Are you looking for a basic guide to Instagram? Here is our Instagram Guide for Small Business!
There is no shortage of information online, but we wanted to summarize it for you and give you the most important pieces to work with because as a small business owner, especially one trying to do their own social media, you don’t have time to necessarily compile all of this information yourself.
If you want the downloadable PDF (you can also print it out) version of this guide, please CLICK HERE to request the template and we will email it to you right away! It will come in an email with all of our other templates for you to take advantage of 🙂 We hope you like it!
With more than 25 million companies utilizing Instagram for business and 200+ million users per day visiting brand profiles, Instagram is one of the biggest growing platforms for brands to create recognition and relationships with their customers and potential clients.
Learn how you can benefit from this platform to grow your own business with the basics of this guide.
Create an Instagram strategy
Depending on your goals with social media marketing, a strategy for content can be your best investment to be able to see your social channels grow, and hopefully your sales channels as well. Without a strategy in place, you are shooting blindly and hoping for success. Social media is an amazing tool, but with any tool, you have to understand how to use it properly for it to work for you.
Create a list of attainable goals with specific timelines
Know where you are heading with your social media marketing and how long you would prefer it to take to get there, but be reasonable with your goals and timelines to avoid frustration. Learning a new platform can take time and so does building a loyal following, so don’t expect thousands of followers right away. Tweak your goals and timelines as you go along if you need to.
Set a regular posting schedule and stick to it
Your followers will be looking for your content once they get to know your schedule. Keep them happy with a set schedule that fits with your strategy. Themes can also be helpful ways to keep your audience engaged, like #Fridayfunny, #throwbackthursday and #sundayfunday.
Create an effective bio for customers to read
Your bio on Instagram is often the first information potential customers will get about you. Use all of the 150 characters allowed to detail points to better understand your brand’s personality. Include your hashtag or relevant hashtags if possible. Use emojis if applicable – they can help cut down on characters and draw the eye to your bio. Make sure your bio isn’t one run on sentence by using line breaks to separate information.
Learn how to use Instagram Business features to better understand your metrics
Instagram provides lots of data on your audience, engagement and growth. Get to know the Insights tab on your profile page to be able to analyze what is working to grow your account and what isn’t.
Create engaging and well-thought out content to grab customer’s attention
Content is one of the most important aspects of your Instagram account. Everything from the lighting, clarity, filters and models to the editing techniques you may use and the angles you choose. Find a style that works for you to keep yourself interested in producing top quality imagery and that also works for your followers. Also keep in mind that what you find relevant to your audience may not resonate with them, so stick with your strategy and follow the metrics to narrow down your content to the get the best engagement.
Not only is consistency in your content important, but it is also important to be consistent with your posting. One of the biggest ways to alienate followers is to post too much or too little – feast or famine if you will. You want your audience to know what to expect from your account including when you might post, what content they can expect from you and not inundating their feeds with too much content all at once.
Use Instagram stories
Even though Instagram stories only last 24 hours, they can be attention getting as well as give insight into your business without detracting from your page feed, style and strategy. Are you working on something new? Try and give a quick snapshot in your stories to lure followers into tuning in for more information as you progress.
Create a story with your caption, not just a sales pitch
Obviously as a business account, you want to see sales come out of all of this time and effort. Unfortunately your followers typically don’t want sales pitches thrown in their face every time they look at one of your posts. Try to have engaging content that isn’t 100% sales driven to keep your brand interesting and not just salesy. Humour and a unique perspective can do amazing things for building engagement with your followers.
Research and use the right hashtags for your content
Hashtags, along with visual content, are the building blocks for your Instagram account. This is how new followers will find your content so it is so important to understand how they work and which ones are best to use for your business. Find similar accounts and monitor what hashtags they use as well as what type of engagement they are getting with those hashtags. Keep lists, spreadsheets or notes so you don’t forget and always keep looking as new hashtags are created or start trending daily. Don’t use hashtags that don’t relate to your content just because they are trendy as you won’t be doing yourself or your profile any favours.
Interact with your audience
Always remember to engage with your followers when they send messages, leave comments or like a lot of your posts. Visit their pages and see if you can comment on some of their posts too. Engagement on your items and engaging with others are all ways to boost the algorithm on Instagram in your favour.
Follow other Instagram accounts with similar content or local to your business location
Make sure you are engaging with local businesses or interesting accounts whenever possible. It encourages those businesses to do the same for you and their followers might be interested in your profile but might not find you from hashtags alone. Leaving comments puts your information in front of other potential clients, but make sure to do it in a respectful and encouraging way – not just to try and snipe some followers.
Track results and adjust as necessary
Instagram, like other social media platforms, updates and changes regularly. As such, a strategy that has been working for you for awhile may start to fall off on engagement or website traffic. Keep learning new techniques and investing time and energy into building your social media marketing to be successful in the future.
Brittany & The EDS Team
Brittany Hardy is the Owner of Empty Desk Solutions, a boutique marketing company located in Port Moody B.C.
Brittany is passionate about helping small businesses achieve their growth goals with marketing solutions that are both effective and affordable. After many years of working in retail management and then as the Marketing Manager for Canada’s largest mortgage company, Brittany decided it was time to pursue a life-long goal of creating her own business. Naturally she likes to help others and decided there was no better way to do this than to use her creative talent to help others who want to do the same thing.
With three young children, Brittany believes in balancing work and home life and continues to find new ways to support and employ other mothers who want to start their own businesses or stay at home with their children. Social media marketing continues to evolve for small businesses and Brittany and her team are passionate about helping these businesses navigate how they can benefit from these networks.