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Instagram has been a major player in the social media world for some time now. More than 65 million monthly active users, 10 billion photos and one of the most iconic logos out there make it an essential marketing platform for small businesses — if they know how to use it.
As the photo-sharing platform continues to grow, so does its influence on its users buying habits. With that in mind, you can use Instagram not just as a place for sharing photos, but also for getting new customers.
To help you succeed on Instagram as a small business owner, we’ve gathered the best tactics and advice from successful SMBs. Here are seven tried and true ways to use the social network as a marketing tool.
1. Create engaging emoji captions
Capitalizing on emojis is an effective way to engage your followers. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and hashtags are funny and slightly different. Try using them together for extra creativity.
Emojis are especially effective on Instagram, as they can be used to add personality to your messages. You can use the same emoji for different occasions, or mix up the colors and style of the message every time you post something new.
Related: 15 Ways to Optimize Your Instagram
2. Be original
No one can resist the lure of original content when they view your captions on Instagram. There are thousands of similar posts to yours, which means that you need to stand out from the rest.
Make sure you have a unique angle or perspective that your followers will appreciate. You do not want to be seen as a person who simply shares what’s going on in their lives without adding value or makes any effort whatsoever. With unlimited Instagram followers, it’s easy for people to find a particular user they like. But if you want your post to be noticed, step out of the crowd and create something memorable for them.
3. Use hashtags wisely
When you use hashtags on Instagram, be sure to see how they perform before doing so. It’s a good idea to do a search for your own specific hashtag and see what happens when you include it in your posts.
While there is no guarantee that your hashtag will get noticed, there are a number of factors that go into how well it performs. There are certain hashtags that people use all of the time, while others tend to perform better when they are used occasionally.
The best performing hashtags are around eight to ten characters in length, and you should make sure your hashtags are easy for people to read. You should also use a combination of hashtags, and not focus on just one or two.
4. Go beyond Instagram
If you want to get more Instagram followers, be sure that you take advantage of the other opportunities available to you. For example, you can try promoting your account through Facebook ads or on Twitter. These sites allow their users to advertise their pages or products, so consider taking advantage of this feature if it fits in with your goals for growth.
5. Post regularly
It’s always good to post regularly, but you want to make sure what you post is engaging. This is an opportunity to showcase your brand personality and connect with followers on a more personal level, so don’t waste it by posting bad content! Many brands are using Instagram stories as another way of keeping their content fresh. They do this by creating short clips that are easy for viewers to consume, and act as an extension of the account in a way that matches their brand image. This is definitely something worth trying out!
6. Attractive Instagram feed
If you have a well-designed Instagram feed, then it makes sense for the profiles to match too. These will be the first images new followers see, so make sure they are interesting and enticing enough to make people want to continue to explore your feed. If you’re using a mobile device, then this is particularly important, as you only have a small area in which to catch their attention.
While many people already know this, there are still some businesses out there that don’t: Instagram is now an algorithm-based feed. That means that it doesn’t follow the chronological order of posts. This is a huge change for those who used it primarily as a content curation tool and suddenly found they had zero visibility when their posts were not directly engaging or being actively liked.
Take advantage of the algorithm by adjusting your posting times and finding out which time slots are best for you. While there’s no magic formula for this, you can base it on the following:
- What kind of content do you post? Usually lighter, more digestible content is best early, while images that are bolder or more graphic-heavy are better later in the day.
- How much time do you spend on your account? If you spend less than an hour a day on it, then consider the early hours of the morning. The reason for this is that more people are online during those hours, so posts from this time are among the first they see.
- Where do you live? Some markets are very different when it comes to the amount of time people use their smartphones in those locations.
Time your posts accordingly to avoid any disappointment and to ensure that your content is getting the visibility it deserves.