Can small businesses use Instagram? Will their efforts on Instagram turn into sales and customers? Yes and yes! Small businesses can be discovered on Instagram through a variety of different ways which I'll explain in this article.
Being intentional and creating a strategy for your Instagram account is very important to your success.
Can Small Businesses use Instagram?
While many people think of Instagram for big brands and super models, it's a community filled with all different kinds of accounts.
Gather inspiration from big brands and turn them into ways to market your small business on social media.
Use Instagram for Business
People come to Instagram to be inspired and discover things they care about, and that includes content from brands and businesses.
- Get realtime metrics on how your stories and promoted posts perform throughout the day.
- Get insights into your followers and how they interact with your posts and stories.
- Add information about your company like business hours, location and phone number.
Convert to a Business Account within your app account settings.
Make sure that you let people know what you do in your bio and add keywords for search in the app.
When you share photos or videos on Instagram, make sure to tag your location. From Simply Measured, “You can know exactly where your audience is more easily today than ever before, and build Instagram content accordingly.
With in-depth information about your top cities for Instagram engagement, you can build Instagram campaigns that focus on those cities, and begin doing further research to figure out why your brand gets so much Instagram love there and not in other places.”
Tell your story on Instagram
Social media is fantastic for letting people know who you are, what you sell, and what you're passionate about. Instagram is the perfect place to share behind-the-scenes photos and videos.
Look at your social media posts and really dig deep to see if you’re using visuals to tell your story or just posting photos with your posts. They’re two different things.
Visual storytelling is the heart of social media with video and visual social media is taking the lead in the race to reach people.
- Use Adobe Spark to create graphics for Instagram Stories. Create your designs on desktop and they transfer to the mobile app automatically. You can animate them in the mobile app.
- Create Instagram Stories to invite people to your store.
- Plan Instagram Stories in Planoly.
How to Use Planoly’s Instagram Stories Planner
- When on your GRID VIEW, tap on the STORIES (S) ICON located on the top left corner. You will be taken to your STORIES VIEW.
- Tap the plus (+) button located on the bottom screen to upload content to your “STORIES” planning view. You can upload any media (images, gifs, boomerangs, videos) from your camera albums, Dropbox or Google Drive; then DRAG and DROP to arrange the order of your stories (top to bottom, first to last).
- Tap on content to add notes or draft captions.
- Schedule your story or tap “POST NOW” to post right away.
- When you get the push notification, the caption will be copied for you to paste into your story. We open IG for you, but you have to open stories manually.
- Tap on your Stories icon on your IG.
- Swipe up to add media.
- Select your media that was just saved on your camera roll for you.
- If you have a caption, tap on the TEXT (Aa) icon and paste.
- If you have a “mention” or want to tag someone, make sure to tap on that name, select the correct user options that come up from, and the username will become underlined. Only underlined @username’s are tappable and work as a mention.
- Pro tip: Changed your mind on the actual image/video but have your captions already saved? You can SWAP out your Stories media by tapping into desired media, tap preview image, then tap on SWAP icon (top right corner).
Make it easy for people to Instagram
Creating an Instagram-worthy atmosphere could entice people to share their experience in your store on their Instagram accounts. People are always looking for interesting things to share on their Instagram.
- Put up a cute, branded sign on the counter with your Instagram handle and a hashtag for your store. Let them know that you encourage Instagramming in your store.
- If you see people in your shop taking photos, ask if they're on Instagram and if they'd tag your store and add the location to the photo or Story.
- Create an Instagram wall of fame with great Instagram posts you find on the app. Ask permission to use their image in the comments or via direct message. Regram them to your account and then print. Print out the Instagram posts and make a display behind the counter or near the changing rooms. Artifact Rising has some cool prints or you can send them to a drugstore to print.
You could surprise and delight your customers by sending them a coupon via direct message for a discount off their next shopping trip to reward their social media posts.
Zane Boutique is an adorable shop in Portland, Maine. I had the best time shopping in their store and they were thrilled that I did Instagram stories and took photos in the store. They've built a beautiful website to pair with their Instagram and told me that they sell a lot of products from Instagram and ship all over the country.
Create vignettes in your shop that are easy to Gram and I bet you'll see increased posts and traffic. You could make little signs to put near displays that say “please tag us on Instagram and add the #gramtheshop hashtag to be featured on our Instagram.” Choose a hashtag that makes sense for your business.
Only a few left #summertote #summervibes #summertime #madeinitaly #sardinia #eco #sustainable #totebag #chic #handwoven #curatedforyou #onpoint #styled #easybreezy #dreamy #thatsdarling #shop #boutique #boutiqueshopping #shoplocal #portlandmaine #portland #womanowned #zaneboutique #zane #maine @zaneboutique
I hope that this article has answered the question “Can small businesses use Instagram?” and given you ideas that you can implement for your small business on Instagram.
I'd love to know how you use Instagram and if it's helping your small business grow. Please share in the comments.
Made Freshly created this awesome infographic – pin and save for future reference.
Sue B. says
Peg – this is an #InstaAwesome post!! So many golden nuggets for anyone looking to understand the true culture of Instagram and how to connect with your targeted community.
Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog, I value your Insta-expertise.
Wendy Ann Gentry says
Thank you! I loved all the strategies, pro tips and the bonus infographic you shared from Made Freshly (especially #5 about asking better questions!). Any time there is an example of what not to do it helps tons.
Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Instagram has lots of subtle things to learn. I’m happy you liked the infographic too!
Shantanu Sinha says
Great tips over here 🙂
Instagram is becoming popular and many peoples are attracting towards this social media platform. yeah Instagram is good to
run a small business. My friends was running a small business in instagram, he was selling their clothes and shoes and he
had a win win situation. He started of to sell in our city only and after one year he is making money from almost every part
of the country.
I love instagram and I am also looking forward to go for a small business shortly. These tips are like golden nuggets for me
Thanks for the share.
I’m so happy to hear about your friend’s success on Instagram. It’s amazing that people are growing businesses that reach further than they even imagined.
Peg, consistently AWESOME content from you – so informative! Glad to hear you enjoyed your time in our fair city of Portland (ME!) and look forward to seeing you at Agents of Change conference. 🙂
Love love love Portland! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment here. Agents of Change is going to be great. See you there.