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How Small Businesses Can Use Instagram to Generate Revenue

by BBB Staff | Feb 19, 2020 10:06:18 AM

Although many companies are already familiar with running ads on Instagram through the Facebook Ad Manager, they may not understand how to use Instagram itself to promote their businesses. Instagram has over 1 billion users worldwide, and many of them are looking for the product or service that you offer. 62% of people reported seeing a brand in their Instagram Stories, and because of that, they became interested in it. People buy from brands they trust and like. Here's how you can use Instagram to build an audience that trusts and likes your brand to increase your customer base and generate revenue.

Building Trust through Relationships

Building a business on Instagram starts with building relationships. 59% of shoppers say they prefer to buy from brands familiar to them. Once your brand becomes familiar to your customers, you start a relationship with them. When you have a relationship, they will trust and, subsequently, like your brand.

The Instagram Culture

The culture of Instagram involves likability. The main way users engage with content is through "likes." For this reason, brands cannot just advertise in traditional ways, since those don't translate well into Instagram's culture. To be successful, you have to work with Instagram's platform and use approaches that align with its culture. Instagram is a visual platform, so creating likable photos is key to success on the platform.

The Instagram Feed

When you create a profile on Instagram, each post will feature a photo that will become part of a collage of photos. When you have a business on Instagram, your profile’s visitors should be able to instantly tell what kind of business you have just by glancing at your collage of photos. Some business owners make the mistake of being too personal with their feed, posting photos of their dog or other images unrelated to their brand. Your photos should also be consistent with both themes and color palettes that represent your brand.

Creative Photos

Creativity goes a long way in creating likable photos that also properly represent your brand. Your photos should have an aesthetic to them. You can show images that are related to your brand, like steam coming from rocks for a massage therapist. You can show the ingredients to your products, like flour, chocolate chips, and brown sugar on a rustic cutting board for a bakery. You can show photos of your brand in use. The key here is creativity. People are more likely to engage with your content if they like the photos on your Instagram feed.

Using Instagram Stories

Although your profile and Instagram feed are more permanent and create continuity, Instagram Stories only appear for 24 hours. Instagram Stories focus on behind-the-scenes and in-the-moment activities. You can post about preparing for an upcoming health inspection or meeting with a supplier. You can also show how you make your product or share details about your service. Stories from businesses are one-third of the most viewed Stories on Instagram. If creating Stories sounds overwhelming, you should be relieved to know that most businesses only post an average of 2.5 times per week on their Instagram Stories.

Using Hashtags

The way to advertise on Instagram is by using hashtags. People will search with hashtags to find content in which they are interested. If you aren't familiar with the way businesses use hashtags to make their posts discoverable, you are not alone: 33% of posts have no hashtags. After spending all of the time making creative photos for your feed, you will want to include hashtags in your posts to ensure people can find them. You can figure out the best ones to use by doing a little research.

Researching Hashtags

The way to determine the best hashtags to include in your posts is by starting with a category related to your business and then trying to make it more specific. For example, if you start with the broad category "entrepreneur," you can add the word "woman" to it to make a narrower category, "#womanentrepreneur." The more niche your hashtags are, the more successful they will be in helping people find your content. If you enter this narrower hashtag into the search on Instagram, Instagram will supply you with even more related hashtags. You can also click on the posts from the gallery to see what hashtags your competitors are using. Another great resource for hashtags is the website displaypurposes.com.

Having
the ability to promote your business on Instagram is well worth the time and
effort to learn about its culture. The great thing about this approach is that
people come to find you rather than you having to chase them down with
advertising. Not only that, but all it costs you is a little bit of your time.

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