With over 1.3 billion users worldwide, you can put Instagram on top of any list of popular social networking sites. Instagram is an excellent platform for small businesses to reach their potential customers and increase engagement with them.
Most users spend approximately 29 minutes a day on Instagram, thus promising you great reach if the platform is well-used. However, many business owners are unsure of the ways as to how to use Instagram in a way that will prove fruitful. You can’t just randomly start posting and expect amazing results. Promote your Instagram account by building a strategy and planning your execution well.
If you are not sure how to use Instagram to reach customers, this article will help you through the lens of the different things you can do to promote your Instagram account.
Reasons to Use Instagram to Promote Your Business
This is probably a no-brainer for all of you, but it bears repeating so that you fully understand the strategic importance that Instagram has in social media marketing.
Furthermore, unless you know the reasons as to why you should promote your business on Instagram, you will not be able to fully apply the points I will discuss later.
So, why use Instagram for business?
- The face of your brand – Instagram is about images and visuals, so you can form a personal connection with your customers through pictures. You can share images of your team, how they operate, the testimonials of your happy customers, and how they use your product. This would help you to engage with your potential customers.
- Tell customers about offers – You can update your followers with interesting promotions you have launched. If you are launching a new product or service, Instagram is the best platform to reach your customers.
- Tell stories – Of all the social media platforms, Instagram is the perfect place to be creative with your marketing. Instagram stories are an excellent feature designed to boost audience engagement.
- Stay updated with trends – You should be on Instagram because it keeps you updated with what customers like in the market and what is not working. Accordingly, you can create your posts and try to reach your customers.
- Influencer marketing – The concept is very popular these days and the best platform to bring in results for you is Instagram. Through dependable influencers, you can take your company sales to a new level.
Can you Promote for Free on Instagram?
A lot of businesses are under the impression that gaining followers on Instagram and increasing engagement is costly. Yes, if you plan to do influencer marketing and paid promotion, Instagram can be costly. However, we are not focusing on paid marketing for Instagram in this article. The good news is that you can promote and grow your business for free on Instagram.
Things to keep in mind…
Before we talk about the free ways in which you can promote your business, it is important to talk about some basic checks you need to have in your Instagram account –
Keep your Instagram account as a business account
If you are using a personal profile for your business, it would not help you grow. Instead, it is recommended that you create a business account. This would enable you to get an access to Instagram ads and promoted posts, allowing you to increase your reach and engagement
Complete your profile
Incomplete Instagram accounts are unattractive, and you don’t want your followers to look at your incomplete profile, right? You must include your business details; have a high-quality profile picture and a bio that speaks of your business as a brand.
Make your profile visible
You cannot promote and get more followers if users cannot find you. Hence, make sure your profile is public. Otherwise, only those who follow you will be able to see your post.
11 Best Ways to Promote Your Instagram (for Free)
You now know the secret – you can promote your business for free on Instagram. Let us look at 11 simple ways how you can do it:
1. Create Useful Posts
The first and basic thing you need to do is promote your Instagram account through meaningful posts. If you can create attractive, interesting, and useful content, you will give viewers a strong reason to follow you. To begin with, you need to set yourself aside from the crowd. Most businesses use their link in bio to link to their website to drive traffic there.
Imagine the feed of users with posts, all wanting them to visit the website for more info. Now, if you can share all the information through the Instagram post, it will be a breather for them and something they may feel delighted to see.
You should know how the Instagram algorithm works. It doesn’t show the photo you post to all of your followers. It is shown to only 10-20% of your followers and Instagram waits to see if there is some engagement with your content or not. The response from the 20% decides whether more people are going to see your post or not. You have to ensure you are creating meaningful posts that drive engagement.
2. Engage through Stories Stickers
Do you know how many users are using Instagram stories every day. The count is over 500 million, and this number is going to increase with time. Instagram stories stickers are an excellent way to encourage your followers to engage with you and share their experiences and opinions. It will lead to a loyal following, and every follower will stay connected to your brand.
Below are some ways to get started with stickers –
- Question sticker – Of all the stickers, the question sticker works best. The maximum engagement comes from AMA (Ask Me Anything), and most of the influencers are using it for higher engagement. However, there is no reason why you should not do it for your business. You can get to know your followers’ opinions about your brand, or you can ask them about their expectations from you. It will help you reach followers with the services they are expecting.
- Quiz sticker – It lets you create multiple-choice questions for your followers to answer. You can also track the results. The followers get to know if they have answered right or wrong, and you get to see which option has been more popular.
3. Create Save-able Content for Your Feed
Businesses should take advantage of Instagram shares, comments, and saves. Creating content that encourages your followers to tap and click the Save button is a good way to boost engagement. Content that audiences will want to come back to in the future is saveable content.
If you can share some tips and suggestions that will help your followers in some way – you can expect your followers will save that content for the future. The idea is simple – you have to create content that is important for your audience. It can be anything – infographics, powerful quotes, or funny memes.
Further Reading: Tips and Tricks to Build a Seamless Instagram Content Strategy
4. Use Hashtags
Hashtags are essential if you want to promote your Instagram account for free. You should use relevant hashtags in your posts and stories so that it reaches the targeted users. Your posts can contain up to 30 hashtags. You may use all, but you should be careful in selecting the right ones. The use of relevant hashtags will increase your engagement rate. You can use the below hashtags in your posts –
- Location-based – To target your local audience and increase brand awareness in the local community, you can use location-based hashtags.
- Popular hashtags – Using Instagram hashtags like #nofilter and other popular and creative hashtags helps you reach a wider audience. It also helps you promote the human side of your business.
- Industry-specific – Hashtag will help you reach people who are interested in your business content in general. You can even connect with influencers through industry-specific hashtags.
Further Reading: 8 Powerful Ways How to Use Instagram Hashtags for More Exposure
5. Use Instagram Stories
One of Instagram’s most engaging features is Instagram Stories. We have already discussed the use of stickers in Instagram stories, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to them only. The content in your story gets updated every 24 hours, and it’s the perfect place to show your followers transparent and raw content which will enable you to make your business more relatable.
Instagram stories get maximum engagement, and you should not miss the opportunity to promote your account for free using this feature.
6. Use IGTV
IGTV on Instagram works similar to YouTube. In this, users can explore different channels of their favorite topics and content. The success of Youtube should be enough to assure you that video content is the most effective way to reach and engage with your audience. IGTV helps you bring those followers to your account that are more video-inclined.
With IGTV, it’s easy to get started – once you upload your first video on IGTV, your brand’s unique channel is automatically generated by Instagram. IGTV allows you to post existing videos too, which again is a great way to promote your business. You can also post YouTube videos on Instagram TV and reach new followers.
7. Go Live on Instagram Live
The Instagram Live feature is also a great way to promote your business without spending a few bucks. You can host a variety of workshops, Q&A, and interviews using Instagram Live. It would be helpful to let your followers know ahead of time about your upcoming live session. This will likely result in more viewers joining in and staying back.
When people see you or someone from higher management talking about the business directly, it helps build trust and put a face behind your brand. You can also use this platform to invite your followers to your Instagram Live sessions and thus have a direct interaction. Try to create a meaningful Instagram Live experience for your followers, and this would indirectly create sales.
8. Engage with Instagram Influencers
Influencer marketing doesn’t always have to involve paid campaigns. By engaging smartly with them, you can help support their brand while gaining exposure for your business. Apart from liking and commenting on their posts, you can also repost their posts in order to engage with them and gain more exposure. There are a lot of Instagram influencers out there; you ought to choose those who are useful and relevant to your brand. For example, if you provide financial services, you should engage with influencers who talk about finance.
Further Reading: Instagram Influencer Marketing: The Complete Guide
9. Take Advantage of Instagram Story Highlights
Instagram Story Highlights are basically the curated collections of the content that you have posted to your stories in the past. These collections are commonly referred to as albums, and you can choose to create different albums for different categories. Unlike regular stories, Story highlights do not disappear after 24 hours – they stay in your profile permanently underneath the bio section and above the regular feed. If you have many products to offer to your followers, you can create an album around each. You can keep updating the albums with the relevant story.
10. Host Collaborative Competitions
If you are in contact with some business owners who are in a similar industry as yours, you can join hands with them for a collaborative competition. It is advisable to collaborate with one or multiple profiles in the beginning and move on to others gradually. One of the commonly used tactics is to have an Instagram competition where entrants follow your account and tag a few friends in the comment section.
Using this method, all business owners can tap the followers of other businesses and grow their accounts. Consider joining hands with a company whose products or services are complementary to yours. As an example, if you’re a sunglasses retailer, a swimwear brand could be a good fit because it’s easy to see the connection between these two products.
Further Reading: How to Do A Giveaway On Instagram in 12 Easy Steps
11. Make Use of Longer Captions
You must know you can use up to 2200 characters while making a post on Instagram. If you want to share something with your audience for which you plan to take them outside Instagram, avoid doing it. Instead of taking them to an external site, you can share all the information by writing Instagram captions.
Your followers are on Instagram because they want to spend time there. You should not take them to another site, they may probably not like doing it. Longer captions also help you in improving your Instagram engagement. As per studies, high engagement posts have an average of 65-70 words in the caption. You can make a note of it and next time when you create a post, make sure you have enough words in the caption.
Get started promoting your Instagram account with these given tactics. Create a strong strategy wherein the inbuilt Instagram features can be used optimally. Maintain an active and interesting feed. Try to use the above-mentioned tips to create new content and be regular in posting them.
However, always remain consistent and patient. Your efforts will gradually pay off. Instagram has proven to be a great marketing tool where your followers can help spread word about your business and also give constructive feedback.
Leverage your Instagram profile in a way to engage in two-way conversation for best results.
Further Reading: How to Use Instagram Reels for Business: The Definitive Guide
Akash Tripathi, a Content Marketing Strategist at Top Mobile Tech, has 10+ years of experience in blogging and digital marketing. At Top Mobile Tech, he covers various how-to and tips & tricks related to iPhone and more related to technologies.
Hero photo by Mourizal Zativa on Unsplash