Instagram continues to be one of the faster-growing social platforms for small businesses. Nearly one in three internet users are Instagram users. Instagram is now the fastest growing social network. Most savvy small business marketers know the value of Instagram, but engagement can be a struggle for some businesses. Here are a few simple steps you can take to improve Instagram engagement.

Post consistently on your Instagram profile

social media posting scheduleTo grow a dedicated following, it’s important to be consistent. Haphazardly posting here and there with no rhyme or reason will not grow a dedicated following, let alone encourage engagement. As part of your small business marketing strategy, make a plan of how often you’re going to post and what topics you’ll be sharing. Some experts suggest posting once a day to build a following and engagement. Others suggest two times a day, while others say a few times a week is fine. There’s no magic number but there is this: posting consistently is key. If you have enough engaging and relevant content to consistently post daily or multiple times a day, do it! The idea is quality over quantity for engagement, so if your small business can only commit to consistently posting quality content every 2-3 days, that’s perfectly fine! Yes, you’ll likely see more follower growth the more often you post but if you don’t keep up with that cadence and start posting inconsistently, or your content suffers in trying to post too often, you’ll lose your audience and what engagement you had.

Use your true brand voice

brand voiceInstagram creates a feeling of familiarity and community, so using Instagram simply to sell won’t get you far. Instead, be true to your brand voice. Be conversational. Tell stories and share interesting information others will find helpful. Again, it’s about building engagement and if an audience senses you’re true brand is speaking to them, the level of engagement you’ll get out of that audience can prove invaluable. Provide content that aligns with what your audience cares about or helps them with their problems using a voice that is genuine.

Take time to consider the images you post

Obviously, Instagram is all about images, whether that’s a photo, a graphic, or a video. While you don’t want to post the same thing all the time, do try to keep a consistent look to your posts. That can be as simple as always having your logo on the image your share, or in the video you share. You always want your audience to quickly recognize your posts in the sea of their Instagram feed they’re thumbing through. Take some time to brand your content so people quickly see that it’s you! Of course, your look should match your brand identity and appeal to the audience you’re trying to attract.

Have a hashtag strategy

hashtagWhat are the keyword phrases associated with your company, its service, and its products? Be smart about the hashtags that you use on Instagram. First, start with a branded hashtag. That can be your company name or a short tagline, so people quickly recognize it’s your post. In addition, use industry-specific hashtags and customize them for each post. Don’t cut and paste the same 30 hashtags each and every time. While you might have some standards that make sense to always use, be sure to toss in targeted if not trending hashtags to catch people’s attention. A note about how many hashtags: Instagram allows up to 30 but you don’t need (and shouldn’t use!) 30 every time. Be smart, strategic, and targeted in the hashtags you use. Not sure how to come up with that list? Look to see what’s trending with your audience, your competitors, and your industry as a start.

Embrace user-generated content

Want more people to be engaged with your Instagram?  Give them the opportunity to be a part of it! Using user-generated content from your clients is a brilliant move for marketers, and actually takes a bit of the burden of having to create new content all the time. Have customers snap a photo of your product in use and hashtag it. Ask followers to submit creative photos of your product and use a dedicated hashtag. There are several ways to encourage user-generated content on your Instagram.

Don’t forget to use videos

People love videos and are more likely to watch them on Instagram. How-to videos are the most popular type of video on Instagram. Posting a video is extremely easy and highly effective!

Using these simple steps to improve engagement on your Instagram page can return big results for your small business and become a powerful marketing tactic for your company overall.

Patty Hughes
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