7 Instagram Hacks for Small Business OwnersUwe Dreissigacker+
Instagram may be one of the most underrated and underused social media platforms out there (besides the likes of new entrants Snapchat) for small businesses. It has come a long way from just being a filter tool to fix or enhance pictures.
Many of the giants like Starbucks, Nike and Levi’s are dominating the platform with engaging content that draws huge amounts of followers. You may be aware of the likes of Kim Kardashian and celebrities ruling on Instagram, but does it bring any value for small businesses?
The answer, in a nutshell, is yes.
First of all, Instagram is the fourth-most downloaded app in the US, behind Facebook’s app and Messenger and newcomer Snapchat.
Secondly, because of the platform’s limitation, the competition is still relatively low and your small business can make its mark and even compete with the “big boys.”
So let’s look at 7 of the best Instagram hacks to boost your small business.
#1: Connect everything
You shouldn’t be viewing Instagram (or any social media platform) as an isolated tool. You should be working on merging and connecting it with other platforms to increase your reach.
This is especially true when you have a strong following on Facebook, Twitter, or others. You can connect these platforms to your Instagram account, so that your Instagram followers can also follow you on those platforms.
When you set up your profile, don’t forget to add in all the important details in your business bio, including your industry, a short description, and of course your website.
As with any other aspect of your business, you need to measure, adapt and improve. On Instagram, it’s no different.
You should be tracking as much as you can about your followers. Instagram’s Insights tool lets you see:
- Top Posts: information about which of your posts received the most engagement and impressions
- Followers: data about the gender, age range, locations and time your followers are online
- Promotions: if you choose to promote your content on Instagram, you’ll see data about the effectiveness of your campaigns in this section
One of the most important benefits of social media, in general, is that it allows you the unbridled opportunity to communicate quickly and effectively with your customers or potential customers. With Instagram, it really is no difference.
When you post something, you should be constantly monitoring it to see whether there are any comments coming in. Because Instagram can only be used on mobile, you should make sure that your phone is set to receive notifications from Instagram.
That way, when someone does comment or ask a question on one of your images or videos, you can respond immediately. Not only will that person have the answer faster, but you can build up brand loyalty by being seen as responsive and approachable.
#4 Hashtag everything
Instagram search works by utilizing hashtags and not keywords. In that way, if you are using keywords without hashtags, people searching on Instagram for what you’re actually posting won’t be able to find you.
This deserves repeating: unlike Twitter, where hashtags are optional for being found in search, Instagram only does search through hashtags.
Therefore, you need to hashtag all the main words in your image or video description to make sure you’ll be found for those keywords. In fact, according to Max Woolf, who analyzed 120,000 Instagram photos, you should add 30 hashtags, the maximum allowed, in order to triple your amount of likes.
An additional tip is to always hashtag your own company name. That way, if people end up searching for that term, all your posts will show up.
#5: Use video
There’s a reason Facebook is pushing video so much. It is a game-changer. People are far more willing to watch a video and engage with it than they are to click on a link or simply comment on an image.
Perhaps because Instagram is owned by Facebook, it is also pushing video. When users scroll past your video on their feed, it will automatically start playing (with an option for them to turn down the volume). This usually causes them to stop and watch the video, which is a common reaction amongst all Instagrammers.
That means, with video, you can have a captivated audience. If you make the video interesting enough, you can successfully communicate your message and begin to gain followers that later will turn into customers.
#6: Don’t just talk about yourself
One of the biggest mistakes a lot of small businesses make on social media platforms is that they exclusively talk about themselves. Every post, every comment and every engagement revolves around them and their message.
Unfortunately, this is not the best strategy, as many people are not on social media to be marketed. They are there to be social, and in the process they would like to find good content. While yours may be good, they are also suspicious of brands that are only interested in themselves. In order to successfully engage your audience, you should be sharing other people’s content.
In fact, this is a fantastic way to build up audiences when you’re first starting out. By sharing other more popular content in a similar niche, you can engage your perfect audience.
#7: Start creating ads
Another thing that holds back a lot of small business owners is that they are reluctant to spend a lot of time on social media and fervently against spending any money on these platforms. In general, the idea of ads can bring up images of huge price lists that are just impractical for most businesses. However, this doesn’t have to be the case.
Social media advertising can be quite affordable, especially since you can set your own budget, small or large. If you use Facebook Ads, you already have the option to let it run on Instagram. However, it is even better to make unique ads for Instagram, as every platform is different.
With these Instagram hacks, you’ll see just how easy it can be to get your small business active in social media. Once you utilize these tips, your followers—and soon customers—will grow.
About The Author:
Uwe is the Founder and CEO of InvoiceBerry. Small business owners and freelancers can create, send and manage their invoices online with the help of the web app. InvoiceBerry also offers completely free invoice templates to download.