How to Leverage Instagram for Small Business

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A picture is worth a thousand words and Instagram has billions of them.

With over 300 million users, Instagram can be a fun, free way to connect with your target market and build your small business.

To maximize every advantage, it is important to have a clear idea about what, when and how you want to communicate. That way, you can engage your current audience and increase your followers.

Once you understand who you want to reach through Instagam, getting started is easy. All you do is log on, create a business account and start uploading photos. The key is to post consistently and engage with other content.

1. Get Posting

For your profile photo, it is best to use your company logo – it is easily identifiable and will likely represent well on a smart phone. From there, start posting interesting and engaging photos. Be sure to use creativity in posting. You might post images of a new product, a workspace, your lunch, employees involved in volunteer work, causes you support, or even a cute puppy! Some successful companies like Anthropologie and Oreo have learned very well how to leverage Instagram to their best advantage. Follow them and learn.

2. Choose the Right Days and Times

You know who you want to reach, now to figure out the when. Think about timing your posts to best reach your target market. For example, if your target market involves reaching parents with young children, it might be best to post in the evening, just after children are usually in bed. Once you have been posting for awhile, you can acquire reports that provide a detailed analysis of your posting history and engagement. Reports can highlight both the best times of the day and days of the week to post. By taking advantage of that information, you can be sure to get your message to the right people at the right time.

3. Hashtags

You’ve probably seen hashtags around, but may not know much about them. They are a word or group of words after the # sign. For example, #hashtag #mybusiness #mybusinessname

Savvy marketers know hashtags are a way to engage your business with your target market. Hashtags are used to make your content easier to find. Research popular hashtags related to your product or service and use them. Consider hashtags that reflect your brand, content and location. Be consistent with the hashtags you use – and if you’re already on Instagram, it is easy to go back and edit your hashtags.

4. Strategic Partnerships

Figuring out how to build a following on Instagram can be challenging. One way is to take advantage of Strategic Partnerships.

Develop a listing of other popular accounts that reach the same target audience. Get in touch with them and arrange to partner. This is typically done through paid or unpaid “shout-outs.”

Unpaid shout-outs essentially means that you share something of theirs and they share something of yours, thereby gaining access to each others followers.

Paid shout-outs vary in cost but can be a great way to add more followers quickly. Take advantage of this by arranging a call-to-action in the shout-out, asking the followers to do something. One of the best things, is to ask them to follow your Instagram account, but you can also ask them to sign up for a free opt-in (such as an eBook).

Now, all you have to do is get started! Get your Intagram account at