Instagram offers a plethora of opportunity for small businesses looking to expand their social media efforts! This is because users enjoy connecting with brands AND only a third of marketers are actively using Instagram as compared to Facebook.Even so, there are still millions and millions of photos being shared on Instagram every day. You need to have a plan if you want to capture the interest of your audience within those few short seconds while viewing your post.

It starts with determining the best types of content to use.A few great ideas are to focus on your products, services, company culture and individual members of your team. Although Instagram began as a graphic-only platform, it has evolved to include videos and animated GIFs. When choosing content, consider the resources available to you for creating it. Quality matters on Instagram. Don’t publish content unless you’re able to spend enough time to do it right.

Sharing user-generated content is an excellent strategy for brands who have an active Instagram customer base. If your customers are already publishing fantastic content, find a way to use it! Not only does this strengthen your relationship with existing customers, it also encourages more engagement from your overall Instagram audience. This is also an easy way to identify your brand’s social media influencers which is another marketing strategy to think about.

Before using any customer content,first check each user’s account to ensure their own Instagram presence is one you wish to align your brand with. Asking permission before sharing a piece of content is good practice, and always remember to give credit with a @mention.

A style guide is supremely helpful for maintaining a cohesive Instagram feed. Take a good look at the visual elements your brand always has such as your logo, graphics, website and print marketing materials. Although Instagram now allows more image sizes, every photo still displays as a square image within your profile.

If possible, incorporate photos of your staff to help humanize your brand. And make sure it includes a great caption! For more tips on creating Instagram images, check out “5 Tips For Making Memorable Social Media Images”.

While your image tells the story, your caption provides the context. Links don’t work within individual posts, thus its best to save these for your bio. 2200 characters offer plenty of space to convey your message, but that doesn’t mean you have to use it all!Shorter captions tend to do better on Instagram because you only have a few seconds to make an impact before your audience moves on to the next photo in their feed.

For better engagement, aim for 40 characters or less.If including hashtags or emojis, make sure they’re relevant to your audience as well as the specific post you’re adding them to. Finally, don’t forget your call to action! When promoting products, include pricing, where it came from and where your customer can get it.

Setting a content schedule is essential because Instagram does not allow you to schedule posts nor does it allow third-party publishing from applications like Hoot suite or Buffer. Organize your content ahead of time to make it easier to share on a regular basis. Just as important as pre-planned content are your spontaneous posts. Take advantage of live posting because this is one area where Instagram truly shines!

Does your small business have the resources to stand out on Instagram? Venerate Media Group offers social media marketing services for small businesses just like yours! Call (813) 693-2167 or send us a message to learn how we can help your small business with social media!