Small business owners want to utilise Instagram to increase brand awareness, consideration and to contribute to sales. However, to achieve this, businesses must understand the free and paid tools available on Instagram to help inspire meaningful action from existing and potential customers.
Instagram – and the whole Facebook family of apps – work hard to support small business owners grow by discovering new people, building deeper relationships and promoting products or services via their platforms.
Getting Discovered On Instagram
Instagram users turn to the platform to browse, explore and shop. Users are often open to trying something new and the most visual creative will be most likely to stand out.
Once you have set up your Instagram Account and completed your profile, it’s time to get discovered! Tell your story via Instagram Posts, Stories and Reels.
As with all Social Media platforms, posting consistently is essential on Instagram. By regularly posting and engaging with your audience, you will build brand credibility and trust among your community.
Be sure to stay on-brand with all content and reflect your businesses personality through your visuals and key messages. Your creative and tone of voice should be consistent across all posts to allow viewers to associate specific qualities with your brand.
As you develop your online presence, you will find yourself getting discovered across the platform.
One fantastic tool to increase your organic reach is to utilise hashtags. Hashtags are relevant keywords or phrases that help people categorise content and ‘tag’ their posts.
When businesses add hashtags to their content, which includes Posts, Stories, Reels and Shop, it will show when users search for that hashtag and in the ‘Explore’ tab. Different audiences will then be able to easily discover your content via popular hashtags.
Businesses can also create their own hashtags for their brand, products and services to group posts. Be sure to encourage your community to use the hashtag when they post about your products and services to help build your exposure – this will also help you with Social Listening.
Increasing your levels of engagement will help you get discovered. If users engage with your content you will reach more people, thanks to the Instagram algorithm.
Businesses can encourage people to engage with their content by adding a call to action in the copy. Asking questions in your caption, highlighting an offer or sharing a competition (be sure to comply with Instagram T&C’s) will prompt users to take action.
Pay To Play
Last but not least (just budget dependent) businesses can use Instagram Promotions to give posts a quick boost in reach and hopefully therefore engagement – even from those who aren’t already following you.
Instagram allows businesses to turn any post into a paid ad without even leaving the app. Businesses will then be able to choose who they reach, how much they spend and how long the post is promoted for.
Whether you utilise Instagram’s free or paid tools, businesses can be sure to stay front of mind by understanding what works for their audience and staying relevant and relatable!
Building Relationships On Instagram
As your followers increase, it’s essential to build deep relationships. Instagram helps businesses develop lasting connections and loyal customers by enabling them to interact with those who are just as enthusiastic about your businesses as you are.
Engagement Is Key
We’ve said it before but we’ll say it again for the people in the back…
Engagement really is a huge part of the Instagram platform. When interacting with your audience, it’s important to use the same tone of voice across all of your messaging. Your digital tone of voice is unique to your brand and is a way of showcasing your personality and authenticity.
You copy should use simple, straightforward language and avoid too much industry jargon that could lead to confused and therefore unengaged customers.
Although responding to comments is a great way to increase and encourage engagement, it can sometimes be time-consuming. Rather than doing nothing at all, two quick and easy interactions include ‘pinning’ or ‘liking’ comments so that your audience know you’re reading what they have to say.
Businesses can also use Instagram Direct to build stronger relationships with their customers via private conversations. Direct messaging helps businesses offer customer support, start transactions and schedule appointments without the entire community being able to see.
Be sure to respond to private messages in good time to strengthen the relationship and develop high levels of customer satisfaction.
See our previous blog here :
To help increase your reach, try ‘@’ tagging other users you know in relevant posts, this will also help to build community rapport. When you tag another user they will receive a notification and – if it’s a Story – be able to share your post to their own Story.
Your audience will be able to tap on the tag to visit the other users’ account and learn more about them too. The more you tag them, the higher the chance of other users tagging you.
By adding Stickers to your story you help give context and make them more playful. Stories are designed to be interactive with engagement-driving Stickers such as the Q&A box and Polls. These Stickers also help businesses gain available feedback from customers in real-time.
Live Streams are another fantastic way of engaging with your audience in real-time. Streaming live on Instagram helps to connect with your followers and broadcast long-form video content in an immersive, full-screen format.
Popular uses of Live Stream include:
Converting Customers On Instagram
Once you have successfully grown your community and built deep, long-lasting relationships with your audience, it’s time to convert them into customers.
Thankfully, Instagram offers free tools to help businesses make sales or get bookings – depending on their offering.
Utilise Instagram features such as Posts, Stories, Reels, IGTV and Live to share creative and engaging content with your audience all about your products or services.
• Tease New Products or Services
• Introduce New Products or Services
• Demonstrate Existing Products or Services
• Industry Tips & Tricks
• Reshare User-Generated Content
If your business sells products then consider utilising Instagram Shopping – making it easy for people to make a purchase right at what Instagram calls the ‘moment of discovery’.
Instagram Shopping enables businesses to promote their stock across the platform in their Shop and via Product Tags.
Read our detailed blog about Instagram Shopping here
Shops is an immersive full-screen storefront that helps businesses build their brand story, increase product discovery and, eventually, sales – all without leaving the app. Instagram Shops include product photography, prices and descriptions.
Once you have set up your Shop, Instagram allows businesses to include Product (or Shopping) tags in their Posts and Stories to help highlight the products in your content. Product Tags link to your Shop to help increase awareness and drive traffic.
Call To Action Buttons
For businesses that provide a Service, rather than a physical product, Instagram is making it easier than ever for customers to make appointments or book a service.
Action buttons are available to businesses who have accounts with an Instagram Booking Platform Partner and allow users to book services directly through Instagram business profiles.
Available call to action buttons that can be added to feed Posts or Stories include:
• Order Food
• Book Now
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