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The Best Way to Use Instagram to Boost Your Small Business

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As a small business owner in an increasingly digital age, social media has become a necessary part of everyday life. Social media has such a subtly influential effect on consumers who are aimlessly or purposefully scrolling through their feeds, and it’s important to capitalize on that as a business owner—especially since your online presence has effectively become the calling card for your business. Statistics show that consumers are far more likely to visit a business’s social media page before even making it to their website, and younger consumers are purchasing items or booking services directly through social media without ever clicking out of the app. 

Many business owners struggle to create and maintain a professional, relatable social media page, but we want to show you how it can be incredibly easy and even fun once you learn a few practical tips! After all, a strong social media presence is a free and easy way to clearly communicate your brand values and to sell to a wide range of customers from the comfort of your home office. 

While there are endless social media strategies out there, we want to share four simple touch points we use when creating a social plan for our branding clients.

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Consistency

The number one tip when it comes to creating a strong social media presence is consistency. Don’t let that immediately stress you out—because consistency doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be posting on a daily basis. It’s more so connected to the look and feel of your content. Everything should be cohesive and aligned with your overall brand so that when a customer visits your Instagram profile, it’s clear that it’s yours.

While you may not need to post every day, your Instagram content should relate directly to your target audience. This means considering when they’re actively using social media and creating posts that will draw the most engagement. For example, you could do a weekly Instagram poll on Monday evenings to draw an active response from your followers and show that you’re interested in their input. After a few weeks, they’ll come to look forward to these polls and even expect them! 

The key is to learn peak engagement times. If you find that you get your best engagement in the early morning, then download a scheduling app like Planoly to ensure that your posts are scheduled early in the morning. Looking at Instagram analytics can be incredibly helpful when it comes to this, but it’s also as simple as giving some thought to who your ideal client is! If you sell mostly to moms of young kids, mornings before school are likely not the best time to post. If your ideal client is in their mid-twenties, you’ll probably get their best engagement in the early evening as they’re scrolling after work. 

Once you pick the times that your posts will best reach your ideal client, it’s time to think about how frequently it’s realistic for you to post. We’ve found that once a day is the best and easiest rule of thumb for our clients, but if you don’t have access to that much content or time, picking a target number of posts per week allows your audience to know what to expect from you. There’s nothing worse for your algorithm ranking or engagement than inconsistent posting. Finding balance and a sustainable routine for your social strategy goes a long way in the success of your page.

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Content

With consistency in mind, it’s extremely important to think about both the textual and visual content you’re sharing. The textual elements of your posts will provide more details into what you’re offering your target consumers, and the visual elements will give your audience something concrete and even emotional to hold on to. 

For instance, think about the font style and size you’re using with any graphics you share. One really attainable way to provide consistency through your textual content is to choose between 1-3 font styles and sizes that you regularly use. Your viewers will intuitively understand that these fonts are associated with your business, and they’ll have a more immediate connection to the content itself. With images, you can achieve this same type of meaningful consistency. Are your images consistent when it comes to general color schemes and lighting patterns? Are you incorporating visual assets (like graphics or logos) that naturally align with your brand? The goal is to be purposeful in curating your Instagram aesthetic so that your dream client comes to know and trust your business.

Another way to achieve consistency through content is by working with a brand photographer. They’re going to know just what to do to deliver a sense of visual wonderment. Of course, while you don’t necessarily always need to work with one brand photographer, it’s helpful to partner with photographers who have a similar aesthetic so that your Instagram feed comes across as polished and consistent. 

If you’re just starting out and don’t have the budget to work with a photographer to help create professional looking content for your business, find a formula that works for you to help showcase what you do in a quality way. iPhones take gorgeous photos these days, and if you’re looking for something a step up, the Canon Rebel is an affordable and easy to use camera to help you get a bank of brand images built up. If you’re DIY-ing your brand images, make sure that the lighting and colors stay somewhat consistent, and if you have a product-focused business, maybe consider finding a few places in your store or home office that you can consistently photograph new items. Although you don’t want your feed to look too uniform or rigid, consistent imagery will go a long way in communicating a brand message.

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Copy

​​The number one complaint we hear from small business owners who are hoping to outsource their social media management is that they have the most difficult time writing captions. Engaging copy is a crucial part of your social media presence, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be as hard as it can sometimes feel! Think of your captions on social media as your time to shine when it comes to educating your dream clients about your business. You want these captions to feel professional (good grammar and punctuation are a must!) but also relatable. Keep your captions conversational, informative, and easy to read. 

Although it can start to feel repetitive for you to constantly talk about the same selection of products or services, remember that your customer doesn’t know everything that you do about what you offer. They follow you because they’re interested in your business and actively want to find out more, so it’s perfectly fine to repeat yourself sometimes!

 If you’re in the beauty industry, in addition to talking about the products or services you offer, take some time to educate your customers on trends. If you’re in retail, in addition to showcasing your newest items, give your customer ideas for how to use these items in their daily lives! Try to strike a good balance between setting yourself up for a sale and truly sharing your passion for what you do with the people who follow you.

By sharing the heart and story of your brand or business, you’re going to naturally attract customers who are much more eager to purchase from you. Think about how differently “We’re having a sale!” reads when  you could instead say, “We’ve spent the past three months carefully curating items that we know you will absolutely love, and now we’re beyond thrilled to be offering these items at a discounted price so that we can make room for the new items we’ve been sourcing!” Ultimately, your goal is to make a sale, and while both captions maintain that core concept, the second caption feels more approachable and less pushy. It takes the messaging from “Hey, come buy from us!” to a client-centered offering with heart and story behind it.

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Connection

Finally, the best way to use Instagram to bring attention to your small business is to authentically connect with your audience. Your business’s dream client is out there and ready to purchase from you—you’ve just got to connect with them! By showcasing yourself as a real person and speaking to the unique solutions that your business offers in a genuine and authentic way, you’re allowing your ideal client to connect with you and truly get to know what your business stands for. Inevitably, this connection leads to more sales and also a more loyal client base. 

Every Instagram post doesn’t need to highlight something major about your personal life (it’s important to keep marketing conversations primarily about solving a problem for your client), but it definitely helps to pop on every now and then to share who you are and why you run your business. More and more, consumers are seeking a deeper connection to the businesses they buy from, and sharing that human side of your business is a great way to foster this connection. 

If you’re an enthusiastic dog owner, consider finding cute ways to incorporate your furry friend into your marketing messaging – other dog owners will appreciate the sentiment, and this will immediately differentiate your brand in their minds.  So, whether you’re a travel junkie, wine connoisseur, fashionista, or whale lover, find space in your brand messaging to appropriately and genuinely showcase who you are and how you aim to connect with your target audience. This connection goes beyond any one-time sale and helps you sustain followers that can’t wait to see what you have to say next!

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  1. […] a little more about the role Instagram plays in your small business, check out our other blog post here where we cover some of the ways you can manipulate Instagram to boost your business. As they say, […]

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