• 5 Tips for Using Instagram for a Small Business

Instagram is a photo-oriented social media platform that can be an effective means of promoting your business and brand without money. In a sea of so many social media platforms to choose from, Instagram is a time efficient marketing strategy to increase name recognition, online visibility and reach new customers. This post will provide five actionable tips for using Instagram to promote your small business.

Instagram tips for your small business

Instagram for Small Businesses

Instagram is a way to communicate with followers on a more personal level. By sharing pictures and videos, you are creating an approachable persona that followers will want to engage with. Pictures can create an emotional connection by putting faces with names and showing the bones of your company. Showing your products or services in action gives customers ideas for how to interact with your brand and your company.

Using Instagram for business can be a great social media marketing strategy if your brand has products to photograph. Visually appealing pictures of your products can attract new customers by increasing engagement on your social media account. Even if your business is service based, you can reach new customers through Instagram videos or behind the scenes pictures of that service. Instagram can also be used to post motivational pictures for businesses like fitness centers or consultants to brighten up your followers’ days and provide inspiration.

5 Tips for Using Instagram

1. Be Attractive

Since Instagram is a photo sharing site, always make sure the pictures you post are high quality, visually appealing, and positively represent your brand.

These 8 photo editing apps can help your photos stand out on Instagram—you can download or use on your smartphone to increase visual appeal. One of our favorite apps to use to enhance our photos is Afterlight. Whether it’s a free or paid app, there are plenty that offer a range of features to enhance the look and feel of your photos. Too much editing can be overkill, so make sure to preserve the authenticity of your pictures.

If you are especially proud of your pictures, add in your brand name or logo through one an editing app or website like Canva. This is also a good way to increase brand awareness and name recognition of your business. Although adding a logo may take more advanced editing applications on the computer such as Photoshop or Canva, most photo editing apps enable text for you to include your Instagram handle or a hashtag.

2. Be Responsive and Engaged

Instagram is about more than just photos—it’s also about creating a community and facilitating conversations between users. As you begin to post pictures and use hashtags to promote your photos, people will start to interact with your profile. Encourage commenting by asking questions and responding to comments as much as possible. Engagement increases your social reach so that you can grow your network. When it comes to social media, the more the merrier!

If a user engages with your profile, follow them back. If they are enthusiastic about your brand, imagine how they will feel if the brand is enthusiastic about them! Creating personal relationships creates long lasting support of your business. Likewise, like and comment on other users’ pictures to engage further with them do the same.

3. Be Present

Once you have a presence on Instagram, it’s important to post often. You want to stay relevant in users minds so they remember to support your business instead of one of your competitors. Although posting pictures on a regular basis is important, don’t go overboard and bombard followers with a million pictures at once. Additionally, don’t disappear off the platform for a few days and try to “make it up” by posting pictures to count for the time gone. It’s overkill. If you’re going to take some time off, it’s okay but it’s better to slowly get back into the swing of posting rather than force it.

4. Be Relevant

Instagram is a great way to promote your business without money, but make sure what you are posting is relevant to your audience and what they tend to purchase. Post pictures of your business and your products; not pictures of your cats. While your cats might be cute, they won’t help you sell cupcakes at your bakery! Depending on your customer demographic, you can even post lifestyle related pictures that represent themes that they would respond well to.

When posting, don’t forget to use hashtags to increase the reach of your posts and grow your business. While hashtags are an incredible resource for expanding engagement, only use hashtags that are relevant to your business and appropriate for your target market. A few selected hashtags that accurately represent your picture and brand image are perfect, however using a handful of random words is overdoing it. Our article on hashtag marketing explains how to properly use hashtags.

Why not promote a hashtag unique to your company? This encourages user engagement as others can hop on the bandwagon and use the hashtag in their pictures to let you know how they use your products.

5. Be Resourceful

Last but not least, be informative in your profile description. As you begin to engage with new users and potential customers, they need to know the important information on how to use your services. Include location, a short description of what your business does, and a link to your website. Unfortunately there isn’t enough room for address, phone number, and other specific information, so keep it short and simple. If you’re using a custom hashtag for your business, include it in your profile so it’s right in front of users. If users are interested in supporting your business, they will find everything else out through the link you provide.

Now’s the time to get started with Instagram to promote your small business. You may even want to improve your business’s visibility by switching over to an Instagram business profile as well.Get started today and let us know what works for you!

ThriveHive combines easy-to-use tools and expert guidance to help businesses stand out and get found online. Learn more about our guided marketing and advertising solutions here.


  1. Caitlin says:

    I love Afterlight! I use it on Instagrams for both my personal account and the branded accounts that I run.

  2. When it comes to number 4, why not both? A picture of your cat in your bakery is a win win!

    • Halley Belt says:

      You can definitely do both, but our advice is sticking to posting pictures relevant to your business instead of unrelated topics. It would definitely be funny to see a picture of a cat in a bakery, but just posting pictures of your cat won’t sell the product.

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