Ten Ways to Grow Your Small Business With Instagram

If you’ve been successful at setting up an Instagram account for your small business and using it to find new followers – and customers — you might be looking for additional strategies to ramp up your efforts on this visual social media platform. And since engagement on Instagram is 15 times higher than it is on Facebook, it’s definitely the platform that, for many small businesses, can move them from a teeny company to a burgeoning one. Here are 10 ways to grow your small business with Instagram to connect with your audience and get them to buy from you.

✓. Connect It to Your Other Social Channels

You’ll get more bang for your buck — and more followers to boot — if you connect Instagram to your Twitter and Facebook accounts. That way, any image you share on Instagram will automatically post to those profiles, and people can click to see your Instagram stream, like an image, comment on it, or follow your brand.

✓. Post What People Want

Don’t feel like all your images have to be polished, professional product shots. In fact, your audience might prefer the rough smartphone pictures with filters. Or behind-the-scenes shots of you preparing for an event or product photo shoot. Your stream should deliver value in visual content that followers can’t get anywhere else.

✓. Don’t Overlook Video

Not to be outdone by Vine, Instagram also allows users to upload videos. Keep them short and sweet; your audience’s attention span can’t take more than a minute or so as they’re scrolling their stream. You can also embed your Instagram videos on your website or blog.

✓. Use Hashtags

Because people sort images by hashtags, you have the opportunity to reach even more new followers by using one that relates to your image. You can also find people to follow by searching relevant hashtags.

✓. Respond to Comments

Your followers love it when you respond to their comments, so make a point to check in several times a week and reply. Follow people back, and then try to connect with them on other social sites.

✓. Crowd-source Your Images

Your stream doesn’t just have to be of photos you took; a great way to engage followers is to encourage them to upload photos to your stream as well. You can use this as a contest and reward the best image, or simply showcase your fans using your product.

✓. Portray Your Brand’s Vibe

It can be hard to really express who your brand is on Twitter, but the visual impact from Instagram gives you the opportunity to do just that. Is your company all about the surf lifestyle? Upload sunny beach photos and favorite those of others. Your stream can go beyond product photos to really tell your company’s story.

✓.Measure Your Likes

If you look at which images people are clicking that little heart button on, you can better understand your audience. This can not only help you decide what kinds of images you want to post in the future, but it can also help you do a little market research for your products. For example, post two pictures of a product in two different colors. Ask which fans like. The one with more likes is the one you should produce.

✓. Use Blue to Get More Likes

Here’s an interesting fact: images on Instagram that had blue as the dominant color got 24% more likes than other colors. It’s all about psychology, and blue seems to win when it comes to attracting more attention!

✓. Be Consistent

Just like with any social media site, consistency is key. Get into a regular cadence of posting pictures so you stay in front of your audience and they know when to expect new content from you.

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