Knowing the best Instagram practices for small businesses continues to be a recipe for success in 2018. New Orleans has experienced such a rise in entrepreneurship that standing out as a business owner is harder than you might think. Luckily, social media makes it easier for your business to gain exposure. Since so many small business work to reach a younger audience, having quality Instagram marketing is critical.
Although many small businesses already have a social media platform they favor, Instagram is a cheap and efficient tool that can do wonders for your business if it is used correctly. If your business is new to Instagram, read up on these best Instagram practices for small businesses.
Top 4 Best Instagram Practices for Small Businesses
- Plan It Out — If you’ve ever looked at an Instagram profile and been wowed, it might be because all the photos on that profile share a common, visually-appealing theme. The easiest way to get your customers to identify your business’ brand as they scroll through their feed is to make sure all your photos are unique but have something in common. When deciding if a post fits your profile or not, you can always use apps like UnUm to see if the photo fits your brand’s social media theme. Planning your social media calendar in advance both reminds you to post when it matters and prevents you from posting too much too often.
- Use Hashtags — If your business is just getting started or if your business isn’t reaching as many Instagram users as you’d like, the best way to reach people is by applying hashtags to each photo you post. Although some view hashtags with disdain, there is a way to use them without screaming “pay attention to me” to your followers. All you have to do is write a caption for your post that does not use hashtags, and then create a separate comment below the image with just hashtags. If you’re not sure which hashtags you should use, just hashtag everything that’s relevant to your post. For example, if you run a French Quarter restaurant you could use these relevant hashtags:
If you’re going to use this strategy, limit yourself to 30 hashtags or fewer, or Instagram will nullify your comment.
- Create Visual Consistency — Nobody wants to look at an Instagram account that posts stunning beach aerials one day and mediocre food shots the next. Plan out your Instagram posts and ensure you’re posting photos that are both visually appealing and visually consistent each time. To go the extra mile, be sure to post high-quality images that follow similar color schemes. This not only makes your account recognizable but credible as well.
- Tell a Story — If you’re new to Instagram you might be wondering what the circular images above your feed are. Clicking on these circles will lead you to a user’s “story,” which is a photo or video that only lasts for 24 hours. Stories give your social media profile some of the benefits offered by Instagram’s rival, Snapchat, without having to create yet another social media account. Your followers and customers can stay in touch with you all day as your business updates its story. As more followers keep up with your stories, your account will place higher on Instagram’s algorithm, allowing you to reach more people again and again.
Instagram Practices for Small Businesses to Avoid
- Excessive Use of Memes — There’s no doubt that viral memes are funny. They’re generally the best things people will see all day! However, viral memes lack the ability to educate your followers on what your business actually does. If you’re a restaurateur, have somebody take and share gorgeous pictures of your delicious food. If you’re a yoga studio owner, show off how advanced your instructors are with high-quality headstand shots. People truly love to see what you actually do, not what you find silly.
- Poor-Quality Images and Graphics — Low-quality images and watermarked photos are a huge red flag in an Instagram profile. Nobody likes to scroll over a low-quality image of something that’s colorful and vibrant in real life. If you need higher-quality images, use a quality camera or try editing tools like SnapSeed and VscoCam. Graphic design is and always will be a great marketing tool, but use it sparingly for Instagram. Graphics can come off as too promotional, and too often they don’t allow your customers to see what your business is actually about. It’s best to simply avoid both of these things while you’re starting out.
- Irrelevant Content — If you’re a clothing store boutique, your followers might get confused if you post one too many photos of irrelevant content, like furniture or animals. Stay on topic!
New Instagram Practices for Small Businesses
2018 is still young and it’s a whole new year for Instagram. Sometime this year, small businesses will be able to make their posts shopable. Instagram has already partnered with Shopify to allow some of its most-followed accounts to sell from their pages. This feature will soon be available for all Instagram users. So if your business is trying to sell a vintage outfit or workout class pass, all you need to do is tag the photo with where your followers can get the product or service. You can make the most of this pairing with Shopify website design for your website as well. This partnership will make having a great Instagram account just as valuable for your business as your website.
If your business feels it doesn’t have the time to keep up with this ever-changing social media platform, contact Online Optimism today. We’re happy to help you!