Getting your small business noticed can be a challenge. Here are five ways you can use social media marketing to promote yourself and reach new customers!

Marketing has changed a lot over the years, particularly with the advent of social media. As we are a society now glued to our screens, digital marketing has become of vital importance to businesses big and small. The beauty of platforms like Instagram and Facebook in social media marketing is that they’re free for the most part. You may be a small business with a bit of funding behind you, or you could be completely brand-new, you can still promote yourself online.

Although utilising all social media platforms is wise in order to increase reach, we will be focussing primarily on Instagram in this article. Here are five things you should be doing on Instagram to get your business seen!

Solidify your Brand

Before you launch your business, you should have your branding figured out. This will help you to identify your target market and how to best appeal to them. Every aspect of your overall branding should be carried over to your Instagram branding.

In business, consistency is key. Try and keep all the visuals and names you use the same on your social media, ensuring you are easy to find across the platforms. The use of eye-catching graphics and images will help you to stand out on a very visual app. Consistency should also bleed into your actual grid on Instagram too. Whatever your business is, baking bread or grooming chinchillas, keeping the colour palette and general aesthetic of your grid posts uniform will give your business a polished look. Customers look for reliability and trustworthiness in a business. Providing them with a visual cohesion will promote their trust in you and keep them coming back for more.

Hashtag to your Heart’s Content

There are a few ways you can increase your following on Instagram, and one of them is the use of hashtags. This nifty little feature holds the key to you reaching an audience that has not yet discovered you. By using relevant words to your business, you can hook in people who may be interested in what you’re doing.

However, you need to get clever with how you use hashtags. If you’re an independent wild flower pressing business, using #flowers is great. But, you’ll be thrown into a sea of other flower-based posts, meaning you could be easily missed in the crowd. Try and use a combination of generic and niche hashtags, so you cast a wide net but also target closely simultaneously.

Creating your own hashtag for your business is a smart move. This enables you to use it on all social media platforms, increasing your reach, and invites customers to spread the word of your business too.

Caption This

Aside from adding hashtags to your posts, you also need to think about the caption you’re going to post. You might fancy going for a more minimal style, aiming to make a big impact in fewer words. This can be as effective as longer captions, as it tends to mean you’ve put a lot of consideration into the limited words you use.

Long or short, your captions should be engaging, relevant and brand-appropriate. In marketing, deciding on your tone of voice is important when addressing potential and existing customers. Again, consistency (if I had a dollar for every time I said that word… I’d have $4) is key. For example, you should avoid swearing or coarse language if you started out with a very mild and sweet tone.

Engage, Engage, Engage

If you go to a huge party where everyone is already getting on like a house on fire, and just sit silently in the corner, you’re going to get lonely fast. Sure, a couple of people might come and say hi to you, but you’re going to have loads more fun conversations if you mingle and circulate. In this sense, Instagram is a raging house party, and you need to try and be the life and soul.

Commenting on posts by similar or related businesses will help make you more visible to your target audience. It will also enable you to build business connections. Starting a dialogue with other businesses and brands may lead to collaborations and friendly promotion.

Something as simple as liking a post can have a massive impact on your following. If you discover Instagram users that look like they’d be interested in your product, consistently liking their posts will eventually lead them to look you up. Beware though, there is a fine line between a friendly nudge and spamming. Try and stick to liking posts that it would make sense for your brand to connect with (there’s that consistency again).

Get Friendly with Features

Go one step further with your engagement by featuring and highlighting other businesses or great customers.

You should be following plenty of Instagram accounts of businesses similar to yours, as this is a great way to garner inspiration and ideas. Any time you see a post or product that particularly resonates with you, why not feature it on your story? You can tag the account and add some kind words. This helps to build that sense of community, and could lead to them doing the same for you.

Showing your appreciation and gratitude for loyal customers by sharing their posts of your product is a solid way to get repeat custom.

Holding competitions is a fantastic method in social media marketing, as it gets your followers to do most of the heavy lifting. Offering a prize to someone who has liked, tagged friends in, and shared a post will increase your reach tremendously. You’ll likely end up with a bunch of new followers to convert into customers. Featuring the winner of the competition on your grid or in your stories will encourage people to take part in the next contest, resulting in more free marketing for you.

Instagram Live is a fantastic feature to help you engage with followers and build your business’ presence. Check out Synchedin for a huge library of awesome royalty free music you can play in the background of Instagram livestreams for free.