture, see to it that it’s a mere reflection of your brand so that people will recognize you immediately. Your logo or logomark should be your best bet.

Leverage the Power of Hashtags

Keywords are to SEO as hashtags are to your Instagram content. Think of your hashtags as the signposts that lead your potential customers to your page. With the appropriate hashtags, your target audience will easily find you.

Tap into your industry’s hashtags for the best results. Make sure that they’re relevant to your brand. Many businesses often commit the mistake of using random hashtags that they made up, which explains why they’re still struggling to gain followers.

Although Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, you don’t really need to use that many. Just pick the top ten hashtags your competitors typically use and incorporate them into your posts.

So, what else can you do to ensure that you’re making the most of your hashtags? These tips should be able to help:

  • Use your branded hashtag each time you post
  • Follow hashtags for your industry to stay current
  • Find the best hashtags for your industry and use them consistently
  • Add a clickable hashtag to your bio
  • Add hashtags to your stories
  • Include both popular hashtags and more specific ones (for followers who are most likely looking for your exact products or services)
  • Consider using your hashtags as the first comment in every post

Post Eye-Catching Content Your Audience Will Love

Creativity goes a long way.

With Instagram being a visual medium, it makes perfect sense that you want to focus on making your feed as attractive as possible.

Choosing the right color palette can be a game-changer. In fact, some of the most successful Instagram accounts are able to come up with a distinct style and unique concept for their feed, which was made possible by the color palette they used. Mixing bright colors and high contrasts is a common practice.

We can’t stress enough how important it is to curate your feed. For instance, if someone stumbles across a brand’s Instagram page where all they see are cluttered photos, their first instinct is more than likely to leave right away.

Post Regularly and Consistently

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Since Instagram strives to show its users the latest content that piques their interest, sticking to a posting schedule will help you show up in the timelines of your prospective customers.

The platform uses machine learning to study the activities of each user to customize their feeds. Following a schedule increases your chances of being seen by your target audience.

As soon as they discover you, they’ll want to learn more about your brand. And, if they like what they see, they’ll follow you, engage with you, and ultimately become a customer.

While there’s exactly no best time to post on Instagram, there are ideal times to reach the majority of your audience. For instance, HubSpot found that most people are on Instagram between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., particularly during lunch and the end of work. As for the day, Friday has gotta be it.

To make things much more convenient for you, tools like Buffer lets you set up your preferred time slots in one sitting. You’ll only need to add content to your queue and once you have, the posts will be placed automatically into the next available slot.

Don’t forget to check back to compare which times are getting the highest engagement rate. That way, you’ll know when to post from that point on.

Run Contests and Giveaways

Here’s one of the many things we learned as a Florida internet marketing company: Contests and giveaways are proven ways to boost engagement on Instagram and the rest of our social media platforms.

Why’s that? Free stuff and perks!

Aside from increasing audience engagement, you can host Instagram contests or giveaways to build brand awareness and get a chance to work with influencers in your industry.

To maximize your results, keep in mind these things:

  • Start promoting your contest at least a week prior to build excitement.
  • Create your own hashtag for your contest.
  • Ask your followers to tag their friends or mention them in the comments to reach a wider audience.
  • Host a “Caption This” contest to get more interaction on your post.
  • Collaborate with other brands for more reach.

Prizes like free products or services, discounts, or something as simple as featuring the winners on your account will no doubt encourage your followers to participate.

But, guess who ends up the biggest winner? With more following and increased brand awareness, yes, we’re looking at you!

Explore Other Types of Content

Instagram isn’t just about photos anymore. Now, you have several options to choose from - videos, stories, IGTV, carousels, and reels.

Keep in mind that not all may work for you, which is why you should consider experimenting with them. If increasing your reach and engagement is your main objective, sharing a mix of content types will help you achieve it.

Everybody has their own preferences on Instagram: Some enjoy videos, some prefer reels, while some are only there to look at stories.  So, to ensure that you’re able to cater to each and every one of your followers, using a variety of content types is the way to go.

Here are some ideas to inspire you:

  • Go behind the scenes by showing your followers what goes on in your office. This will help them emotionally invest in your company.
  • Conduct an AMA (ask me anything) to engage with your followers and establish yourself as a thought leader within your field.
  • Show a tutorial of how your audience can use your products.
  • Post teaser videos to promote an upcoming offer and keep your followers on their toes.
  • Introduce yourself and the rest of the team to humanize your brand.

A Florida Internet Marketing Company That Can Help Your Small Business Move Forward

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Before we forget to mention, Instagram ads can also be an extremely useful tool in reaching your target audience. Running such campaigns will get you results as quickly as you can imagine.

What if we told you that we have a team of professionals who specialize in designing results-driven Instagram ad campaigns that balance creativity and analytics? Not only that but experts in other digital marketing fields, too!

At Digital Resource, we’ve been helping businesses of every size from every industry across the nation reach their online marketing needs. Your success will always be our top priority. Ask our former clients, they know.

Get in touch with us today to learn how we can take your business to the next level!

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