How To Promote A Small Business On Instagram

PhotographerInstagram has really been something cool in the social media world.

It started as something really simple, which is kind of how Twitter started.

You’ll remember that Twitter was really just one feature of Facebook. All you could do was post text updates on a feed.

Instagram was (and still is) simple as well. You can post photos on a feed. The hook was putting some fun filters on the images, but that’s not as important anymore.

Anyway, we obviously live in a visual world. Text is great, but photos are something entirely different and if you’re a small business you can turn Instagram into a lead generation channel.

Many businesses have done it and you can too.

Here are some tips for doing it.

1. Who’s Your Target Customer?

A marketing strategy on Instagram starts the same as any marketing strategy – with your target customer. When you know and understand your customer you can better figure out how to market to them.

The first thing you’d know with Instagram is to determine if your target customers use the app. You could shoot out a few emails or even a survey to your current customers and ask if they’re using Instagram.

If they are you could ask a few more questions about who they follow and how often they use it.

This process helps you learn more about what your customer does with their time.

2. What Does That Person Want On Instagram?

If you get answers to the question on who your current customers follow on Instagram you can dig into those accounts and see what type of content those people or brands are sharing that interest your customer.

Also check out the Instagram profiles of competitors and complementary businesses that share your same target customer. Look at the ones that seem to be doing well – lots of followers, likes, comments, etc.

Look at what they’re doing well and you’ll get a feel for the type of content you need to produce. It’s good to build ideas of your own to make you unique, but it’s good to have a place to start from. You know your customer likes a certain type of content so no need to reinvent the wheel.

3. How Can You Produce That Type Of Content?


A look inside TaylorMade Golf’s CEO, David Abeles’ bag – who plays to a 2.5 handicap. #ATTProAm


A photo posted by TaylorMade Golf (@taylormadegolf) on

Taylormade with some behinds-the-scenes content.

Once you know the type of content you need you’ll need to figure out if you can create that content. Maybe you can’t create it all, but you should be able to start with something that they’re doing.

Maybe you notice that the successful small businesses are sharing behind-the-scenes photos of their shop or store. That’s a pretty easy thing you could do for your own shop or store.

Also figure out what equipment you’ll need. It might only require your phone, but maybe a tripod will help if you’ll be on your own and wanting to include yourself in the photos.

You can start basic and build from there.

4. Build Time Into Your Daily Routine

Now is the big step. It’s not a big step in terms of technology or ability or anything like that. It’s simply committing to the strategy and making time every day to do it.

As a business owner you’re probably pretty busy already, but if you want to commit to Instagram you’ll need to make time for it every day. You’ll probably need at least 30 minutes and maybe even an hour. That can work for awhile and maybe forever, but it might take longer in the future if you start assessing the success of what you’re doing.

Regular, ongoing sharing is the best thing to do with any social media site. It takes commitment.

If you can’t do it, but you still want to use Instagram then you’ll need to find an employee that can commit and you’ll have to allow them to take the time they need every day.

5. Build On Success And Experiment

So once you’re getting into things you’ll find that some posts or photos or whatever are doing better than others. you’ll learn what’s working. It doesn’t take in-depth analysis. You can look at things like comments and likes. The usual engagement-type things. Also keep an eye on your incoming business. Ask your new customers how they found you and if they follow you on social media and you’ll see if people are working their way from Instagram back to buying from you.

It’ll take time, but if you get in the habit of asking those questions you’ll be able to see it paying off.

And continue to look for new ways to do things on Instagram. Keep using the old reliable strategies, but also throw in some experiments. Try new photos and see how people react. You might get 9 duds, but that 10th one might be a home run and a new winning type of photo.

6. Look For Partnership Opportunities


Coffee talk. Tag your favorite person to grab coffee with. #coffeenclothes #☕️? @cupofcouple


A photo posted by Coffee ‘N Clothes® (@coffeenclothes) on

Giveaways can work well and might not even require discounts.

Partnerships are great for businesses. You can use them in all kinds of ways including Instagram. If you have partners already see if they’re on Instagram and see if there are ways you can post photos together or do some things together on Instagram. The goal is to bring your followings together to help each other grow.

7. Use Appropriate Hashtags

Hashtags are important. They expand your audience. But they only expand your audience if you’re using the right hashtags. You can use funny hashtags and things like that to get a few laughs, but if you want more followers then use 1-3 hashtags on your photos to bring in a new audience.

8. Being Human Is Okay

The people at FreshBooks.

As a final thought just remember that it’s okay to be human and to be yourself. You don’t have to be goofy if it’s not your personality, but be yourself and show that you can have fun. It’s not all business all the time even though you are doing this for your company.

The truth is that people do business with a brand, but they really work with the people behind the brand.


Instagram is a great network or platform or whatever you want to call it. There are tons of people on it and that means that a good portion of your target customers are probably using it. If you are interested in Instagram then go through the steps above and really make the commitment to doing it every day and over time you’ll see success. Probably not over night success, but revisit it in a year or two years and things should be getting to a good place. And it only grows from there if you stay committed.

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