Instagram for Small Business: The Basics
A lot of small business owners I speak to have mixed feelings about Instagram. The consensus is that they feel Instagram is just another social network they ought to be doing, but it’s generally an inconvenience. For some businesses, it isn’t glaringly obvious where they might fit in or how they can use the visual social network to their advantage. Let’s take a look at the basics of Instagram for Small Business.
Is Instagram right for me?
If your ideal audience is under 25, then yes, Instagram NEEDS to be part of your marketing strategy. There are also arguments that other audiences over the age of 25 are migrating over to Instagram as well (think parenting, fitness, home/interiors, food etc). There is a huge ‘need’ from the consumer market to look good online, and thus, they head to Instagram for their inspiration.
Local businesses (Such as cafes/restaurants, salons, bakeries etc), creative businesses (photographers, homemade products etc) and most product-based businesses can really thrive on Instagram.
But what if you serve a B2B market? Or you have a service-based business? Will Instagram still benefit you?
With a service-based and B2B businesses, it’s likely you’re going to have to get a little more creative with your content creation, but there are routes to most relevant audiences through Instagram. There’s a large entrepreneurial audience on Instagram, hungry to follow businesses that can share knowledge and empower them.
However, if you’re targeting a much older audience, then Instagram probably isn’t going to be the right market for you. If you want to connect with 40+ year old CEOs of large businesses, or a large consumer audience over the age of 45, it’s not likely that Instagram will help you find them. The key with social media is to use it wisely, so if you are looking for an older audience and don’t have the time to be extra creative (or the budget to hire a social media expert or agency), then stick with Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to start with.
Should I have a Business or Personal Instagram?
Instagram is moving in the same direction as Facebook, meaning that the algorithm does favour personal profiles based on their interaction. But, that doesn’t mean business profiles don’t come with their own benefits.
When I’m using Instagram on a personal basis, I like to browse businesses and personal profiles that spark my interest, give me something good to look at, teach me something or make me laugh. The ones I interact with most always end up at the top of my feed, regardless of whether they are a business or personal profile, so either way you go, your primary objective should be building a steady stream of engagement for every post.
Having a business profile gives you access to analytics and insights so you can see how your profile and posts are doing, plus you get extra features such as a call to action button.
How much time should I put into Instagram?
Let’s be real; Instagram is not a social network that can thrive on its own. Consistent posts on your feed and story, plus spending some time interacting with your ideal audience will help you build your following but you don’t necessarily need to spend hours every day to see any movement.
Batch scheduling Instagram content can help take away the time-consuming task of trying to post onto your feed, freeing you up more time daily to work on building your following or focus on other business tasks.
You can still build an engaged following by just spending 10-15 minutes a day on the channel but the more time you spend, the quicker you will reap the rewards. The key is to be consistent.
What should I post on Instagram?
This really depends on how personal you want to get with your brand. The platform can support all visual content forms from still images to live video, so, as long as you’re prepared to get creative.
You can check out my post, 14 ways to grow your Instagram following, for loads of content ideas.
Or, you can download my Instagram Post Templates pack to get some FREE editable Instagram post templates. The pack includes product/service promotion templates, motivational quotes and blog post promotion posts. Download them here.