Instagram: A Crash Course for Small Businesses

May 3, 2016 Zoe Carey

So your small business has created a strong presence on Facebook and Twitter--awesome! But, you’re still missing a huge piece of the social media pie: Instagram. Today, Instagram is one of the world’s most popular social media sites: it racks up 400 million users per month and over 80 million posts per day. Now that is a ton of traffic your small business needs to take advantage of. In addition, about 49% of Instagram users are between the ages of 18 and 34, meaning that Instagram can be a great tool for targeting younger audiences.

What sets Instagram apart from other social media platforms? It makes use of photos only, so users’ feeds aren’t cluttered with tons of text or links. This simple interface attracts users, and makes it easier for your small business to get noticed. From hashtags to filters to engaging--we’ve got the best practices you need to get your small business started on Instagram.

1. Post real, clear photos

Instagram is known for its photo filters--but don’t overdo it: you still want to make sure your photo looks like a real photo. And, be sure to post clear, high-quality photos to your profile. Users notice when photos look cheap and blurry, so do your best to keep your posts feeling shiny and new.

Califia Farms, a small cold-brew coffee company, has a clean record of posting high-quality shots that entice customers--and leave them yearning for that cool cup of coffee on a hot summer day.

2. Don’t just advertise to your customers--engage them!

Sure, Instagram is a great advertising platform for your business, but don’t clutter your posts with promotions and sales. You want your customers to feel like your small business is helping them, not purely selling a product to them. Try using Instagram posts as a way to give tips to customers. This way, you’ll be advertising and helping your customers at the same time!

Califia Farms does a great job of balancing their advertising and customer engagement on Instagram. Note how they give their customers a cold-brew coffee tip in the caption of a photo that is advertising their product. Genius!

3. Use hashtags (#) and tags (@) to get more exposure

Similar to Twitter, Instagram utilizes hashtags (#) and tags (@) so that users can get more exposure. So, when posting to your small business’ Instagram feed, be sure to utilize hashtags so that potential customers can find your product or service more easily. Tagging industry influencers in your posts will also boost exposure--and get you noticed by big names!

Califia Farms definitely makes use of the # and @. In the post below, they came up with their very own hashtag, and tagged another brand’s Instagram account to broaden their audience. Well done, Califia Farms!

4. Post often--but don’t overdo it

You want your small business to stay on-top-of-mind of its customers through Instagram--but you don’t want them to get annoyed by an abundance of posts. In general, your small business should post 2-4 times per week. And, unless it’s for a very special occasion, don’t post twice in one day. For best results, post between 5 and 7pm on weekdays to get the most traffic to your profile.

With these tips under your belt, you should be well on your way to establishing a strong Instagram presence for your small business! Let us know how your small business maximizes on Instagram in the comments below.

About the Author

Zoe Carey

Zoe Carey is a writer for the Booker Blog and has spent the better part of her career working with people in the small business industry. Her true passion for marketing stems from her curiosity about the way in which people think and act.

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