With a user base of 1 billion+, Instagram is a goldmine of opportunities for businesses. Unlike peers like Facebook and Snapchat, Instagram is witnessing a steady increase in user volumes and engagement.

The best part is that 90% of these billion-strong users follow at least one business account on the platform.

Do you want to be the preferred business of this coveted audience?

Then, you need to grow your business’s visibility and authority on the platform. However, with 500 million+ businesses competing for a space in the spotlight, it’s not going to be easy to stand out, especially for small businesses.

The solution?

Just follow the four growth hacks I’ve explained in this article. Using them, you can grow your business on Instagram without blowing up your marketing budgets or investing too much effort.

Sounds cool, right?

Then let’s get started.

4 Proven Instagram Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

Small business owners need marketing solutions that require little investment and deliver big returns. That’s why I have identified four simple yet effective hacks that can be implemented on shoestring budgets. 

Let’s take a closer look…

1. Use Powerful Hashtags

Like most social media platforms, Instagram is flooded with quality content from brands. To cut through that noise and reach the right eyes and ears, you need to use hashtags wisely.

But, with hashtags, it isn’t a case of “the more, the merrier.” In fact, using more than six hashtags in a post can actually decrease your engagement. So, even if a hashtag like #love gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling, avoid using it.

Why so?

A post carrying super-popular hashtags like #love has to compete with two million other posts that have it.

If you want to use hashtags strategically, use a hashtag generator tool. These nifty tools can not only find relevant and popular hashtags for you, but also track their engagement rates over time.

Some of the more sophisticated tools assist you in building custom hashtags for your brand. Such hashtags help you highlight your brand’s personality and create a niche for yourself.

2. Focus on Videos

Videos are a powerful marketing tool for brands. And, social media users absolutely love branded video content. In fact, videos have been known to drive the purchase decisions of 73% of consumers, according to an Animoto survey.

This means video marketing needs to be a priority of brands that want to make it big on Instagram.

You can create explainer videos or share unboxing videos of your existing customers. Or, you can create bite-sized video Stories with expert tips, customer testimonials, or behind-the-scenes footage. You can also experiment with Instagram Live and Reels for long-form videos.

If creating videos seems like a costly, complex process to you, think again. There are many free video editors that can help you craft content optimized for Instagram. Using these tools, you can A/B test content before publication. You can also white-label videos to keep the branding intact.

3. Track Your Analytics

It’s pointless to accelerate your Instagram marketing strategy if you are not going to track your returns. By monitoring how your content is performing, you will know precisely what’s working and what needs improvement. This way, you can channelize your effort and resources in a resultful direction.

When we talk about Instagram analytics, there are eight major metrics that matter:

  • Reach
  • Engagement Rates
  • Sales
  • Instagram Story Views
  • Saves
  • Traffic
  • Best Posting Times
  • Follower Growth 

However, you need not waste time and energy tracking all of these metrics. Pick the metrics that align with your marketing objectives.

For instance, if your business aims to drive traffic to your website, you need to dig into your traffic sources to figure out how much traction Instagram marketing is getting. Likewise, if increasing revenue is your primary objective, you need to track UTM codes in your product links.

4. Use Instagram Marketing Tools

Marketing on Instagram can be challenging for small businesses with limited manpower and resources. It’s wise to use automated tools for scheduling content, finding and auditing influencers, content creation, and performance tracking.

What else?

Tools like VSCO can enhance your visual content by applying advanced beauty filters. Since Instagrammers prefer visual-rich content, a tool like Enlight can help you craft visual content that is a cut above the rest.

Scheduling tools like Buffer and Hopper help you post content when your target audience is most active. Buffer even lets you pre-save post captions on a clipboard so that you can cut down on post-creation time.

If you own an ecommerce business, tools like Like2Buy can help you turn your Instagram account into a shopper’s paradise. You can create shoppable posts and catalogs, post fresh product links in bios, and embed Stickers in your Stories and posts. That way, you can draw tangible revenue from Instagram marketing and boost your business.

Ready to Turbocharge Your Instagram Marketing Game?

If done well, Instagram marketing can produce quality leads, customers, and followers for your brand. The trick is to create authoritative content, use powerful hashtags, track your efforts, and use robust marketing tools. With that sorted, your small business can get the most out of the platform.

Do you have any questions about the strategies explained above? Leave your questions in the comments section. I’ll be happy to answer you.

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant for 15 years with an emphasis on Influencer Marketing in the last 5 years. He is specialized in sales funnels, targeted traffic and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, Influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities. @ShaneBarkerConsultant, @shane_barker

Instagram stock photo by PixieMe/Shutterstock