There are thousands of big companies like Coca Cola, Starbucks and Nike that dominate the space on Instagram. The companies with established followings seem to have no problems getting engagement and results. However for a small business can be hard to generate a big following when you are just starting out.

#StartupGoals

The first step is to make sure you are connected. All of your company’s social accounts should be intertwined. It helps if they are all in one place so that you can post the same content over all of them. This comes in handy as you don’t have to worry about missing a social media account out. However, this is good in the beginning just don’t keep doing it otherwise followers will get bored of seeing the same content everywhere.

If your social media accounts have a strong following, you can push your followers on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other sites to your new Instagram account. This will help your other followers know which social media accounts to follow to not miss out on content.

Make sure you add your website and write a great bio for your profile that explains what your company is all about. This is important as links are not a big part of Instagram. You are only allowed one clickable link in your bio. This is why one some posts you will see the phrase ‘Link in Bio’. Your profile should tell your story of your company as well as adding emoji’s to brighten it up.

#Hashtags

As you can tell I am using these for all of the titles and you will now know why. To search through Instagram, you have to look for hashtags instead of keywords. On other social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook, you can search for a word and see all the Tweets and Facebook posts containing that keyword. However, Instagram is different and you will have to search ‘#keyword’. It’s all about the hashtag.

To make sure your posts show up in the app’s search, you need to start using hashtags for Instagram. This is a quick and easy way to increase your coverage and visibility and reach people who may not be already aware of your brand.

You also need to make sure you are using the right hashtags. A common mistake businesses make are using random hashtags that they just made up. This may be creative and fun but nobody is searching for those random hashtags so they’re not helping you grow your following. Posting pictures related to popular or trending hashtags will help you massively. When you do this, your images have a chance to show up in the Trending Tags section of Instagram.

#TrendingTags

The place where you get the most likes and followers are from the trending tags section on Instagram. The real value comes from finding ways to post pictures related to popular or trending hashtags. When successful, your images have a chance to show up in the Trending Tags section of Instagram.

You can still use more generic and broad hashtags that are easier to fit into your non-themed Instagram posts. Unlinked other social networks, using a lot of hashtags can actually get your images more likes. On Twitter, having 10 hashtags in a Tweet would be crazy. But on Instagram, it’s pretty much the norm.

#InstaStories

Instagram Stories lets you string together multiple pictures and videos into a “story” that disappears after 24 hours, which is similar to Snapchat stories.

Small businesses have been slow to use Instagram Stories while they try to figure out how to best use the feature into their strategies. There are a lot of potentials that you can’t afford to pass up. You should start experimenting and get creative to see what you can come up with for your brand.

#InstaVideo

If you don’t know how important video is in this day in age for business then you’re in the wrong place. Even though photos currently generate more engagement, video is on the rise. You should get started right now.

With Instagram Stories and live videos, the app is making a clear that they are going toward video content. Instagram videos don’t require a lot of production. All you need is your phone and some creativity. Plus the videos are served in bite-size pieces with a time limit of one minute. This way you can take a quick preview video of your product.

#Regram @OtherCompany

Sharing other people’s content is one of the best ways to start building connections. People like people and when you’re just getting started using Instagram as a small business, building up your initial audience should be your top priority. You need to look at shares and engagement as they can rise and fall.

Regramming is a quick and easy way to start getting some momentum. However, unlike other networks, Instagram doesn’t have the easiest way to share other people’s content. There are buttons for liking or commenting but no sharing. There are third party apps that give you the ability to regram. Also if you screenshot the image and write #regram and tag them in it, it is a way of sharing content.

#InstaAd

One of the biggest obstacles that stop small businesses from trying social media advertising, is the price. When you don’t have a big budget, it’s a little more difficult to justify spending money on advertising. Instagram Ads present a great opportunity for small businesses because it’s extremely affordable.

There are a few ways to use Instagram adverts. You can set it to photo adverts – this is where you can advertise through a clean and simple creative canvas. Photos can be in square or landscape format. You can get the same visually immersive quality as photo adverts, with video adverts. These have added the power of sight, sound and motion. You can share videos that are up to 60 seconds long in landscape or square format. Carousel adverts are there to another layer of depth to campaigns, where people can swipe to view additional photos or videos in a single advert. You can complement your feed content with adverts on Instagram Stories. Connect with the over 250 million people using stories daily. If you already have a Facebook Advertising account, then getting started is easy because it’s is all on the same platform.

Final Note:

Contrary to popular belief, Instagram can work just as well for smaller brands as it does for big brands. Since the app was first introduced so many years ago, it has overtaken other popular social media account like Twitter. It has become one of social media’s most popular use for businesses.

There are various ways to use Instagram for your business, just make sure it’s visual. Instagram is based on pictures and videos so as long as you get them right you will have the followers you need.

Finally, one of the best ways to gain more of a following is to analyse your profile. After a few months, you should take a look back and see what makes people like and follow you. Monitoring your posts will help you see which have the most engagement and which hashtags perform the best. Using an Instagram analytics tool can help you see all of this information from a single dashboard. This will show you how to improve posts in the future and where you could be possibly going wrong.

For more on how to make the most of your social media: