So, you’ve created a small business Instagram profile, great job! You’re already one step ahead of the game. Now, if you’re not super familiar with the platform (which is totally okay!), you’re probably feeling a little overwhelmed about what to do, where to look, etc. But don’t worry, that is completely normal for anything brand new, and you will learn the platform the more you use it!
However, you’re probably wondering one of the following questions:
- How the heck do I use this?
- What the heck should I post?
- Should I use hashtags?
- There are too many features, what features should I use or are most important?
- How do I stay relevant?
If you are looking for answers to one or more of these questions, stay with me. I’ll answer each of the above questions to help improve your small business Instagram account.
1. Instagram basics
First things first, make sure that you have all of your necessary information completed before you start anything else. That means having a profile photo, a short bio, and any other important information relevant to your business (like phone number or address if applicable). Check out our blog on how to create a perfect Instagram profile.
Okay, now that we have that figured out, now we can talk about Instagram. Instagram is a social media platform that allows you to follow others and have followers and share photos and videos with those followers as well as see content from the individuals or businesses you follow.
You can post a variety of content that includes a “Post” that will show up on your profile feed. “Stories” is a type of content that you can post and it will disappear after 24 hours. “Reels” is a type of video that is curated with audio, text, and other videos. We will dive into which options are the best to use later, but for now, this is what makes Instagram, Instagram.
If you’re looking for an in-depth tutorial on how to post this content, HubSpot offers a great detailed tutorial that you can check out. YouTube is another great resource if you are looking for something specific.
2. What to post
We get asked this question pretty often when working with small business Instagram profiles. No matter if it’s a story, Reel, or normal post on your feed, always be sure that it’s brand-aligned. There is nothing worse than when you go to a business’ Instagram page, only to find information that is not relevant.
So, the first step in figuring out what you want to post is to come up with a few different “categories” of ideas. If you were a fitness and training gym, those categories could look like: information/knowledge/tips, exercises, fun posts about things happening around the gym, members/clients. Once you have the categories, you can start filling in the blanks with the actual posts themselves. Alternate the posts throughout the weeks and you’ll have a well-rounded strategy!
Another question we get asked often is if small business Instagram profiles should use hashtags. The answer is yes!
Using hashtags will give you extra visibility for people who are talking about the same topics as you. We use a tool called Display Purposes to help us build out our list of 15-20 hashtags for clients. Start with more general topics. Let’s use the fitness and training gym as an example again. You could look up #health and see all of the relevant hashtags that pop up and are highly used. Once you build out the more general hashtags, start getting more specific with the location of the business, like #milwaukee #mkedowntown.
Then the last part is to combine the location and general topics together as one hashtag, for example, #milwaukeeathlete #milwaukeefitness. You can use all of these hashtags in your Instagram posts, just make sure that they are used hashtags by using the tool listed above, otherwise, there is no point in using them.
We already went over some of the more important features of Instagram above in Step 1. So now you’re probably wondering, which features should I use? First and foremost, always be creating the normal, simple posts that show up on your feed. If all you’re posting are Stories that disappear after 24 hours, there will be no content on your page.
Secondly, as much as you probably don’t want to hear it, you should be using all of the features. The more features that you utilize on the platform, the more Instagram will “reward” you in the algorithm. Time to get creative!
5. Staying relevant
One thing that small business Instagram profiles often struggle with is staying consistent. Your posts don’t need to be extremely well thought out – the more you overthink it, the more you will drive yourself away from posting or not making time for it.
The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to stay consistent. If you’re consistent, you’ll stay relevant. You’ll be in front of faces, and people will be thinking about you more than if you’re not posting at all. If that means posting once a week, great! Do what’s best for you, but don’t do nothing at all.
The best thing about social media is that anyone can do it. If you make the time for it- to learn about it, to play around with it, try the variety of features it offers, and actually execute and post, you will do well! Just like anything in life, it takes time to learn something new… and confidence!