How to grow your small and creative business via Instagram

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Instagram is a great visual platform to base your business on as it allows you to show off your products with ease. Whatever it is you sell, being able to share imagery as a tool when selling online is a fabulous way of free advertising. As you all know, being seen is becoming more and more difficult, and everyone is on a mission to boost their visibility, especially small and independent businesses.

Before I decided to switch to a blog space I had been researching the best ways to grow my own page, and looking into what works and what doesn’t work in terms of engagement. Of course now I’ve switched my lil’ biz all around I thought I’d share the tips and tricks I’ve found over the last six months. I’m not claiming to be an expert, infact I struggle to do some of these things myself when I’m not motivated, but if you are planning to step it up a notch these things may help.

First of all, If you haven’t already downloaded and signed up to Canva then you are missing out on an incredible tool for your business pages. Canva is a resource that allows you to create social media posts, invitations and certificates, even a CV! It can be used for so many different visual tasks, it’s fab.

With that said, I am all for canva as a tool to enhance your social media image however I feel that you need to add your own elements in to make it something unique. When you grab a template and literally Edit the wording to say “Your site / Daintylaine”, your viewers have subconsciously seen it somewhere else before meaning they won’t take much notice of the imagery.

I always start my Canva canvas as a blank and use a mixture of own uploaded imagery and stock imagery to create my graphics. It can be daunting, and it’s sooo much easier to use a template, I know, but you’ve got to at least try to be original. You can create professional looking content with interactive features and even organise your highlight covers to create a fully branded image from the second a customer visits your profile.

Do you have your Instagram linked to your other social media channels? One post on Instagram can be shared to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, and these are all ways you can maximise your audience and coverage. You might think people don’t really use Tumblr anymore, but it’s still there – alive and kicking – so it may be worth exploring as an additional source.

Do you use your ‘story’ facility as a reflection of what you would like to see as a customer? Would you like to be involved in the process? Would you like to see 15 selfie videos of a random person rambling on? I personally skip a lot of stories due to repetitive and boring content (soz but I don’t want to see the same thing time and time again).

TIPS: I would suggest; and I am trying to post at least one interactive story per day to engage customers / audience. I am looking to post a mixture between imagery and video content. Use your story to show some behind the scenes or work in progress content and try to avoid repetitive posting on your story as you will lose your audience.

Pin me for later!

Do you take the time to research and use different hashtags for each of your post? It’s no good copying and pasting 30 hashtags anymore; as insta just isn’t a fan. From my own research I have found out that 8-10 hashtags can be as effective, and a mixture of popular and underused tags can boost your chances of being seen.

TIPS: Engage with 4-5 of your chosen hashtags for 20-30 minutes before you post your content, and the other 4-5 after. Your products from a small account won’t be seen in a sea of posts tagged #clothes or #sale so be strategic.

How does your bio look? Does it REALLY tell you what is going on? Have you got a “Call to action”? Basically telling people what to do with your profile – Shop here, Look there, X Y Z. Do you have a clear brand image from the get-go? or is it a little all over the place? Don’t talk about mine at the moment because it is not a good example, Eek!

I have read that comments between 3-5 organic words (excluding emojis) work best when using comments as a way to boost visibility.

I have also read that Instagram is becoming aware of engagement groups and certain hashtags that are used and there are bloggers and social media queens questioning if this can also hinder your reach.

What is your content like? Are you taking your photos in the best lighting possible? When I first started out, I went to B&Q, bought a board of MDF and painted it white and pink. This was my backing for my products using the lighting from the back door! It was a DIY job but it worked for product photography as allowed me to show the garment off and just the garment.

Clearly should have edited out the darker edges but this was literally before I even opened! I’ll share more about photos soon.

So, this post in 7 pointers:

  • Use clear, uncluttered product photography. I use a lightbox similar to this one for smaller objects and a ringlight similar to this one for better lighting (since the earlier days of Daintylaine).
  • Fully branded page from logo, highlights and colour themes throughout.
  • Bio with relevant information and a call to action.
  • Research hashtags relevant to your aims
  • Engage for 20-30 minutes before and after posting your own content
  • Link up accross all of your platforms
  • Use a posting schedule for January 2020

What is a posting schedule? We have created A Full creative posting schedule for January that will help your personality shine through inbetween the sales posts. Follow it daily or pick and choose, use the hashtags and if it’s all done correctly your account’s visibility should increase.

Do you have any tips and secrets I can add to the list and link to your page? Another way to increase your visibility is to simply get involved in things like this!

Featured photo credit

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