5 quick tips to use Instagram for small business

There are currently, 1 billion monthly active users on Instagram although this might sound daunting, it’s actually a fantastic opportunity to grow your small business by creating and using an Instagram account. 

Now more than ever is the time to sign up and get noticed! Just think how many people you could reach, if you harnessed the power of the photo sharing platform.

There are so many features that you can take advantage of and it’s also about having fun in the process. Instagram is a creative platform so you can really go wild with what you’re posting, if you want to!

Also don’t forget that Instagram is a social platform. So, although this blog is about you and using Instagram for small business, it’s also ultimately about the users. You’re creating content for them, not for you!

Now that we have established what a great tool Instagram is, let’s get into some tips on how you can start growing your small business on Instagram today.

PSST! Want our 5 quick Instagram for small business hacks? Scroll right to the bottom!

Tip 1 – Create content that will appeal to customers

With so many businesses on Instagram, the key is to try and stand out! If you haven’t done any research into what your customers would like to see now is the time to start.

Posting engaging content is a great way to hit the ground running and start gaining interaction on your profile. What are the types of content that work on Instagram?

  • Inspire, motivate and relate
  • Empower through education
  • Subtly sell

If you’re not sure what type of content you should be posting here’s some ideas:

  • Business background story
  • Introducing employees
  • Behind the scenes of how a product is made
  • Your latest product lines

And if you’re still not sure what to post, check out our 18 Social Media Post Ideas for your Small Business

The best part is that you don’t have to be a graphic designer do this there’s some great tools out there that you can use such as Canva

It’s all about testing the waters and seeing what works what posts are getting the most engagement. 

On Instagram you can also post multiple images in one go, known as Carousel posts. This opens up a world of opportunity for you to tell a story and keep people on your account for longer. You can have up to 10 images in one Carousel so add in as many as you see fit.

Try and incorporate your brand values and missions within your posts that way people are more likely to resonate with your account and will want to follow you and engage with you a lot more.

instagram for small business

Once you’ve got your image in mind, what are you going to write in your caption? Believe it or not, long captions are in! Put time and effort into crafting captions that are engaging and will resonate with your audience.

If you get across your real self, it will pay off.

instagram captions

Once you’ve posted, share it to your Story! The more you share it, the more people will see it… makes sense!

instagram sharing to story

Tip 2 – Post high quality photos

The best part about this tip is that all you need to start off with is a smart phone. You’ll find that the camera is high-quality enough do this!

content for instagram

This can help make your products stand out and Instagram comes with photo editing tools that you can use directly in the app.  Alternatively, you can use apps to edit photos a personal favourite is AfterLight.

The bonus of using your phone is cost and efficiency. No need for a photographer, just learn the features that come on your phone to take decent photos of your own. Out and about and see something you like? Take a snap! No need to be too rigid in what you post. Reflecting your true self, what you like, what you get up to daily as a business will really appeal.

Consistency is key when it comes to posting on Instagram. If you haven’t already got a logo and colour scheme, start thinking about putting these together to get that instant recognition.

Once you have done this, make sure to include your core colours and logo within your posts regularly. That way you can become more recognisable as a brand.

A great example of brand that does this well is Coca-Cola. If you need help in deciding on what colours work well together a great tool to use is Color Mind.

Don’t forget… You should be posting frequently around 4 to 5 times a week!

Tip 3 – Use the RIGHT hashtags

Using Hashtags on your Instagram post is key for reaching a wider audience. With Instagram you can get away with using quite a few.

However, make sure they’re relevant!

For example, if you own a bakery business you wouldn’t use the hashtag #fastfood as it wouldn’t be relevant to your industry and or the product that you’re selling. Instead you might use hashtags such as #cupcake #bread.

Using Hashtags on Instagram can help your posts be more discoverable when people are searching for content and your post is more likely to appear amongst trending topics.

Also, don’t forget about using local hashtags. As a small business, your local trade is super important to you so try to get in front of them.

Spend some time searching around in Instagram to find the right local hashtags.

  • See what other local businesses are using
  • Visit the profiles of local media outlets and see their keywords
  • Check out your local district/council/borough Instagram accounts
instagram hashtags

Using keywords within your Instagram bio is a great tip to help your Instagram profile gain a higher reach. For example, if you own a beauty salon you may want to add keywords such as eyelash extensions or tanning. This way you’re more likely to show up in search when people are searching for similar services.

A key point to remember when it comes to hashtags is, it’s all about trial and error! Growth and reach on your account are not going to happen over night it will take time.

  • Focus your hashtags on your target audience (What are your audience searching for?)
  • Use hashtags that relate to your business instead of random trending hashtags
  • Mix up your hashtags
  • Monitor how well the hashtags you use do

Tip 4 – Post regular stories

Posting regular Stories on your Instagram profile can help your profile gain more engagement. The benefits for Instagram stories are endless, including being great for market research! You can ask your followers to share information through polls. By doing this you are actively identifying your audience and what they would like to see from you next.

instagram highlights

If you didn’t already know, Stories are displayed at the top of an Instagram feed and they only last for 24 hours. This means the content up there is usually super timely, caught in the moment content that is more ‘real.’

As they feature at the top of the home feed, users are more likely to notice them. Also because they only last a few seconds, users take the time to watch them during their busy lives.

You can use Stories to capture behind the scenes of your business. You could even use it as releasing daily sneak peeks of new product lines. Using a business account also means that you can add links directly to your website. This is a great opportunity to connect people with something they’re interested into the actual place they can buy or learn more about it.

You can also add Highlights to your Instagram profile. This is the process of saving your Stories to a Highlight that is saved to your profile. By doing this, your stories can be everlasting and be revisited (which makes for great content later down the line!)

Tip 5 – Post user generated content

Posting content from your customers is a great way to promote your brand and build an audience. It is also essentially free marketing!

Encourage your customers to share their photos of your product or service. You could do this by creating a hashtag specific to your business that they can use on their posts.

People love to see their stuff shared so there is very little reason to offer incentives on this one. Imagine if you went to a local café and ate an amazing slice of chocolate cake. If you’re a regular Instagram user, you’d probably put it on your Story or even post it to your Feed. Do you tag the business? Probably. Or, in the very least, check in at the place. And you didn’t even need to be asked to do that!

If you’re sharing their photos or Stories, don’t forget to tag them in it. That way, it shows it’s authentic to other users and encourages that person to keep on posting about your business!

instagram for small business

If someone has left you a review, post that too!

It’s a win-win both for you and the customer as they’re most likely to be excited by the fact that they’re have be posted on your page.

A great an example of a company who does this often is Starbucks UK with their seasonal trend of using #redcups encouraging customers to post a selfie with a Starbucks Christmas edition cup after purchasing.

If someone has left you a review, post that too!

It’s a win-win both for you and the customer as they’re most likely to be excited by the fact that they’re have be posted on your page.

A great an example of a company who does this often is Starbucks UK with their seasonal trend of using #redcups encouraging customers to post a selfie with a Starbucks Christmas edition cup after purchasing.

Top 5 Instagram hacks

Now that we have covered some top tips, here are some quick Instagram for small business hacks which can help your business grow.

Hack#1 – Add multiple photos in one Instagram story. To do this you can make use of the Instagram tool layout or you can select the sticker icon, scroll down the camera roll icon and add photos of your choice from your gallery.

Hack#2 – Turn a live photo into a Boomerang. Start by selecting a live photo from your camera roll and then force tap for 1 second.

Hack#3 – Filling your screen with a solid colour. Select the pen icon and choose a colour you would like then tap and hold the screen.

Hack#4 – Make emojis glow! Open the text tool and select the neon font and choose a colour once you’ve down this your emojis will glow!

Hack#5 – Add gradient to your text. Begin by highlighting your text. Then put your left finger on the text cursor then hold your right finger on any colour. Make sure to slide both fingers at the time until you have created your desired gradient.

Learn More

As a small business owner, it can be hard to navigate using a new social media platform when you’re probably already so busy! Instagram for small business is an amazing way of elevating your profile and getting the most out of the platform.

If you need a hand and would like to know more about using Instagram for small business, drop us an email:  [email protected]

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