Why Small Businesses Should Embrace Instagram ASAP

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When considering different strategies, tools, and channels to help you grow your small business, is Instagram at the top of your list? 

If the answer is no, you’ll need to change that right away. Instagram is one of the best tools out there for promoting your brand, engaging your target customers, and boosting your sales. Even the numbers support this. The social media platform had over 1 billion monthly active users in June 2018. It has an even bigger audience now, but what really makes Instagram stand out is that 80% of those users follow at least one business account. 

Instagram’s steady growth isn’t going to stop anytime soon, either. This means there will be a lot more competition waiting for your small business if you don’t start using this network to your advantage ASAP. But that’s not the only reason why you should embrace Instagram. There are plenty of other ways in which your business can benefit from it, so let’s take a look at some of them.

  1. Find Your Target Market with Hashtags

Source: dribbble.com (free to use and share)

If there is anyone you should listen to when it comes to social media, and especially Instagram, it’s Gary Vaynerchuk. The entrepreneur and author is a well-known authority on the subject of social media marketing. He suggests that you should go all in on your social media, and one of the reasons why is the relative ease with which you can identify your target market using hashtags. 

Let’s look up the #entrepreneur hashtag as an example. As you can see in the image below, over 53 million posts are using the same hashtag:

Source: screenshot from instagram.com (free to use and share)

If you use just that one general tag, your posts will get lost in all the noise. That’s why you should look up more specific hashtags, as well as other top tags that are related to #entrepreneur. This shouldn’t be too difficult, since Instagram suggests them for you. You can also look up posts from popular profiles and see what other industry-specific hashtags they’ve used to reach their customers.

2. Make Use of Instagram Ads

Regardless of how great your product or your Instagram content is, you’re only ever going to reach your followers with it. To expand your reach and bolster the social media presence of your small business, you’ll need to start relying on Instagram ads.

Instagram has huge potential when it comes to boosting your revenue. There are over 1 million monthly advertisers, and the majority of them are small businesses using Instagram ads

Now, you can opt for images or video, with the latter being more effective at showcasing your brand or products. We also can’t overlook the popularity of Instagram Stories, which can be used as another channel for running ads. 

One of the best examples of Instagram Stories ads is the Dunkin’ Donuts story ad dedicated to the National Doughnut Day:

Source: screenshot from instagram.com (free to use and share)

Their “Donut timeline” is bound to sneak a chuckle from you, and you’ll probably find it impossible to resist their offer of getting a free donut with every beverage purchase. 

Ultimately, you can use these ads not just to target potential customers outside of your circle of followers, but also to retarget customers who’ve visited your online shop and abandoned their shopping carts.

3. Build Relationships by Interacting and Engaging

Woman sitting in a cafe drinking coffee and working on a computer

Source: freepik.com (free to use and share)

Another great bit of advice by Gary Vaynerchuk is his $1.80 Instagram strategy. This tactic enables you to build relationships with other brands’ followers and improve your brand’s exposure, among other things. 

What does this approach involve? First, you need to identify 10 hashtags that are relevant to your business, brand, or niche, and then identify the top 9 trending posts for each hashtag. 

Second, you’re simply going to leave your own proverbial two cents on each of the posts, which amounts to $1.80, figuratively speaking. 

And you are going to do this every day.

For instance, if you see a question in the comments and you have the answer, don’t hesitate to chime in and provide value. But even something as simple as commenting on a post you like or expanding on the information inside the post can be effective. The idea is to interact and create engagement by commenting, liking, responding, and sharing. 

Finally, you can use this approach to reach out to other brands or influencers and strike up a collaboration or ask for help. 

4. Business Profiles Features Can Direct Customers to Your Business

There’s nothing wrong with having a regular Instagram account for your small business, but it would be a shame not to take advantage of the Business Profiles feature. So what do you get with it? 

Your posts will look exactly the same, but your profile page will change slightly and will contain a contact call to action. The CTA will direct customers straight to your business phone, email, or text message. This means you will have an easier time capitalizing on the interest of your Instagram followers and turning it into concrete actions.

Once you set up a business profile, you’ll also gain access to analytical data for business users. This data will provide you with valuable insights into which content is performing best in terms of reach and impression. In addition to that, you’ll also be able to view other insights, such as your followers’ demographics, for each post you publish. 

That way, you’ll have something real to hold on to and inform your marketing strategy, not just your gut feeling. 

5. Drive Traffic to Your Website or Online Store

Social media platforms are great for interacting with your followers and raising brand awareness. But the ultimate goal is to get your followers to your official website or online store. That’s where the conversions take place. 

Source: freepik.com (free to use and share)

And if you do it right, Instagram can be one of the best tools for driving traffic to your website. For example, you could give out a promo code for all the followers who decide to head on over to your store.

What Are You Waiting For?

As you can see, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that Instagram can be great for your small business. Everyone is picking up on the benefits, so you’ll need to jump on the Instagram bandwagon as soon as possible. Use it to your advantage while you can. 

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