Instagram Shopping Business Ideas Instagram for small businesses

How to use Instagram for Small Businesses: Best 9 Tips & Strategies!

All the biggest companies worldwide are using Instagram to execute marketing campaigns, increase brand awareness and grow audiences. But can we use Instagram for small businesses too?

If only large businesses can reach success on Instagram, there’s no way the platform can be that popular. Instead, this social channel is actually an ideal marketplace for any size of businesses. 

While smartphones have become a crucial feature in our everyday routine, it’s much easier for people to get closer to brands no matter where they are. So, if you haven’t tapped into Instagram yet, you are missing out lots of sales opportunities.

Why shifting your Brand to Instagram is essential?

Huge Data Of Potential Customers.

With about a billion users surfing around the platform monthly, Instagram is surely the best social channel to promote your business and find new buyers.

Instagram has big data of users from all ages

Instagram has big data of users from all ages

While 35% of US adults aged 18 to 29 said they’re frequently buying products on Instagram, the other age groups can also discover new brands through advertisements or tagged products from people they follow. So does Instagram works for small businesses? Definitely.

The Algorithm Helps Brands Reach Easier To Target Audiences. 

If you’ve been using social networks ever since, you’ll realize how easy it is to promote a product or service on your news feed. 

With massive data provided from users, they’ve made the sponsored content personalized enough for you to click in and interact with. That’s why even if you’re just a small business, there are still suitable audiences somewhere on the platform for you.

Visual Contents Bring More Engagement Than Just Text.

Not everyone has time for a long wall of text, therefore nearly 40% of internet users engage more with visual posts than writing ones. For that reason, Instagram, with a strong photo feed, is no doubt the leader in providing visual shopping experiences compared to others. 

It only takes a few minutes to get started on Instagram, also we’ve found out all 10 best ways to maximize your marketing campaigns, let’s check out.

10 best strategies to use Instagram for Small Businesses

#1. Grow Audiences From Your Other Channels

Of course you can lean on advertisements later, but let’s first start with your current resources. If you already have other social media channels, connect them with your Instagram so customers can be aware of all your channels.

How to link your other channels to Instagram

How to link your other channels to Instagram

In order to do this, go to Instagram profile > Settings > Account > Sharing to Other Apps > Choose your channels and login > Continue > Yes, Finish Setup.

Once you link your Instagram account with multiple channels, your followers will instantly receive a notification saying that your brand is now on Instagram, which brings lots of traffic at the moment.

The same goes for your eCommerce store. If you’re owning a nice Shopify website, you can still let your visitors know about the Instagram account by mentioning it somewhere on your site.

Mention your Instagram somewhere on the site to drive traffic

Mention your Instagram somewhere on the site to drive traffic

At this point, Socialwidget is a wonderful tool that helps customizing a responsive and eye-catching Instagram storefront to stick it on your website. Via this widget, customers can immediately see your best Instagram media, which increases social proof, then click through your Instagram which can grow more followers to your account.

Therefore this tool can surprisingly improve Instagram traffic for your small businesses without spending too much effort.

#2. Create Instagram Launching Events 

When a large number of audiences start following, your account might have a chance to be pushed to top on the newsfeed. At this moment, you can expand your reach even a bit further, by hosting some first launching events.

It could be a Giveaway, Photo Contest, Hashtag Campaign or just any type of promotion/ discount to keep audiences clicking on, just like this one:


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A post shared by Viking Books (@vikingbooks)

Basically, this method can apply all year round whenever you want to attract more followers, social interactions, or just getting rid of off-season excess stocks. 

To double the effects, on your other channels, you can hype subscribers up with an announcement post that leads to Instagram, also here are some other tips to remember:

  • Be sure your events won’t include items that could violate Instagram promotion rules.
  • Investing in your headlines and content, because “Follow us to get a discount!” sort of phrases are just SO boring, too many people have done that before.
  • Include a catchy #hashtag so people can keep in mind and find your brand easier next time.
  • You can tell audiences to repost, publicly tag your brand or mention a friend in the comments section to extend the event even more. 
  • The event should have a limited time period, to drive quick actions and increase brand values.
  • Team up with other Instagram brands or influencers to spread the contest/ promotion further. 


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A post shared by Quest Nutrition (@questnutrition)


#3. Use Instagram Stories To Build Customer Trust.

Visual content is the key to any successful marketing campaign, because it helps drive more buying decisions and customer trust. 

62% of eCommerce buyers around the world have confirmed that they’ll need to check out lots of product images before purchasing.

At this point, Instagram is surely the most effective visual marketing platform, thanks to its lively all-image feed. So how to strengthen Instagram visuals for small businesses?

Instagram provides multi visual marketing features for any business

Instagram provides multi visual marketing features for any business

Since Instagram has launched so many features to support visual shopping, Stories seems to be the most popular among others. Indeed, lively stories allow people to have a closer look at an item rather than just photo posts, which is important for upselling your product or services. 


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A post shared by Apple Hub (@theapplehub)

Using Stories and its related feature ‘Highlights’ can deliver more product information to convert loyal shoppers or tell branded stories to enhance their relationship with your brands.

#4. Get To Know Instagram Live & Videos

Since video content is rising strongly in the eCommerce world, it’s good to take a step ahead of your competitors by investing in video content for your Instagram.

Good news for marketers is making videos or going live on Instagram is not that complicated. While the platform was first introduced as a daily photo-sharing app, you don’t need to be a professional filmmaker to catch audiences’ interest.


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A post shared by apple (@apple)

Nowadays, social media audiences seem to value honesty more than just the look, which is why creating video content on Instagram for small businesses is easier than you thought.

Also, you won’t need extraordinary ideas for Instagram videos, just stick with the products you have and focus on showcase many aspects of them. Perhaps:

  • Hosting Q&As sessions.
  • Behind the scenes of making a video or shooting products.
  • Daily workload at your store.
  • Product step-by-step tutorials.
  • Live talk shows with creators.
  • Repost your customers’ content (user-generated content)

#5. Working With Instagram Creators

Instagram has a massive amount of influencers’ data that could be used for your effective marketing strategies. 

Since the platforms focus on visuals, many creators of all sizes can easily share their daily images, videos or stories to attract audiences. 

And you don’t really need most popular creators like Kylie Jenner or Selena Gomez, just collaborating with your local micro-influencers is enough.


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A post shared by REVOLVE (@revolve)

This method can grow your subscribers list faster than you thought, especially when you find the right influencers who have their followers relevant to your brand type.

In order to find suitable creators, you can take a look around at other competitors’ Instagram posts, or just simply browse on your Explore tab. 

Also, don’t forget to check out their typical posting style or engagements per post before choosing to ensure your influencer marketing strategies work best.

#6. Use Hashtags

When it comes to hashtags, make sure to not create too specific hashtags or people won’t be able to find you anywhere at all. 

Hashtags allow you to reach people who share the same interests, even if they already know about your brands or not. Which is a great way to increase your brand awareness on Instagram.

However, if you’re using too distinctive Instagram hashtags for your small businesses, no one will ever search for them and therefore you’ll lose loads of traffic.

Unlike other social media networks where you can search for keywords, Instagram will bring your photo to search results if it has related hashtags. So make a list of hashtags that are relevant to your business type, or just stick with top trending hashtags just like @Nike did to join in ‘Black Lives Matter’ social movement:


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A post shared by Nike (@nike)

#7. Partner Up With Other Brands

Since we’re all local small businesses, supporting each other is surely nothing too hard to ask for. You can create a collaborative collection, or throw a marketing campaign together such as a giveaway or combo discount, to attract followers back and forth.


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A post shared by A͏lfred (@alfred)

Starting with finding a suitable partner that shares the same characteristics with your brands, such as:

  • Brands have correspondent/ matching products or services. You don’t want to partner up with competitors who have the same products as your brand, don’t you?
  • Choose partners who have similar target audiences, this to maximize your advertising effects.
  • Same level as your brands. If you’re calling someone for collaboration, you must provide a fair amount of benefits as they provide you. So when your partner has less followers/ engagements compared to you, then you might not find many advantages.
  •  How much effort are they willing to invest in your partnership? If they seem to not be so interested in the process, then skip them.

#8. Affordable Advertising Costs

You might need lots of budgets to start bidding ads on Facebook or other platforms. However, Instagram has made advertising experiences simple at a reasonable price for even the smallest brands to join in.

Instagram ads have lower prices compared to other platforms

Instagram ads have lower prices compared to other platforms

You can gain lots of relevant audiences and grow traffic fast with Instagram ads, which are personalized and fully trackable in 2021. 

Since Instagram users still prefer visuals than text, the tip is to create eye-catching images and short, readable captions. Nowadays, some brands still apply their Facebook ads photos for Instagram, which is not recommended.  

Each platform has its own photo ratio to guarantee the best displaying result, so if you’re willing to spend money, do it right.

#9. Dive Into Your Competitors’ Account

If you don’t know what to do next, learn from your competitors’ posts. Just keep a close eye on these elements: 

  • How often do they publish on Instagram Account, Stories or Reels?
  • What content did they often post? Gather some ever-green topics that you can use for developing your own series later.
  • How they interact with their fans. Did they reply to every comment or host Q & A stories/ livestream instead?

After that, you can use the collected data to improve your own particular marketing strategy. Remember that, only learn from their ideas, not copy and paste.

Does Instagram work for small businesses too?

The answer is always YES. 

There are lots of ways to start promoting your brands on social media, such as advertising and paying for sponsored content. With these 9 tips of how to use Instagram for small businesses above, we believe you can build a large community without spending a dollar.