6 Small Business Instagram Tips

For a busy small business, social media can become an afterthought, a chore, or can drift into the background altogether. 

You don’t need us to tell you that Instagram is an important tool for attracting new customers (particularly Millenials and Gen Z), but perhaps you could use a few pointers on how to freshen things up, and grow your client base. 

Here’s are some easy steps to take:

1. Put a face to the business

Or more specifically, put your face to your business.

We can feel you starting to cringe here, but bear with us. The COVID-19 pandemic really brought home just how important it is to shop small, and support local businesses. Use this to your advantage by injecting authentic, honest, spontaneous and personal content into your account. 

Reintroduce yourself and your business if you haven’t done so for a while, and snap pictures of your team at work (if you have one!). Exciting new products just landed? Jump onto Instagram stories to talk people through them. 

Becky’s reintroduction post instantly adds personality and narrative to her greetings card brand, Pebble & Sage. It was also one of the brand’s most popular posts! 

2. Promote successful posts 

Stepping into the world of paid social media advertising can feel daunting if you haven’t done it before. Promoting successful posts is a great way to get more eyes on your best content, without having to spend a lot of money, or create dedicated ads. 

Promoting a post is easy. Just click on the post that’s performing well, and hit the ‘Promote’ button (make sure you have your account switched to a business account). From there, you can select the goal (‘More profile visits’ is likely to be the best fit for brick and mortar stores, whereas ecommerce businesses might opt for ‘More website visits’). Then you can either let Instagram target new followers automatically, or you can select your ideal criteria in terms of demographics, likes and interests. 

You set the spend and duration of the promotion, and this can start at just £1 for 1 day, making it a very low-risk way to start out. 

3. Revisit your bio copy 

But before you bring a whole load of fresh faces to your page via promoted posts, it’s time to revisit your bio. Ask yourself: is it clear what we sell, is it clear where you can find us, and (in the case of brick and mortar stores) is it clear that we’ve reopened since lockdown? And more than that, does our brand personality come across? 

Example Instagram bio

Little Active People’s bio is a clear elevator pitch for the brand, and you don’t even need to leave Instagram to browse their products!

4. Try a giveaway 

Okay, okay, we all know giveaways can be annoying — but we also can’t deny that they’re effective. In fact, it’s reported that Instagram accounts which offer regular competitions and giveaways grow 70% faster than those who don’t. 

Understand that your audience is probably suffering from giveaway fatigue, so if you want to run a giveaway, it should be both appealing, and easy to enter. Gone are the days of getting people to tag five friends and repost to their stories (unless you have something really great up for grabs!). 

Top Tip! When it comes to running successful giveaways, two heads are better than one. Is there a local business you can partner with? Double exposure plus double the prizes is a winning combination.  

5. Make a Reel 

Reels are Instagram’s most recent ‘big’ new feature (although, granted, they’re not that new anymore). But still, they’re your best bet when it comes to getting content in front of new customers organically.

They don’t need to be a big production, either. You’ll notice some of the most successful videos have the simplest concepts, like the one below:

This simple reel by subscription box company Treat Them Green has had 2,500 views — that’s more than the number of people who follow the account!

6. Create a content bank 

It’s important to be consistent when posting on Instagram, but it’s inevitable that your inspiration levels (and spare time) won’t be steady from week to week. In times like these it’s helpful to have a bank of lovely images, and some ‘evergreen’ captions to go with them. 

Tools like Hootsuite can help with scheduling content in advance, but you might find something as simple as a dedicated album on your phone (plus a captions folder in Notes) a more usable option, especially for posting on the go.

Did we miss any?

Have you got a small business Instagram hack you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it! Just drop a message in the comments box below.

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Hannah is Creoate's Content Marketing Manager. She's passionate about bringing you content that's actually useful and — dare she say it —inspirational. Running a small business is hard, and we really want to help with that. Drop her an email at [email protected] if there's anything you'd like to read (or if you'd like to be featured!). She's all ears.
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