Instagram is quickly becoming the place-to-be online for businesses. Instagram has over 800 million active users, and many people turn there when they want to learn more about your business or see what you’re up to. It can be hard to get a solid foundation on social media, and Instagram is no exception. However, there are things you can do to up your Instagram game and increase your following and interactions.

Here are 5 ways businesses can get noticed on the ‘gram:

Utilize Hashtags

What is a hashtag? It’s a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic. Using hashtags in your bio on Instagram, and in your posts will really help with your visibility. Users will be able to search for you and see your posts using different hashtags that you’ve used, that are relevant to your business. When using hashtags, you want to be sure that you’re not just #putting #each #word #as #its #own #hashtag. That’s not a good practice. Instead, your #SmallBusiness should be hashtagging words and phrases that are relevant to your #LineOfWork or #Industry. See how much easier that second sentence is to read? Those hashtags are much more likely to be searched for, as well. Here are some tips when utilizing hashtags:

Do a Google search for “popular hashtags for the plumbing industry” or whatever industry you’re in, and use them.

Leave a comment on your post full of relevant hashtags. That way you’ll still show up for them, without your post itself being flooded with hashtags.

Only use hashtags that are relevant to your business and/or your post.

Include hashtags on all your Instagram posts, and be sure your business profile is not private, so all users can view it.

Post Frequently

Instagram has proven to be a little more over-post friendly, meaning that businesses should be posting even more frequently here than they are on Facebook. According to Forbes, the best practice for big brands is posting 1.5 times everyday. Of course, that’s excessive for those of us who aren’t “big brands” like Nordstrom, T-Mobile, Nike, etc. For small and local businesses, the best practice would be posting on Instagram 3 times each week. It’s not very time-consuming but it is beneficial for your business. Conditioning your followers to expect your posts means they will be interested in your content, and ready to follow along. Posting frequently keeps you relevant on Instagram and helps your business to stay afloat there.

Know Your Audience

Who are your followers? What are their interests? What’s their age group? These are all questions that you should be exploring and finding the answers for. Once you determine who your audience is, what their interests are and what posts they react to, you will be better able to post content that is relevant to them and their needs. Targeting your posts to the people who are most likely to use your services will really be beneficial to your reputation on Instagram. For example, if you own a bakery, you will likely want your posts to target people celebrating birthdays, planning weddings, and having other parties. Try to pinpoint which posts your audience seems to enjoy the most, by how many interactions they receive, and you will know which content is most valuable for your profile.

Host Giveaways

Everyone loves a giveaway! Everyone is interested in getting a free product or service from a business they are interested in. Imagine getting a gift card to your favorite restaurant, $50 off a carpet cleaning, or a free furnace tune-up simply for entering a giveaway on Instagram? People love it, and your business should be taking advantage of that. One of the best ways to get more people to notice you is to host a giveaway and have followers enter by tagging 3-5 friends in the comments. It’s not as much commitment from them as having them share the post, and it’s a very quick entry for them. It’s a win-win because now you have all of those tagged viewing your profile and finding out more about your business. Giveaways are an Instagram gold mine, and you should host them as frequently as you can.

Ask Questions

Get your followers involved with your profile by asking them to answer questions about themselves in the comments. People love to talk about themselves, their likes, and their ideas. This is a great way to get your followers interacting with you online, and in-turn building your reputation. Asking questions online is also a great way to get a conversation started that will help build trust with your followers and help you get to know them better.

Instagram is a great place for businesses to be, where they can interact with their customers and showcase their work quickly and easily. It’s where you need to be!

For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, subscribe to the FreshLime Newsletter here. Connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter. And last of all, if any of these tips have helped you or if you have anything to add please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

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