Want to improve your social and visual presence? Take a look at Instagram for small business. We’ll review tips on how small businesses can use Instagram to engage with customers, find new ones and generally show off.
In the social platform world, there is one network that would be considered “the cool kid.” Stylish, attractive with seemingly fewer rules. At the very least, it is a platform for younger crowds communicating visually. Instagram was made famous boosting internet celebrities. Now it is a popular marketing medium for small businesses. Instagram provides constant opportunity to show a visually charged ad.
After a few evolutions, even businesses with non-visual products found a place on Instagram. The platform also grew to 800 MILLION users. That is a lot of photos. Instagram is the most popular platform to show off our daily lives. By being able to show your small business, Instagram humanizes it and provides a clearer representation of your brand. Before you begin uploading photos all willy-nilly here are a few suggestions from us.
Just so everyone knows, we’re not a photo sharing company. I don’t see photos on Instagram as art. They’re much more about communication.
How Instagram For Small Business Sizes Up
Similarly to Google AdWords for small business, Instagram provides an even ground for business to gain traction. Sure, big corps are on there, but they don’t get to push us little guys around. In fact 70.% of U.S Business were active on Instagram during 2017. So Insta has found it to be a place for updates and info for businesses. This is almost to the point of making some business websites obsolete. Keep in mind that 80% of Instagram users live outside the U.S. Certainly, the preferred place for posting visual content rather than Facebook, with an average of 4% more engagement for photos than Facebook. So lots more likes and love for your photo posts on Instagram.
Instagram’s multi-layered visual experience includes photos, videos and short clips (stories) of the small business account holder. For most customers, this is much more interesting than textual descriptions, at least for visual products.
The number of followers and likes carry weight, just like consumer reviews do. Instagram accounts have now become works of visual art, so much so that it could be a full-time job. Your business is probably not quite ready to hire a full-time-Instagrammer but it obviously is the it app to create a visually strong social presence.
Instagram Business and Ads
As the appeal of Instagram for small business grew, and users began discovering more about those businesses through the app, Instagram caught on as a marketing channel. That is when Instagram Business appeared – to separate and enhance business accounts from personal ones. The app also beefed up their algorithm making it even easier for its users to discover products and brands they might like based on searches and interests. Sound familiar? That is why we always emphasize the importance of getting to know your audience. Then you can begin to make decisions about how you present yourself to the world that will provide the right environment for a conversion.
With this type of account, you can behave more like a business rather than one tip-toeing around in a personal account. Instagram Business offers Calls-To-Action, map integration, daily metrics and of course ads. In these ads you choose your type of audience, location targeting, the CTA, budget and how long you want to run the ad for. Then you can review likes, impressions, engagement, most active times etc. In 2017 Instagram reached about 1 Million in advertisers on the platform with about $4 Billion in ad revenue. Things certainly are becoming more professional and businesses oriented for the cool-kid of social apps.
The Massively Small Features of Instagram
For those of us who are Instagram users, we know that there is a limited interface. Square photos in a square orientation. There are some circles now too but the interface has mostly remained the same. This makes Instagram’s features hard to notice.
One big thing that gets a lot more attention now is video. These are still displayed as a square but provide a whopping 60 seconds of video content. This is actually quite large for a non-video focused platform. We highly recommend posting a video once in a while, but remember stylings must be consistent with your photos.
The surprise element that Instagram brought to the table was Instagram Stories (they snagged the idea from SnapChat). Stories are the circles at the top of the page in which all types of account holders can share an endless amount of candid photos and videos of their day. Because content posting in these stories only last for 24 hours. Other platforms like SnapChat and Facebook have this exact feature as well. While this is easy to integrate to a personal account, when businesses use Instagram stories they usually have curated a whole visual plan, yes a story, before simply snapping away. You can get a bit more casual, creative, fun, and current since it only lasts 24 hours.
The final, somewhat hidden element of Instagram for small business is direct messages. As users begin to follow you, like and comment on your content, you are bound to have some of them contact you. One of the most popular ways to reach out is the app itself using direct messages. You can see them at the top left of the page when you are on the follower feed page, not on your account profile page. Make sure to keep watch because it can be easy to miss, but it is also an easy way to talk one-on-one to your potential customers you connect within the app.
The breakthrough came as my follower count pushed above 800
Six Instagram Tips For Your Small Business
Here a couple staples for using Instagram as a small business:
1. Connect Your Other Accounts
Make sure to link your other social accounts so your content is being shared across your other platform to make your accounts to have more visually rich content. Here is how to sync your Google+ and Instagram accounts.
2. Use #hashtags
Hashtags are a way to help your post with visibly. Think of them as keywords for photos. Use relevant and popular ones to help your photo show up for them. Resist filling a whole post with a whole page of hashtags or using ones that just don’t work for your photo.
3. Regramm Great Content
This fun tip is all about sharing posts that you think your audience would like. Regramming is like re-tweeting. Use it as a way to create discussion and connections on the platform. It also helps with content creation for your account.
4. Balance Your Posts
Like all social platforms make sure you have a good balance of posts. Have promotions/informative posts, but make sure to have more fun images about your organization. This could be daily life at the company, #inspo, and regramming. Have it be more fun and less work.
5. Utilize Contests & Takeovers
For special events or promotions, you could host a contest or a takeover. A contest could be winning one of your products for those who repost your post. A takeover is when you have an influencer or another company post and make stories on your behalf. This is to create buzz and a collaborative community.
6. Have Consistency and Measure Your Results
Number one for Instagram is to be consistent with purposeful posting. Then you will be able to measure your data of impressions, likes, and engagement. So you can best determine your audiences and posting times. If you use AdWords this should be second nature by now? Right?
Set Your Business Right For Instagram Success
Instagram has been getting cooler and cooler since 2010 and is a great place to easily start developing a visual and social presence. While it can be meticulous and sometimes challenging to create a single post, it should be enjoyable once you get acquainted with it. Make your posts purposeful, focus on engagement and that you maintain a consistent style. Check out Google’s Insta. If you’re considering the Insta movement, it may take a bit of time. Know your options, *ahem* for the time management and budget savings for your Google AdWords. We want your business to be getting those hearts too!