The Complete Guide to Instagram Marketing for Small Businesses

In today’s day and age, social media marketing is an essential tool for small businesses—especially those looking to build brand awareness and garner an audience without a hefty marketing investment. And while Facebook might be the platform most often used by businesses, Instagram is not one that should be overlooked, particularly if you wish to reach younger millennial and Gen Z audiences!

How to Use Instagram Marketing for Your Small Business

Though it’s only been around since 2010, Instagram has become one of the most widely used social media platforms in the world. In fact, there are over 1 billion users on Instagram, and an average of 95 million photos are shared every day. For you as a business owner, that’s BIG potential to spread your name around—but it also means there’s a big crowd to stand out from!

Here’s how to use Instagram marketing to promote your small business.

Set up your account & optimize your profile

logging into an instagram account

First things first: creating a business-appropriate and optimized Instagram account! Be sure to choose a username that matches your business as closely as possible. Then, add a description that represents your business; this will likely include a slogan or tagline, as well as an outline of what your business does. Your profile picture is another important aspect of your profile—users should be able to easily identify your business from your profile picture.

In addition to business basics, be sure to include your contact information and the URL of your website. If you have other social media accounts, be sure to link them with your Instagram account, too!

Choose some primary goals for your marketing plan

a woman thinking

Before you start littering your Instagram with images, take some time to think about the goal of your marketing plan. Are you hoping to build brand awareness? Attract leads? Show off your products or services? Grow your community? Share news and updates? Establishing two or three goals can help you focus your marketing plan into streamlined pillars of content, all of which are aimed at reaching your primary goals.

Select a target audience

Next: determining your target audience. Different users interact with Instagram in different ways, and at different times of the day. Understanding your target audience can help you create posts most likely to attract attention from your target audience, and enable you to post them at a time they’ll actually be seen!

When determining your target audience, consider both general questions—age, geographic location—and more specific details—like what hashtags they might use, what type of content they interact with, or what other pages or businesses they follow.

Create a strategy

a man using post-it notes to plan posts

Once you’ve got your goals and your target audience in mind, it’s time to start getting more specific and creating some Instagram posts! It might be helpful to take a look at the types of content other similar businesses post. Do they focus more on product, or on culture and community? Do you want to add content that will encourage users to interact, or draw them to your website?

Of course, one of the most important things to remember about posting on the image-focused Instagram is that your pictures matter! In fact, a study by Buffer shows that lighter photos receive 24% more likes than darker photos, and less-busy photos (those with more background space) receive 29% more likes!

Don’t overlook the comments!

As a small business, it’s incredibly important to reward any and all commentary or communication on your posts. If someone leaves a comment on a photo, be sure to read it and take a few minutes to craft a well-thought-out response. If someone posts positive feedback, you want to thank them and encourage other users to engage, too! And in the case that someone posts negative feedback, you want to address that immediately with an apology or a request for more information.

Link up with influencers

an instagram influencer

Connecting with an Instagram influencer is a great way to quickly gain new followers. Instagram influencers are users who have a dedicated following in a particular niche and are considered to be experts in that area. When you connect with them, they promote your brand to their followers—encouraging trust for your brand and company.

Influencer marketing has been around long before social media (hello, athlete and celeb endorsements!), but social media has made it a lot more affordable and attainable for average businesses. If you’re interested in working with an influencer, reach out to them with some information about your business and any ideas you might have for product promotion.

Don’t fear the hashtags!

Hashtags are an incredibly powerful way to connect users with content, and vice versa. Hashtags link similar content with matching tags, and enable users to search for content via hashtag. The key, however, is using hashtags that are actually being searched, clicked, and used.

Many Instagram users find ways to post pictures related to trending hashtags. This connects posts with other trending high-view posts with the same tag.

Feeling Overwhelmed? We Can Help!

Social media can be pretty overwhelming, especially from a business perspective! There’s a lot of thought and planning that goes into each and every post. We should know! At Corridor Consulting, we specialize in social media marketing, planning, and execution. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by trending hashtags, viral videos, and Insta-influencers, we’re here for you! Give us a call and let’s chat about your small business.