6 tips for using Instagram to help your small business

By Marquis Matson

No one denies that Instagram has become a very powerful social media site. That is why companies like Nike and Coca Cola have embraced the platform to promote their brands. Today these multinationals dominate the platform. However, this is not to say that small businesses cannot find their own space on this social network.

That said, the process of acquiring Insta followers for a small business is somewhat different from what Fortune 500 companies would do. Additionally, these big companies have virtually unlimited advertising resources, making it relatively easy for them to stand out. But how can smaller businesses with small marketing budgets succeed on Instagram? Consider the following six ways:

Use hashtags

Typically, people on Instagram use hashtags to sort out images. Therefore, using the right hashtags for your images can give you greater reach. In fact, new Insta followers may find you this way. You can also use the hashtags to find relevant conversations going on and find users to follow who are likely to follow you back.

One big mistake many businesses make is deciding to use hashtags hardly relevant to their brand or random hashtags that no one uses. The problem with this is that no one is searching for these hashtags, so the hashtags have no ability to give visibility to your posts beyond the people who follow you.

If you can identify the right hashtags as well as the trending ones for your industry, chances are people interested in what your brand has to offer will come across your post and start following you.

Additionally, don’t shy away from using many hashtags. A while back Max Woolf published results of a case study that showed that Instagram accounts that use 30 hashtags, the maximum allowable on the platform receive three times more engagement than those that don’t.

[amazon_link asins=’0692873953′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingin-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’013b968a-3996-11e8-9b91-9195ca39c959′]Dive into your comments

Some brands have a tendency to only post comments, never going back to see if the posts have received any comments. As a result, people engage with these brands only to realize that their comments never elicit any responses. While it’s not easy to track every comment made on your posts, it is quite helpful to do everything you can to respond to as many comments as possible. There are social tools you can use to track these comments. A good example is Sprout Social. This tool allows keeping track of comments and sending replies across a number of Instagram accounts.

Create high-quality content

Of all the things you can do on Instagram, creating high quality content is the most important. While Facebook photo engagement has declined significantly over the years, image engagement on Instagram remains high. In fact, it is 23% greater than that of Facebook. Nonetheless, without high quality images, you will struggle to get such high engagement. Some of the high quality content you can consider for your Instagram account include behind the scene images, brand faces, and product images. Make use of natural light and when indoors, ensure you have enough lighting well set to take the photos.

[amazon_link asins=’1599186020′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingin-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’0c3a391e-3996-11e8-b53d-dde670d56c89′]Engage your audience

Insta followers value brands that engage with them. This is the only way they know that the people behind the brand value them as customers. Refuse to engage with them long enough and they will start scrolling through your posts and never bothering to like any of them or leave a comment. Sometimes something as simple as a thanks message would suffice. Other times you may need to address a query. You could also deliberately seek to get your audience to talk to you by asking questions.

Host an Instagram contest

Today people love free things. Tomorrow they still will. That is why hosting an Instagram contest can be game changer. By giving out free stuff through a contest, you give potential followers the motivation they needed to engage with your brand. By simply asking people to follow you for a chance to win, you can significantly increase your following. Social Growr, a tool you can use to grow organically can give you good suggestions on the people to target with your contest, those most likely to be interested with your brand value proposition.

Be consistent

Finally, to keep growing, you must be consistent. Instead of posting something today only to add a new post months later, create a schedule and stick to it. Try to publish 2-3 posts every day. Additionally, be consistent across the different social networks on which you have a presence. This makes it easy for people who follow you in other networks to easily find you based on the style and feel they have come to associate with your brand.


Marquis Matson is a writer, social media manager and SEO content marketer. She currently lives on the coast of Ecuador, working remotely as a freelancer. Her primary focus is on building online visibility of new, up and coming brand, particularly brands that promote health and wellness. She lives a nomadic lifestyle, though is originally from California.

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