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5 Ways Small Businesses Can Use Instagram to Make a Big Impact

The evolution of Instagram has been uncanny. Originally starting out as a social platform to simply share photos and discover visual content by using hashtags, it’s evolved into one of the biggest social media platforms in the world. The rising social media giant has over 700 million monthly active users, with over 4.21% per follower engagement rate. That’s 58 times higher than Facebook, and 120 times higher than Twitter.

Yeah, Instagram’s content has captured people’s attentions. But as of 2016, only 48.8% of brands are using Instagram, with the number of B2B marketers drastically lower. Puzzling, we know.There’s a huge opportunity for brands to get in front of their target audience.

Use Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are a series of videos people can record short video clips that only appear to their followers for 24 hours, then disappear. So what’s in it for businesses?

  • Stories are displayed at the top of your followers’ timelines beneath the Instagram logo
  • These posts don’t have to be high quality and super formal, so feel free to capture some behind-the-scenes action, events, or other fun activities related to your brand!
  • There are a few different things you can experiment with: photos, short videos, Boomerang (or GIF-like videos), videos filmed backwards (Rewind), and live video
  • You can tag other accounts in your Stories, making it ideal for collaborators and influencer marketing
  • Face filters, text, stickers, and digital drawings let you edit your images on-the-go
  • Story search for hashtags and locations make your content easy to discover

Lest we forget to mention, all your photos and videos you add will play in the sequence in which you record them – and there’s no limit to how many you can add. There’s a lot you can do with Instagram Stories, it’s just a matter of getting creative.

Make Your Bio Stand Out

Your bio is much more than just a mission statement or tagline. It speaks to who you are and needs to connect with your audience. Instagram introduced Business profiles for Instagram, allowing you to add a ‘Call’ Button, as well as a ‘Contact’ Button for emails. If you’re a local business, this is a great tool that is only activated once you link your Instagram account to your Facebook Business Page. This is also the only part of Instagram where you can add a clickable link – but think beyond your website. What about event registrations, app downloads, offers or special promotions? Whenever you’re ready to launch a new campaign, event, or product, make sure you show some love to your Instagram bio, too!

What’s even cooler? You can add a location for your business, making it easily discoverable by Instagram users. If you’re a local business, definitely make sure you add your location to your profile.

This is what an Instagram profile looks like before and after converting it to a Business profile:

Instagram Business Profile Example

Use paid promotions for special offers, events, and drive your other goals

You can reach targeted audiences on Instagram, drive more engagement, and get the results you’re looking for through paid promotions. But what good is spending money on advertising if you don’t know what you’re getting? Instagram offers in-depth insights that you otherwise wouldn’t get without a social media tool.

Instagram Business Insights Example

Business Instagram Insights Example

If you need some help setting up your Instagram Business profile, Sendible has a great step-by-step blog to get you started.

#UseHashtags!

Hashtags are a great way to expand your reach by making it easy to find content related to your business. These hashtags can be campaign-related or just your company hashtag. You do have a company hashtag, right? It looks like this: #YourBusinessName Easy, right?

So how many hashtags should you use in an Instagram post? Although you can add up to 30 hashtags, it’s best to use 3 – 5. You can even use popular hashtags like #instagood (used in 300 million posts), or #tbt (Throwback Thursday), and lest we leave out hashtags related to your industry. If you’re a restaurant, use #FoodPorn or #Foodie. You can add hashtags in a comment below, at the end of the post, or work them into the actual post itself.

Here’s an example of how an ice cream shop in NYC uses hashtags for their Instagram posts:

Business Instagram Hashtag Example

Collaborate and Mention Others!

Are you working with nonprofit organizations? Perhaps you’re partnering with another like-minded business to offer “super-services” for a limited time. If you’re not expanding your network, you’re limiting your reach. By collaborating with others, or even promoting another business, you’re helping yourself get exposed to their audiences. You don’t have to officially partner with anyone, but giving to a charity or doing events a few times a year is a great start.

Using Instagram for small businesses doesn’t have to be a challenging feat. It’s actually quite simple! Use imagery, video, and live streams to connect and engage with your audiences. Give your customers a reason to interact with you by getting creative with contests, in-store photo opportunities, and captivating content! With just a dash of creativity and effort, you’d be surprised at how Instagram can give your brand a boost!

Chalease is the Marketing Manager of Iron Springs Design. A creative juggernaut with a knack for creating mind-blowing digital strategies, social media campaigns, and branding initiatives, she's helped small businesses produce powerful results and attract not just customers, but loyal fans.