Tips on using Instagram for your small business

Is your small business a “visual” kind of business? If so, then Instagram is the social-media platform for you. With nine million monthly active users (and that’s in Australia alone), it is the fastest growing social-media platform today and one of the best places to showcase your brand. Here are some top tips on how to use Instagram for your small business.

Be consistent

First of, you need to be consistent with your schedule. Only commit to the number of times you can post in a week, otherwise you’re not maximising the use of the platform. If you can only post twice then that’s fine as long as you post twice a week.

Secondly, you need to maintain the same branding as you use in your website and marketing materials. Use the same colours, fonts, style and tone. Add your small business name or logo in there as well and your site’s URL. By doing this, your audience will immediately know your brand when they see it.

Use the Stories feature

The Stories feature is fast becoming a top marketing tool on Instagram these days. It’s the one that goes on top of the app and lasts only 24 hours. After that, the photos/videos go to your archive, which only you can see. If you want to keep your Stories on your Instagram account, create categories and add your Stories to a category. Just make sure that your categories are related closely to your small business.

If you use the mobile version of Canva, you’ll find plenty of Stories layout that you can use for your branding. Again, think of your branding when you’re making these Stories. Also remember that this feature is vertical. So when you take photos and videos, make it vertical as well to maximise the space.

Plan your hashtags

Your Instagram content strategy should include a hashtag strategy as well. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post. It’s worth doing your research on what hashtags are popular that’s related to your small business and your industry. To do this, look at other businesses similar to yours and check out what hashtags they are using.

Also, by searching for the hashtag itself, you’ll know how many posts are out there with the same hashtag. You don’t have to use all 30 hashtags though, it’s just the maximum number of what you can use. Instead of typing the hashtags each time you post, write them beforehand then just copy and paste it to the corresponding post. We suggest putting the hashtags on the first comment space, or at the bottom of your caption. Be strategic with your hashtag use and don’t just add random ones.

Check out IGTV

This is Instagram’s latest venture into the world of video channels. IGTV has a separate app and if you’re going to join this world, it’s worth downloading it. With IGTV, you can upload videos up to 10 minutes long. You can basically do your own web series surrounding your brand if you like. Like the Stories feature, it uses the vertical format – something you need to keep in mind when creating your video. As this is new, there’s less competition but we believe other brands will catch up fast. So if you want to be in this space, now is the time to do it.

Whatever you decide to do on Instagram, make sure it’s in line with your brand’s personality. It is still all about storytelling so keep that in mind when creating your content.

Kristyn Levis, Creative Director, 3C Digital

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