Picture Perfect Ways to Promote Your Small Business on Instagram

Instagram is about way more than just posting nice photos. With its more than 600 million active users and the recent launch of Instagram Stories, now is the time to get your business on the ’gram and tell the visual story of your brand. Check out our guide below to making the most out of this platform and get ’gramming ASAP.

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Sign up for a business profile.

Make sure you create a business profile by going into the Settings section and selecting “Switch to Business Account.” This gives you the opportunity to add your address, email and phone number to make it easy for customers to reach you using the contact button. Check out @SquareCanada in the Instagram app as an example.

With a limit of 150 characters in your profile description, you have to be concise but effective. Make sure to incorporate industry-relevant keywords (so your account is easy to find through in-app searches), include the most salient points about your business, consider using an external app like Notes for professional spacing and formatting, and don’t forget to include your company’s URL. Your profile is the only place on Instagram where you can include a clickable link.

Use hashtags strategically.

Hashtags are like the search engines of Instagram. You can create a hashtag specifically for your business so you can search and curate your content, and followers can use it when posting about your business. Familiarize yourself with commonly used hashtags relevant to your business and try using a handful of popular hashtags in your posts to help reach new users.

Measure your engagement.

A business account gives you access to analytics that help you measure your efforts. Just tap a photo you’ve shared and then tap View Insights to see its data. If you’d like to dive even deeper, use tools like Google Analytics and Sprout Social to measure the effectiveness of your Instagram marketing campaigns. Vancouver-based social media startups Later and Hootsuite both also enable you to prewrite Instagram posts (although you still need to manually post them as scheduling in advance is not yet possible on Instagram).

Unlike some other social media platforms, Instagram users are always in the app, and there are no peak times of day to post. That being said, you should definitely test for several weeks, posting on different days and at different times to see when you get the most engagement.

Follow people and businesses that align with yours (preferably with large followings) and like or comment on their posts to encourage them to reciprocate. You also want to take responding to comments on your company’s posts seriously — engagement works two ways and people like to feel there’s someone behind the posts.

Follow @SquareCanada on Instagram and get to know Square sellers from around Canada as we share their stories. Direct message us a picture of your small business and we may share it with our own followers.

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