With Twitter used to express opinions, Facebook for rants and Snapchat for sending selfies to friends, Instagram is a platform where a picture literally does say a thousand words.

When targetting your audience as a small business, you don’t really want to pay for every add you want to promote and you also want to be able to share with the people around you what you as a company provide. So with Instagrams fantastic platform and their relevant feed based on your activity, it’s a great place for businesses to really interact with current and potential customers, and show them exactly what your business is up to.

For independent businesses, it can be hard to target local people, and if you’re not very tech savvy it could be daunting trying to find new customers but Instagram has some really great benefits when it comes to getting personal with your followers.

With Instagram’s new business feature you can see who has viewed your posts, which posts have been most effective and by what measure, this means that you’ll start to really understand what your followers ‘like’ and want to see.

Here are 10 top tips for small businesses when using Instagram to really connect with and help build your audience.

1. Get Creative

Instagram doesn’t have an editing section for nothing! Try to focus on what you want to achieve as a business and make visual content a way of showing it. Getting interesting and colourful images for your profile is important – make people feel inspired when they visit your page and experiment with their one-minute videos and Boomerangs.

2. Use Hashtags

I don’t think I can stress this enough. Hashtags are awesome. If you visit Instagram and search #food for example, all the latest pictures of food that have been taken with the hashtag will come up at your fingertips – even if you don’t follow the person. So try and use relevant and trending hashtags which you can find on Twitter. If your post is interesting enough you could have people from all over the world liking and commenting on your posts increasing your reach and expanding impressions!

3. Show your followers what happens BTS

Showing your followers and potential customers what goes on in the office, shop, or kitchen etc. is a really good way of forming a relationship and letting them relate or connect with what you’re trying to achieve as a business. Source interesting images of the product and show them how it’s been made or let them know if there’s a ‘limited time left’, and offer on ‘2-4-1 cocktails’ or ‘outfit of the day’…

4. Collab with other similar businesses

There’s huge potential to collaborate on Instagram. With many small businesses using Instagram to market their products, you’re bound to find one nearby, maybe they have a few thousand followers and could get you some recognition, and in return, use your facilities to host a open mic night. Search for a location and use the DM’s to talk to other business owners.

5. It encourages engagement

When uploading a Story you can now use the voting feature to see what your followers really think. Why not show them some exclusive products and find out whether they’d purchase or not?

6. Update your customers on new products

If you don’t have a website yet, or you’re working on it, Instagram is a perfect place to update customers on new and upcoming products and services, with the real-time feed and posts updating all the time, you can easily connect with followers and upload a new service every day where people can see it and interact instantly.

7. Exclusives for people following you on social media

Competitions are a genius way to spread the name of your business. Hosting an entry-worthy competition on your business profile can get people sharing, screenshotting and talking about your business in just a few days, it’s a great way to get followers up and receive some positive feedback from winners!

8. Not everything has to be an advertisement

On your feed, try to include some memes or conversation starters about relevant topics which might be on social media at the time – with some relevant hashtags you’ll be surprised how people get involved. It will show followers that you’re not afraid to join in and have a laugh aside all the business.

9. Try and follow an inviting theme

This one is a little bit of a challenge. Most successful ‘Insta-famous’ profiles will have a set theme whether it be animals, products, food, people, photography or just colour! It’s extremely easy on the eye and personally, I think it’s quite the talent if you can keep up the theme of a well thought out Instagram profile. It shows you’re passionate about what you’re taking photos of, which is the point of Instagram, really.

10. The chance to go viral!

Finally, of course, there’s always a chance you could produce an absolutely showstopping profile with bright exotic pictures and a never-ending amount of comical and exciting captions and get tens of thousands of followers!

But, for now, focus on a few of these key tips for creating a business page on Instagram and set your self-targets for each week. Such as; what you want your followers to see, how many posts you want to put up, how many followers you want to gain and what parts of this businessey jungle you want to share with them.

 

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