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Instagram Best Practices for Your Small Business + 20 Post Ideas

Instagram has become one of the leading social media platforms for small businesses looking to engage their target audience through images and videos. With over 2 billion users worldwide, Instagram is the perfect place to showcase your brand or sell your products. When using Instagram as part of your social media marketing, it's essential to follow these best practices to maximize your efforts.

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Instagram Best Practices for Your Small Business + 20 Post Ideas

Best Practices for Using Instagram for Your Small Business

Create a Great Instagram Bio

Creating an excellent bio is step one for your company's Instagram business account. Consider these elements for a great bio:

  • Understand your audience. You've likely already completed some audience research and built buyer personas, put that information to use when developing your bio. Tell your audience who you are and the pain points you solve for your market.

  • Be concise - keep it short, sweet, and scannable, ensuring your most important information and call-to-action are front and center.

  • Include a great profile picture - whether your logo or a photo, make sure it's clear and fits the space.

  • Make your one clickable link count by linking to a specific landing page or a multi-link service.

  • Include keywords - ensure your bio includes relevant keywords to tell Instagram what your page is about and help your target audience find you. Include the keyword in your name (hint: this is not your username, but the information on the first line of your bio). Ex. Instead of "Dash + James," I use "Dash + James Digital Marketing."

Be Consistent Through Your Brand Voice and Visuals

Consistency across various platforms will help customers recognize your brand when they visit your website or browse your social media accounts.

Post Relevant Content Consistently

Quality and consistency are two keys to a great Instagram content strategy. Quality content gets shared more because users see value in it. By posting great content consistently, you help build trust with your audience, can stay relevant among changes or trends, and can connect with a broader audience.

When it's time to start ideation and your content plan, a great place to begin is by identifying your content pillars or critical messages that your brand wishes to communicate. Building a content calendar where your post plans are organized, including content types, social media channels, post captions, and more, can help you map out your strategy to stay consistent.

According to AdsEpresso, "During Instagram's Creator Week in June 2021, Adam Mosseri, CEO of Instagram, revealed that posting two feed posts per week and 2 Stories per day is enough to build an Instagram following."

Tell Stories Through Your Content & Be Authentic

Stories provide context and meaning and make information memorable, so creating compelling narratives is essential in everything you write.

Here are some principles to follow to ensure your messages resonate with readers:

Your audience wants to hear from real people like you, so inject personality and emotion into your posts, stories, and reels. Readers appreciate it when authors share personal insights, experiences, and advice from the heart. Get on out there!

Mix it Up - Post Instagram Stories, Static Posts, and Reels

Don't stick to one post type - keep your account fresh and dynamic by mixing up regular posts with Instagram reels and stories. As mentioned above, Instagram recommends at least two daily stories and two weekly posts.

According to AdobeExpress, "Posting one or two reels per day at strategic times, as well as utilizing trending reel audio and hashtags, will help push your posts to the top of your followers' feeds."

Engage With Your Followers

Social media is not a one-way street. Consistently engaging with your feed, followers, comments, and posts on the explore page is a great way to make the most of Instagram by fostering relationships and connecting with others.

Use Hashtags Strategically

Hashtags can be tricky, require research, and are ever-changing. Here are a few tips on hashtags:

  • How many hashtags per post? While you can include up to 30, Instagram creators said to stick between three and five.

  • Spend time researching hashtags relevant to your post, industry, and location. Mix them up as you post.

  • Look back on your social media analytics and look for well-performing hashtags.

  • Use branded hashtags when suitable for your posts, and help your branded hashtag grow by encouraging user-generated content (see below).

Leverage User-Generated Content

User-generated content is any content created by users about a brand. Think about photo contest posts asking an audience to show them a specific product and tag the company, or consider the massively popular ice bucket challenge. Using customer stories has great marketing potential and is incredibly effective in expanding a company's reach, offering validation for your service or product, and helping boost sales.

According to Stackla, "Consumers create the content they seek from brands – 56 percent of consumers say the types of content they most want to see from brands are user-generated photos and videos—and they're constantly creating them."

"Additionally, 51 percent of people say they'd be more likely to continue engaging with and/or purchasing from a brand if it shared their photo, video or post throughout its marketing."

Bottom line - leverage user-generated content.

Plan your Instagram Marketing Strategy

Planning your Instagram marketing campaigns gives you a significant advantage in your content creation process. This includes:

  • Using target audience research to identify traits of potential customers and build out personas of your ideal customer.

  • Set clear goals for your campaigns - Bonus points if they're SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based)

  • Consider the ideal times and days to post on each social channel using research data and your analytics


20 Instagram Post Ideas for Your Small Business Marketing Efforts:

  1. Carousel post telling the story of a pain point in your market and how you solve it

  2. A static post featuring a customer testimonial

  3. An Instagram guide featuring your industry, product, or service

  4. A reel showing your business behind the scenes or introducing your staff

  5. A reel showing your process - from how you make something, deliver it, pack it up, anything your potential and loyal followers might be interested in seeing.

  6. Use Instagram carousels to create a detailed guide

  7. A regular post hyping a recent blog post, podcast appearance, or event

  8. Use Instagram Live to broadcast from an event

  9. A reel touring your space or showing your business in action

  10. Create a how-to post using a regular bar or carousel

  11. Tease an upcoming event or special

  12. Make a reel giving quick tips relevant to your online community

  13. Share your favorite resources or must-haves

  14. Show a before and after using a reel or regular post

  15. Make a reel answering a frequently asked question

  16. Share your expertise through a "Do This, Not That" reel addressing an issue you commonly see in your industry

  17. Bust a myth about your industry or widely held misconception - a quick reel work here

  18. Make a post putting your favorite client in the spotlight

  19. Make a reel sharing a story from when you first started your business

  20. Use a carousel post to walk potential followers through your business process

Key Takeaways

  • Create a great (optimized) bio

  • Post high-quality content, including relevant hashtags

  • Be consistent in brand voice and visuals

  • Tell stories through your content

  • Leverage user-generated content

Get more insight into how digital marketing can help your business - Follow Dash + James now on Instagram & Facebook.

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