Social Media Marketing

13 Things To Focus On When Starting As A Small Business On Instagram

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Oh, hello, new small business on Instagram! Nice to see you here, among 1 billion users worldwide. Indeed, it’s an impressive count and I’m sure that’s why you’ve decided to join. Well, you know what they say, better late than never. Actually, you might have just dropped in at the best time ever.

Sure, the world’s a bit off in 2020 (I might be underestimating), but as more and more people spend their time indoors, engagement rates are going through the roof. Thus, starting as a small business on Instagram during the pandemic can make up for all the profits lost due to the lockdown. That’s because Instagram provides an alternative marketplace and an audience of the likes of no other.

However, to succeed as a small business on Instagram, you must play your card rights. To chase away any potential bad luck, I’ve prepared a list of 13 lucky things you need to focus on when starting as a small business on Instagram. Make sure you tackle each of these and you’ll start seeing amazing results. 

1. Create An Instagram Business Profile

If you’re starting as a small business on Instagram, I encourage you to waste no more time and switch to a business account. This will give you access to a more varied set of promotional tools, plus a whole arsenal of insights on engagement to grow your business.

To switch to a Business profile, go to ‘Settings’, tap on ‘Account’, select ‘Switch to Professional Account” and go for the ‘Business’ option. Next, you can choose whether or not to connect your Instagram profile with a Facebook page, plus you’ll be asked for your basic business info. Fill these in and tap ‘Done’.

2. Your Bio Is Your Business Card

Your Instagram bio is your golden ticket to making a stellar first impression. These 150 characters are the one chance at copywriting your way to success, so make sure you craft them strategically. There are a couple of things that are mandatory when writing your Instagram bio:

  1. Explain what your business does
  2. Let your business’ personality show (be witty, be brave and even dare to use emojis)
  3. Include an exciting and meaningful CTA
  4. Use a link that’s relevant at this stage (think of “building awareness) 

While you’re at it, make sure to weave in relevant hashtags. These will help you expand your reach and will get your profile discovered more – which is exactly what you need at this stage!

Here’s a great example of a well-crafted Instagram Bio:

3. Create A Strategic Content Schedule

Before you even start posting, it’s essential that you take some time to strategize. If you want to do things by the book, start with an overall concept that is more inspirational than functional. Then, create pillars of content that can sustain this umbrella. 

It’s a proven fact that the most successful small businesses on Instagram have a single-focused message and follow a consistent schedule. They also post regularly. Thus, make sure that you post at least once a day and that you also include daily Instagram stories in your schedule.

4. Set Your Mind (And Design) On A Cohesive Feed

If you want to make it big as a small business on Instagram, you need to establish a strong presence. In addition to a consistent posting schedule, make the visuals work in your favour. 

A cohesive Instagram aesthetic means building a brand visual identity that transpires through every post. You can do that by using the same 2 or 3 filters or by playing with patterns. Here are a few examples of cohesive Instagram feeds that are simply unforgettable and highly recognizable.

5. Follow Similar Small Business Accounts

When you start on Instagram as a small business, one of your main goals will be to gain more visibility & awareness a.k.a. followers. The first step to those ‘most-wanted’ 1000 followers is to start following similar small business accounts. 

A neat strategy not many people know is to also follow the accounts these small business accounts follow. Okay, a bit of a tongue twister there, but it works like magic! For one, you’ll be able to learn from accounts that are Instagram veterans and secondly, you’ll be able to engage with accounts that you know are real and not simple Instagram bots. This will give you knowledge, engagement and reach. The holy trio of Instagram. 

6. Test Hashtags Any Chance You Get

The most efficient way to expand your reach when you start as a small business on Instagram is through hashtags. First, research and generate a hashtag list that suits your small business domain and keep it at hand. 

To gather ideas, pay close attention to what hashtags your close competitors use. Alternatively, you can use an online platform such as All Hashtag to create and analyse top relevant hashtags.

Use hashtags through your Instagram efforts, from posts to Stories, comment and Reels. Monitor how well each performs and continue using those that bring you the most engagement. As you gain more followers, consider creating your own branded hashtags – these are great for challenges and quizes

7. Tell Your Story With Instagram Stories 

There’s no such thing as a successful Instagram presence without Instagram Stories. In fact, Stories have become the main focus of followers, with more than 500 daily active users. Not only do Instagram Stories follow a different algorithm than the feed does, but these engage users in a more authentic way, building a higher degree of trust between small businesses and customers.

You can use Instagram Stories in a variety of ways, from telling a story, to offering behind-the-scenes sneak peek, sharing testimonials, creating challenges, asking for feedback or engaging followers through stickers – your imagination is the limit. 

8. Discover The Best Times to Post

Once you start posting consistently, some patterns will emerge. To begin with, test different time windows for your posts and Stories and, as time goes by, stick with the ones that return the highest engagement rates.

If you use Preppr to schedule your posts, its intelligent algorithm will crunch the numbers for you. By analysing a whole range of stats, it will prompt you with 3 different ‘best time to post’ options for every post you schedule. 

9. Boost Reach With Paid Ads

Organic reach is what will create meaningful engagement that will become the core of your business. However, as a small business on Instagram you also need to leverage the power of paid ads. If you have a Facebook Page connected to your Instagram Business Account, you can use the Facebook Business Manager to schedule some very targeted campaigns. 

Another option is to boost posts straight from your Instagram profile, after you’ve added a payment method. Although with less features than Facebook’s Campaign Manager, the Boost Post option on Instagram can get you some much needed engagement to kick-start your efforts.

10. Experiment With Videos and Live Streaming

Videos are a great way to tell a coherent story, as long as you know to keep it short and sweet. Video duration is of the essence and their quality should be stellar as well. You might be just a small business on Instagram, but you need to aim high.

The Live Streaming option is another feature that has gained tremendous traction in the last couple of months and that can open the gates to a massive audience. So make sure to jump on board and deliver some meaningful content.

11. Engage Your Followers Through Comments

The comment section is the place where opinions are cemented and trust is gained (or lost). As a small business on Instagram you mustn’t ignore this section. Engage with your followers as often as possible through comments. At the beginning, you’ll even notice that it’s easy to engage with each follower that leaves a comment – even a humble emoji counts!

Always be courteous and answer even the most unpleasant comments in a friendly and emphatic tone. Whatever you do, don’t let frustrations show!

12. Repost and tag, my friend!

Reposting content that followers tagged you in is the best ad you could create as a small business on Instagram. Showing your followers the real opinions of others who have used or enjoyed your product/service is priceless. On Instagram, trust is built by the community and showing, not telling is the golden rule that will bring you success.

Thus, every time somebody tags you, make sure to transform that mention into a repost Story with a tag. Of course, tagging can also be in and of itself a great tactic across your efforts, asking the most active members in your community to engage.

13. Up Your Social Media Marketing Game

Social media – Instagram in particular – is constantly changing. In order to build your small business on Instagram, you not only need to be in tune with the latest stats and features, but also know how to creatively outrun your competition.

That’s why we recommend that you become a constant student of social media. Enroll in courses, listen to marketing podcast and read specialty blogs – the more you learn about Instagram marketing, the better results you’ll get.

Ready? Preppr yourself

Starting as a small business on Instagram means you’ll have a lot on your plate. Share the load and focus on what really matters. The first thing to cross off your to-do list is scheduling posts and waking up at unorthodox hours (even on the weekend!). Leave that to Preppr and have one less worry on your mind. The first 10 days are on us. And, pssst, we’ll be here to also whisper sweet Instagram marketing tips in your ear. 

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Ilona Iftode is a copywriter with a taste for adventure. She lives to write, travel and explore new concepts in the realms of advertising, marketing, SEO and beyond.

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