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5 easy tips for using Instagram for your business

No one wants to be a small fish in a big pond.

And that’s what it can feel like trying to make a splash on Instagram as a small business. All the other brands you see on your daily scroll post endlessly amazing content with loads of likes, comments and shares.

It can feel disheartening when your first efforts don’t get the same kind of engagement. Marketing your brand on Instagram is easier than you think… with the right strategy and approach, your content will delight customers and drive orders.

Setting up a business account on Instagram is easy. So, if you are looking to start telling your social story, or looking to add firepower to your posts check out these easy and actionable tips to get the most out of the ‘gram.

1. Ask yourself: what is your social media goal?

Before you even post, the first question you should ask is: what do you want to get out of the time and investment spent on social media?

This question will help you get your objectives in mind. It might sound like a boring exercise, especially at the start when you are still full of puns and cat gifs.

But trust us, posting without a plan gets old quick.

Once the honeymoon phase is over you might be struggling for content and without a consistent posting schedule, your followers will forget you. Also, it’s hard to justify the amount of time you spend on social media if there are no tangible achievements to show for it.

Your social goals should closely align with your overall business objectives.

Are you launching a new product? Then make your posts shine with your newest offering to entice your followers to find out more. Do you want to keep your brand top of mind? Then posts introducing your team, telling your story and giving an insight into all the work that goes on behind the scenes, will make you more relatable and memorable.

Ask yourself: what is your social media goal?

Airbnb fills their Instagram feed with pictures of amazing properties that are all available on their site.

Having a goal in mind means your content will fall into line. It’s okay to post fun, off topic content as long as it has a purpose. Setting a consistent posting schedule means you won’t waste all your good stuff on an oversaturated audience. There will be slow news days. This strategy will stop you from losing momentum and keep you at the top of the feed.

2. Make sure your Instagram account is properly set up.

It’s the nightmare of walking into the meeting without trousers all over again.

Accounts with missing information stand out to media savvy consumers, especially since we are so used to finding information in certain places.

Double check your entire account to make sure there are no gaps. With a business account on Instagram, there are more fields for information to help people recognise and buy from you. Make sure to include your email, physical address (if you have one) and phone number so you don’t burn people looking to buy.

Make sure your Instagram account is properly set up.

Your profile should reflect your business and let your customers know how to get in contact with you.

Your profile picture and username are sometimes the most memorable parts of your account. Use your logo for better recognition, along with your company name. It’s a good idea to have a consistent username and profile pic across all your other social media platforms, too much inconsistency can blur your online brand identity.

It’s as simple as making sure you have checked all the boxes. If in doubt, view your brand’s Instagram from your personal one to gain an outsider's perspective. Quickly comparing to other similar accounts can expose any little things you may have missed, and can give you inspiration for new things you can try out yourself.

3. How to use hashtags to find your audience

Okay, so you have a rough content plan in place and a fancy looking profile.

Now you need to build your audience. Your posts will be joining the other 100 million daily Instagram posts hungry for those double taps.

It takes time to build an audience. One common problem is trying to appeal to a wide base right away. Unless you already have name recognition, this won’t work and could mean your wonderful content is missed.

The answer is to find a smaller pond, and be the biggest fish.

Like most other corners of the internet, Instagram is built on many niche interests. The more niche you can go, the more likely you can find people interested in your product; assuming there is still an audience of course.

Say you sell dog toys, on a hashtag like #dogs with 111,058,188 posts, you will likely not register at all. However, if you regularly posted on #dogsofbrisbane with 333,136 posts then your image would be in front of people who could realistically become leads for your business.

How to use hashtags to find your audience

Smaller hashtags can give more focused results.

Look for hashtags that are more specific to your business and location and it will be easier to find your audience.

4. Get your customers posting for you with user generated content

72% of users say they are more likely to buy something they saw on Instagram.

Testimonials can be gold dust for any small business that wants to increase it’s orders with minimal marketing spend. Simply put, customers respect the feedback of other customers.

There are many different ways to encourage and promote the pics that your happy users post.

Create a branded hashtag. It can be as simple as encouraging people to post with #yourbrandname. This boosts your brand in search results meaning people have another place to find and follow your brand.

Get your customers posting for you with user generated content

Canva’s app makes it really easy to produce images and graphics. They encourage their users to post their creations with #canvalove

There are different and creative ways to encourage posts about your brand. If you have a physical location think about having some fun decoration that encourages your people to post about their time with you. Even including your hashtag on packaging can mean more people post while your product is fresh out the box and exciting.

One quick note about user content, if you are going to repost anyone else's stuff, make sure to ask for permission first. It can be a great way to shine a spotlight on a happy customer and increase the profile of your business.

However, if someone feels like you are taking undue credit for their post, or ‘using’ them for a promotion, it can land you in hot water further down the line.

People are already posting about things they love. Having a plan to encourage and showcase this will generate genuine positive content for you.

5. Batch cook your content with the Creator Studio

The internet never sleeps, and Instagram is no different.

Keeping up with your posting schedule can be a full time job itself. Maintaining a beautiful feed that has a consistent look and message is nearly impossible without a handy trick.

Introducing the Creator Studio, a tool by Facebook allowing you to schedule your instagram posts. All you have to do is prepare your images and captions ahead of time and you can simply add them to the queue and it will automatically post them for you.

Batch cook your content with the Creator Studio

Scheduling posts means you can queue up your content freeing you up to focus on more important things.

This means you can focus on responding to comments and other interactions when your posts go live. The Creator Studio also contains lots of useful analytics. For example, when your audience is online, so you can target peak times for maximum engagement.

Now you can post amazing content at any time. One afternoon's work can have your social calendar booked up for the week.

The secret formula

There is no secret. Just as there is no formula to a perfect sales pitch or cheat to get six pack abs.

The answer is consistency and testing until you find something that works for you and your audience. The best way to find this is to play around. Instagram rewards users that engage with their platform.

So go out there and have fun with it. Use these tips and get creative and you will get the most out of your Instagram marketing.

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