If you want to grow your exposure, increase your engagement rate, and ultimately sell more, Instagram is the place to be. Starting small can be challenging and even frustrating when so many influencers and brands have already made a name for themselves on Instagram.
Instagram for small businesses is a must in today’s world, where most of our interactions happen online and 83% of its users state that the platform helps them research new products. However, with the right strategy and a consistent posting schedule, you too can turn your local business into a social media success story.
Stick around to discover the 10 ways to grow your following on Instagram!
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Table of Contents
Why Should You Use Instagram as a Small Business?
Instagram is a great place to promote products and services for any business that wants to boost sales and conversions. With over 1.21 billion active users on the platform as of today, Instagram has become a pillar for any small business looking to reach a wider audience.
Essentially, here are the main benefits of having a small business Instagram account:
- You can expose your business to a larger audience
- You can boost your sales and conversions
- You can build a loyal community of customers
When you display your offerings to your Instagram community, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll automatically see your sales level skyrocket. Building an audience takes time and commitment. You’ll have to start with high-quality content, then increase audience engagement, and only after you’ve managed to drive traffic to your local business you can expect higher conversion rates and sales.
How to Improve Your Instagram Marketing Strategy
Managing an Instagram account for your small business can be challenging, especially since you’re running its day-to-day operations and have other professional and personal responsibilities on top.
We get it! Your Instagram marketing strategy becomes the last thing on your mind at times.
Still, if you bring your A-game posting schedule for your high-quality content, everything becomes automated in the long run.
You’ll have to take into account other small business owners and competitors, the preferences of your online community, and some Instagram marketing tips to maximize engagement.
Other than that, managing your Instagram business profiles is not difficult.
Here are the 10 ways to grow your following on Instagram:
- Make sure your content strategy is perfect
- Start a weekly challenge
- Geotag your Instagram posts
- Collaborate with other small business Instagram accounts
- Host a giveaway
- Don’t shy away from Instagram reels
- Share multiple Instagram stories a day
- Go live and answer customer questions
- Keep the interaction flowing
- Collaborate with influencers
Now, let’s explore each strategy in detail and reveal the behind-the-scenes of running a successful Instagram account. Don’t sneak peek or jump to the last point – there’s plenty of useful information in here that could serve your goals in the long run and teach you the main aspects of Instagram marketing!
1. Make Sure Your Content Strategy Is Perfect
Don’t feel pressured, but your content strategy has to be perfect on Instagram. With so many accounts and Instagram business profiles in place, you’ll need an air-tight strategy to direct your marketing efforts properly and engage with your Instagram audience.
Here are the main components of a solid Instagram marketing strategy:
- Find your target audience.
- Create a brand voice that resonates with your Instagram community.
- Post consistently to build a valuable Instagram feed.
- Maximize engagement by interacting with your followers and other creators.
- Include relevant hashtags and keywords in your Instagram captions.
- Diversify your content (Instagram reels, Instagram carousels, IG TV, photos, Instagram highlights, etc.).
- Write a compelling Instagram bio and choose a high-quality profile picture.
With SocialBee, you can create and schedule the right content for multiple social platforms from one intuitive dashboard with plenty of integrated features. Using this app can help you successfully market your business accounts on multiple social platforms at once. Say hello to cross-promotion and various active communication channels!
Let’s not forget that with SocialBee you can post all types of content on Instagram:
- Images and videos
Create, schedule, share and monitor your Instagram content performance from SocialBee.
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2. Start a Weekly Challenge
Weekly challenges on Instagram are so much fun! To keep your content engaging for your prospective customers, you’ll have to get creative. Weekly challenges are one way to do that and even grow your follower count in the meantime.
Let’s say you’re a yoga studio that wants to connect with other users and maximize engagement.
Your weekly challenge posts can look something like this:
- A weekly series of Motivation Mondays where you start the morning with a stretch
- A weekly challenge that encourages your followers to exercise more
- Weekly sessions where you explain certain exercises
Whatever you choose to turn into a weekly challenge, make sure that it fits your target audience, it peaks at your prospective customers and revolves around your main content pillars.
You can nurture your community by featuring users who participate in your challenge. This way, you’ll also introduce user-generated content into your Instagram feed.
3. Geotag Your Instagram Posts
Geotagging and sharing location, in general, can benefit your Instagram performance greatly. People often search for a location on Instagram or click on a geolocation tag on their followers’ feed to see where they can find it on the map.
When they do so, an entire page of people who shared content from those places pops up. If your post ranks well, chances are visitors will stumble upon it and discover your profile in the process.
Therefore, posts tagged with a location mark usually perform better. In fact, geotagged Instagram posts can have up to 79% more engagement than those without a location tag. Keep that in mind the next time you post something on your Instagram account.
4. Collaborate with Other Small Business Instagram Accounts
Sharing is caring – literally. When it comes to your Instagram strategy, engaging with your peers and other small businesses can take your marketing efforts to a whole new level.
Cross-promotional posts between small businesses can help you and your collaborator’s account stand out and grow Instagram performance in the process.
Here are the main benefits of collaborating with other accounts on Instagram:
- You can reach out to a wider audience
- You can find new prospective customers
- You can share insights from the industry with each other
- You can cross-promote your offerings
- You can share & borrow ideas from each other
- You get to grow together and network as a team
To find small business owners that want to collaborate with you, simply try to look them up through hashtags from your industry, search profiles that match your field, or try to post shout-outs where you call for industry experts to connect.
5. Host a Giveaway
Giveaways are a great way to stand out on Instagram, as everyone is excited to hear about free offerings and new companies reaching out to other users.
A successful giveaway has the following characteristics:
- It offers a sought-after product or service relevant to the company’s profile
- It’s bound by a time frame
- It clearly states the rules of the game (mentions, comments, sharing to one’s story, etc.)
- It actually gives away the prize, preferably publicly on their story and asks the winning contestant to vouch for the legitimacy of the Instagram account
6. Don’t Shy Away from Instagram Reels
Reels are the equivalent of TikToks on Instagram, meaning that they’re short-form videos that you can upload as another form of connecting to your audience.
You can use Reels to share information, for entertaining purposes, do lifestyle or travel displays, or whatever you see fit.
As a small business owner, you can use Reels to:
- Promote your products
- Show users how to use your items
- Do relatable videos similar to your content pillars
- Entertain your audience through funny videos
If you want to use Instagram for your small business, you’ll have to find all the ways to use the platform for your benefit and get creative with its features to get the most of it.
7. Share Multiple Instagram Stories a Day
By multiple stories, we don’t necessarily mean spamming your Instagram audience, but a healthy dose of sharing is required to keep them engaged and updated with your progress.
Instagram stories are one way to connect with your Instagram follow and upgrade your strategy. Sharing behind-the-scenes content, various updates from your business’s life, and asking your audience about their experiences throughout the day can help you establish a deeper connection with them.
What’s better is that you’ll get into the mind of your followers and they’ll remember your brand easily if you keep them engaged with your content at all times.
You can save your stories to your Instagram highlights section as well if you feel like they deserve to have a permanent spot on your profile and want your followers or other users to review them.
8. Go Live and Answer Customer Questions
Don’t be shy and go live on your Instagram page at times. Instagram live can help you connect with your audience and establish a friendlier tone with them once they can put a face on the brand.
Live videos allow your audience to ask questions, clear their concerns, interact with you and see your reactions in real-time, all of which help build your brand’s voice.
Here are some topic ideas for your next Instagram live video:
- A live Q&A session
- An explanatory session about your business, how you started it, or what it takes to run it
- A behind-the-scenes of your business
- A simple update & check-up on your followers
9. Keep the Interaction Flowing
A successful Instagram strategy is all about keeping yourself on the map, visible, and in the eyes of your audience. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure that you interact with other small business owners and other Instagram accounts at all times.
You can do so by replying to comments, encouraging your audience to express their opinion in the comment section, leaving a significant remark on other profile’s posts, and overall being present online.
When someone comments on your post, make sure to reply to them professionally. Always be careful with your words on social media, as they are a staple of your Instagram account and business overall.
If you want to be a professional in the online environment, SocialBee can help you grow organically by interacting with other profiles for you. It’s as simple as 1-2-3! All you have to do is choose your plan and watch your page grow month by month.
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10. Collaborate with Influencers
Influencers are a huge part of the Instagram culture and they have become a landmark for the Instagram community in time. They dictate what’s new and hot on the markets, help small businesses grow online, inspire others to live up to their dreams, and set the pace for upcoming trends.
Collaborating with influencers is one of the most clever strategies you can opt for in your Instagram strategy, as they already have your prospective customers in the same place.
Essentially, influencer marketing is all about reaching out to famous online users in your area of interest to ask them to feature your offerings on their page.
This way, you’ll instantly reach a wider audience and connect with more users at once, without having to own a notorious page beforehand. The aim of the deal you’re closing with your choice of influencers will be worth it in time, as it’ll help you grow as well and ultimately increase revenue.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. Is Instagram Good for Small Businesses?
Instagram for small businesses is a great choice for any brand that wants to grow its online reach and increase conversions.
Instagram can help you connect to a wider audience and find new ways to promote your offerings, all while growing with a community of people interested in your products or services.
2. How Do I Start a Small Business Account on Instagram?
Instagram is an intuitive platform that can help you set up an account easily. All you have to do is go to the main website, press the “sign up” button, and follow the steps to create an account.
If you’re a brand who wants to set up an Instagram business account, simply go to setting and switch your profile to a professional account. Don’t forget to choose your industry when you set it up.
3. Is Instagram a Free Marketing Platform?
Instagram is essentially a platform free of charge for its users, as you can post any type of content and have all your followers engage with you for free.
However, if you want to grow at a faster pace, save time in the process, and reach a wider audience, paid Instagram ads are a great way to do so. The ad feature is built-in app and it takes little time to set up a campaign.
4. How Can I Promote My Instagram Profile for Free?
You can promote your Instagram profile for free by collaborating with other businesses for cross-promotion posts, or by promoting it yourself on other social platforms like Facebook (now Meta), Youtube, Snapchat, or any other social media app.
5. How Much Do Instagram Ads Cost?
Ads costs can vary, depending on your budget and campaign goals. Here are the average prices for different ads models on the Instagram app:
- The average price for CPC (Cost-per-Click) is between $0.40-$0.70. However, if you add a clickable URL, the price can go up to $0.95
- The average price for CPE (Cost-per-Engagement) is between $0.01-$0.05
- The average price for CPM (Cost-per-Thousand-Impressions) is between $2.50-$3.50
Take Your Instagram Strategy to the Next Level
Building a successful Instagram marketing strategy is a challenging process, considering the aspects you have to keep in mind when running marketing campaigns. Regardless of your goals, knowing your target audience and your marketing objectives are the key to an Instagram strategy that works.
If you want to add value to the platform, build successful networks, and create a successful Instagram account for your small business without having to create and implement your strategy from A-Z, we’ve got you covered!
Start your free 14-day trial today with SocialBee to create, schedule, and share content on all your platforms from one intuitive dashboard!