in

20+ Creative Ways To Use Instagram For Small Business

default image

Instagram has become an indispensable platform for businesses of all sizes. With over 1 billion monthly active users, it offers immense potential to connect with customers and promote your products and services.

While big brands have quickly adopted Instagram marketing, small businesses can hugely benefit from it too. In fact, more than 200 million Instagram users visit at least one business profile daily.

So whether you’re just starting out or have had your small business for years, utilizing Instagram should be one of your top priorities.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll explore over 20 highly effective tips and strategies to use Instagram for tremendous small business growth in 2022.

1. Switch to an Instagram Business Profile

The first step is to upgrade to an Instagram business profile. It unlocks powerful analytics through Instagram Insights to help you gauge your performance.

You also get access to special business features like:

  • Contact options – Add contact details like phone, email or address to make it easy for customers to get in touch.

  • Product tagging – Tag your products in posts so when people express interest, they can easily find them.

  • Promotions – Run ads directly on Instagram to reach more targeted audience.

  • Shopping – Add shoppable posts and product catalogs people can browse and buy from.

Switching to a business profile is super quick:

  • Tap profile icon ➜ Settings ➜ Switch to Business profile
  • Choose category that best represents your business
  • Connect your Facebook business page (optional but recommended)

The verified category badge also adds credibility so your brand looks more professional.

Your Instagram bio only allows one active link. So make sure you add your website URL there.

Include a strong call-to-action next to it like "Shop now" or "Join waitlist" so visitors take desired action.

To track traffic and conversions from the Instagram link, use link modifiers or URL shorteners like bit.ly.

For even more links, try the Linkinbio tool that turns your bio into a menu with external buttons.

3. Define Your Instagram Strategy

Having clear goals and plans is vital for success on any platform.

Map out an Instagram strategy that aligns with your overall business objectives. Outline specific goals you hope to achieve through Instagram and metrics to track progress.

You can aim to:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Drive website traffic
  • Generate leads and sales
  • Grow social following

Define your target audience personas and content plan to produce posts that engage them.

Consistency and quality of content also play a big role. Figure out achievable posting frequency and themes.

Revisit this Instagram strategy and optimize regularly based on performance.

4. Partner With Nano or Micro Influencers

Influencer marketing can be hugely beneficial for small businesses on Instagram.

But instead of celebrity influencers, consider nano or micro-influencers in your niche. They have exceptionally high engagement rates and reasonable sponsorship costs.

Look for influencers with 5K to 100K niche-specific, highly engaged followers. Their authenticity makes follower recommendations credible driving real conversions.

Use a platform like Ainfluencer to locate ideal influencers. It lets you run sponsored campaigns or gift products in return for posts and stories.

Micro-influencers provide amazing ROI and social proof for small businesses.

5. Interact With Other Small Businesses

Find other complementary small businesses on Instagram to mutually support each other through cross-promotion.

Maybe they can give your product a shoutout while you share about their brand. Or perhaps, you could collaborate on giveaways for bigger reach.

Follow their account, regularly engage with their posts, and mention how working together could benefit you both. Offer genuine value instead of outright promotions.

Even location tagging or mentioning other small businesses can lead new targeted visitors to your profiles. Great relationships, heightened credibility and expanded visibility – interaction fuels it all.

6. Create Striking Visual Brand Identity

Stand out by using colors, logo, fonts and image styles that instantly evoke your brand across Instagram presence – feed, stories, highlights covers, etc.

Maintain visual consistency to boost recognition value so your posts immediately grab attention as followers scroll feeds.

Bright, high-quality photos/videos shot in similar lighting or angles also contribute to cohesiveness giving a polished editorial look.

Reflect your brand personality through unique, creative touches aligned to who you are and what you offer. Let your feed convey your brand story.

7. Plan Consistent Content Schedule

Posting randomly leads nowhere. You need a content calendar to organize ideas and maintain regular Instagram activity.

Map out your weekly or monthly plans detailing:

  • Exact posting dates/times

  • Content formats – photo, video, stories, IGTV

  • Captions and hashtags

Use an AI-based Instagram scheduler to auto-schedule posts for the whole month so your account stays active even when you’re not.

Stay on top of trends related to your industry and local events to produce relevant timely content.

Schedule product launches, sales announcements, holiday specials, etc in advance using your content plan.

8. Educate and Entertain Followers

Information and emotions – that’s what compelling brand content thrives on.

Create posts that teach your followers something new or shares an interesting perspective about your niche.

Entertain them with beautiful videos showcasing products/services or behind the scenes footage presented stylistically.

Build anticipation by revealing new launches or sales in a series of posts building up to it.

Make content interactive using emoji sliders or questions to spark two-way engagement.

Well-planned, high-quality content acts like a magnet pulling more audience to your brand.

9. Post Instagram Stories Daily

Instagram Stories see upwards of 500 million daily users. Utilize stories to humanize your brand and showcase personality.

Give sneak peeks into new products, processes or events through photo and video stories.

Engage followers by asking questions, running polls and using interactive stickers.

Add swipe up or email/phone call stickers so they can contact your business easily.

Posting daily stories will significantly boost your visibility, engagement rates and followers.

10. Leverage Instagram Highlights

Highlights are circles below your bio where you can save important stories in categorized collections.

They are always visible so new visitors can get quick insight into your brand by browsing highlights anytime.

Some ideas on highlights you can create:

  • Products/services
  • Testimonials
  • FAQs
  • Announcements
  • Special offers
  • Brand story
  • User-generated content

Strategically featured stories in highlights act as visual menu increasing discoverability.

11. Incorporate More Short Videos

In this age of TikTok, short vertical videos thrive on Instagram. Make use of Reels and Stories to showcase your creativity.

Videos under 2 minutes work great when crafted thoughtfully keeping mobile user behavior in mind.

Hook viewers right away highlighting your best features/offering within 15 seconds.

Entice them to watch more using transitions, text overlay, effects and trending music. Clear CTAs help drive conversions.

Nail that opening scene and keep the end strong. Practice makes perfect so keep innovating.

12. Go Live on Instagram

Live streams allow real-time interaction to forge meaningful relationships with your audience.

Go live to:

  • Respond to FAQs
  • Reveal new products
  • Showcase your workspace
  • Share disaster response
  • Host expert Q&As
  • Run an event commentary

Comments create community bonding given their ephemeral spontaneous nature.

Save the broadcasts as IGTV videos or highlights so more people discover them later.

13. Optimize Hashtags

Hashtags expand your reach to users interested in those topics and not just existing followers.

Research hashtags carefully related to your industry, products, popular keywords, location, etc. Mix both well-known and niche tags.

Tools like Display Purposes help you find the best-performing hashtags.

Use a moderate amount of 7 to 10 hashtags – not too broad or too niche. Keep testing combinations to determine which hashtags perform best for your brand.

14. Geo-tag Location

Enable location services on Instagram so it automatically tags posts with the geographic location it was taken at.

Geo-tagging makes your content more discoverable by people browsing locations or searching nearby.

It especially makes sense for physical stores or cafes trying to drive foot traffic from neighborhood residents.

Clickable location stickers can also be manually added to posts/stories leading users to tagged place on a map.

Location tags boost visibility and emphasize your local presence.

15. Create Helpful Product Guides

Guides allow collating your best performing posts, products, locations or hashtags in one place as a collection.

For small e-comm companies, guides are an excellent opportunity to curate products they offer under categories guiding customers better.

Organize items by:

  • Product type
  • Brand
  • Usage
  • Ingredient
  • Process used

Well-formatted guides feel like an integrated catalog making shopping experience more convenient.

16. Host Instagram Takeovers

Takeovers involve handing over account access to guest collaborators to produce content while you manage audience relationships.

Types of takeovers:

  • Employee takeovers – Let staff showcase work culture
  • Influencer takeovers – Influencers post about your brand through their lens
  • Brand takeovers – Partner with non-competing business with shared target audience
  • Customer takeovers – Loyal fans takeover account for a day

It allows showcasing diverse perspectives and networking opportunities. Create guidelines on imagery, captions tone and branding to maintain consistency.

17. Respond to Follower Comments

Show followers you care by acknowledging comments and questions on posts/stories beyond just liking them.

Reply thoughtfully fostering relationships, driving engagement and satisfying customer expectations. This leads to greater brand loyalty and organic marketing as happy customers share positive word-of-mouth publicly or with friends.

Also respond fast to negative feedback addressing concerns before it spirals. Handling criticisms constructively reinforces credibility.

18. Craft Captivating Stories

Leverage the innate human affinity for stories when creating Instagram content. Well-framed narratives stimulate emotions and imagination leaving a powerful impact.

Share your brand’s creation story or a defining business moment that changed your trajectory.

Storytelling principles help nurture connection so don’t solely sell but focus on value creation. Videos and multi-slides function well for visual storytelling.

Building brand story bridges informational gap making your offering relatable. Listeners envision themselves as future customers.

19. Run Contests and Giveaways

Everyone loves free stuff and competitions. Announce giveaways and contests to create hype rewarding participation driving actions like follows/shares.

Types of giveaways you can host:

  • Product giveaways (Free products for select winners)
  • Discount giveaways (Offering exclusive promo code)
  • Cash prize contests (Money rewards by lottery)
  • Gift cards (Amazon/iTunes vouchers)

Boost engagement requesting them to tag friends, share posts or answer questions to enter giveaways. Automate selection process using tools like Aigrow.

20. Set Up Instagram Shopping

Have you ever wanted to sell directly through Instagram posts/stories just like ads? Well, now you can with Instagram shopping.

Tag products in organic posts so when users tap, they get a seamless in-app checkout experience without leaving Instagram.

Great for small e-comm brands trying to sell newly launched items through content or expanding current catalog visibility.

Also allows bundling products from existing posts into shoppable collections increasing conversion potential.

21. Strategically Use CTAs

Every business profile should include a strong Call to Action in bio linking to your landing page.

But also add CTAs to posts and stories guiding users to exact next step you want whether visiting site, redeeming offers or buying.

Some CTA examples are:

  • Learn more
  • Start free trial
  • Shop now
  • Get offer
  • Book now

Catchy relevant CTAs can boost desired action conversion rates by even 200% or more. Clearly tell them what you want them to do after seeing the post.

22. Track Instagram Insights

Switching to the business profile gives free access to Instagram Insights providing analytics on:

  • Content performance – Impressions, reach, engagement rate
  • Audience demographic data – Age, gender, top locations
  • Traffic sources – Accounts sending you views, profile visits
  • Interactions – Posts with highest comments/saves

Study metrics to identify best performing content styles, types and topics so you can recreate success.

See when your followers are most active to schedule high-priority posts. Spot unfollower trends indicating areas needing improvement.

Let data guide your Instagram strategy for maximum ROI.

Final Takeaways

Instagram takes commitment, patience and smart work but the monumental growth opportunities especially for small businesses make it worthwhile.

Implement these 20+ advanced marketing tactics for enormous brand visibility, sales and loyal community building.

Be creative and consistently add value keeping audience needs first. The algorithm will reward your efforts over time.

Turn to Instagram analytics so you can track progress and optimize regularly. Find what resonates best with your followers through testing and engagement.

Now you know how to use Instagram for small business growth like a pro!

Written by