With social media affecting the way we communicate and brand ourselves, Instagram is a vital tool for promoting big and small businesses alike. Instagram serves as a platform for businesses to express themselves artistically while engaging with both potential leads and loyal customers. Finding time to curate an unique, eye-catching Instagram feed can be tricky, especially when running a small business. However, Instagram is constantly growing, garnering the attention of both millennial and older generations. A staple in marketing programs, here is a list of tips small businesses can follow to improve the way they use Instagram to visually showcase their products and/or services.

Connect/Engage With Local Businesses

There’s a reason why it’s called social media. It’s all about socializing with those around you! It is important to engage with your following. Often times we get so caught up with numbers, we forget about those around us. Connect with local businesses in your area in order to create a support system to help each other succeed. Do more than just follow! Engage with their posts, get an understanding of their business and what they offer.

Post Consistently

It can be difficult finding time to post social media content when your agenda is already packed. However, with the help of social media management tools such as Sprout Social & Hootsuite, posts can be scheduled out anytime, anywhere. You can connect all your social media platforms, giving you the power to schedule and monitor posts seamlessly across them all. Posting consistently allows your feed to be fresh, offering new content for visitors to interact with.

Post Relevant Photos With Branded Captions

Instagram can help customers learn more about your business and what it offers. When creating content, keep your brand personality in mind. How do you want visitors to view your business? What do you want them know? Post photos that are relevant, only sharing content that amplifies your brand! Don’t forget to pair them up with witty branded captions! We might know a thing or two about that 🙂

Use Relevant Hashtags

Want your photos to reach new specific niches while growing your engagement organically? Utilize hashtags! Hashtags make it easier for users to find your photos, grabbing the attention of those who may be unfamiliar with your business. Use hashtags that are both trendy and applicable to your brand. They say “the more the merrier”, but that may not be the case for hash tags.

Keep Aesthetics in Mind

Instagram is all about visual creativity! Popular Instagram accounts all have one thing in common — they have coherent feeds. Create an aesthetic that is deeply rooted to your brand identity, following a common theme that can speak volumes about what you’re all about! Understand your brand and put #nofilter on your values, let them shine through your posts! Create photos that help illustrate your brand personality through a fixated theme, whether it be modern and minimalistic or cute and colorful! Utilize mobile applications like UNUM and VSCO to edit your photos and plan your feeds.

Use Automation Lightly

Organic is always the best engagement you can have. No one enjoys bots or spam! There have been a plethora of automation tools that have emerged on the Internet, claiming to “instantly boost your Instagram engagements.” In reality, it is hard to gain followers and likes overnight without putting in actual work. Utilizing these commercial programs allow bots to run your account, commenting and liking posts under your behalf. Although this can attract new visitors to your Instagram, it goes against Instagram’s policies and brings in “fake followers” that may or may not be interested in your business at all. As long as you post consistent, relevant content, the engagement will come.

Although this all may seem intimidating, Instagram is meant to be playful and fun! Enjoy creating content and love your photos. Happy posting!