Instagram Growth for Small Business

8 minute read

Not only are over one billion active users on Instagram each month, but 81% of Instagrammers use the platform to research products, services and businesses. With Instagram being a place to connect with potential customers, it’s an undeniable place for your small business to be and grow.

With that being said, how does Instagram help with brand awareness?

  • When a user finds your brand on Instagram, they might mention or share it with a friend
  • That next week, a different person posts a story tagging your brand – building increased awareness
  • Eventually, mutual friends find themselves browsing your brand’s profile on Instagram and sharing products they find with others

That is the compound cycle of growing your brand awareness on platforms like Instagram. 

By regularly posting on Instagram, you can keep your brand at the top-of-mind when your target market makes purchase decisions or recommending something to a friend. Knowing that recommendations impact purchasing decisions, Instagram can be a powerful tool.

Instagram for Small Business

Consistently posting on Instagram keeps your business at the top-of-mind, overall helping with brand awareness and sales. And users do engage with businesses on Instagram.

  • 90% of users follow a business
  • 81% of users use Instagram to research products, services and businesses
  • 130 million Instagram users tap on shopping posts every month
  • 58% of people said they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Stories
  • 50% of people have visited a website to purchase after seeing a product or service in Stories

(Sources: Hootsuite, Instagram)

With an Instagram strategy, you can use social media to build awareness and trust with your audience so they’re ready to make a purchase. 

What is Instagram?

Instagram is a free social media platform where users can share photos and videos. Through features like Stories, Shopping, Reels, Lives, IGTV, Grid, and Guides there are many different ways you can connect with your ideal audience.

Each part of the app (Feed, Explore, Reels) uses its algorithm tailored to how people use it

If you are a brand, you should start an Instagram Business account.

What is an Instagram Business account?

An Instagram Professional account for Business gives you additional features and insights. 

  • Instagram Insights: Essential analytics for creators that analyzes reach, content interactions, total followers, and audience demographics.
  • Boost Post: This is a paid option business owners can use to increase their content reach. We recommend boosting business announcements, content that’s already performing well, or content that needs a little boost.
  • Instagram Shopping: You can bring your eCommerce storefront to Instagram. With this feature, you can connect your eCommerce products to encourage shopping on the app.

To convert your regular account to a professional account, go to your account settings and then click “Account.” Scroll down until you see “Switch to professional account.”

Setting up an Instagram Content Strategy

You might be wondering if you need an Instagram content strategy. Sure, it sounds easier to post what you feel like posting. But Instagram wants its users to see content from their friends, family, and people closest to them. The algorithm will show content it believes its users will interact with.

Taking the time to create your Instagram content with a strategy behind it will help improve content interactions and get your content in front of more eyes.

What to Post on Instagram

Your brand is on social media to build a relationship with your audience, and keep your brand at the top of mind. When creating your content schedule, keep in mind that you’re there to build relationships – not just sell. Here are engaging ways to show up on Instagram other than direct marketing:

  • Storytelling 
  • Social proof/testimonials
  • Viral posts
  • Company updates
  • Behind-the-scenes
  • Get to know the team
  • How to use the product/service
  • Industry-related content or humor
  • User-generated content

Instagram Hashtags

  • You can add hashtags to your posts to help with content discoverability. You can also follow industry hashtags, or other hashtags relevant to your brand.
  • Use specific, discoverable keywords to get the best result
  • Choose trending hashtags relevant to your business to increase brand awareness

Create a content calendar

A content calendar helps you develop your strategy and gives you a birds eye view of what your upcoming posts will look like. If you have existing content, evaluate it. What’s performing well and what’s not?

Overall, creating a content calendar makes your life easier. It helps you:

  • Stay consistent with content
  • Spend less time thinking about what should be posted
  • Stay active across social media platforms

Protip: Create a content library where inspiration and ideas will go. Then, when you’re creating content, you can pull inspiration from the library!

Tracking post performance

Once you start posting regularly, set up a workflow to monitor content activity. This can be done weekly or monthly, or both. 

Tracking post performance helps you see how the content you’re posting resonates with your audience, and what can be changed to increase engagement in the future.

Collaborations on Instagram

Collaborations with influencers or other business owners should be an essential part of your content strategy.

Collaborations are a mutually beneficial strategy that helps accounts get more followers, engagement, and sales. 

Work with Influencers

Work with influencers to create unique, original content. They most likely grew their following because they know how to capture attention.

  • Nano or micro influencers can help you generate high quality leads
  • Larger/more significant influencers can help you reach out to a more general crowd

Work with Other Businesses

Collaborate with other businesses who have similar audiences, but make sure they don’t sell the same product! This is a great way to bring together the resources of both businesses and expand both of your audiences. Here are some powerful collaborations you can get started with:

  • Collaborate on a shareable, informative post
  • Bring resources together to collaborate on a reel
  • Host a giveaway together

How to Collaborate on Instagram

You can reach out to influencers or other businesses through their preferred method (most likely either DMs or emails).

Alternatively, you can hire an agency, like kapwa studio, to manage collaborations such as influencer relationships or business collaborations. Hiring an agency is beneficial because they have an existing workflow of reaching out for collaborations or can tap into their existing network.

How much should I budget for Instagram social media management?

Option 1: Solopreneur (do it yourself)

Cost: 32+ hours of your time

If you don’t have the money to hire anyone else to manage your social media, you’ll have to sacrifice your own time to do it. 

Remember, if your time is valued at over $50-$100 per hour, you’ll save money by outsourcing social media management to an agency or social media manager.

If you decide to go this route, start with choosing one platform to engage with your audience. Then, schedule time into your day to:

  • Develop a content strategy
  • Create content and post it
  • Engage with your community
  • Handle customer support

According to Forbes, it takes 32 hours of hard work to manage a social media platform. That’s about 1 hour a day spent managing a social media platform, creating content, and engaging with your community.

Your time is valuable. We highly recommend creating a budget to outsource your social media as soon as possible, so you can free up at least 32 hours of your time to work on other parts of your business’s growth.

Option 2: Hiring a Virtual Assistant

Cost: $960+ per month (32 hours at $30/hour)

Your next option is to keep costs low by hiring a Virtual Assistant. 

It’s important to be aware that the more hats your assistant wears, the more they may be spread too thin. When you’re spread too thin, it’s easier to drop the ball somewhere or burn out.

To prevent this, have regular, open conversations with your virtual assistant about how much time they spend on tasks and hours allocated. Check-in with them regularly to see if they have the support (money, time, energy) they need to hit targets or goals.

It’s easy to go over hours and overwork when managing a brand’s community and social media platform. There are always announcements, trends, or even urgent customer inquiries that come up last minute. For this reason, keep in touch with your virtual assistant to ensure they feel supported instead of overwhelmed.

Other things to keep in mind: 

  • Unless it’s a part of their role, they may not be up-to-date on all the trends or day-to-day analysis of Instagram
  • Don’t expect a virtual assistant to be an expert copywriter, video editor, or press advocate
  • Be cautious of the types of tasks you outsource to your VA – if spread too thin, it becomes easier to drop the ball somewhere

For the reasons above, it’s best to either support your virtual assistant until they can take on your social media and community management full-time, or hire a specialist or agency to take on this work instead. 

Option 3: Hiring an Instagram Expert

Cost: $1,800+ per month

The best option is to hire an expert to help you grow your brand following on Instagram.

By hiring experts, you get direct access to their knowledge and experiences with the platform’s nuances

You and your virtual assistant may not have the time to stay up-to-date with the constant Instagram platform updates. But, an Instagram expert stays up-to-date with not only platform updates, but also trends and popular topics that keep your brand relevant.

An Instagram expert can also look at weekly and monthly analytics (quantitative and qualitative), so they know the best way to grow your brand following, engage your audience, and support you in increasing your brand’s bottom line.

Is being on Instagram really that important?

Let’s see. Being on Instagram helps:

  • Grow your brand presence beyond your existing customer base
  • Nurture your relationship with existing followers
  • Build know, like, and trust
  • Keep your brand at the forefront of followers’ minds when they make recommendations to friends

If you want to build an engaged community who feel passionate about your brand, then yes – being on Instagram is really that important.

Are you interested in learning more about creating brand advocates who are passionate about your brand? Then follow us on Instagram!

Special thanks to my co-founder, Alexis Galamay, for editing this article.

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Krista Aoki
Krista Aoki
Krista Aoki is a brand storyteller and co-founder of kapwa studio. She combines her background in branding with an affinity for writing to tell relatable stories that create relationships over the screen. Connect with her on Instagram.

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