Now you understand the power of Instagram marketing. From customer complaints to a viral product, the platform offers a variety of features for small businesses, leveling the proverbial digital playing field between small and large businesses. But since it’s been around for a while, there’s a lot of information out there about how brands can use it. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to use Instagram for your small business, from leveraging the platform’s features to concrete ideas for increasing your digital footprint and gaining a lot of Instagram followers.

Why Instagram is useful for your small business?

If your presence is planned and managed properly, Instagram offers several benefits for small businesses. If you are using the platform as a marketing channel, you will need a documented Instagram marketing strategy. Yes, even if you are the only one managing the account. According to an Instagram survey, 81% of users say Instagram helps them research products and services. You don’t want to lose a lot of customers just because you aren’t active online. Read on for tips on how to maximize the effectiveness of your small business Instagram accounts.

1. Ask your customers

If you want to know if your customers are active on Instagram, the easiest way is to ask!

If you already have an email list, send your customers a short survey asking them about their social media habits. Ask them which channels they use most often and where they like to follow brands. This will also increase your likes on Instagram.

Two free options for audience surveys are SurveyMonkey and Typeform. Typeform also has a social media poll template that you can use for inspiration. Personalize it with questions that reveal what you want to know about your customers.

2. Figure out your competitors progress

Don’t know where to start? Find out what other small and medium-sized businesses like yours are doing on Instagram and get inspired by their ideas. Pay attention to the type of content you post, the hashtags you use, the images, etc. You can also check performance: how many followers do they have? How much engagement are they getting with their posts? This will give you an idea of how effective your Instagram marketing strategy is and give you ideas on what you should and shouldn’t do when planning your Instagram marketing strategy.

3. Define your profile

Top brands on Instagram start with a great profile. A compelling bio and relevant links are essential to converting attention into subscribers and potential customers.

You should add a catchy profile photo and high-quality photos that are visually appealing and follow your brand guidelines.

One of the complexities of Instagram is that you cannot include links in your posts. That’s why it’s extremely important to include all CTA links in your bio. Many brands even say “view link in bio” in their Instagram posts to encourage their followers to take action.

Your profile page is often your potential followers’ first encounter with your brand on Instagram. Make sure your photo and video collection grabs attention at first glance and encourages viewers to click the follow button.

4. Geo-locate your publications

If you are uploading content from a small business’s geo-location, you should include the location name in your posts. If you haven’t already done this when posting, you can browse and edit previous posts.

What is geolocation used for? Instagram collects all the posts tagged in this location and sorts them by best and newest. Your brand photos live among your customers’ photos. “Show information” at the top leads to information about the highlighted task. All of this increases brand awareness and helps customers learn more about your company. Don’t know what to order at a restaurant? Just browse through the latest photos and see what people recommend.

5. Compare your target audience to your Instagram audience

Different groups of people are more active on some social media platforms than others. Compare your audience’s demographics (e.g. age, gender, income, geography, etc.) and psychographics (psychological traits like interests, personality, and values) to the social media platforms you’re considering.

For example, the 18-29 age group is most active on Instagram, while the 50-64 age group is the most active on Pinterest.

7. Create content pillars

Now that you’ve done your Instagram marketing research, there’s only one step left to take before you can start planning your content. An important Instagram tip for your small business is to create content pillars. Create topics for the types of content you want to publish as part of your 2020 Instagram marketing strategy as a guide for planning your content.

8. Identify important accounts and hashtags

Now that you know the basics, you need to start growing your audience. The easiest way to get started is to identify competitors in your area who have already started growing their audience on Instagram. Look at the type of people they follow and try to connect with that or a similar audience.

You don’t have to create your audience yourself. Influencers in your market can be an important tool for reaching the right audience and growing your audience. See if there’s an easy way to get the influencer’s attention (e.g., tagging him or her in photos or using the hashtag before the company name). As you build a relationship with him or her, look for ways to cross-promote your content to bring new exposure to both brands.

9. Use your biggest moments to show what your company stands for

Stories Highlights on Instagram allow you to share even more about your business. Highlights extend the life of your stories by displaying them on your profile after they normally disappear, and can help you consolidate those stories into one easy source of ever-new content. Since they appear at the top of the grid, start with the basics, such as:

  • About us: some articles about your values, your working hours, and your brand
  • Locations or Location Highlights: If you have multiple locations, talk about each location and share photos.
  • Customer reviews or posts: Republish posts from your customer feed or create a chart that highlights reviews from other sources.
  • Frequently Asked Questions: Provide information that customers frequently request. You’ll also save time answering customer questions because you can forward them to that point of sale
  • Product/Service Features: Make it general or emphasize each product or service. Some things don’t fit into just one post. Here you can delve into the details.