As a small business owner, your Instagram account offers the perfect opportunity to gain brand recognition and attract more followers. It is an excellent growth tool allowing you to reach your ideal audience while also raising brand awareness, establishing social proof, and generating sales. You also create a more exciting brand personality. The problem is your competitors are doing the same thing. So how do you set yourself apart?

Here we share our pro tips to not just keep up with your competition on Instagram but instead outshine them.

Use Product Teasers to Create Exclusivity

Followers love to feel they are part of an exclusive club. Help keep them “in the know” by making them the first to hear about a new product launch. You can tease the product for a while and then reveal it to help encourage ongoing engagement. If you’re more of a perfectionist, you can make fun little references to your progress and then reveal it when you feel it is 100% ready to sell. Exclusivity also helps build brand loyalty.

Invest in Sponsored Ads to Boost Reach

Although you probably use social media for your digital marketing because it is free, you should consider using sponsored ads to boost your reach. Because you can get in front of millions, you can target the right people and grow your business more quickly. You don’t have to run your ads too long to see some great results. With any luck, your new followers will create a domino effect through increased shares and engagement.

Leverage Instagram Growth Services

Another great boost to expand your reach is Instagram growth services. These services recommend your account to the ideal followers in their feeds, increasing engagement with your brand and leading to more sales.

Make Sure You Create Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories Creation

Instagram Stories can help increase brand engagement and enhance your online marketing efforts. Using a few different approaches, such as creating boomerangs, using countdown stickers, or tagging followers/partners, you can stimulate reactions. The key is to make your posts more intriguing to generate conversations and shares.

Make It Easy to Learn More

Include a link in your bio to your website, product posts to your Shopify setup, offers to landing pages, etc. This makes it easier for customers to act without working for it. Followers should know how to make a purchase, find more product information, or reach out to you by simply clicking a link.

Use Hashtags for Posts

Hashtags are the easiest way to increase reach for free. This is one of the most effective forms of free advertising to grow your brand and get your name out there. Because it is content and topic relevant, a well-chosen hashtag reaches the right audience instantly.

Instagram Hashtags

Take Advantage of User Generated Content

Followers love creating and sharing content. Ask followers for content showing them using your products to help build credibility and make your content more interesting. You can follow your followers to look for posts you’d like to share and also tag them. Reposting provides social proof customers rely on to make purchase decisions. It also makes your brand more human by showing how you help people, whether it is makeup tips, using kitchen tools, or sporting a new pair of fashionable sunglasses.

Time Posts Right

Posting when your audience is asleep can reduce engagement. The best time to post on Instagram is generally between 6 to 10 AM on a weekday, but this isn’t always the case. You should pay attention to when people seem to interact with your brand more often and use it to determine what post times are best.

Share More Intimate Details About Your Brand

Authenticity is very important for brands today. People want to learn more about who you are and what lies behind that public personality you’ve worked so hard to create. Include posts that feel more intimate, whether you:

  • Feature a different employee each week
  • Share employee likes and dislikes or recommendations
  • Confess a secret about your company history, such as a struggle you overcame
  • Mention unexpected affiliations with someone famous
  • Offer insights about your company culture, such as a commitment to the environment or diversity
  • Share something more light-hearted, like a company party

This is the best way to increase transparency and instill trust. Just be careful not to overshare.

Reach Out to Influencers

Partnering with influencers is your ticket to success. People depend on influencers to help make smarter decisions and discover new brands and products. You can search for recommended influencers most relevant to your business and followers or simply follow a suitable influencer to establish a connection. Some common influencer relationship-building tactics include:

  • Introducing yourself and your brand
  • Sharing free products to allow them to try them on for size
  • Using micro-influencers with smaller followings, but just as much knowledge and “personality”
  • Using their hashtags

You can also ask avid followers to become your brand ambassadors. Although they might not be influencers in the industry, they do provide more credibility to your business by sharing their experiences using your products. Although it takes time to establish relationships and collaborations, you can slowly build your way up to partner with a major player.

Create Exclusive Follower Offers

As mentioned above, creating a feeling of exclusivity for followers helps people feel more loyal to your brand. Exclusivity is not about leaving people out but instead about welcoming followers and showing your appreciation by sharing exclusive offers. Sharing promo codes, creating a loyalty program, or providing a free gift for referrals are all examples of creating a sense of exclusivity and community among followers.

Keep the Conversation Going

Your Instagram account needs to remain lively and interesting. Make sure you keep the conversation going with frequent posts, responses to comments and likes, and using direct messages to create an offline conversation. You want to make it clear you are alive and well and ready to engage customers and followers with active responses and ongoing posts.

Instagram Post Template

Don’t Forget About Instagram Live

Instagram Live allows you to share videos in real-time as a live broadcast. You can use it for all kinds of content, from introducing a new employee to sharing a new product and from an impromptu interview with an influencer to streaming exciting moments at an event you attend or host.

Use a Content Schedule

Consistent posts help keep your followers engaged. The best way to ensure you don’t miss a posting opportunity is to create a content schedule. It starts by filling in time-sensitive posts such as events you are attending, product launches, special offers or even a holiday message, and then thinking of other ideas to fill in the gaps. As new opportunities become available, you can replace generic content with something more interesting. Your plan allows you to remain on brand and consistent while helping you decide the best type of content based on the topic. You can also reach out to influencers and followers/ambassadors to schedule their content.

Creating fun titles or hashtags for content you feature on a certain day of the week or including random but fun information such as Did you Know It’s National Hot Dog Day also makes great posts.

Remain Timely and Local

Keep in mind there are always opportunities to share information on the fly, such as:

  • Images of damage to your business following a weather event
  • News about how you are helping businesses or others in the community impacted by disasters
  • Announcing unexpected news, such as winning an award
  • Sharing personal news, such as the arrival of a new baby
  • An image of you with a local or major celebrity who popped into your shop or restaurant unannounced
  • Inventory issues to avoid disappointment
  • Local news events

The sky’s the limit.

Include Geolocation

If your small business depends on local customers, or is only available in specific areas, geotagging your posts allows you to reach the right audience.

Dive Deeper with Guides

Instagram Guides allow you to expand your content. Guides work well for several types of content, including more details on products and services, a more involved telling of your history, profiles of team members, and tips to make the most of your products. You can include seasonal guides such as gift-giving guides for the holidays, instructional guides for product use such as fall garden care, snow shoveling tips in the winter, or bikini sizing in the summer, depending on what you sell, of course. Use guides when it makes the most sense, as Instagram followers are most interested in quick bites as opposed to investing time to learn more.

Include CTAs

Calls to action are very important for business Instagram accounts. The best place for them is the post caption area. Each CTA should be relevant to the post and not necessarily related to buying a product. Instead, you should encourage engagement with things like, what do you think, have you ever had this happen, which pic do you like best, etc. This increases engagement and allows you to learn more about your followers. You can encourage people to click on your website to learn more about products and offers on landing pages, ask for tags and shares, or ask people to use a certain hashtag.

How to Keep Up With Your Small Business Competition on Instagram

Instagram is not just an excellent marketing tool. It is also a fun tool that allows you to interact with followers and create a truly engaging, relevant brand personality. These tips make the most of your social posts so you can easily outshine the competition.

We can help make your social media strategy stress-free and effective. Let’s discuss what we can do for you!

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