Instagram Marketing Tips For Small Businesses

Guest WriterMarketing 101, Small Business Resources3 Comments

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You wouldn’t think that Facebook, with 1.35 billion active users, has an issue with a declining population, but you would be wrong. Among young users, many are turning to Instagram instead and many businesses are following them over. A younger demographic isn’t the only reason you should get started on Instagram. It’s also a great platform if you want to create a more personal connection with your audience via visuals.

Show, Don’t Tell 

As a visual platform, Instagram is the perfect place to show off your product in action. When posting images to Instagram, make sure that they tell some kind of story. It’s the best way for customers to remember your brand and create an emotional connection. Think in terms of story arcs instead of individual pictures and connect associated items together.

Use Hashtags 

Twitter might have popularized the hashtag, but it’s gained traction across every social media platform and Instagram is no exception. Hashtags are the best way to find Instagram users talking about a specific topic or brand. Of course, it’s important that you do some research into the hashtag before using it as it might not match your brand’s message. Once you have found a few, find ways to join the conversation in unique ways. As well, don’t be afraid to create your own hashtags when posting images of your product or service. Of course, don’t overload your posts with hashtags. Research indicates that five hashtags is the magic number.

Run Contest

Contests are a great way to get a boost in followers, increase visibility and create content for your profile. All you need to do is come up with how users can enter the contest (hashtag or @mention), choose a worthwhile prize and then notify your followers. The prize doesn’t necessarily need to be something expensive at all. In fact, some of the most popular contests give out t-shirts or other less expensive items as prizes. The more people enter, the more likely you are to their followers involved as well since they will see their friend entered.

Humanize Your Brand 

With the rise of social media, consumers now expect a more personal approach from brands. Not only do they expect one-on-one interaction they also want to know more about the company’s people, culture and values. Instagram is a great outlet to do just that. Show off pictures of company events or performing community outreach. It’s an excellent way to give consumers an insider look at your brand and reinforce your message.

Take Advantage of Videos 

In 2013, Instagram added the capability for its users to upload up to 15-seconds of video. With video quickly becoming the preferred content type, it is to your advantage to utilize this option. Luckily, you don’t need expensive equipment or software to make a great video. All you need is a little creativity and decent editing skills. Some ideas for good video include:

  • Time lapse of the creation of your product
  • Your product in action
  • Behind-the-scenes

Choose the Right Time 

As with other social platforms, posting your updates for maximum visibility is key to getting the most engagement and potential conversions. For Instagram, the most popular times are between 12pm-2pm and you can enjoy boosted activity for at least 3 hours after you’ve posted with 40 percent of all comments happening within the first hour.

Combine Facebook and Instagram 

Luckily, you don’t need to abandon your Facebook profile for Instagram thanks to how easy it is to connect the two accounts. By doing so, you can also increase your follower account on both profiles as 20 percent of all Instagram users are also on Facebook. Encourage users on both sites to follow your profiles. The more fans you have, the more likely you are to attract a larger audience.


Ivan Serrano is a social media, marketing, and small business journalist living in Northern California. You can follow him on Twitter and Google+.

(photo: “huntin” by Riccardo Bandiera, featuring a yeti from company Gama-Go)