Social media has become an essential marketing tool, but each platform works differently. As a small business owner, social media presents an opportunity to grow your online presence faster than usual. Instagram is one of the best platforms to use because it has over 1 billion users 500 million of those users who log in daily.
However, if you want to make Instagram work for your small business, you will need to take some steps to ensure you get the best results.
Find a Target Audience
Most of the tips I share with you really depend on promoting your content to your target audience. That means you need to know who your target audience really is.
The simplest way to determine your target audience is to examine who is using your site. You can find all kinds of information using various tools like Google Analytics. Some of the information you can gather is age, location, sex and much more.
Use this information to get a rough idea of who is enjoying your content. You may find that your hypothetical target audience is very different from your real one. In this case, you may even want to change the way you market.
If you do not have your audience in mind, there is no way to market to them properly.
Create Good Instagram Posts
I’m pretty sure everyone knows that if you want to be successful on a platform, the content your product needs to be really good. However, many beginners on the platform do not realize this.
And this is especially true when your Instagram account represents your business.
If the quality of your images and the frequency of your posts are inconsistent, what does that say about your real business? Nothing good, I can assure you.
For this reason, I strongly suggest making sure the images you post are of excellent quality. This may require you to buy a better smartphone or a real camera to take better photos.
But, it’s not just the quality of the picture, it’s what you photograph. One of the most popular types of content is drawing your pets.
Be honest, who doesn’t like to see dogs and cats in funny or cute gestures? Successful images in this category are achieved in two ways.
- The creator spends hours finding the perfect gesture for his pet.
- The creator went lucky.
Seriously, you’re either doing a lot of work or getting really lucky. And since you can’t control luck, you should always strive to ensure the images are of the highest quality. This can be time consuming, especially when you are new to the platform.
Best Picture Practices
As I was saying, a lot of work goes into drawing, and there is a lot of useful information available.
For example, did you know that images have faces 38% more likely to receive similar?
Social media is about connecting with others. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that they want to see your face. However, you should also try to add action to your images.
Still images have a place, but images that capture someone in the middle of an action often perform better.
And while there are many more tips on the type of images you should create, it’s worth mentioning the types of images you should not make.
On average, food images do not perform well. This is generally because people are bad for taking images of food unless that is their niche.
It can also be found disgusting or even offensive if you post certain foods. For example, showing a picture of an extra rare steak to a vegan audience won’t go over well.
Make Instagram Posts At The Best Times
When to post on Instagram is just as important as the content itself. In fact, it could be more important. Timing is everything, and this is the main reason you need to know your target audience.
For example, let’s say your target audience is in high school. Posting during school hours Monday to Friday is not going to do you any good. No, instead, you need to post when this audience is most likely going to check Instagram – either first thing in the morning, or after school drop-out.
Every small business has a different customer base and as such, the optimum posting time can vary. Fortunately, most of the work has already been done for you as there are great collections of optimal post time available online.
According to HubSpot, the best hours to post on Instagram during the week are as follows:
- Sunday: 10 AM – 2 PM
- Monday: 9 AM – 5 PM
- Tuesday: 8 AM – 6 PM, * 7 PM
- Wednesday: 5 AM, * 11 AM – 3 PM
- Thursday: 5 AM, * 11 – 4 PM
- Fridays: * 5 AM, 9 AM – 10 AM, * 11 AM – 1 PM, 2 – 4 PM
- Saturday: 9 – 11 AM
However, keep in mind that this is generally based on averages, which means it may not work for your specific core audience.
Note: Consider the timeframe you are posting too.
The Right Hashtag Can Make A Big Difference
It’s a fact, jobs with hashtags get them more exposure than those without.
Hash bags on Instagram work as a sort of sort feature. If you want an image of a beach, most of this content will include #beach. These play an important role on the platform, and you should use at least one hashtag per post.
It is important to realize that not all hashtags were created equal. Some are a little more popular than others, and you should research what the most popular hashtags on the platform.
Remember, these are constantly changing.
But at the same point, your post can reach a more specialized audience with less popular hashtags. That may get you more engaged than the more popular hashtags. So, it really depends on your brand and postings.
Hashtags also plays a big role in the platform algorithm. Posts without hashtags will simply not appear where they belong in search results.
Understand the Instagram Algorithm
If you own a website, you should be very familiar with catering to Google’s algorithm. But Instagram has its own.
It pushes the most recent content to the front of search results, which is a big reason why the timing of your posts is important. Your posts will get the most traffic quickly once they are gone live.
So if you post at the right time, when your audience is most likely checking Instagram, you get better results.
However, this goes even further because it can boost your job engagement score. Engagement is a measure of the similarities compared to your followers.
So for example, let’s say you have 10,000 followers, but your post only has 10 likes versus 100 followers. The smaller 100 follower account has a much better engagement than the larger one.
Acceptance and engagement are the two biggest factors in Instagram’s algorithm, and they go hand in hand.
If you want to do well on the platform, you need to understand the the basics of his algorithm.
Note: Instagram’s algorithm is constantly changing. It is always important to look for the latest information when looking for suggestions on this issue.
Advanced Scheduling Your Jobs is Essential
If you want to be successful in the field of Instagram marketing, you need to follow a schedule. Regular mailing at the same time helps you in many ways.
First, the algorithm really likes it. Consistency is another factor on a very long list, and scheduled jobs make this an easy one to master. Keep in mind that if you change your schedule or posting frequency, Instagram will not like it.
Next, your fans will know when your postings go live. This ensures that they will be more likely to check even before the algorithm recommends them. This significantly boosts your job engagement.
This is also great for the poster. Let’s be honest, big Instagram accounts are not logged in 24/7 waiting to be posted. They usually spend some time at night or the week before setting up images.
This frees up a lot of time and ensures that if life happens, your account will still post content.
However, scheduling weeks in advance has a disadvantage. Sometimes real life events can make something you decided to post a month ago a public relations disaster. You need to make sure you double-check what will be posted every day to make sure it hasn’t lost its charm.
Scheduling your posts is great, and if you’re serious about Instagram marketing, you should be doing it responsibly.
Follow the Trends
Instagram is a pretty fashionable place, and what’s under the spotlight can change overnight. This actually highlights the biggest flaw of setting up Instagram posts weeks in advance.
You simply have no idea what will be trending next week or even tomorrow, for that matter.
Instagram trends present a great opportunity to grow your followers quickly if you can respond quickly enough. However, as trends are sometimes completely random, the only way to figure it out is to be on the platform 24/7.
But the potential for growth is often worth the trouble.
You should try to follow trends that fall within your business spectrum. For example, let’s say there’s a trend about cooking burgers.
If you were a restaurant owner, it totally makes sense to jump in on that trend. But if you’re creative enough, you can make it work for other businesses. For example, what if you owned an arcade and your image was you flipping a burger with one hand while using your other hand to play a game?
That helps you stay on trend, but also promotes the essence of your business. If you follow a trend, apply it to your business.
And on the topic of trends, Instagram Stories will be your best friend. Stories have 500 million daily users and engagement is off the charts.
If you’re new to the platform, you may not be aware of what Stories really is. To put it simply, you take a few pictures or create a video and use it to create a story using filters, text and drawings.
However, what makes this content special is that it is only available for 24 hours after posting.
After 24 hours, the Story disappears. This is the most important part of Stories because it forces creators to do something new and also ensures that visitors don’t just look at the same Stories every day.
So, it keeps the content fresh and makes visitors fear that they might miss something if they don’t check. Which is FOMO textbook marketing.
Use Other Social Media Platforms
Social media is not just about connecting people to each other. It’s also about connecting your various accounts together.
Instagram is a great platform to advertise on, but it’s not the only one out there. And you probably have another account on Facebook, Twitter, or other platforms that have different followers.
Getting visitors from those platforms to follow you on Instagram is essential.
A great way to achieve this is to reuse some of your best Instagram posts on other platforms as a reminder for them to follow you. It’s a great strategy and can help you aggregate your followers across multiple platforms.
Not to mention that you can link your Twitter account to Instagram. So any time you post something new on Instagram, it can be instantly shared on Twitter.
It is not an Overnight Process
Unfortunately, many businesses have this misconception that social media accounts are growing very fast. And while there are examples of extreme growth, I assure you that these only occur very rarely.
Every Instagram success strategy always comes with a plan. Create small achievable goals that help you establish audience and schedule. If you set unrealistic goals, such as getting 1000 followers by the end of the month, your experience will not be great.
In fact, expect to grow very slowly at first. It could realistically take months or years to build a small audience. But once you grow your profile, the marketing potential is worth all the work.