Instagram Marketing 101: How to Promote Your Small Business

Did you know that there are over 1 BILLION monthly Instagram users? With numbers like that, it’s easy to understand why you should incorporate the platform into your content marketing strategy!

But to a small business owner with so many other tasks on your plate, Instagram could seem very overwhelming. Hashtags? Stories? Reels? HELP!

I know this feeling and have heard it echoed by MANY of my clients. But the truth is, Instagram isn’t overwhelming as long as you know the basics!

Today, I want to sit down with you and chat about the basics of Instagram, how to use the different posting formats, and when it makes sense to weave them into your content marketing strategy.

Let’s get started!

Instagram Grid Posts

Instagram grid posts are the original posting format for the app. Back when Instagram first started as a photo-sharing app, grid posts were all we had!

These posts are a great way to share static photos of your product or graphics that describe what you offer. This is also a great place to drive engagement and build a relationship with your audience.

Since the app has evolved, Instagram has moved from only allowing one photo or graphic per post to allowing multiple in the form of a carousel. According to Hootsuite, carousels are one of the most engaging forms of content on social media, obtaining 1.4x more reach and 3.1x more engagement than regular posts. 

Whether you post one photo or a carousel of multiple images/graphics, be sure to use a call-to-action in your caption on every post so your audience will feel welcome to engage with you. Here are nine post ideas to get you started.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are so much fun! You can share graphics, short videos, or photos with music, sound, or fun GIFs with your following.

The best part about Stories? They only last for 24 hours!

When your audience is scrolling through Instagram and they see the little red circle around your profile picture, they will know that you have a story to share with them. But they need to watch it right now because it’ll disappear soon!

Stories can be created ahead of time or on the fly, depending on your content strategy and what you want to share.

Your audience can engage with your content in real-time as they’re watching your stories either by sending you an emoji or a full comment in a direct message. This is a great way to build engagement with your followers!

You can also use fun tools like a poll or quiz in your Stories to also help increase engagement.

Instagram Reels

Reels are short-form video content that is either entertaining or educational. The ideal Reel is less than 15 seconds long… so make your content quick and to the point! They are a great way to draw in your audience and drive engagement.

Basically, Instagram Reels are the app’s response to the overnight sensation that is TikTok. And, in a recent announcement by the head of Instagram, the app announced that their algorithm will start pushing video content over photos and other stagnant content. So regardless of how you feel about TikTok, it’s worth getting familiar with Reels.

You can use Reels to inform, educate, or engage. You can also create sales by tagging products or using the View Product tag to direct viewers to your Instagram shop (if you have one) or your website.

This article by Social Media Examiner goes into more detail about how to use Reels and offers some great suggestions.

Instagram Video

IGTV (Instagram TV) was launched in 2018 in the hopes that it would rival video giant YouTube.

Unfortunately, it never really took off and during Instagram’s big announcement back in June 2021, they also announced the end of IGTV

Although video content is a big part of this app (and only getting bigger!), IGTV just wasn’t working well as designed. These videos and the platform they were produced on will now be absorbed into Reels and Live Video. 

You can currently post videos up to 60 minutes in length, right to your Instagram grid!

Instagram Live Video

How many times have you heard someone say that they’re “going live”? It seems to be a big thing to do on social media, lately!

And for good reason. Instagram Lives are given priority in consumers’ newsfeeds which means there is a higher likelihood of your content being viewed. 

When you go live, your followers will also get a message alerting them that you are going live, which piques their interest and encourages them to join in to watch.

Speaking directly to your audience is also a great way to build trust, establish authority, and drive engagement. 

Social Media Strategies Summit just recently published an article about how to get the most out of your live content. I highly suggest checking it out, right here!

Are You Ready to Use Instagram for Your Business?

Now that you know all about the different aspects of Instagram, I hope you feel more equipped to take on the platform and start using it to promote your business. If you’re just starting out, don’t be afraid to tweak your Facebook content for Instagram – here’s how to do that!

If you ever feel a little stuck, I’m always here to help you through it! Check out more about my social media services or schedule a free consultation with me.