More than 25 million companies worldwide use Instagram for business, and more than 200 million users visit at least one business profile every day. Instagram has slowly become a platform for businesses to nail their marketing and reach more people.
Instagram’s buoyant vibe has continually attracted more people which makes it quite an opportunistic platform for businesses. We can’t deny that because according to the statistics, Instagram is ranked #6 among the world’s most popular social networks.
As big brands like Coca Cola, Nike, etc., have already established a huge number of followers, Instagram is an opportunistic platform for small businesses to compete with their respective competitors.
I know what you’re thinking.
Before diving right into utilizing Instagram, let’s take some time to go through the steps for getting started with using Instagram for business.
- Download the application
- Set up your business profile
- List down your target audience’s persona
- Craft a well-thought strategy
- Create captivating content and start posting
- Don’t resist to follow other users/businesses
- Engage with everybody who connects with you
- Stay up to date with the trends
- Keep an eye on your competitors
- Track your progress
Not all businesses will have a similar process for their Instagram marketing but if this pattern is roughly followed, I am sure you will be on the right track. Knowing how Instagram works for business is half the game, while the rest consists of improvisation and implementation.
There are different ways and methods entrepreneurs can use to bring benefits to your business profile on Instagram. They’re also great for solopreneurs who want to make some passive income. Let’s go through them one by one.
10 Ways to Use Instagram for Small Business
1. Optimize your business profile
It’s a good idea to connect your rest of the social media accounts to your Instagram account, especially if you have a good amount of followers there. You can connect your Facebook, Twitter, etc, depending on your business’s social media presence with just a few steps.
After setting up your profile, it’s important to craft a compelling bio that talks about your brand within a word limit of 150 characters. Your bio is much more impactful than you can think as this is the first thing a visitor will read about you.
You can also add a link to your website, or your e-commerce page, in your bio to make it much easier for the visitors to enter your sales funnel. If you decide to start a blog page, you might as well add the blog link in your bio in order to boost your conversion rate.
This is how @nike excelled at setting up their brand image with their crisp yet impactful bio. Their hashtag and website link authorizes their brand and makes it easier for the users to know more about them.
2. Utilize the story feature regularly
The story feature on Instagram is one of the best opportunities for your brand to engage with your users. Because of the changing algorithm on Instagram, it isn’t necessary that your posts will reach all your users. Therefore, Instagram Stories can help you increase your brand visibility.
You can also utilize several Instagram stickers and GIFs to connect better with the user. Instagram stories also feature polls/questions that can be utilized to gain valuable audience insights or feedback. You can use this particular feature to bridge the gap between your brand and your customer by showing that you appreciate their feedback. Check out how @starbucks on Instagram asked an interactive question for their users to engage with the brand.
3. Go live on Instagram
Going live on Instagram has rapidly become a trend followed by users and businesses both. It is mostly known to drive engagement, new followers, and even increase sales. Unlike other types of content, Instagram Live is a completely unedited stream for your social media followers.
There is more than just this.
Every time you go live on Instagram, it sends a notification to your followers. This increases the chances of your brand getting noticed by your followers. Giving your followers a chance to connect and get responses instantly is a strategy that can increase your brand authenticity.
This is how hair brand @prose went live on Instagram and interacted with their viewers. They also increased their conversion rate by sharing a link to their product page using a sticker.
4. Interact with relevant users and businesses
Social media platforms are all about communities. If you start your business on social media, remember that a community relevant to your business might already be there. You can begin with analyzing trending hashtags around your business topic and interact with the people posting there.
You can also like and comment on relevant posts. Do not hesitate to follow or direct message relevant users or businesses on Instagram as this will help you grow your business socially. Also, reply to all the user’s comments personally to show that you care. And, you never know when it can get interesting as it did for @wendys.
5. Use more videos
Hubspot concluded that video marketers achieve a 54% increase in brand awareness. From this, we can say that videos can be one of the most effective tools in your Instagram marketing toolbox.
With Instagram Stories, IGTV, and Reels, Instagram is clearly pushing towards video content. To effectively learn how to grow your business on Instagram through videos, start experimenting, and see what kind of videos drive better engagement.
For example, this is how a video clip of a dessert recipe by @buzzfeedtasty reached 1.3 million users in no time!
6. Use appropriate hashtags
Hashtags on Instagram are similar to an open community where any user can take a look at what’s happening. This can be of great advantage to small businesses trying to reach relevant businesses and audiences. It can also help you to come up with new content ideas for your Instagram profile.
Instagram allows 30 hashtags in each post, but that will be too many to use. The consensus regarding the ideal number of hashtags is 11, but it’s beneficial to use only 2-5 in a single post. So, you have to think wisely while choosing your hashtags.
7. Reply to every comment
With posting engaging content on your social media profile, it’s also important for your audience to feel that they are heard. Replying to all comments and messages will show that you care. And, this gesture will make it more likely for them to keep/start following you.
“New marketing is about the relationships, not the medium.”
– Ben Grossman, founder of BiGMarK
Often businesses turn towards using bots to respond to all comments and messages in order to save their time. Though they are beneficial, if used for each and every interaction, it might take away the authenticity of your brand. A user feels important when they receive a personalized message and it might take more from you, but it’s worth the effort.
8. Collaborate with influencers
Influencers on Instagram can help you advertise your products/services without making them look like it. Before beginning, I would suggest you research well and find the influencers from your niche that will have your business’s target audience. Once you have found the right influencer, you can approach them by asking for a collaboration or a paid promotion.
Influencer marketing is open to all kinds of businesses. Small businesses can also make the most of it by approaching micro-influencers on Instagram. Having a well-known influencer review your product/service, take over your Instagram channel, etc., creates more trust in the audience’s mind about your product.
For example, if you have a fitness brand on Instagram, you can approach fitness influencers with limited yet relevant followers. Collaborations with such micro-influencers can be beneficial for your engagement and won’t even be hard on your pocket.
SmarTrike makes products for infants and toddlers and hence collaborated with mom influencers. This made it easier for them to reach their target audience i.e. young parents especially mothers. This single post generated almost 20,000 likes and SmarTrike could manage to reach nearly 12 million people.
This clearly shows the potential that influencers carry by regularly posting and staying up to date. This increases their chances of being noticed by their audiences. As they say, to excel on social media, the first thing you need to make sure is that you are present there on a regular basis.
This also implies to your business and regular posting is always a priority in the marketing list. As it might get a little tough on some businesses to manage time, social media posting tools like Hootsuite can help. And, if your business is currently going tight on its marketing budget, there is still something hope for you – hootsuite alternatives!
9. Use paid ads
Often, organic efforts can take more effort and give less to small businesses. When this happens, you can give a thought to paid advertising. Instagram allows you to target your audience based on age group, location, interest, behavior patterns, etc., which makes it easier to find relevant audiences.
Sounds interesting, right?
What’s more interesting is that this helps you target the audience that might already be interested in you. This generates outstanding conversion rates and is also known to be a wise investment for small businesses.
10. Track your progress
Building and implementing your Instagram strategy is half the game. The other half consists of continually tracking what’s working for you and what is not. Without tracking your progress, it might become difficult for you to know your audience.
For example, if you witnessed engagement on a specific post in the past, you will know that your audience is interested in that content topic. This will also help you come up with new content ideas based on the content that worked well. If needed, you can try using any of the analytics tools to analyze your content better on Instagram.
It’s a wrap!
Growing an audience on Instagram isn’t a one-day task, it demands consistency. Keeping all the guidelines in mind isn’t enough until they are implemented on a regular basis. Once you start making consistent efforts, you will realize that Instagram users are very active and love to engage.
Coming to an end, you are now one step closer to effectively building your Instagram marketing strategy. Let us know what worked out for you in the comments section below.
Being a Marketing Expert at SocialPilot, Shobit loves to help entrepreneurs with everything they need to know to build their own business. A belief that is driving his life towards success – “Business is in my blood, and I will toil for anyone who carries the same belief.” You can connect with him on LinkedIn.