How To Use Instagram to Promote a Small Business

Instagram has 300 million users and 90 million of them are in the US. This visual-based social media platform – which allows users to post images from their phones in real time with hashtags (“#”) – is an amazing way to build and increase business. If you’re new to the platform or looking for ways to inject some new life in your current account, read below for some tips and tricks to decide what’s best.

1) Create a strong visual message

Since Instagram is image-based, find ways to incorporate visual messages about the business; it can be a photograph of someone wearing the brand or an employee speaking speaking about a new product. Team up with a photographer or videographer to give images a polished, professional feel, but don’t feel put off if this option is unaffordable. The app itself has great editing tools that let you create beautiful images in seconds, and there are great photo-editing apps and tutorials online: Digital Photography School has a great article about taking photos for Instagram. Also, create a company hashtag and use the 150-character bio section for the mission statement or a brief company description.


2) Go behind the scenes

A polished version of the final product is always beautiful, but think about offering a sneak-peek or a behind-the-scene glimpse into daily operations. Even better if the pictures include actual employees. It’ll give the brand a slightly personal, more relatable touch and honors the people who work hard to help the company execute its vision.

3) Sponsors and product reviews

Seek out Instagram accounts that target a broader market in the niche you’re selling to. A microbrewery with 500 followers can search hashtags related to beer and see what users come up, then contact those with huge followings and ask if they’ll sponsor the product (most often, this will require paying them but keep in mind some – like magazines or publications – will say no because of ethical guidelines) or if they’ll review and feature it in a future post. For example, Beer Advocate magazine’s Instagram account has 18,500 followers as of this posting; if they review the microbrewery with 500 followers, the potential reach is over 18,500 new pairs of eyes.

4) Show followers some love

Contests will never grow old. Encourage followers to post pictures of them using the product with the company hashtag on their own accounts, then pick one to be rshutterstock_280201757egrammed on the brand’s page. Offer a prize and a shoutout to the lucky winner, and the company has proven it’s a real, personable entity who cares about its product and how the users engage with it.

5) Hashtag correctly

One correctly hashtagged post alone could broaden a company’s potential reach by the hundreds or thousands, so wield this tool wisely. Hashtags appropriate to the company’s message or the product being sold will be far more effective than stretching or using misleading words; doing so runs the risk of losing followers and possibly inciting some nasty comments. Pay attention to trends and trending words, but only use them if the words apply. Using a popular hashtag like #love may get lots of likes, but actual followers and long-term interest could result with the use of #unrequitedlove. To check if the hashtags for the company and coincide with what people are searching for on Instagram, use sites like Iconosquare and Webstagram.


*Not A Fad – TechCrunch

Getting Started – Instagram

How To Promote Yourself Using Instagram: 5 Key Campaign Ideas – Bright Yellow Creative Group

Instagram For Business Tips – Social Media Examiner

How To Build A Massive Following On Instagram – Shopify