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Small businesses should think big on Instagram

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Many small businesses have a hole in their social media strategy: They aren’t using Instagram to its full effect.

It’s understandable to a degree. Instagram still has an outdated reputation for being a home for goofy selfies and photos of food. It’s what the market used to think about Facebook.

Truth is, Instagram is an engaging platform, especially for reaching a young audience. According to a statista.com posting this past May, 35.2 percent of U.S. Instagram users were between 25 and 34 years old. Overall, more than 56 percent of Instagrammers were female.

Small businesses need to be on Instagram. Those who are should use it to its best potential. Here are a few thoughts for either scenario.

It isn’t personal. It’s just business.

Business owners who are just getting started should create a business account. This is the right choice for those who don’t have an existing personal account or one that doesn’t accurately represent their business. Owners who have personal Instagram accounts with brand-appropriate content and an established following should convert them to business accounts. Doing so provides access to IG business features and makes the transition seamless for existing followers.

Get in motion

Pre-pandemic, Cisco estimated that video would make up 80 percent of worldwide IP traffic in 2020. With Instagram Stories and live videos, the app encourages video content. IG videos don’t require a ton of production; all businesses need are a phone and some creativity. The videos have a time limit of one minute.

Embrace the temporary

Instagram Stories lets users string multiple pictures and videos into a “story” that disappears after 24 hours, similar to Snapchat. Successful companies like Taco Bell use IG Stories to their full advantage, experimenting with content to see what resonates with their audience. Get creative and give it a shot.

Hashtag it

Instagram’s search feature looks for hashtags instead of keywords. Businesses that want their posts to show up in the app’s search need to use hashtags. It’s a quick way to increase visibility and reach people who aren’t already aware of the businesses’ brand. While users can be specific or general when choosing hashtags, it’s best to limit them to no more than 10. Anything more looks spammy and, even worse, desperate.

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