Beginner’s Instagram Guide For Small Business Owners

The popular, or should I say unpopular Instagram. You either love it or hate it. That doesn’t change the fact that Instagram is changing the way we consume and share media.

Instagram is one of the most powerful marketing channels of all time. It is used by over 1 billion people. Ever since Instagram emerged on the market, we’ve ONLY seen an upward trend. 

To demonstrate the growth of Instagram

Let’s get a few things out of the way. Instagram is owned by Facebook. Facebook is constantly trying to innovate all its platforms including Instagram. The so-called algorithm continues to change, just take a look at all the news headlines.

As of April 2019, Instagram is keen on helping users cultivate meaningful relationships. 

How do you take matters into your hands?

Here are 10 tips on how to beat the algorithm.

Make sure anyone who stumbles across your page can figure out within seconds what your business stands for.  

Courtesy of Kermitthefrog

Produce Instagram Stories Content

Nowadays people are more likely to view your story, prior to even visiting your Instagram grid. Unlike your Instagram grid, stories are somewhat less invasive in a way that you can post as many as you want without having to worry about bombarding your audience with content.

Stories are only seen by the people who want to see your content, therefore, it’s safe to say they are a great way to leverage your audience.

Ask questions and look for suggestions to get a better idea of what type of content your audience wants to see.

Stories are available 24/7, therefore, you don’t have to worry about posting at certain times.  

Instagram stories are discoverable. That means even people who don’t follow you can see your posts too. That makes stories an important aspect of Instagram’s overall strategy. 

  • Use stickers to engage with the audience.
  • If you are designing a story, use 1080px wide by 1920px tall of an aspect ratio of 9:16.
  • Post behind-the-scenes content (sneak peeks of the new collection that you’ve been working on).
  • Demonstrate your product. 
  • Show your office set up. 
  • Promote a launch. 
  • Preview your company’s blog post.
  • Use hashtags. 

Here’s an example of @puremichigan Story of promoting a new single. As an Instagram beginner, you won’t have access to the SwipeUp feature unless you have 10,000 followers, however, you can use a similar strategy for your business. 

Create Thoughtful Hashtags

Hashtags are the core of Instagram. They are a powerful tool to discover and to be discovered. It’s a simple way to look for content that is relevant to you and your targeted audience.

How To Research Hashtags

Do's & Don'ts

  • Don’t copy and paste one set of hashtags to every single photo posted.
  • Drop the “LikeForLike” hashtags.
  • Add hashtags in comments.
  • Hide hashtags in stories. 
  • Use low density hashtags (< 500,000 posts) to break through the market more easily.
  • Use product descriptive hashtags (wallhangingcanva).
  • There is a fine line between too little and too many hashtags, but it is recommended that you use a minimum of five.
  • Use curator’s hashtags will increase the probability of getting featured on the account.
  • Monitor Instagram Insights from hashtags. 
  • Follow hashtags on Instagram.
  • Add clickable hashtags to your Instagram bio.
  • Incorporate different categories of hashtags. 
Instagram Categories
Courtesy of tailwindblog.com

Leverage The Power Of Micro-Influencers

Recently, we’ve seen a shift with brands collaborating with influencers that have millions of followers to influencers that have thousands of followers. This promotes the connection between them and real life folks, not just the high-end celebrities.

Check out this example of how real estate business is using Instagram influencers to market their properties. 

Show the role macro-influencers play in marketing
Courtesy of Medium.com

Push For User-Generated Content

There are many companies that do this exceptionally well. 

Go take a look @Adobe Instagram grid. Adobe’s objective is to increase brand awareness and engagement. They do so by almost entirely depending on user-generated content.

Their feed is almost entirely made up of curated and reposted content.

Here’s how you can do it too. Start a user-generated content campaign. 

  • Pick a theme 
  • Pick a hashtag 
  • Promote your campaign
Preview of Adobe's Instagram Grid to demonstrate user-generated content

Join Facebook's Instagram Groups

Facebook has a wide variety of Instagram groups that you can join to generate ideas and learn from the best. 

The Instagram community is large. This is where users support one another by sharing tips and methods they’ve used to build a successful following. 

Example of Instagram's Groups on Facebook

Create Engagement-Based Material

More companies are switching from promotional to engagement-based marketing material to facilitate discussions with their audience.

Engagement-based posts not only send a message to Instagram’s algorithm but also a message to the customer, providing them with a sense of inclusion. Everyone just wants to feel included and part of something bigger. 

  • Add a question at the end of your caption for followers to respond in the comments. 
  • Find out more about (product)– link in bio. 
  • Tune into Instagram Stories for the first (product) look.
  • Announce giveaways.
  • Want to _____, sign up for your first _____ in the link in bio. 
  • Ask your audience what they think about new (designs/products). 
  • Challenge audience to give you suggestions. 
  • Poll your audience, so you can serve them better in the long run.
  • Motivate. 
  • Inspire your audience to take action. 
  • Link in bio to grab yours!
  • Ask for advice. 

Boost Posts To Target The Right Audience

Invest back into your business. No good things ever happen by doing the same things over and over.

Here’s how to boost an Instagram post.   

Let's Wrap It Up

Social media is a key ingredient in today’s marketing strategy make sure to take the information above and implement these tactics to your business. Remember in order to be successful on Instagram, you constantly have to absorb new information to stay afloat. 

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