Instagram Marketing for Small Businesses: 9 Best Practices

By Hugh Beaulac October 10, 2020
Instagram Marketing for Small Businesses: 9 Best Practices

This is a SUPER detailed Instagram marketing for small businesses.

In this new guide you’ll learn how to use Instagram to market your small business.

Let’s dive right in.

With 3.96 billion social media users, social media marketing is not just for big players anymore; and it isn’t a marketing option.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn have been helping businesses of all sizes and niches reach their target audience, promote their products and services, and have one-on-one conversations with customers.

Obviously, small business owners don’t have much budget and time to spend on all social media channels.

If you want to pick the right social media platform for your small business, make it Instagram.

Why Should Small Businesses Use Instagram Marketing?

The days when Instagram was a simple photo-sharing app to share stories of their lives are far behind us.

Today, it has great marketing potential and here are three main reasons for small business to use Instagram marketing:

#1. Reach Your Target Audience

The Instagram community has reached one billion monthly active users and the number of Instagrammers is constantly growing.

In fact, 90% of these users want to connect with brands in-app which means Instagrammers are happy to discover new businesses and communicate with them.

Moreover, Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms among Millennials:

With a wide range of demographics, it’s more likely your potential customers are active on the platform, no matter what your target audience is.

#2. Save Marketing Budget

In spite of Instagram’s sales potential, it’s still a cost-effective marketing tool.

Having the most engaged user base, it’s easy to reach your target audience and interact with potential customers, you can create and run affordable paid ads that give results, and there’s a variety of automation tools, so there’s no need for small businesses to spend much budget on an in-house team of social media managers or hire a marketing agency.

NB: To set a smart budget for your social media campaign, get math help to take into account key components of your business as there’s no one-size-fits-all solution that works well for all companies.

#3. Stay Ahead of Your Competitors

For most small business owners, Instagram isn’t the most obvious small business marketing strategy and 89% of them still lay a bet on Facebook:

Although 48% of small businesses use Instagram, not all of them want to invest time and effort into this social media channel.

But if you learn from big companies, it’s obvious that Instagram is worth giving a try as 25 million businesses and 2 million advertisers use it for business promotion.

If you have an Instagram presence from the start, you are more likely to get results once your products become popular.

Having an Instagram presence is great, but it’s not enough to get wonderful results.

Thus, here are nine best practices for small businesses on how to use Instagram marketing for growth.

1. Tell More About Your Business

Practically every small business aims at building brand awareness.

The more people know about your company, the more potential customers you can acquire.

Since 70% of people use Instagram for product discovery, this platform is the right place to spread the word about your business.

Moreover, it has a great variety of in-app features that help to tell more about your business.

Once you’ve switched to a business profile, you unlock different business-specific features like analytics, product tags, Instagram Story links, paid ads, and much more.

Check out this example of a well-designed business profile from American Furniture Warehouse:

The company is an excellent example of this strategy for the following reasons:

  • It tells about the business in a bio
  • It links back to the website
  • It has an in-app online store
  • It offers different contact options
  • It shows the variety of products

To attract more followers to your profile, consider using a keyword rank tracking so that you can add relevant keywords in your bio and therefore grab the attention of your target audience.

2. Create a Brand Hashtag

The hashtag is powerful these days.

It has become a great discovery tool as people use hashtags to find more information about product, service, business, or a particular location.

It’s proven that posts with 11 hashtags get higher engagement.

For brands, this means you can get lost in the number of daily hashtags unless you have a unique brand hashtag for your business.

Here are the top reasons to create a brand hashtag:

  • Boost online visibility
  • Build a strong brand identity
  • Structure content
  • Cut through the noise
  • Reach a wider audience

Using your brand name as a hashtag is the easiest yet the most effective way to create a brand hashtag, just like in the example below:

To bring your business to the next level and make the most out of hashtag marketing, you can use clever phrases or branded terms that resonate with your business.

3. Build a Loyal Community

Instagram has the highest engagement rate. Instagrammers are active and they want to connect with brands in-app.

However, the days when having a substantial following was enough to keep your audience hooked are long gone.

Today, customers crave communication with brands and they pay close attention to companies that listen to them and interact with them.

When done right, it’s easy to turn your engaged followers into paying customers.

Moreover, involved people are loyal followers and customers who are happy to spread the word about your business and recommend it to their friends and family.

Thus, it’s important for small businesses to grow your Instagram following and interact with followers to build a loyal community of potential customers.

4. Grow Your Email List

If you’re just starting out, it can take time and effort to get great results and monetize your Instagram account.

But if you have other marketing channels like emails that work well for your small businesses, it’s a good idea to combine Instagram and email marketing.

With clickable links and contact buttons, it’s a great place for growing your email list.

For example, you can add a landing page link in your bio and talk about it in the caption.

Check out how Troos Skin Care did it:

If you want to build your email list fast, it’s a good idea to organize a giveaway with valuable prizes and put ‘sign up for newsletter’ as the participation requirements.

However, not all users are happy to provide valid email addresses as they are afraid of spam emails that bombard them from all sides.

To improve your email deliverability, you can use a bulk email finder before adding all contacts to your email list.

What is more, this tool can help you use your followers’ names and surnames to find their contact information and send cold emails with business offers.

5. Encourage Visitors to Take Action

The customer journey–from first customer engagement to purchase–is a long process that can take up to 9 months.

More than half of customers interact with brands 3+ times before making a purchase.

But would it be great if you could encourage your Instagram visitors to take action faster?

The solution is simple: ephemeral content. Better known as Instagram Stories, this type of content is available for 24 hours only, so it creates a FOMO effect that encourages people to take action.

The numbers speak for themselves: 500 million Instagrammers use Stories daily, ⅓ of the most-viewed stories come from brands, and 96% of marketers plan to keep on creating Stories.

Not bad, huh?

Plus, Instagram has many features for Instagram Stories that help brands achieve their business goals.

Some of the best features include:

  • The countdown sticker: To build anticipation
  • The product sticker: To improve shopping experience
  • The clickable link: To redirect followers to the website
  • The poll sticker: To gather customer feedback

6. Understand Your Potential Customers

It’s no secret that customers are the lifeblood of every business. The better you know your target audience, the more customers you can acquire.

What is more, knowing your customers’ needs and wants is a proven way to raise brand loyalty and trust which leads to more sales.

Thus, it’s important to communicate with your potential customers and gather their feedback on your products and services.

Since Instagrammers are highly engaged, this platform is a perfect place to establish a connection with your customers and learn more about their preferences.

One of the best ways to understand your customers is to send customer satisfaction surveys where people can share their thoughts for a chance to get heard.

To motivate people to spend their time filling out surveys, you can organize a giveaway.

Here’s an example of this brand strategy:

However, you’re not limited to customer satisfaction surveys.

Here are several good ideas on how to collect customer feedback on Instagram:

  • Use poll stickers to understand their preferences
  • Ask for feedback with question stickers
  • Redirect followers to surveys with clickable links (bio and Stories)
  • Test your followers’ knowledge with the quiz sticker

As you can see, there are many creative ways to interact with your followers and understand more about their thoughts on your business.

When done right, it can help your small business grow.

7. Use Instagram as a Customer Service Channel

During the discovery phase, when people come across your business and learn more about your products, many questions occur.

With a great variety of products on the market, people always have questions about your business before making a purchase as they want to make the best decision.

Having an Instagram account, it’s a good idea to get ready for customer service.

In fact, 150 million people have a conversation with brands on Instagram each month.

For instance, people often ask questions in the comments and they expect to hear back from your brand. When you reply to their inquiries, they become more loyal to your brand:

But if it takes days or weeks to get a reply, people lose interest in doing business with you.

Thus, it’s a good idea to use a chatbot app on your website if you don’t have an opportunity to provide customer service on Instagram.

However, don’t forget to inform your followers that using a chatbot on your website is the only way to get their questions answered.

8. Sell Products and Services on the Platform

Instagram shopping is gaining popularity. More and more customers use the platform for product discovery, so Instagram offers businesses options to set up and run an online store in-app.

Product tags and stickers, clickable links, and an In-app checkout are just a few of the features that help businesses sell products and services on the platform.

Want to know the best part? Even if you run a local business, you can still use Instagram to reach your target audience, interact with potential visitors, and encourage them to visit your brick and mortar store.

In short, Instagram has great sales potential so it can be an all-in-one tool for small businesses.

9. Keep Up with Instagram Trends

Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms and its users pay close attention to current trends.

If you know what is popular among Instagrammers, the chances are that you can grab their attention and stand ahead of your competitors.

For example, Instagram videos are a new trend that is taking the world by storm.

According to the recent report on vertical videos, 57% of videos are played on mobile devices and people hold their phones vertically 94% of time so the vertical videos are on the rise.

It’s no wonder that IGTV and Instagram Story videos are extremely popular among users.

Here’s how Grove Collaborative uses the power of long-form video content and creates videos for its IGTV channel to tell more about the benefits of its products:

The good news? There’s no need to hire expensive video editors to create stunning video content for your profile.

Small businesses can rely on photo-video editing tools like InstaSize to make appealing visuals with ease.

The Bottom Line

Instagram marketing isn’t going anywhere.

The earlier you start, the better.

With the above-mentioned nine practices on how to use Instagram marketing for small businesses, you can jump on the bandwagon and get wonderful results.

So, are you ready to win your Instagram marketing game?

Let me know your favorite Instagram marketing strategy in the comment section below.

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Hugh Beaulac

Hugh is a content strategist behind MC2 Bid4Papers. With over 7 years of digital marketing experience and love for writing, Hugh also contributes to marketing blogs and shares his tips and tricks. When he's not writing, Hugh reads classic literature and plays board games with friends.

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