8 Aug

How to promote a small business on Instagram

PROFILE:

The overall look and feel of your profile is key for Instagram success. Maintaining a consistent brand, through elements such as your user name and logo, is important to help you increase brand recognition and authority in your sector.

Spend time on your bio. You want to inform your audience of any information they need to know, such as your location, products you sell and where they can buy your products. Now, informative doesn’t need to be boring and if you want to stand out you need to inject some personality in there. This can be done using emojis, relevant hashtags and using your brands unique tone of voice to really hook your audience.  

Tip: Instagram doesn’t allow you to shift to a separate line in your bio on the app. If you want to format your bio into bullet points rather than have it all appear in one line, write it into the notes in your phone just how you’d like it to appear in your bio and copy it over.

We would also suggest that you change your account to a business account. It is free and all you need is a Facebook business page to link it to. By doing this though, it allows you to access insights on your customers, including when is the best time to post for your specific audience and how far your content is reaching. It also allows you to set up a contact option and maps for brick and mortar businesses.

 

POSTS:

Let’s keep this short and sweet. Posting consistently is important. Consistency encourages your audience to engage regularly with your content and ensures that you work alongside the algorithms to be seen more frequently.

Ensure that your posts are relevant to your brand – no holiday snaps, please! This doesn’t mean that you need to only post product images, in fact we’d advice you probably don’t. You want people to understand your brand, not only what it sells. Audiences want to engage with brands with personalities like them. Ask yourself, who are my target audience? What do they like? What other accounts do they follow? And produce the content which represents your brand and speaks to that audience.

 A consistent theme is also something to consider. As a photo sharing app, Instagram is naturally visual. In this sense you need to think about your Instagram feed as a portfolio for your business; keep the images high quality and your aesthetic consistent. Each brand does this differently, some do this through only posting images with certain colours, some edit their images to all have a similar hue, some choose a theme which is just bright and fresh and others treat editing their images like individual pieces of art:

For some examples visit: @shopbando, @allsisters_offical, @hp and @pantone

Whichever you decide, themes do not need to be overwhelming and rigid, but they do make your profile more visually appealing and entice your target audience to follow you. 

When deciding upon content type, consider what engages your audience the most – is it, images, video, memes, quotes? You know your target audience so do some research, what resonates with that group or people and increases engagement.

Now you’ve decided on the above, it’s time to write your caption. This is another place to perfectly capture your brands tone of voice, whether you keep it simple, keep it funny or informative – keep it relevant and interesting.

 

 BEING SEEN:

Now you’ve perfected your profile and your content, but you’re just not getting followers. Well, people can’t follow you if they don’t know you’re there.

I have one word for you, hashtags. You need to be utilising relevant hashtags which will draw your target audience to your profile and the best part is you have a limit of 30 that you can use on each post. Now, research has shown that posts with more than 5 hashtags get lower engagement and honestly, no one’s too surprised by that – they don’t look the nicest. So, how do you get around this? Keep them hidden. There’s two ways to do this both using the same method

Tip: Go to the notes in your phone, open the keyboard and go to the symbols. Now find the bullet point and select it. Then, hit shift and repeat these 5 or 6 times so it looks a little something like this:

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Then, write all your hashtags underneath these bullet points. When you come to post, you need to copy and paste all your hashtags including the dots into Instagram. You can post these after your caption and they’ll be hidden as your caption will become too long; unless they click “show more…” or you can post these directly into the comments, where again they won’t show until someone goes to comment.  Doing this makes your captions appear cleaner and less “spammy”.

With 30 to use, you need to make sure the hashtags you choose are relevant to your brand and regularly used. Take 30 minutes to brain storm some initial ideas of hashtags which you feel would work well for your brand and then go to Instagram and type them into the search bar. What you’ll find is the hashtag, followed by the number of posts that use that hashtag. For smaller brands, it is best to also find relevant hashtags with fewer posts, as this will increase the likely hood of your post showing higher in this search. It is now possible to follow hashtags on Instagram, so utilising them regularly is more important than ever as you are now able to show directly in someone’s news feed if they follow that hashtag. 

Think of other ways that you can also be seen, maybe collaborating with a larger relevant brand in your industry – for example, if you sell clothes made from recycled materials and another brand sells household products from recycled material, joining forces to create a giveaway can be a great way to encourage people to follow you. 41% of Instagrammers state that they follow or would follow, a brand to take advantage of perks and giveaways. Whilst 70% of Instagram users have already taken part in contests. So why not give it ago?

As well as organically trying to grow your Instagram accounts, paid advertising is always an option. Instagram allows you to run advertising campaigns to attract more people to your Instagram account or website and you can promote certain posts which you feel could be relevant to a larger audience. You can set different goals such as, increased visits, website traffic and page views. As well as selecting targeted audiences based on location, demographics and interests. Advertising is definitely a great way to increase brand recognition and traffic but if you don’t have the time to dedicate to seeing what does and doesn’t work, you can end up spending a lot of unnecessary money. For this reason, we would recommend approaching a specialist for help here.  

 

GETTING YOUR FOLLOWERS INVOLVED:

As well as interesting captions and relevant competitions, there are other ways to get your followers involved. Utilising Instagram’s free features such as stories, highlights, live video and now IGTV, you can connect with your customers even when you don’t have content to share.

It’s a great idea to think of some original content for your stories, use polls, Q&A features and ratings to get to know what your customers do and don’t like. You can even ask them about your content – what better way to ace your Instagram game than hearing it directly from the horse’s mouth!

These features also help your brand appear more human. Maybe show your offices or staff and let your audience in on behind the scenes moments.

Engaging with your audience in this organic way also allows you to build trust and if you are worried that certain content won’t fit in your feed, then this is the perfect place to share it. If you want it to stay longer than the 24 hours a story allows, simply create a ‘highlight’ of your story so that it stays on your bio.

Although Instagram may seem overwhelming for small businesses, the key is patience and consistency. If you don’t have the time to spend uploading content each day, consider utilising a digital marketing agency or using scheduling tools to allow you to upload your weekly content all at once. Commit to researching your target audience, studying other Instagram accounts and finding relevant hashtags for your business and start uploading one post per day, using all that you’ve learnt and watch your account grow.

If this still all feels too much for you, contact us at info@meralidigital.co.uk and we’re happy to answer any questions for you.

Source: Nick Patel


 

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