It’s possibly the most visual of all the social media platforms, one that has become increasingly popular since its launch in 2010 – especially with the younger generation. With an estimated monthly usage of 800 million people worldwide it’s a powerful marketing tool for any business. Not only that, with the organic reach of Facebook falling every day, many businesses are turning their attention to other social media platforms such as Instagram to improve their reach.

Instagram is the perfect platform for sharing images, and with the added feature of using filters to make the images even more visually attractive, it’s an ideal way for small businesses to be able to showcase their brand. By creating a lasting visual impression it’s a great way to build trust with your target audience, interacting with them regularly and being an integral part of their online experience.

What’s more, as the number of small businesses using Instagram to market themselves is smaller than Twitter or Facebook, by getting on board with Instagram now you’ll be ahead of the game, giving you an edge over the competition in terms of generating new business and brand exposure. Who knows how long this will last for in the fast-paced world of social media, but for now, making the most of Instagram is a wise move for small businesses.

The premise of Instagram in terms of engagement is mostly the same for most of the social media platforms, but some of the key points are:

Engagement – as with other social media, it’s not enough simply to add a post and expect your followers to just grow. Adding images that will engage your audience will help you gain traction as a small business, but also keeping an eye on any comments and responding to them is the best way to be fully engaged. Monitor your comments, reply to them, and make sure you comment on posts from your followers or potential clients to show them you’re engaged with them. You can now also direct message people through Instagram. To avoid copyright issues with other users simply copying & pasting your images, you might want to consider adding a watermark to them before you post them.

Hashtags – these have been a stalwart of Twitter for a long time and they are just as important for Instagram. A relatively recent update in Instagram made it possible to search the platform using hashtags, so using one that works for your business and makes you stand out can increase your reach. Some businesses make the mistake of using random hashtags but this is pretty pointless as it’s unlikely anyone will search use anything too random, so you’re unlikely to increase your number of followers or visibility. The ideal situation is to use popular hashtags that are trending to maximise your exposure.

Stories – Instagram stories should form a key element of your Instagram marketing strategy. Launched in 2016 with notable similarities to Snapchat, this feature responded to the increase in demand for live content on social media. As a small business you don’t need massive production and expense to create your stories – your smartphone and a creative approach is plenty to be getting on with. “How to” videos, walk arounds and introducing your team all helps give your business a personality and show your customers who you are. You’ll seem more approachable as a result.

Competition – to give your number of followers a boost you could run a competition on Instagram. Top tips when doing so are:

  • create a unique hashtag for your competition and use it in every single post
  • generate a buzz before it starts a week or two beforehand by doing teaser posts
  • make a condition of the competition that someone has to use the hashtag and tag a friend to enter

Regram – this is all about sharing other people’s content. When you regram someone else’s post you very quickly start to build connections with your audience. You’ll need to use third party apps such as the Repost for Instagram app to do this as there isn’t a feature within Instagram itself.

It’s not rocket science to grow your brand on Instagram. The key is posting regularly and keeping your followers happy with interesting material.

If it all seems too daunting then SocialBee is the perfect resource for your small business. Outsource your Instagram social media management to our team and you’ll have an expert eye working on building your followers, creating connections and delivering engagement.

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