Are you a startup, small or medium-sized business with a keen eye for growth? Have you recently found yourself at the edge because of the ever-growing fierce competition? Please read on!
We live in an increasingly digital era, and when it comes to doing business, you may wonder whether you’re dream of hitting that jackpot will ever come true. The good news is that it can become a reality, but have you planned for it?
Big brands like Apple, Google, Gucci, and Nike were once like you, but look where they are right now.
Nowadays, with the help of digital platforms and tools, we witness brands like Fenty, Kylie Cosmetics, Shopify, and Zoom – among others – conquer the globe right in front of our eyes. As a small business with perhaps a major constraint of capital, you will have to be strategic right from the start. You must set up a foundational system that is realistic and sustainable with technological advancement at the center of your operations.
First things first, you should kick things off by designing a website with great content. Then, leveraging social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube can help your business grow steadily when properly managed.
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How are Online (and offline) stores using Instagram?
I recently walked into a small retail store after spotting a nice summer top displayed in the window (no, not your browser window – an actual window – as in a non-digital store).
Although I was initially attracted by a shirt, my intention was to check out a few summer dresses. To cut the long story short, the store manager asked whether I use Instagram. I said yes and the next thing I knew, she introduced me to the store’s Instagram account. (Nicely done, store manager!)
Like this case, many small business owners have realized the power of social networking in growing a business. Instagram for instance has greatly helped businesses and brands conquer local markets, nations, and the globe.
Key statistics indicate that out of the world’s 7.77 billion population, 6.4% use Instagram daily. It’s also quite interesting to know that Instagram is the third most popular or widely used social networking site in the world after Facebook and Youtube. There are over 200 million business accounts on the social site!
So, if you’re investing part of your resources in Instagram marketing, you’re definitely placing your eggs in the right basket. Let’s discover the Instagram practices you may be missing out on that can drastically alter the future of your business.
The 6 Incredible Instagram Growth Hacks SMBs
- ONE – Create a Business Profile
Optimizing your social media presence will require you to have a professional Instagram account. Many small businesses make it a point to have a Facebook page, but stretching to Instagram can also help you meet your audience from every corner.
As a small or medium-sized business, you may initially have to rule out paid advertising. As such, Instagram can help you positively impact your brand awareness from the start.
Instagram is a credible social networking site, and just like users of Twitter and LinkedIn, professionals and businesses Have become quite effective at communicating with their audiences using the site. You can also sync your Facebook page to your Instagram account to render your social media marketing strategy more effective.
In the initial stages, you may be able to manage your account personally, but as your business grows and responsibilities accumulate, you might have to hire a dedicated marketing team to professionally manage your Instagram page(s).
You should know that having an Instagram account won’t be just to connect or share content, but it can also become a new source of revenue for your business.
Instagram has a variety of features and technological capabilities that can help your business connect to audiences, make sales, and track the page’s performance. The insights can help you evaluate your Instagram marketing strategy, learn more about your followers and make changes where necessary. Also, remember to separate your business and personal Instagram accounts, although, you can show a connection between the two.
- TWO – Discover a Strategy that Works for You
When it comes to designing your Instagram strategy, quite a few options lie before you, but you must discover what works for your audience. From Instagram stories, reels, Direct Messages (DMs), and Instagram shops to Live streaming, you can promote your business or brand in any of a number of ways. You just need to ensure you produce the right content for your audience, and you make it creative.
Stay on schedule
Once you know what your audience wants, craft and share engaging content for greater Instagram engagement. Create a content calendar to help you keep track of your posts. Having a schedule of targeted posts ensures you’re consistently publishing content to keep your audience interested.
Behind the scenes
Think about providing a sneak peek behind the scenes within your strategy. As a small business, you may utilize Instagram stories to provide a sneak peek of what you’re business is doing. Show your team working behind the scenes in short videos. Highlight your products being made, and more.
Varied types of content
Post a variety of content to keep your audience interested and keep them from getting bored. Mix it up with videos, quotes, infographics, photos, tips for self-improvement, product images and footage, your team members featured in short clips, and more.
Focus on quality
Whether you’re posting a reel or a video, pay extra attention to the quality of the content. Use high-quality images to promote your business. Poor-quality images can easily put your customers off and you will lose them to your competitors.
- THREE – Create Shareable Content
It’s challenging to stand out in a crowded digital world. Appeal to the emotions and needs of your audience to give your content a better chance of being shared.
Find ways to create content that really tugs at the heartstrings of your audience, makes them laugh, or even invokes a bit of anger. When you get your audience members emotionally engaged with your content, that’s when the sharing happens.
Create content that your followers can comment about or share. Also, invite opinions.
Another vital consideration when it comes to social media marketing is user-generated content (UGC). User-generated content is a form of content marketing strategy that more and more businesses are taking up to push their brands. Run contests, and ask your audience to spread the word.
Ask them to use certain hashtags and create content about your brand to spread the word. Give them an incentive by offering something free as a giveaway to a certain number of winners from the group who shares your content.
- FOUR – Focus on Keywords and Quality Copy
Try doing keyword or competitive research to help you discover search terms or to get a grasp on what your competitors are doing. Keyword research can optimize your Instagram marketing strategy and can help drive traffic to your site.
Research by Instagram shows that 70% of shoppers use the site to decide on their next purchase. This means that simple keyword research can help you create valuable content and get that content in front of the right people who are searching for it.
- FIVE – Use Captions & Hashtags
If you’re running a business, you will have to cover a range of topics, some of which may be general and others more niche. It generally helps to build relations with all types of audiences and that’s where captions and hashtags come in.
When strategically used, captions and hashtags are an effective way to increase engagement and exposure. These elements are ideal for extending outreach as they make content more discoverable, most especially hashtags.
A caption is basically a small text that can accompany an image or a video. A good caption must be short and straight to the point. You should include a call-to-action (CTA) for the visitors to take the required action.
Notice the CTA in the post below to “click my bio link…” This is a great way to push your followers toward conversion.
When it comes to hashtags, these are vital elements in the grouping of content. Many businesses fail to optimally benefit from hashtags because they go in for generic hashtags. Generic hashtags may not work for you in case they are irrelevant to the niche of your business.
Look for hashtags with a large number. When you type in the hashtag on the Instagram app (when posting), you’ll see the number of recent uses of that hashtag. That will give you an idea of the potential reach of your post when it comes to the hashtag. If you see a hashtag with 1 million uses, that doesn’t mean 1 million people will see your post. It just means it’s a popular hashtag, and could lead to some nice exposure.
- SIX – Consider Influencers
Want to stay relevant and expand your outreach? Discover and tap into the power of influencer marketing. The influencer marketing industry is growing at a great speed, and the Benchmark report indicated that the global influencer market grew by 26% in 2021. And that trend continues in 2022. More than 74% of brand marketers intend to set aside a dedicated budget for influencer marketing in 2022.
Decades ago, influencer marketing seemed to be a hard nut to crack and a no-go zone for small businesses, but not anymore. Regardless of the nature of your business, you can count on influencer marketing to support your marketing efforts and improve your ROI.
Statista, a database company found that 93% of marketers plan to use Instagram for influencer marketing. Instagram is indeed an excellent visual social media channel, but you don’t have to spend sleepless nights strategizing on how to get in touch with Cristiano Ronaldo or Kim Kardashian to help promote your brand or business.
When you get influencers on board, you can excel in your SMART objectives of social media marketing. To avoid breaking the bank, look to work with micro-influencers. Rather than paying $100,000 to work with a celebrity, pay a few hundred to work with someone with maybe 20,000 engaged followers who can help you spread the word in a more cost-effective way.
When it comes to influencer marketing, begin by partnering with personalities that you surely know appeal to the public and to the right audience. Make sure the influencers you work with are in line with your brand. Simply working with a popular influencer won’t help your brand if that influencer doesn’t influence people in your industry.
Influencers can be any number of people with a strong presence on TikTok, YouTube, and Twitch. It could be a comedian, a singer, a blogger, a business pro, or a model. All you have to do is to choose your brand influencer wisely. Generally, choose someone with a good public image, a reliable follower base, and someone who is capable of conforming to your brand’s values.
Similarly, you should also try to follow potential or influential personalities because social media marketing is a two-way thing. Share their content, mention them in posts, and show them how you can help them with their cause. This will make them take notice and possibly agree to collaborate with you…for free.
Final thoughts on Instagram marketing for small businesses
To encapsulate, Instagram marketing is a reliable marketing strategy today, and it is used by millions of businesses globally. The strategy highly relies on the type of content you share to increase brand awareness, boost sales, and expand your customer base.
Although it is a reliable marketing channel, promoting a business on the site can prove taxing to some marketers. So, make sure to have a strategy in place that’s designed with your brand’s limited (or plentiful) resources in mind.
If you can’t handle Instagram marketing in-house, then hire a digital marketing agency to run your Insta campaigns effectively. This can help you be successful more quickly since your agency will likely have targeted expertise.
Follow these Instagram growth hacks, and you’ll find your business rising to new heights.
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