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Instagram for small business – a beginners guide

Instagram for Small Business – a beginners guide

Instagram for Small Business – a beginners guide

In today's digital age, Instagram for small business is one of the options for promoting and marketing yourself.  Instagram stands out as a powerhouse for engaging audiences and driving growth.

Table of Contents

In this comprehensive Instagram guide, which is tailored for the DIY marketer, we'll delve into the intricacies of Instagram for small businesses. From understanding the Instagram universe to harnessing its components like posts, stories, explorers, reels, and the shop feature, we've got you covered.

Table of Contents

The Instagram for Small Business Universe: Key Components

The visually driven environment of Instagram for small business offers enormous opportunities for the DIY marketer to promote their products and services.

To use Instagram effectively, it’s important to understand how each of the different components works and, how the algorithms will decide to treat your content ie. how much exposure in the feed it will give your content to users.

Instagram for Small Business - THE UNIVERSE
Instagram for small business - the profile universe

Posts and Stories: A Dual Engagement Strategy

Your Instagram journey begins with posts and stories, the core elements of any Instagram for small business strategy. These two formats serve different purposes while contributing to your overall engagement and success in using the platform and should be used in tandem.

Posts are images, video or carousels (multiple images or videos) that appear in the feed. They are generally 1:1 or square in size, and will appear in your profile in the grid view.

How to create a post for your feed on Instagram for Small Business

The image is everything – or for videos, the thumbnail is everything, as it will make someone pause and consider your content.

Also, consider including a call to action with each post, even to swipe through your carousel. Another must-do is to include hashtags and tagging with each post.

When creating posts, think about the aesthetic for your grid in the profile.  Generally, you want a cohesive look that is easy to create and consistent in look and feel, not a complicated rigid pattern that adds unnecessary complexity to your Instagram content generation process.

To post via the Instagram app:

  1. Tap the Plus sign in the box at the bottom middle of the screen
  2. Select Post (should be the first option)
  3. Select an image or video from your media or take a photo or video
  4. Tap Next. If you selected a photo, you could adjust with a filter (Icon = wand with starts) or add music (Icon = music icon).
  5. Tap Next and add your caption, hashtags and tag other relevant accounts or add a location or products.
  6. Share when you’re happy.
  7. To schedule into the future, select Advanced settings at the bottom and then turn on Scheduling and select the date and time you want to publish the post.
Instagram for small business - story

How to create a story for Instagram for Small business

Stories are vertical 9:16 or vertical format that appears in the top line in the Stories horizontal feed. They remain on your account for 24 hours and then will be saved to your archive so you can add them to a highlight in your profile (more on this later).

Instagram for small business - story 2

Stories are the other half of the Instagram for small business feed experience.

To make the most of them, be sure to:

  • Make use of the stickers that drive strong engagement; new ones are constantly being released!
  • The best ones for driving engagement are the poll, emoji slider, and question stickers
  • If you have your product catalogue connected, then 'tag' your products in the images as well
  • You can add up to 10 hashtags, however, don't make them too small
  • Don't forget to tag others in your stories so that they might be encouraged to share with their own followers
  • Be visually engaging or leverage video, and be creative and experiment!
  • Think about what highlights you want to make in your profile, and then create content for these.

How to create a story 

  1. Open up the Instagram app and tap the plus button at the middle bottom of the screen.
  2. Select the story from the bottom ribbon menu
  3. Expand the menu items down the left-hand side of your screen to access full options for creativity
  4. Take your pic or video OR Select your pic
  5. Add text with the [Aa icon]
  6. Add music (music icon)
  7. Add a sticker
  8. Add a filter
  9. Post to your story

Stories ideas for using Instagram for Small Business

Stories are good for driving engagement so experiment with different stickers such as a like / dislike emoji slider, a quiz or do a true or false as a poll, invite questions. Explore the stickers for the opportunity to have a little fun and engage.

Getting Your Content In The Feed – Understanding the Feed And Stories Algorithm

Posts and stories are content shown to your existing followers. The Instagram algorithm will assess the engagement level of the content piece, whether the follower seems interested in the content, and the follower's relationship to your account – and then decide if your content will be shown to those who follow you.

Let’s start with the feed. In your feed, you encounter three primary views:

Following – displaying the latest posts from accounts you follow chronologically.

Favourite – displaying those accounts you designate as favourites, prioritising their content in your feed. Up to 50 accounts can be added to your favourites.

Default: Instagram's algorithm curates the main view upon opening the app based on your preferences, engagement history, and favourite accounts. Content from your favourites receives higher visibility here.

The default view is what most users will see. Therefore, you need to increase the likelihood that your content will be shown to your followers in this default feed.

What is shown in the feed is mirrored in Stories.

Pandering to the algorithm to get your content shown.

  • Publish content that gets good engagement (likes, watches, comments, shares, saves)
  • Develop relationships with people via DM’s, sharing and commenting
  • Determine when people are most likely to be online and publish at that time.


Reels: The Entertainment Avenue

When considering Instagram for small business, you should include the short-form video feature Reels. It is ideal for showcasing creativity and engaging your audience. Unlike posts and stories, the Reels feed predominantly features content from accounts that are not following you.

Instagram for small business - reels

Reels are up to 60-second auto-play video clips and will appear in the feed and the Explore Feed PLUS Reels tab. They are an opportunity to get significant growth and discovery by new audiences.

As a small business, think of doing the following types of content:

  • Think demos, why's, in-use lifestyle, feature-splaining, showcase reels
  • Relatable frustrations (that you fix!)
  • Intro staff (and their quirks)
  • Turn your stories (collections) into reels!
  • If doing talking head - include captions - cause 85% of people to watch with the video off!
  • Add video subtitles using the closed caption sticker by simply tapping on the sticker icon and then select "Captions."
  • Position captions in the middle to be visible
  • Original content will be prioritised (rather than recycled from other platforms)

Words for Reels matter 

Including 3-5 hashtags is a good way to help the Instagram algorithm "categories" your content so it can serve it to relevant audiences.

Plus, now that Instagram has rolled out keyword search, users searching for related topics will be able to discover your content.

How to create Reels 

  1. Swipe right from within the Instagram app
  2. Scroll across to Reel
  3. Press the record button and take your video footage
  4. Editing menu on the side
  5. Add text, stickers, and audio – edit some more
  6. Download
  7. Edit video allows you to splice/ shorten, cut, and reorder your videos
  8. Add caption, hashtags and text
  9. Tag people and products


Or repurpose highlights in your profile into a Reel 

  1. Must have Stories already published
  2. Visit your profile
  3. Press on the Highlight you want to turn into a Reel!
  4. Select "Convert to Reel"
  5. Select your audio – you can explore for the perfect track.
  6. The images in stories will sync to the beat of the music
  7. When done, select the forward arrow
  8. Select edit video – You can
  9. reorder the slides
  10. Change the 'length' of the slide to appear
  11. add text
  12. add stickers
  13. When you're happy, click next


Making use of trending Reels

Following and using trending Reels is a great way to get your Reels noticed and to help you grow your account. Someone else has already discovered a formula that works for a piece of content, so make use of this to help gain exposure to new audiences.

To identify a trend, either note in your feed those reels that appear regularly or check out:


To master Instagram for small business using reels, you need to understand how the algorithm operates in relation to reels:

Content Interest: The algorithm identifies interests based on how the users interactions, ensuring content relevance.

Relationships: Engaging with accounts users care about, such as favourites, influences what they see in their feed.

Timeliness: Instagram values recency by promoting recent posts and stories.

Explore: Potential for discovery by new users

Instagram's Explore page serves is another opportunity to get your content in front of new people. It's fuelled by a user's past interactions and designed to show posts aligned with their interests. Again, it’s an algorithm deciding which content to serve in this section of Instagram by considering factors such as:

  • Engagement metrics such as watches, likes, comments, shares, and saves for a post.
  • The interaction history with the poster.
  • The user’s activity, such as posts they’ve liked, saved, or commented on in the Explore section.
  • The popularity of the person who posted the content.
Instagram for Small Business - explore

To increase the odds of appearing on the Explore page you must:

  • Focus on obtaining rapid engagement through likes, comments, shares, and saves.
  • Interact with users who engage with your account.

The key action point here is to create content that aligns with your target audience's interests and make it highly engaging.

Shop: E-commerce bonus

If you are using Instagram as a small business with products to sell, then setting up a shop will provide additional opportunities for product exposure.

You will need to connect your product catalogue to the Meta Commerce centre, and then you can connect to your Instagram account.

Once this is done, you can tag products in posts and stories for direct purchasing options and have a dedicated tab in your profile where people can browse your products.

The additional bonus of setting up your shop is that you also have access to paid ads within Instagram featuring your shop items.

Instagram for small business - shop

Getting Set Up Correctly on Instagram for Small Business

Now that you understand the different parts of Instagram and the how to of posting to the feed, stories and reels and how the algorithm works, we can get work on the other elements needed to make sure Instagram for small business is a success.

This means looking at your profile, working out what content you’ll use and several other tactics to drive engagement.

First up let’s start with ensuring you are using a professional account. This will give you access to a number of features like analytics and putting in call to actions on your profile such as a call button and shop.

Check you are using a Professional account

To do this you can check by:

  1. Got to our Profile
  2. Select Settings and Privacy
  3. Select Account type and tools
  4. Select Switch to professional account

Review your profile to optimise Instagram for small business

Your profile is important as it should contain a lot of information that will help you convert a visitor to a lead or customer. Think of it like a mini version of your website. It should help to showcase all you offer, your brand values and provide clear call to actions.

To optimise your profile start with:

  1. Include your link to drive traffic

You only get one link within Instagram for small business. Therefore you want to make it count. While you can use your website as the link, you also consider using a link tool where you can add multiple links to promote various offers or call to actions.

Examples of these tools are LinkTree and Hypage.

  1. Make sure your profile name and photo are consistent. This is about being instantly recognisable across multiple platforms.
  2. Craft a captivating bio with a call to action. This should clearly call out what you do and how you help or what you offer to your potential audience. It should also have clear call to actions e.g. phone, email, book an appointment, download a guide, etc.
  3. Create and edit your highlights to showcase your offering, values, brand and more. Highlights take centre stage on your profile and allow you to offer up a curated view of your business immediately.

Think about including highlights such as:

  • About
  • Locations
  • Customer reviews or posts
  • FAQs
  • Product/service features

How to create a highlight

  1. You must have Stories already published
  2. Visit your profile
  3. Select the New button
  4. Select your Stories you want to include
  5. Next
  6. Name your Highlight
  7. Edit Cover (upload an image or use an image from a selected story
  8. Whallah
Instagram for small business - profile examples

Set up your Shop on Instagram for small businesses.

If you are an ecommerce business, then you will want to set up your Shop to maximise the benefit of using Instagram for small business.

To get your shop set up you need to connect your product catalogue on your website to your Instagram for small business account.

You can create an automated feed from your product catalogue on your website. This is made very easy if you use a platform like Shopify, Bigcommerce or WooCommerce.

It's just a click of a few buttons to make this happen on these platforms, and it ensures that new products are automatically added, or stock levels are updated.

The process will be different depending on each platform.

Link to the support document pages:

Once you have your products connected, you will be able to do the following:

  • Tag a post (either a single image or a carousel post) on Instagram with your products. Your post will now appear in its own dedicated shopping feed!
  • When your viewers tap the shopping bag icon on your profile, they'll be directed to all your tagged products, making it even easier for them to shop your feed.
  • Tag products in posts and stories
  • Once a tag is tapped, that post will appear in your profile's dedicated shopping feed!
  • Share and tag products from your audience' feed
  • Great to encourage connection and collaboration

The Shop is only available within certain countries (US, Canada, Brazil, UK, DE, France, Italy, Spain, or Australia), must be a physical good, travel, real estate or auto and comply with T&Cs and Instagram's merchant agreement and commerce policies. 

Planning Content on Instagram for Small Business

Create a Content Plan to Suit Instagram for Small Business

Using Instagram for small business needs regular content to deliver any results for you.

Therefore, creating a clear plan of what kind of content you want to publish to your Instagram account is super helpful and will make things easier (and save your sanity) than relying on ideas as you go.

The best way to do this (and simplest) is to create a group of content silos (or themes) of what you will do on a routine basis.

Instagram for small business - content planning

These will represent topics that align with your goals for using Instagram for small business, i.e. content to engage and grow your following while helping to convert. This means you should have a combination of promotional content, content that engages and relates, and content that educates and nurtures.

To identify what this content might be:

  1. Research similar businesses for ideas
  2. Look at your own business to understand products/ services and what are the topics people are most interested in relating to your business.
  3. Consider the questions and conversations you have regularly.
  4. Research hashtags to explore the topic further and the conversations taking place on Instagram
  5. Do some keyword research to help you identify questions that people are asking.

Once you've identified your content silos, it's helpful to create dot points with more expansive points on what kind of content or examples of what type of content fits in here. This gives you a handy guide going forward.

You can also use our helpful idea generation guide (30 ideas) and our guide on creating a content plan.

Help yourself do more and better with a scheduling tool.

Using Instagram for small business can be time-consuming, so using a  scheduling tool can save you time and help you be more efficient with your time.

These tools will allow you  to preschedule bulk posts simultaneously rather than creating and posting each day as you go.

The following are the most common and cost-effective platforms for Instagram scheduling.

You may also like to check out our list of AI tools, which includes some great social media management tools.

Create a look and feel for your brand with templates

It's helpful to have a consistent look and feel, particularly when using Instagram for small business. It helps to make you immediately identifiable.

The best way to do this is to create a simple brand style guide with colours, fonts and any icons or images, logos etc you use for your brand.

You can use these to develop a set of templates that can be used to create content based on your silos.

Templates will bring consistency to how you use Instagram for small business, and don’t dismiss how much time they will save you. It’s much easier to copy and update a ‘template’ than to create a new visual from scratch each time.

Tools that are handy for this type of activity are Canva, a great fit for the DIY marketer, and a range of apps focused on providing mobile app templates if this is your preference.

Set up a series of guides

Using Instagram for small business, provides the opportunity to curate and put your product or service in many different ways. Guides is a great tool for compiling your favourite posts into one piece of featured content.

You should approach it with an editorial eye, curating a 'lineal' topic, and you can include content on your own and from others' feeds that you've saved.

How to Create a Guide 

  1. Select the Guide icon from the strip menu below the highlights. It looks like a newspaper or book opened.
  2. Select the Plus sign
  3. Choose your guide type – you can pick from places or posts
  4. Select the posts you want to include. There will be two tabs at the bottom > Saved and Your posts
  5. Once you are happy with the posts, select the Next button
  6. Add your title and a cover photo
  7. Add titles for each post
  8. Add a description, and then, Next
  9. Share

Words Matter on Instagram for Small Business

While using Instagram for small business is about the visuals, you can’t ignore the importance of adding words to your captions.

Consider the following:
  • Your first line in your caption will grab people's attention, helping them decide whether to expand to read more.
  • Keyword search in Instagram is now a consideration – so watch the cutesy …
  • Use Keywords to help you rank on the Instagram search page and enable your target audience to find your posts.
  • Use hashtags to help grow your Instagram account. Users like to follow their favourite and/or trending hashtags, so look for relevant hashtags to your audience and use them.
  • Mix short and long captions depending on your audience

Use Hashtags to Amplify Your Instagram for small business

People follow hashtags. The hashtags you use to fuel the search results on the Instagram Explore page can be used by the algorithm to categorise and suggest to other users.

Instagram recommends 3-5 hashtags on posts despite allowing up to 30 per post. This makes sense because of Instagram's new focus on keywords and SEO and increasing new suggested content feeds.

You should generally use a variety of hashtags that relate to your use of Instagram for small business, taking into account the following:

  • Location-based hashtags, like #Melbourne
  • Branded hashtags for campaigns or events, like #MelbourneFoodFestival
  • Industry hashtags that describe your niche, like #DigitalStrategy
  • Community-based hashtags that bring a community together, like #VanLifeLiving or #IAmASweatyBetty
  • Hashtags that describe the content of your actual post, like #WoodwickCandles or #SheaButterProducts

If a hashtag is being used on millions of posts, then chances are your post will be lost amongst them.

On the other hand, if a hashtag only has a few hundred posts, no one is likely to search for it on the Instagram Explore page. Aim for hashtags with between 10K and 200 K posts for a safe middle-ground.

Where should you put your hashtags? In the Caption or Comment Section?

Instagram has indicated that it doesn't matter if your hashtags in your post caption and the comments section. It's up to you where you want to put them.

Sharing Or Repost Content On Instagram For Small Business

Sharing content from other's accounts is often a good way to build up your content plan on Instagram for small business. This will allow you to supplement your original content, as well as nurture relationships by promoting others’ content and running collaborations.

First things first, when should you repost a story or share a post to your stories?

  1. When you have engaged an influencer and want to share their post on your own story
  2. When you want to share a post from another account that will be of interest to your audience
  3. When you want to one of your own posts
  4. When a customer has posted about you (User-generated content), whether they have tagged you or not

Make sure you get permission 

Getting permission when sharing a feed photo or video to your Instagram Story is less important because Instagram will automatically tag the original creator.

But it's still good to credit with a tag so they know you've shared!

If sharing a Story to your stories … or a post to your feed, you will need to get permission and credit (by tagging)

How to ask … 

Via DM is the best using something like the below.

Hi [creator name]! I love your post about [xxxx] and would love to share it with our followers with your permission. Of course I'll be sure to tag you. Please let me know:)  

How to share a post when using Instagram for Small Business

  1. Select the paper plane
  2. Add stickers and words
  3. Select "Add post to your story."

Your story will then contain a clickable link to the post you've chosen to share. You can also share "Reels" by following the same steps.

How to share a story when you've been tagged! 

  1. If you've been tagged in the story, you can repost it in your DM's!
  2. Beware only lasts as long as the story, i.e. 24 hours.

How to repost an Instagram story when you haven't been tagged 

With permission in hand …


  1. Take a screen shot or screen recording and upload to your story
  2. Use a third-party app like Repost It or Repost for Instagram or similar

How do you see who shared your story? 

  1. To see the Analytics, go to your story.
  2. Tap on the “Activity” word in the screen’s bottom left corner.
  3. Select View Insights
  4. Select Story Viewers

You will then be able to see the people that have watched and the number of them that have shared it.

Using video on Instagram for Small business

Video can be great for driving strong engagement with your audience when using Instagram for small business.

Including it in the mix for your feed, stories, and direct messages can help you reach more people. You will have up to 60 minutes of video time per video published, and once you have posted, people can engage with likes and comments.

Going live 

Instagram Live is a totally unedited video stream. It can be super powerful on Instagram for small business, as people who follow you will be notified when you commence a 'live' session. If you use Instagram as a small business who consults or sells a service, this can be a great way to show your expertise and knowledge, particularly if you are doing Q&As or interviews.

You can go live for up to an hour, and it will appear in your Stories while you are live.

Another powerful feature of a live video is inviting others into your life, as it notifies people on both accounts. Designing your lives around 'involving others', e.g. Q&As, live coaching, and interviews, is a good idea.

You can also see who is in your "live" session and admit them to your live - or they request to join.

How to go live 

  1. Swipe right anywhere in the feed
  2. Scroll to Live at the bottom
  3. Enter a title (left-hand side menu)
  4. Hit the live button, and the countdown will begin.

DM's (Direct Messages)

Using Direct messages on Instagram for small business is an important engagement factor the algorithm uses to understand user relationships. The closer a relationship, the more they will see your content in their feed.

You can build DM's into your engagement strategy on Instagram by asking people questions, asking them to DM you for xxxx and as part of your tagging in stories.

To access your DMs

Click on the message button at the top right corner of your home feed. If you have messages waiting, you will see a number highlighted.

With the list of DM's, you can then select and reply. It's good practice to monitor for messages and respond promptly.

The Super useful save feature

Another strong engagement signal and way to engage with your audience is to encourage them to 'save' a post. It is also a handy feature to use as a research tool by collecting interesting posts such as:

  • What your competitors are posting about
  • Visual inspiration for photos, ideas for captions, etc
  • Customer reviews
  • Both happy and unhappy customer posts
  • Potential influencers

Select the bookmark icon on the bottom right-hand side to save a post.

Connecting with Your Local Audience: An Effective Approach on Instagram for Small Businesses

Tapping into the local market can be a game-changer for boosting brand visibility and engagement when using Instagram for small business. Here are some actionable strategies to establish a strong local presence on Instagram:

  1. Active Participation: Engage proactively by following and interacting with other local users' content. Genuine comments and interactions establish your brand's presence and initiate meaningful conversations within the local community.
  2. Repost Local Content: Reposting content from fellow local businesses or community members is a great way to foster collaboration and showcase the vibrant local scene. Ensure you give proper credit by tagging the original creators.
  3. Harness Local Hashtags: Utilise local hashtags relevant to your area to increase the discoverability of your posts. This strategy connects you to a broader local audience actively searching for content related to your region.
  4. Highlight Your Location: Showcase your local connection by incorporating your business's location in your bio. This simple yet effective step enhances your profile's relevance to local users.
  5. Leverage Geotags: Geotags are your secret weapon to amplify local visibility. By pinpointing your physical location in your posts, you become part of a collective narrative with other users sharing the same location. This positioning enhances your brand's authenticity and authenticity, allowing your content to blend with customer photos and contribute to brand awareness seamlessly.

Understanding Geotags: Geotags enable you to join a digital community centred around a specific location. When you geotag your posts, they become part of a virtual map where users can explore content tagged at that location. This feature is particularly useful for users looking to discover local businesses, events, and experiences. To add geotags, select your location at the point of posting, aligning your content with the local narrative.

By incorporating these strategies into your Instagram marketing approach, you'll cultivate a powerful local presence that resonates with your community.

Engaging with fellow businesses, reposting local content, harnessing local hashtags, highlighting your location, and leveraging geotags all work together to boost brand awareness, foster collaboration, and connect your small business with the heartbeat of your local audience.

Collaboration and Influencers: Elevate Your Small Business on Instagram

In the dynamic world of Instagram for small business, tapping into collaboration and influencer partnerships can be your catalyst for rapid growth.

This approach is about driving engagement with and beyond your own account to help drive awareness with new audiences.

Ways to leverage this are to:

  1. Engage an Instagram Influencer to promote your account / service/ product
  2. Work with other accounts on a collaboration which might be a competition or a joint service or event, or simply a cross of content where you are able to contribute value to both your audiences.

The key is to be open to ideas on what a collaboration might look like and looking for other businesses using Instagram for small business, as it means you have common ground.

If you’re interested in understanding more about working with influencers and collaborations on Instagram for small business take a look at look article :


Using User Generated Content for your Instagram for Small Business Strategy

UGC, or User-Generated Content, is a powerful strategy, particularly if you are using Instagram for small business where your customers and followers create content related to your brand and products.

It's a way to foster community engagement and authenticity. As a new business on Instagram, UGC can help you build trust, increase your reach, and establish a stronger online presence.

To encourage people to create UGC and tag your business:

Create Shareable Experiences: Craft experiences, products, or services that naturally inspire people to share their excitement. This could be unique packaging, personalised items, or memorable moments related to your brand.

Run Contests and Giveaways: Host contests where participants create content using your products/services. Ask them to use a specific hashtag or tag your business in their posts to enter. Offer enticing prizes to motivate participation.

Showcase Customer Stories: Share customer success stories, testimonials, or reviews as UGC. This acknowledges their loyalty and encourages others to share their experiences.

Feature UGC on Your Profile: Regularly repost or highlight UGC on your Instagram profile. This recognition can strongly incentivise users to create content and tag your business.

Engage with Your Audience: Respond to comments on your posts and engage with your followers’ content. People who see your active participation are more likely to reciprocate by tagging you in their posts.

Create a Branded Hashtag: Develop a unique and memorable hashtag representing your brand. Encourage users to include this hashtag in their posts to create a collection of UGC under your brand umbrella.

Offer Discounts for UGC: Provide special discounts or exclusive offers to customers who share UGC. This not only motivates UGC creation but also incentivises future purchases.

Host Virtual Events or Challenges: Organize challenges, workshops, or virtual events related to your business. Ask participants to share their participation using a specific tag or hashtag.

Acknowledge and Repost UGC: When users create UGC and tag your business, make sure to acknowledge their effort. Repost their content with proper credit, showing your appreciation.

Remember, the key is to make the process enjoyable and rewarding for your audience. By leveraging UGC effectively when using Instagram for small business, you can turn your customers into brand advocates and create a vibrant and engaged community around your business on Instagram

Measuring Instagram for Small Businesses: Unlocking Success Metrics

In the realm of Instagram for small businesses, measurement is key to understanding your impact and refining your strategy. By delving into the right statistics, you can unlock insights that guide your efforts toward optimal engagement and growth. Let’s explore the pivotal metrics to focus on:

  1. Engagement Rate: Gauging Connection
    Engagement is the heartbeat of your Instagram presence. It reflects how well your audience likes your content. Keep a watchful eye on your engagement rate, which signifies the percentage of your followers actively interacting with your posts. Here’s the breakdown:
  • Less than 1%: If your engagement rate falls here, you must reevaluate your content strategy and connection with your audience.
  • Between 1% and 3.5%: This range is considered average to good. It indicates a healthy level of engagement that you can build upon.
  • Between 3.5% and 6%: Congratulations, your engagement rate is high! You’re effectively capturing your audience’s attention and fostering interaction.
  • Above 6%: A high engagement rate surpassing 6% indicates a strong community that eagerly interacts with your content.
  1. Follower Growth: Cultivating Your Community
    As a small business owner, nurturing your follower count is essential. Monitoring your follower growth helps you assess the effectiveness of your content, campaigns, and overall Instagram strategy. A consistent upward trend signals that you’re attracting and retaining the right audience.
  2. Click-Throughs from Your Bio Link: Directing traffic

Your Instagram bio link is a gateway to your website or landing page. Tracking the click-throughs from this link provides valuable insights into your audience’s interest and the effectiveness of your call-to-action. Whether it’s product purchases, newsletter sign-ups, or resource downloads, these metrics highlight the impact of your Instagram presence beyond the platform.

Putting Insights into Action on Instagram for Small Business

With these key metrics at your fingertips, you can fine-tune your Instagram strategy to achieve greater engagement, growth, and business impact. Regularly analyse your performance and make data-driven decisions to optimise your content, posting schedule, and overall approach. Remember, the beauty of digital marketing lies in its adaptability – use the insights gained to evolve and thrive on Instagram. Your small business's success story is waiting to be written, one metric at a time.

An Actionable Plan for Using Instagram for Small Business

1. Create/ revisit your content plan.

a) Zhoosh your content plan and spend time reviewing what your competitors are doing for ideas

2. Diarise small chunks of time each week doing:

a) Strategic engagement with other's content, i.e. liking/commenting on other's content and following new accounts
b) Look at the followers of your competitors and engage with them
c) Check for DM's and tags and make use of these in your feed
d) Put in place a scheduling tool and batch your content to save time and help with consistency

3. Check your profile
a) Your highlights are updated and complete with at least your offering and reviews
b) Check the links you provide are up-to-date
c) Revisit your profile description and that it includes a call to action.

4. If you have products, make sure you have connected up your catalogue and start tagging products for your Shop.

5. Experiment with some new content

Select 2-3 new formats of content to experiment with. If you are only doing posts, try stories; if you are doing both, experiment with one reel.

6. Review your new Instagram approach to make sure it is sustainable.

Most growth comes from consistency. Look at your diary and set regular, recurring time each week to spend on your account.

7. Check and track the key measurements each month for upward movement.


Navigating the dynamic realm of Instagram for small businesses demands a multifaceted approach that combines creativity, consistency, data-driven insights, and strategic collaborations. By embracing these strategies, you can harness the true potential of Instagram to bolster your brand's visibility, engage with your audience, and drive meaningful results. Remember, your journey on Instagram is a continual learning, adapting, and evolving process. As you put these insights into practice, keep an eye on emerging trends and changes, and be prepared to iterate your approach. With the right blend of authenticity, innovation, and persistence, you're poised to forge a powerful presence on Instagram that resonates with your audience and propels your small business to new heights.

Here's to your success on Instagram and beyond!

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