Insta­gram is a new mar­ket­ing fron­tier for small busi­ness­es and bring­ing in new cus­tomers. As of July 2019, it was ranked #6 among the world’s most pop­u­lar social net­works, with over 1 bil­lion users world­wide. Users love it for its strong visu­al focus and upbeat vibe – more and more for bring­ing in low in the fun­nel users and poten­tial cus­tomers.

The key to suc­cess­ful­ly mar­ket­ing your small busi­ness on Insta­gram, as with oth­er social net­works, is build­ing an engaged fol­low­ing and posi­tion­ing your­self as part of the online com­mu­ni­ty which could very quick­ly become your future cus­tomer base.

Here are 15 tips for build­ing an Insta­gram mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy for your small busi­ness:

1. Use a business account

When join­ing Insta­gram, you can select whether yours will be a per­son­al account or a busi­ness account. The lat­ter is ide­al for busi­ness because it allows you to view ana­lyt­ics, con­nect your account with your Face­book page, and run paid adver­tise­ments, and it makes it eas­i­er for fol­low­ers to con­tact you.

Start­ing off with a sep­a­rate busi­ness account is cru­cial toward estab­lish­ing your brand pres­ence and will allow you to strate­gize and imple­ment many of our Insta­gram mar­ket­ing tips for all small busi­ness­es:

2. Fill in your bio

Insta­gram gives you 150 char­ac­ters to tell poten­tial fol­low­ers every­thing they need to know about you. Use this space wise­ly. You can include hash­tags in the bio, which can help more peo­ple find your pro­file. And don’t for­get to include a link to your web­site.

3. Establish your identity and look

Because Insta­gram is such a visu­al plat­form, the “look” of your pro­file mat­ters. You want your fol­low­ers to imme­di­ate­ly asso­ciate your con­tent with your brand. Using cer­tain col­or palettes and fonts can help with this, as well as a cer­tain style of image that’s con­sis­tent with your mes­sage.

4. See what your competitors are doing

Not sure where to start? See what oth­er busi­ness­es like yours are up to and draw on their ideas for inspi­ra­tion. Take note of the kind of con­tent they post, the hash­tags they use, their visu­al lan­guage, and so on. You can also check to see how well they’re doing: how many fol­low­ers do they have? Do they get much engage­ment on their posts? This will tell you how well their strat­e­gy is work­ing.

5. Plan your content

Once you’ve decid­ed what kind of con­tent you want to post, be strate­gic about it: plan what you’re going to post at least on a week­ly basis, if not for sev­er­al weeks at a time. Post­ing reg­u­lar­ly and con­sis­tent­ly helps keep your fol­low­ers engaged.

6. Use hashtags strategically

Hash­tags are one of Instagram’s most impor­tant fea­tures. They make it pos­si­ble for peo­ple who don’t fol­low you to dis­cov­er your con­tent. Research has shown that using 7 or 30 hash­tags per post per­forms best, but that it varies depend­ing on how many fol­low­ers you have.

By the way, Insta­gram recent­ly added a fea­ture allow­ing you to see how many peo­ple found your post through the hash­tags. This can help you mea­sure how well your hash­tags are gen­er­at­ing engage­ment and adjust your strat­e­gy as nec­es­sary. Don’t under­es­ti­mate #hash­tag strat­e­gy as a real­ly pow­er­ful Insta­gram mar­ket­ing tip for small busi­ness­es!

Use hashtags strategically

7. Embrace Instagram Stories

The Sto­ries fea­ture on Insta­gram has been mak­ing a huge splash. Sto­ries appear at the top of fol­low­ers’ feeds, which makes them stand out — and they’re a lot more dynam­ic than reg­u­lar Feed posts, with tons of cool fea­tures. You can post mul­ti­ple Sto­ries a day with­out clut­ter­ing up your fol­low­ers’ feeds. Sto­ries should be an inte­gral part of your Insta­gram mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy.

8. Use video

Insta­gram isn’t just for stills! Videos are more engag­ing and fun, and you have mul­ti­ple ways to post them on Insta­gram. Clips of up to 1 minute can be shared on the feed, 15-sec­ond clips can be strung togeth­er on Sto­ries, and there’s even IGTV, the new fea­ture that allows you to post videos of up to 10 min­utes in length.

9. Don’t be shy about direct messages

Direct mes­sag­ing is more inti­mate than pub­lic dis­cus­sion and may be con­sid­ered more inva­sive. How­ev­er, there are cas­es where it’s appro­pri­ate and can help you build bet­ter rela­tion­ships with your cus­tomers. For exam­ple, if some­one writes a post or com­ment prais­ing your busi­ness, send­ing a DM to thank them is a nice per­son­al ges­ture. On the flip side, if some­one says some­thing neg­a­tive or posts a neg­a­tive review, mov­ing the con­ver­sa­tion to DM helps keep it out of pub­lic eye and shows the cus­tomer that you’re tak­ing their con­cerns seri­ous­ly.

10. Actively engage with other users

If you real­ly want a strong pres­ence on Insta­gram, you need to do more than sim­ply post your own con­tent. Inter­act­ing with oth­er people’s posts and com­ments shows them you are sin­cere­ly inter­est­ed in them and not just try­ing to get their busi­ness. Respond to com­ments on your posts, fol­low inter­est­ing accounts, and like oth­er people’s posts. The more they see you in their noti­fi­ca­tions, the more often they will think of you.

11. Encourage engagement

The next lev­el of engage­ment is post­ing con­tent that encour­ages your fol­low­ers to engage. For exam­ple, ask your fol­low­ers to answer a ques­tion about them­selves, or to tag anoth­er user who they think needs to see your mes­sage. On Sto­ries, you can do even more with this: use the emo­ji slid­er, quizzes, ques­tions, and chats to get your fol­low­ers active­ly inter­act­ing with your con­tent.

12. Add calls to action wherever you can

Make it as easy as pos­si­ble for your fol­low­ers to move to the next stage of the sales fun­nel. Be straight­for­ward and tell them what you’d like them to do next, such as click­ing the link in your bio to learn more.

13. Post at peak times

Post­ing your con­tent at times of high­est traf­fic means you’re like­ly to get more engage­ment and inter­est. How do you know when is the best time to post? It varies, accord­ing to the nuances of your spe­cif­ic audi­ence, and the best way to know the ide­al time to post is to exper­i­ment and see what works best. Sprout Social, a social media man­age­ment plat­form with more than 24K fol­low­ers, con­duct­ed an exper­i­ment like this and found that the best times to post on Insta­gram were on Wednes­days at 11 a.m. and Fri­day between 10–11 a.m.

14. Collaborate with Influencers and Related Businesses

When you col­lab­o­rate with oth­er busi­ness­es and influ­encers on social media, every­body wins. Hav­ing anoth­er Insta­gram­mer review your prod­uct, run a com­pe­ti­tion with you, take over your account, or work with you to cre­ate joint con­tent expos­es you to a wider audi­ence and can be lots of fun to boot!

15. Use Paid Ads

Even with all the above efforts, it can be a chal­lenge for busi­ness­es to reach new audi­ences organ­i­cal­ly. A lit­tle paid adver­tis­ing can go a long way. Insta­gram ads allow you to tar­get very spe­cif­ic audi­ences, increas­ing your expo­sure to the peo­ple most like­ly to be inter­est­ed in what you have to offer. This gen­er­ates excel­lent con­ver­sion rates and often proves a good invest­ment.

Don’t be afraid to exper­i­ment and try new strate­gies as the social media land­scape changes and Insta­gram rolls out new fea­tures. If you play your cards right, embrac­ing Insta­gram as part of your social media mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy will be effec­tive, fun, and prof­itable.

SOURCE: The Boost Apps