For many small business owners, there’s no question that they should be building a presence on Instagram.
They sign up for an account and set up their profile, but then they hit a hurdle: What exactly should you post?
If this sounds familiar, you aren’t alone.
The good news, though, is that there are plenty of different ways to approach Instagram to keep your feed fresh and your followers engaged.
In this post, we’re going to look at what you can post on Instagram, ideas and examples that you can adapt for your own business, along with how to create a posting schedule to bring your Instagram strategy to life.
1. Show off with product posts
Pictures and videos of your products will likely be one of the easiest and most expected places to start on Instagram.
Sharing content featuring your products in all their glory will, of course, help you drive sales and promote your business on Instagram.
These posts can focus on your products alone or feature them as part of a lifestyle photo or in a flat lay shot with complementary products.
There’s plenty of room to get creative.
These product posts, however, need to be executed properly to avoid coming across as spammy.
They need to feature rich, interesting captions instead of just the product name and a few hashtags.
Instead, you can consider treating the post like an opportunity to pitch the product, discussing features and benefits or highlighting what makes it special.
2. Convert customers with product tags
Product tags and stickers are unique formats for posts and stories respectively that enable direct purchases through Instagram.
Users can click on product tags, for example, to get more information about a product, like its name or price. If they click again, they’ll be taken to a screen where they can make a purchase.
Product tags make it easier and more convenient for users to purchase immediately on mobile, increasing the likelihood that they will follow through.
You might consider using product tags when you’re running a sale or offering a discount.
Instagram recently released product stickers for Instagram Stories, which let users click on the sticker in order to view product information and then decide whether to buy.
3. Run a contest or giveaway
Want to get a lot of engagement quickly and generate excitement around your brand? Contests and giveaways are the way to go.
Contests will get people talking about your brand, and they can often yield strong social proof or user-generated content, if not both all at once.
For best results, offer a prize that’s most relevant to your target audience, even if the general population wouldn’t be that interested.
After all, anyone would comment for a free iPhone, but it’s more important to get engagement and entries from users who could actually become customers.
4. Encourage followers to tag a friend
The tag-a-friend approach is sometimes used in tandem with contest posts, but they can exist on their own, too.
These posts will encourage followers to “tag a friend” in the comments who they think would genuinely like the product or who might relate to the subject of your post.
An incentive may be offered as in the case of a contest, but it’s not a necessity.
That being said, you want to use this sparingly or you’ll risk looking like you’re just spamming Instagram for followers. Try to think of creative ways to encourage users to tag their friends.
5. Partner with influencers for content
If you want to help your brand garner some extra credibility and attention quickly, influencer marketing is a good way to go.
Big name influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers aren’t necessary.
In fact, it will actually be better in most cases for merchants to reach out to smaller micro-influencers.
These influencers may only have tens of thousands of followers, but they’ll be trusted by their audience.
They’re also likely to be more open to working with small businesses, and more affordable if they agree.
6. Ask questions and provide answers
If you’re looking for another way to offer value to your followers, you can’t go wrong with a Q&A.
Answering customer questions on Instagram will encourage more people to follow you, especially if there’s a chance for you to answer their own questions.
You can have Q&As written out in a text-based image, having one question and answer to a post.
Remember that the character limit for captions is 2,200 characters, so you can actually squeeze quite a bit of writing into your post, if you want to.
Instagram even released a Questions Sticker that you can use to solicit answers from your audience and share your response as a photo or video.
Video can be an especially efficient way to answer questions. You can share it after it’s recorded or film it live.
Choosing Instagram Live can even let followers ask you questions in real-time, which can drive up responses significantly.
7. Give your employees the spotlight
Content that focuses on or, even better, is created by employees is a great option for Instagram.
This is another way to show users the human side of your brand, making it easier for them to form an emotional connection to you and trust you more.
This not only makes them relatable but emphasizes the hand-crafted aspect of their brand, reminding potential customers that their furniture wasn’t just churned out by a machine.
Consistency in Voice, Diversity in Content.
If you’re feeling stumped, take a look at the different posts on our list and ask yourself which types of content you’re not using yet and why.
After all, the best Instagram profiles are those that manage to mix it up. This keeps your profile from feeling too one-note or overly promotional.
Ultimately, you want your brand to be consistent on the platform, but your content and individual posts should be diversified to keep your followers interested.
A balanced content calendar and plenty of different ideas is a good place to start.
For more on Instagram marketing tips, be sure to check out our page.