Some benefits of a business account: your followers can click on your contact button to connect with you right from your Instagram page, you can add your address and location if you’re a physical business, and it’s easier for you to run sponsored posts and ads on the platform.
For more info on the pros and cons of an Instagram business account versus a personal account, check out this deep dive on Instagram account types.
2. Establish your brand voice
Your brand voice across all your social networks should be consistent with what you want to convey, your messaging, and what type of content you put out there.
You need to establish your tone of voice so your followers know what to expect and you attract the right people. You want these people to connect with you because they care so much about what you do and your product. They’ll then become super fans who want to market your business with you.
When we’ve talked about brand voice before, it’s been a lot around language. Instagram is visual so take some time to sit down and create a style guide about colors, branding, and filters for your account.
You want to give your followers a place to know what they’re going to expect. The types of photos that do well and the brands building the most significant followings have streamlined accounts.
For example, consistent coloring within an Instagram account has been massive for many brands. If you’re out in the world and you see that coloring or if you see something that reminds you of that brand, it triggers that memory “Oh yeah, that looks like XYZ.”
A great Instagram marketing strategy example is the makeup company Glossier. They do this so well that when people see their color pink out in the world, a lot of the time, they’ll take a picture and hashtag it #glossierpink on Instagram. They’ve done such an excellent job of being consistent with their branding color it has become a trend.
Don’t underestimate how important a style guide is for brand awareness. Don’t waste time thinking too hard about what you’re going to create on Instagram until you come up with colors and a game plan for your Instagram branding.
For more tips on developing your brand voice, check out this post.
3. Use your personal brand to grow your business Instagram following
A big part of creating an Instagram marketing strategy for small businesses is about showing your personality.
People buy from people, not brands. Your followers want to know you, like you, and trust you. When your followers see the person behind the brand, it makes the buying process more personal.
For example, our founder, Laura, does a lot of podcasts. This is a great way to pull back the curtain, get behind the scenes and humanize the brand to show we are real people and the amount of work that goes into creating this product.
Instagram is an excellent way to share your personality. So don’t be afraid to share your face on Instagram every once in a while to build a like and trust factor so your followers can get to know you.
It works for any industry, not just a SaaS business or online product. It’s also a great way to get your face out there without forcing people to buy your product.
Another tip for growing your small brand on Instagram: if you have a lot of followers on your personal account, make sure you’re taking advantage of it!
Cross-promote on your platforms. Make sure you’re tagging your business page or tagging your second brand page on your personal account to let people know it’s there and to build your following a little bit faster. Super simple to do, especially in your stories.
Here are 9 more expert tips for growing your small business Instagram following.
4. Use the algorithm to inform your Instagram marketing strategy
Every social network has an algorithm to ensure users see the content they care about.
Instagram has a few criteria for deciding what to show to users. The first is interest.
The platform tracks user behavior and saves what they like and who they interact with, which allows it to serve up posts from the most relevant accounts.
Keep this in mind when creating your content because if you create share-worthy content, it’s going to say, “Hey Instagram, they like seeing posts from me. Show my next post to them as well.”
The algorithm also considers recency. It prioritizes the more recent posts and ranks your content higher for people you’ve interacted with.
Get out there and do some community building by liking other photos, commenting on other people’s Instagram photos, DMing people.
These are great ways to show the algorithm that you have relationships with your community, and they want to see all of the posts you’re putting out. Don’t just go copying and pasting the same comment on a bunch of photos; make sure you’re jumping in there, making connections. It’s a great way to start to build your following.
5. Do your research on your competitors
Another easy way to get inspired to create Instagram content, especially if you’re starting out, is to research more prominent brands in your industry.
Their marketing department has spent a ton of money researching the types of posts that work well and the times of day to send them out.
We aren’t suggesting copying their strategy, but it’s a great way to start generating ideas for compelling content.
Here are 4 other strategies for growing your Instagram following.
6. Make your brand Instagrammable
Remember that Instagram is all about visuals, so if you have a physical store or physical product, look at your space or your packaging.
Think about the experience you can provide to people and make it something they want to photograph. If someone’s taking a picture, tagging your business, tagging your industry, and posting to their Instagram account, they have just opened up your brand to all their followers, which is essentially free marketing.
If you have a restaurant or a store, think about making a creative wall people would love to photograph, or put a creative sandwich board sign out in front of your store.
For products, Glossier is a great example. They ship your product in an eye-catching box with their slogan ‘You Look Good.’
They also use this slogan outside their physical stores. This strategy is memorable and fun; people like to take pictures of it and share it out on their own Instagram account.
Start to think about these little things that you can do to encourage other people to promote your brand on Instagram.
7. Be strategic about the type of content you post
Similar to other networks like Facebook and Twitter, you always want to think about the goal of your Instagram posts. How can you add value to your followers? Here are some ideas.
Think about hot tips or fun facts about your industry that you can share on Instagram. Ask questions and let people know what to expect when they see posts from you.
Teach something on Instagram and make sure you’re giving your followers a reason to come back. If you’re only posting promotional content, that’s not a compelling reason for people to go to your page or continue following you.
Teaching them something is one of the best ways to keep them coming back for more. Think about doing things like tip Tuesday or motivation Monday. That way, people know; every Monday when I log onto my Instagram, this brand will serve me up a motivation quote and get me ready for the week.
Infographics are a great way to share information that your followers can quickly digest and understand. So if you have interesting facts or any data to share, make it visually pleasing! If you want to share detailed information, make it fun.
Product updates are huge if you are a business or service that changes things or upgrades its features a lot.
Create posts that are little teasers of your new products or services to get people intrigued and excited.
We spoke about trust and touched on how you are the only you in your business. What differentiates you from anyone else in your industry is how you built your business and your journey.
You can see here this is a quote from our founder Laura, and it’s super simple. Just share some of the tips and tricks you learned from your business and things that inspire you to show your followers what you value.
If you’re not comfortable in front of a camera, thought leadership is another way to get your personality out there and humanize your brand. Think about what you can do to keep your followers coming back and wanting to learn more about you.
Humor and relatability are essential to building a rapport with your audience. If someone can see themselves in your story or your brand, it will create this moment where they look at it and say, “Huh, me too. That’s something I feel as well.” It makes that bond with your brand that your followers will remember the next time it comes up.
Never underestimate the power a smile has for followers to create a great connection to your brand.
Behind the scenes
We’ve touched on this with the humanizing brand, but you want to give your followers something that other people can’t get.
If someone’s following you, they feel like maybe they’re a part of an exclusive group, that they’re getting something that others who are not following you can’t see.
It’ll also compel people to share your Instagram account with their friends because they want to feel helpful. Being helpful is one of the strongest drives in social media sharing. People want to be seen as valuable to their friends.
Behind the scenes content compels people to get to know, like, and trust you and gives them the feeling that those who don’t follow you don’t get to know your brand as well.
Reviews are great for social proof; we talk about them on every social network. On Instagram, if you have a great testimonial or review from one of your members or from someone who bought your product, make it visual and eye-catching.
A contest is a great way to motivate people to interact with your Instagram account. Contests can also help build up your email list by creating a custom landing page to collect people’s email addresses.
Encourage your followers to interact with you by running a contest. Contests are also a simple way to get a bunch of user-generated content you can use for future posts.
Here’s why user-generated content is so crucial for your brand.
An Instagram takeover is when other people run your Instagram account for a day or week and share content they create. A takeover is an excellent way to keep your content fresh and reach new audiences.
You don’t have to be creative all the time on Instagram. You can create a library of evergreen content to keep re-sharing your content authentically.
Evergreen content is essential on any network. Two million blog posts are released to WordPress daily. If you want your content to get attention, you need to share it multiple times.
You also never know the type of headline or the type of image that might grab someone’s attention. If you have Evergreen content, sit down and create multiple images or headlines for that post to experiment with.
8. Work with an influencer
One of the easiest ways to get your brand in front of more people is to work with an influencer.
Influencers have built up a large audience and gained trust from their followers. With a killer Instagram influencer marketing strategy, you can boost your following and sales in a short amount of time.
We spoke to Derren Ohanian, the CEO and co-founder of Social Sensei, where he shared his insights about working with influencers.
He told us that micro-influencer marketing has become the most popular way to work with influencers. It’s more accessible to brands with a smaller budget who can’t afford to work with big celebrities with millions of followers.
For example, let’s say you sell dog treats and have a budget of $3,000, and you want to target people who have dogs or love dogs.
You could just use one influencer, or you have the option of creating a campaign of 10 posts at $300 apiece across three different influencers to see which influencer generates the most revenue for you. You can track all the ROI through the call to action you set up with the influencers driving them back to your website or email signups or sales – whatever you want to track – and now you’ve developed a relationship.
That’s the difference between traditional social ads and creator marketing. With creator marketing, you’re building relationships with these people. They can get to know your brand and can find different and unique ideas to talk about your product or service.
With creator marketing, the pro is that you’re getting a super targeted follower who is already interested in your message and product or service. You have a higher chance of converting that follower into a customer with creator or influencer marketing campaigns.
While there’s no guarantee, the general rule is that you’ll see a higher conversion rate with the creator marketing.
9. Make use of Instagram stories
Stories are an excellent opportunity for you to test different strategies. For example, you can share limited-time discount codes on stories. It’s a perfect way for you to compel people to check back in with your story often.
Instagram Stories is also a really great way to cross-promote on your other pages. If you’re doing a Facebook Live or Twitter chat, make sure you share it on your Instagram stories. Show your face, get people excited, and you can start driving some of your Instagram followers to your other pages.
Check out this resource for all things Instagram stories. Whether you’re looking for an Instagram story strategy or inspiration, this guide has you covered.
10. Use hashtags right
Using hashtags is a great way to get discovered on Instagram and connect with people relevant to your business. The more niche your hashtag, the more likely people will find your account.
Create a brand-relevant hashtag and encourage your followers to use it. For example, Edgar could use the hashtag #edgartips when sharing info about using social media.
Here are the top ways you can use hashtags to get discovered on Instagram.
11. Pay attention to your bio
Your Instagram bio is the first place your potential customers land, so make it clear in your bio what you do. Get people excited about your business in the first 150 characters they see.
Include keywords in your bio, along with your contact details or website link.
Use these tips to create an Instagram bio that stands out and turns visitors to your Instagram page into clients.
12. Experiment with Instagram Reels
Short videos have exploded in popularity in the past year. Reels are Instagram’s answer to TikTok-style short videos. There are tons of trends with Reels; whether it’s a song, a dance, or a format, you can get loads of ideas from looking at Reels in the explore tab on your Instagram homepage.
Get started with Reels by using these ideas for inspiration.
Get creative with your Instagram strategy
Now you know exactly how to create an Instagram marketing strategy that will wow your followers, grow your following, and boost your engagement.
As you’ve learned, there are tons of ways to get creative with the platform. If you’re prepared to get experimental and try new things, the opportunities to grow your brand via Instagram are endless.