Instagram is a powerful tool for small business owners to connect with potential customers and grow their businesses. With over 800 million active users, Instagram provides an amazing opportunity for businesses to reach a large and engaged audience. By creating engaging content and using effective hashtags, small business owners can attract new followers and increase visibility for their brands. Instagram can be an incredibly valuable tool, but only if you know how to use it.
Any social media platform can be a little daunting when you’re not familiar with it. This series of blog posts will go over the various aspects of Instagram and how you can use them to effectively grow your audience and reach more consumers. This blog will focus on the biggest part of Instagram – posting.
Written by Abby Schiano
How do posts work?
To post a photo to your page, open the Instagram app and upload it directly by clicking the + symbol up in the right-hand corner. After tapping the first option that says Post you will be brought to your camera roll. (Make sure you allow the app access to your photos) Select a high-quality image of one of your products or if you can’t choose, tap the button with two squares on top of each other. This will allow you to include up to ten photos in just one post! Instagram also allows you to take a photo to post as well. Just tap the little camera button to snap a photo right then and there. Once you’ve found your photo/photos, tap next
1. Post photo. 2. Allows you to select multiple photos. 3. Take photo on the spot. 4. Scroll through filters. 5. Gives you photo editing options. 6. Write your caption here. 7. Add your hashtags at the end of the caption. 8. Tap here to tag different Instagram accounts. 9. Search for your photo location here.
To filter, or not to filter, that is the question.
You’ll next be asked to choose a filter for your photo. Having a filter over your photo is completely up to you. However, if you’re looking to create brand consistency on your profile, we recommend using the same filter for all your photos. Personally, I find it easier to choose none because even the same filter can look different on photos depending on the lighting. Another option you’ll see during this step is the ability to edit your photo. You can mess with the angle of the photo by tapping adjust and then tinker with settings such as brightness, contrast, and more.
Captions are your time to shine!
The next step to creating a post is coming up with a caption. Captions are a great way to not only describe your product to your audience but to connect with them at all. Use your caption to ask your followers a question or include a call to action. This is also a great place to give your business some personality. Avoid robotic language and don’t be afraid to use emojis.
Chances are, you’ve probably heard of a hashtag. But now it’s time to understand them because when used correctly in a caption, they’re extremely effective. You can think of hashtags as Instagram’s organizational system. If you’re a bookseller, use hashtags related to books. That way when a user is looking through various book hashtags, they can see your post. Hashtags are used to help your post reach more people (i.e. the more hashtags you use, the larger your potential audience). But be sure not to go overboard; using fifty hashtags per photo is too much and will only hurt your engagement. The recommended hashtag amount is no more than thirty.
Should I add my location?
Instagram allows you to make your posts geotaggable by tapping the “Add Location” button. This is a great way to let your customers know which store their post was taken at and provide directions for people who want to visit your brick-and-mortar location.
Tagging, more than just a playground game.
Instagram lets you tag other accounts in your posts. It should be mentioned that tagging is not the same thing as hashtags. So how does tagging work? Let’s say you own a coffee shop, and you carry pastries from a bakery down the street. When you’re taking a photo of a latte paired with a scone from that bakery, it’s nice to give them a shout-out. So that’s when you’re gonna tap tag people. It will bring up your photo. Tap anywhere on the photo (preferably the scone) and you’ll be shown a list of other Instagram accounts. Search the bakery’s Instagram, select the account, then hit done. When you post the photo, they’ll get a notification that they’ve been “tagged” in your photo.
Time to post (literally)
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of posting, let’s talk about when it’s best to actually post the content.
The best time to post on Instagram is during peak hours. Peak Instagram times are different for everyone, but here’s a list of some recommended times:
- Monday through Thursday 1 p.m.-3 p.m.
- Friday 12 p.m.-2 p.m.
- Saturday 10 a.m.–12 p.m.
- Sunday 10 a.m.–12 p.m.
Keep in mind that these times are not guaranteed to work for everyone! Try posting at different times throughout the week and pay attention to when your audience is most active on Instagram so you can adjust accordingly. Another tricky thing about posting on Instagram is that feeds are no longer chronological. So don’t be surprised if something you posted two days ago randomly starts to get engagement. It’s been rumored that Instagram may bring back the chronological feed, or at the very least give you the option to toggle it. But for now, trial and error is the best way to figure out what time of day you should post.
By now you should have a pretty good understanding of what Instagram is used for the most — sharing photos. If you’re a small business, the best way to get new customers is to showcase your products or services, so posting on Instagram is a crucial first step to making the most of your online presence.
Posting on Instagram barely scratches the surface of everything this platform has to offer, but for now, we’ll let you soak this all in.
Need help making exciting and engaging content for Instagram? Check out our last blog post on how Canva can help!