Are you a small business owner trying to boost your online presence, and ultimately your sales? Depending on your area of expertise, Instagram could give you the boost you’re looking for. When used strategically, Instagram can put your small business in front of a larger audience and connect you with like-minded business owners. Use these 5 valuable Instagram tips to help grow your small business.
Tip #1: Share Helpful Content
Although eye-catching graphics and entertaining Instagram reels are great, the one thing you need most to succeed on Instagram is helpful content.
Each Instagram post you create or share should provide value to your ideal client. That means you need to be incredibly tuned in to what your ideal customer needs and wants. That knowledge should be the driving factor of your business and your social media strategy.
Although Instagram marketing is effective, no one opens Instagram to be sold to. They open the app to be entertained, to learn, and to connect. To succeed on social media, those need to be your goals too.
A basic guideline for Instagram is that 70% of your posts should provide value to your audience. Around 20% should be soft sales pitches, like a testimonial or a product review. Only 10% should directly sell your products or services.
The bulk of your posts should be giving away valuable information without asking for anything in return. This valuable content could come in the form of:
- How-To Guides
- Tips & Tricks Related to Your Industry
- Relevant News & Updates
- Educational Videos or Tutorials
- Behind the Scenes Content
When your content is useful and relatable, your target audience will share it and interact with it. The more interaction your content generates, the more the algorithm will favor it. Instagram then helps high-quality content by recommending it to other users. That means, the key to building your Instagram presence is useful, shareable content.
Tip #2: Have a Great Bio
When a new potential client sees one of your Instagram posts, they will likely click on your profile to learn more about you. That is your chance to convert this curious Instagram browser into a lead. To do that, you need a great bio.
Anyone looking at your Instagram bio should immediately understand what you do and how you could potentially help them. To erase any confusion, put a 1-2 word description of your business in the slot intended for your name. Use words your potential customer might search for like Donald Miller did by stating he is a Business Educator + Author:
Then, you want to summarize what you do and who you help in 150 characters or less. If you are a master of brevity, like the StoryBrand team, you might be able to pull that off.
For mere mortals like the rest of us, you can use bullet points to outline your main services.
To make your bio more enticing, try infusing a little bit of your brand’s personality so that the Instagram community can get a taste of what makes your business unique.
The next thing you need in your Instagram bio is a link. Since you can only have one link listed on your Instagram account, you have to choose wisely.
However, if your main goal for your Instagram profile is to turn new followers into potential customers, post a link for your lead generator. If your target audience only has one option to choose from, they will be more likely to take that action than if you give them a list of 5 different options.
Ultimately, which route you go depends on your main goal for your Instagram account and your business.
Tip #3: Use Relevant Hashtags
Remember when this symbol # used to be a number sign? Ask any kid born after 2007 and they will tell you it is clearly a hashtag.
Hashtags are a tool you can use to get your post in front of a new audience. They essentially assign your Instagram posts to a category, telling the Instagram algorithm to show your post to other Instagram users who are interested in that topic.
You can add up to 30 hashtags per post but Instagram recommends using 3-5.
The key is to use relevant hashtags that will get you in front of your target audience.
For example, we could use #marketing on all of our posts but that would put us in a huge category, leaving us to compete with many more businesses. However, if we use #smallbusinessmarketingtips we are placing ourselves in a more specific category, making it more likely for our ideal clients to find us.
When using hashtags, place them at the end of your caption with a space between your text and your hashtags or to move them to the first comment of your post. That way, if someone decides to read your caption they won’t have to sort through a mess of hashtags to get to the content.
Tip #4: Collaborate and Interact
Many businesses think that the key to succeeding on social media is to create a constant stream of content. In reality, Instagram and social media in general are all about building relationships.
Interaction needs to be an essential piece of your Instagram strategy. If someone comments on a post or sends you a message, you need to answer them in a reasonable amount of time. The Instagram algorithm gives preference to brands that interact regularly with their followers.
Hint: If you find that your content isn’t generating any interaction, go back to tip #1 and make sure that you are creating helpful content catered toward your target audience. If you are posting high-quality content that still gets ignored, try experimenting with the medium you use.
Remember that people are passively scrolling through their Instagram feed, not stopping to open your image and read your caption (unless your graphics already caught their eye). The value should be in the media itself, not down below or on another site.
If you need inspiration, look at what is working for your competitors and experiment with different types of content until you find out what works for you.
Another great way to build relationships and increase interaction on Instagram is by collaborating with other professionals in your field. You can do this by:
- Commenting on their posts.
- Sharing their content.
- Sending them a direct message to learn more about their business.
- Creating content together.
Contrary to what hustle culture wants us to believe, you can’t build a successful business on your own. You need a community to support you.
Social media exists to help you grow your network, get to know your audience, and collaborate with like-minded business owners. When you use your Instagram business account that way, it will feel less like a chore and more like a tool.
Tip #5: Be Consistent
If you are reading through these tips thinking, I don’t have time for all of this, there are two possible solutions to that dilemma:
Option 1: Skip social media (for now). Focus on growing your business using email marketing and face-to-face interactions. You can always add on social media later.
Option 2: Set aside a realistic amount of time that you can commit to social media and do what you can within that time frame.
Although publishing frequency is important, you don’t have to post every day or even use the Instagram app daily to succeed.
Remember, the quality of your content is much more important than the quantity. Decide how often you can show up authentically and effectively on Instagram and then start posting.
You can also use social media scheduling tools to make the most of your available time. Many social media scheduling tools allow you to create a content calendar and schedule regular posts for all of your social media platforms in one place. Those same tools often use Instagram analytics and user behavior to provide suggestions around when to post for the best engagement rate.
Batch your content creation so that you can set it all up ahead of time and then dedicate a specific amount of time each week to respond to comments, collaborate and connect with others.
You could also choose to use Instagram as a tool to connect with other business owners and potential clients without posting your own content. There is no rule that says you have to create regular content in order to be able to collaborate and build relationships through the platform.
Ultimately, Instagram success is not one size fits all. Know what you want to get out of the platform and then commit to consistent actions that support your goal. You don’t need millions of followers to get clients, you just need to connect with the right person at the right time.
With these five valuable Instagram tips, you will be able to leverage Instagram as a tool and use it to help grow your small business.
If you are struggling to effectively explain what you do to your ideal clients, contact Guide MKTG today. We help small businesses fine-tune their messaging so that their target audience can easily understand even the most complex products and services.