Instagram keeps growing. Right now, the platform boasts 400 million active monthly users who share 80 million photos per day. Pretty mind blowing, right? Although statistics alone can’t exactly explain the phenomenon, we can hypothesize that the idea of sharing images and glimpses into our day with other users is one of the most powerful forms of advertising in itself.
As smaller online retailers, it’s easy to see the successes that larger companies have enjoyed on the platform, but with so much noise from the giants, it can be hard to really refine a marketing strategy.
To address this concern, we’ve put together five key Instagram marketing tips for small businesses to utilize.
Before we jump into the more technical maneuvers you can utilize on this platform, let’s talk basics. Instagram is first and foremost a photo sharing platform. If your images don’t look top-notch, you can kiss your chances of using it as a successful marketing tool goodbye. Look at some of your favorite pages and examine how they lay their photos out. Common color schemes and clear photos are your best friend. Also, take advantage of stock photo sites. If you don’t have a top of the line camera, put your worries to rest. Here are some tips on taking great smartphone photos.
2. Hashtags & Locations
Hashtags are another basic but underutilized resource that are critical to your success on Instagram. Simply, hashtags are a way to categorize posts. If you categorize your post as “#runningshoes,” users across Instagram will have access to that content and from there can revert back to your profile where the original post took place. Just as important, adding a location serves as an excellent way to categorize posts and also keep your customer base in the loop on where you are in the world. Need help troubleshooting location tagging on Instagram, check out this article.
3. Apps, apps, apps
Like most things in the digital world, we don’t have a platform yet that does it all for us. While we wait on technology to further consolidate, you’re going to need to download a few trusty apps to boost your Instagram profile.
VSCO Cam: A very powerful, very easy tool to use to edit the photos you post on Instagram or anywhere else for that matter. From this app you can adjust clarity, color scheme, cropping, etc, in a much easier and aesthetically pleasing way than you can directly on Instagram. Better yet, it's free!
Have2Have.It: The biggest drawback for small businesses on Instagram is that you can’t link out to products that you’re trying to sell. Instagram only allows you one link in your bio. Have2Haveit corrects this by allowing you to create a shoppable feed. It’s the same look as Instagram, making it very easy to sell to your followers.
Hootsuite: One of the best ways to get the most return on your Instagram posts is to post very frequently -- we’re talking at least once per day. Hootsuite allows you to plan out all of your posts months in advance...which leads us to our next point.
4. Follow a marketing calendar
To really hit the right note with your customers and entice them to shop for products on your website, it’s crucial to stay up to date on the current marketing events for the month and beyond. Here are some can’t miss fall marketing events that you should definitely be targeting.
5. Repost Content
Like a retweet on Twitter, reposting allows you to capture what’s on someone else’s feed and showcase it to your audience. If you see a product or image you really like, repost it. Chances are, other users and brands will return the favor, only adding to the flow of traffic coming to your page.
By following these simple Instagram marketing tips for small businesses, you’ll be on your way to increasing your audience and generating brand awareness across social networks. Instagram provides an incredible platform to access a global network (only 40% of Instagram traffic comes from within the US, the rest is outside). Additionally, the gender split is even on the platform, so you can confidently target both males and females.
Any other tips that help you? Feel free to comment below.