Quick Tips

Quick Tip: Boosting Your Small Business with Instagram

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

In 2012, Facebook spent a whopping $1 billion to acquire Instagram, a photo-sharing app that now boasts more than 800 million users, up 100 million from the year before. With a rapidly growing platform, it’s easy to see why small businesses are flocking to the social media outlet.

But with an image focus, some may wonder how Instagram can help their small business grow. As a part of our month-long social media series, Windstream Small Business is bringing you deep dives of social media channels to do just that. And today, we’re tackling Instagram for small business.

Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Learn More about the Platform

This seems like a no-brainer, but it won’t hurt to play around with Instagram on a personal account to get the gist of it. Once you feel comfortable with it, feel free to expand it to your small business by opening an Instagram business account.

Know, though, that this platform’s users have a younger demographic — nearly three of every five users are between the ages of 18 and 29, and about a third are between the ages of 30 and 49. And of all users, 80 percent follow at least one business, and 60 percent said they heard of a product or service on Instagram.

Like Facebook, Instagram also has an algorithm that use three main factors — interest, recency and relationship — to determine what users see in their feed. Read more about its algorithm here.

2. Engage, Engage, Engage

In 2016, after Instagram initially changed its algorithm — so feeds were not in chronological order — the platform had said users did not see 70 percent of posts. Since then, Instagram has been continuously changing its algorithm, and now, the three main factors can easily come down to one thing: engagement.

So, how do you bump up engagement?

The first thing that comes to mind is, obviously, conversing with your followers and potential leads. Respond to their questions, comments and stories.

But also, write engaging captions on your own posts. (Here’s a guide on writing the perfect post, which includes adding a location and using branded hashtags.) Include relevant hashtags, which is a win-win. Users can search and follow hashtags to find content they’re interested in, but you can also find potential leads by looking for like-minded users.

Include a call-to-action for users in your posts or in your stories, if you have a verified account. The call-to-action can be anything from redirecting users to your small business bio to adding actual buttons, like “Shop Now” or “Learn More,” on promoted posts. (And don’t forget the power of paid promotions.)

3. Test Different Content — and Measure

Instagram also has different forms of content — including stories, short videos that disappear after 24 hours; Boomerang, which plays mini-videos on a loop; and static and carousel images, multiple photos in one post.

As an example, if your law firm is celebrating a success, try out a Boomerang of your employees making a toast. Or if your retail store is about to debut a new product or service, try out a “sneak peak,” a tease of what’s to come before the launch date. (One report found that 65 percent of the best-performing posts on Instagram feature products.)

Also, know that your brand ambassadors matter more here than they do on any other platform. So don’t be afraid to share user-generated content or cross-promote with them or even other businesses that fit into your brand.

And just like your other social media channels, find out what works by reviewing your data regularly. Forbes has a list of the top 10 Instagram analytics tools to try out.

Remember these tips the next time you’re posting for your small business. And while you’re working on honing your social media know-how, be sure to accelerate your small business with Kinetic Internet.