How Can Small Businesses Use Instagram?

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How Can Small Businesses Use Instagram?

Ever since Facebook purchased Instagram in April 2012, the photo-sharing app has undergone several improvements, making it into one of the most popular mobile apps in the world. With over 700 million active users per month combined with the rich insights Facebook is known for delivering – Instagram is turning heads for marketers and business owners alike.

Before you jump into creating an Instagram Business Profile – you need to ask yourself: is this where my target customers are? Do I have the time and resources to allocate to Instagram marketing? If not, can I afford to pay someone to take care of it for me?

Are Your Customers on Instagram?

If you’re on the fence about using Instagram for your business, make sure your target customers are using it. You do know who your customers are, right? (If not, take a look at how to create your marketing personas here) You’ve got to get in front of the right customers, and it starts with understanding where they’re consuming information online.

  • Over 59% Instagram Users are between the ages of 18 and 29 years old
  • 33% of Instagram users are between the ages of 30 and 49
  • 32% of teenagers consider Instagram to be the most important social network

If one of your target groups is young adults, Instagram is absolutely critical to your online marketing. Otherwise, you’re potentially missing out on tons of business.

What Can I Do With Instagram?

Instagram Stories

Instagram is evolving, and is working to create a more immersive and authentic experience for their users. The introduction of Instagram Stories was pivotal in their long-term goal of becoming the go-to social network for young adults. If you haven’t seen them yet, Instagram Stories allow users and brands alike to post short video clips and photos to their profile that disappear after 24 hours. Take photos and add fun effects, text, or graphics to them. You can even take videos with fun filters on them. It’s a great way to create a more authentic experience with your customers and connect with them on a more personal level.

You can also run advertisements on Instagram Stories to your target audience they’ll see when they’re viewing other Stories in their timeline.

Here’s an example of what an Instagram Story looks like (sans video):

Instagram Stories

Live Video

In the same spirit of creating an immersive and personal customer experience, Instagram has developed a Live video feature! As of now, your audience will receive a notification on their phone your company has gone “Live” where they can click on the video to view, like, and comment on it. Once your live video is finished, you then have the option to upload it to your Instagram story (or your newsfeed if it’s under 1 minute!)

Small Business Instagram Live

Photos and Videos

Of course, you’re able to upload photos and videos to your newsfeed. Get creative! Show off your product, share videos, gifs, and photos! Your Instagram page is your company’s first impression. Make sure all your images and videos are branded, and consistent with your brand’s tone and personality.  

Paid Instagram Advertisements

The best part of the Facebook – Instagram acquisition is the depth in reporting accessible to businesses. When you choose to boost a post for engagement, drive people to your website, sales, or generate brand awareness, there’s plenty of insights delivered to you. You’ll be able to analyze your campaign performance, determine what people are most engaged with, and optimize your ads within a few taps. Hands down, Instagram has become one of my favorite places to run social media ads. Also, if you’re already using Facebook ads, you can manage your Instagram ads in the SAME place!

Small Business Paid Instagram

Next Steps

By now you’ve determined whether or not Instagram makes sense for your business. If it does, it’s time to start thinking about how to best leverage it. Start with mapping out your goals. What do you really want from Instagram? How will it help you reach your overall business goals?

Once you’ve identified clear, measurable goals for Instagram, you’re able to start creating branded content. Think about what you’d like for your first campaign to be. Is it showing off your product’s intriguing process? Is it educating your target audience? Think about the type of content that will resonate most with your potential customers, then allocate time and resources to bringing it to life.


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