Instagram has quickly become one of the hottest properties for online marketers and business owners. With the monthly active user base reaching one billion, there are large audiences for all kinds of niches and products. Small businesses can develop a following who become return customers, with the ability to build their brand through the platform.
However, simply setting up an account and occasionally adding posts will not be enough to stand out. A coherent Instagram strategy is required to really make an impact. The following tips can be used to develop an Instagram account that becomes a pillar of your marketing efforts.
Before developing a profile, it is important to understand your target audience. Existing users can look at Instagram Insights to find some useful information about their current followers. In most cases though, there will be established competitors who have already done the work. Look at your competition, analyzing how often they post, the style of images they use, and their audience interaction. You can also use tools like Mention and Sprout Social to simplify the research process.
Many small businesses struggle to find ideas for posts. Simply posting product images will grow stale, so you need to develop themes that keep people interested. The simplest process is to rotate different styles of posts, trying to keep the quality high at all times. Depending on your business, you could use a combination of product images, staff events, quote posts, and competitions. A tool like Canva offers beginners a quick way to create and edit images to a high standard.
Hashtags are used to categorize content, enabling audiences to find what they are looking for. Adding the right hashtags can add new followers as they will be highly focused. It is important to not add a long list of tags as this will look spammy to your followers. Instead, include a handful of focused tags, ensuring they represent the images. Avoid being too broad so you will reach your target audience. Additionally, you can create your own unique hashtag, helping your followers find related content and increasing brand awareness.
Influencers have already achieved the difficult goal of cultivating a loyal following. There are broader influencers with a diverse audience, but there are also micro influencers who can be more focused
Along with the increased follower numbers, you can also improve your brand recognition through the association.
User-generated content has a number of benefits for a business. The business owner gets new content, the user feels more engaged with the brand, and followers can see real people enjoying a product or service. This type of content is great for building a community around a product, with customers feeling they are being recognized and appreciated.
Some businesses use Instagram as a platform to post the same content and offers that are available everywhere. The businesses getting better results treat Instagram as a separate platform that requires its own focus. The biggest social platforms demand that you work within their parameters, whether that is Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. For best results, create exclusive Instagram promo codes and post images that do not appear everywhere.
Not everything you try on the platform will provide great results. There is no single system that is guaranteed to work for every small business. To keep on top of what works for you, it is important to analyze results. Use Instagram Insights to check the results for each post, looking for good engagement levels. You should gradually find a method that works, including a popular time of day to post and an offer that leads to new customers.
Small businesses without an Instagram following are missing out on a perfect opportunity. Instagram offers the chance to improve brand visibility, cultivate an audience, and sell more products. There are Instagram influencers building lucrative careers, solely because their following has a high value. Most small businesses already have some kind of reputation within their niche or local area. Taking this existing reputation and growing it via Instagram is a great way to increase your audience and, ultimately, take your business to the next level.