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6 Instagram Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

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These six tips will help your small business grow in audience and sales on Instagram.

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Instagram has been a major player in the social media world for some time now. More than 65 million monthly active users, 10 billion photos and one of the most iconic logos out there make it an essential marketing platform for small businesses — if they know how to use it.

As the photo-sharing platform continues to grow, so does its influence on its users buying habits. With that in mind, you can use Instagram not just as a place for sharing photos, but also for getting new customers.

To help you succeed on Instagram as a small business owner, we’ve gathered the best tactics and advice from successful SMBs. Here are seven tried and true ways to use the social network as a marketing tool.

1. Create engaging emoji captions

Capitalizing on emojis is an effective way to engage your followers. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and hashtags are funny and slightly different. Try using them together for extra creativity.

Emojis are especially effective on Instagram, as they can be used to add personality to your messages. You can use the same emoji for different occasions, or mix up the colors and style of the message every time you post something new.

Related: 15 Ways to Optimize Your Instagram

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2. Be original

No one can resist the lure of original content when they view your captions on Instagram. There are thousands of similar posts to yours, which means that you need to stand out from the rest.

Make sure you have a unique angle or perspective that your followers will appreciate. You do not want to be seen as a person who simply shares what’s going on in their lives without adding value or makes any effort whatsoever. With unlimited Instagram followers, it’s easy for people to find a particular user they like. But if you want your post to be noticed, step out of the crowd and create something memorable for them.

3. Use hashtags wisely

When you use hashtags on Instagram, be sure to see how they perform before doing so. It’s a good idea to do a search for your own specific hashtag and see what happens when you include it in your posts.

While there is no guarantee that your hashtag will get noticed, there are a number of factors that go into how well it performs. There are certain hashtags that people use all of the time, while others tend to perform better when they are used occasionally.

The best performing hashtags are around eight to ten characters in length, and you should make sure your hashtags are easy for people to read. You should also use a combination of hashtags, and not focus on just one or two.

Related: Why You Actually Should Share Your Instagram Post on Your Instagram Story

4. Go beyond Instagram

If you want to get more Instagram followers, be sure that you take advantage of the other opportunities available to you. For example, you can try promoting your account through Facebook ads or on Twitter. These sites allow their users to advertise their pages or products, so consider taking advantage of this feature if it fits in with your goals for growth.

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5. Post regularly

It’s always good to post regularly, but you want to make sure what you post is engaging. This is an opportunity to showcase your brand personality and connect with followers on a more personal level, so don’t waste it by posting bad content! Many brands are using Instagram stories as another way of keeping their content fresh. They do this by creating short clips that are easy for viewers to consume, and act as an extension of the account in a way that matches their brand image. This is definitely something worth trying out!

6. Attractive Instagram feed

If you have a well-designed Instagram feed, then it makes sense for the profiles to match too. These will be the first images new followers see, so make sure they are interesting and enticing enough to make people want to continue to explore your feed. If you’re using a mobile device, then this is particularly important, as you only have a small area in which to catch their attention.

While many people already know this, there are still some businesses out there that don’t: Instagram is now an algorithm-based feed. That means that it doesn’t follow the chronological order of posts. This is a huge change for those who used it primarily as a content curation tool and suddenly found they had zero visibility when their posts were not directly engaging or being actively liked.

Take advantage of the algorithm by adjusting your posting times and finding out which time slots are best for you. While there’s no magic formula for this, you can base it on the following:

  • What kind of content do you post? Usually lighter, more digestible content is best early, while images that are bolder or more graphic-heavy are better later in the day.
  • How much time do you spend on your account? If you spend less than an hour a day on it, then consider the early hours of the morning. The reason for this is that more people are online during those hours, so posts from this time are among the first they see.
  • Where do you live? Some markets are very different when it comes to the amount of time people use their smartphones in those locations.
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Time your posts accordingly to avoid any disappointment and to ensure that your content is getting the visibility it deserves.

Related: 4 Reasons Why You Need to Be Making Instagram Reels in 2021

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5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android

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Alright, we get it. You’re an Instagram Nostradamus.

You know exactly what you want to post and when you’re gonna want to post it. Maybe there’s a meme or comment you want to make that you know will be totally relevant for a future moment or event. Or it could be that you’re an influencer and you want to make sure you keep a steady stream of content coming, so you want to schedule posts for times when you know you won’t be active (or won’t have internet access).

You’ll be happy to know there are apps that are specialized for just such situations. So listen up, InstaNostradamuses…Instagrostra…Instadam…Insta…uh…you guys (we’ll workshop it. No we won’t. We’ll probably just abandon that effort completely. You’re welcome) — these are the Instagram-post-scheduling apps for you.

While all of the iPhone apps below are free to download, they all have some in-app purchases.

1. Planoly

PLANOLY

We’ll start with “official partner” of Instagram, itself, Planoly — an Instaplanner that uses a grid to let you plan, schedule, and publish posts (as well as Reels) on Instagram. The app also lets you see post metrics and analytics so you can make sure your post didn’t flop.

Planoly is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

2. Buffer

BufferCredit: buffer / app store

Buffer is another Instagram post scheduler that helps you plan your posts and analyze feedback once they’re published. Use a calendar view to drag and drop posts into days/time slots for easy scheduling.

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Buffer is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

3. Preview

PreviewCredit: preview / app store

Preview offers typical post-scheduling tools and analytics along with a few helpful extras. Get caption ideas, recommendations for hashtags, and more.

Preview is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

4. Content Office

Content OfficeCredit: content office / app store

An Instagram post scheduler with a visual boost, Content Office allows users to plan and schedule Instagram posts while learning “marketing and visual guides to grow your brand on Instagram.” Like aesthetics and using visuals to create cohesive themes? Maybe this is the Instaplanner for you.

Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.

5. Plann

PlannCredit: plann / apple store

You’ll never guess what “Plann” lets you do…

Aside from scheduling posts, get content ideas and recommendations, as well as strategy tips to ensure you’re maximizing your Instagram engagement. Ever wonder when the best time to post something is? Plann can offer you some help with that.

Plann is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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Social networking websites launch features to encourage users to get boosters

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Facebook Instagram and TikTok are launching new features to encourage people to get their coronavirus booster jabs.

From Friday, users will be able to update their profiles with frames or stickers to show that they have had their top-up jab or aim to when they become eligible.

It follows on from people previously being able to show they have had their first and second jabs on certain social networking websites and apps.

TikTok also held a “grab a jab” event in London earlier this year.

I urge everyone who is eligible – don’t delay, get your vaccine or top up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones

More than 16 million booster vaccines have now been given across the UK.

People who are aged 40 and above and received their second dose of their vaccine at least six months ago are currently eligible to have their booster.

A new campaign advert is also being launched on Friday, which shows how Covid-19 can build up in enclosed spaces and how to prevent that from happening.

Vaccines minister Maggie Throup said:  “Getting your booster is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your family this winter.

“It is fantastic to see some of the biggest household names further back the phenomenal vaccine rollout, allowing their users to proudly display that they have played their part in helping us build a wall of defence across the country.

“I urge everyone who is eligible – don’t delay, get your vaccine or top-up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones.”

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How many hashtags should you use to get the most ‘Likes’ on Instagram?

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Hashtags are a key feature of Instagram posts. In fact, they have become an essential means of ensuring more ‘Likes’ on social media – so long as you choose them wisely.

But how many hashtags should you use to maximise your popularity on the social network? The answer might surprise you.

It’s a question that many Instagram users ask themselves: what’s the right number of hashtags to add to a post? To find out, the Later platform analysed 18 million Instagram posts, excluding videos, Reels and Stories.

Interestingly, Later’s results differ from Instagram’s own recommendations. According to Later’s analysis, using more hashtags helps get better results in terms of “reach”, or the percentage of users exposed to the post. By using 20 hashtags, Later observed an optimal average reach rate of just under 36%. Using 30 hashtags gets the next-best reach rate. With five hashtags, reach hits just under 24%.

And while a post’s reach is important, engagement is even more so. From “Likes” and comments to shares and follows – on average, 30 hashtags appears to result in better engagement rates: “When it comes to average engagement rate, using 30 Instagram hashtags per feed post results in the most likes and comments,” says Later’s research.

Yet, at the end of September 2021, Instagram advised its creators to use between three and five hashtags for their posts, while warning them against using too many. The social network advised that using 10 to 20 hashtags per post “will not help you get additional distribution”.

For Later, there could be other reasons behind Instagram’s recommendations: “As Instagram continues to expand their discoverability and SEO tools, it makes sense that they want users to experiment with fewer, more relevant hashtags – this could help them accurately categorise and recommend your posts in suggested content streams, like the Instagram Reels feed or the updated hashtag search tabs,” the website explains. – AFP Relaxnews

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