Instagram is often overlooked as a social media platform due to its nature being entirely ‘images’ based. However, this fact alone is what makes Instagram very powerful – it allows you to convey much more emotion and to really make a product or a lifestyle look desirable.
Not only that, but Instagram is the second largest social network behind Facebook. That’s a pretty impressive stat, so you really shouldn’t leave it out of your plans!
In 2018, expect more small businesses than ever to jump aboard the Instagram marketing train. The eye-catching format is easy to use, and provides businesses with tools to keep their audiences engaged and informed.
New features and toolsets, like Instagram Stories, have also expanded what the platform can do for small business owners. Thanks to Instagram’s powerful advertising tools, evolving features, and highly active audiences, small businesses can use the platform to make big gains.
To help your business prepare its digital marketing strategy for the year ahead, take note of the following Instagram and influencer marketing trends that have nearly every small business owner saying, “Oh, that’s Insta-worthy!”
More Small Businesses Using Instagram Marketing
Small businesses have driven huge growth on Instagram. This includes growth of both unpaid organic account posts and paid advertising use.
According to Forbes, Instagram now has over 8 million business profiles. The platform saw 500% growth in the number of business accounts in just a few months last year.
Instagram execs credit the majority of this growth to small business users. Setting up an account is easy, and it’s also just as simple to begin using paid advertising tools to promote posts.
Why are small businesses drawn to Instagram? Because huge audiences login every day, often several times a day. There were over 500 million monthly Instagram users and 300 million daily active users around this time last year.
Now, with the advent of features like Instagram Stories, that number has likely soared even higher.
Businesses can therefore use Instagram to get huge reach for their campaigns or fulfill brand awareness goals with just a little bit of effort.
Influencer Marketing Benefits for Small Businesses Stack Up
Big brands aren’t the only ones who use influencers to achieve marketing goals anymore. The ability for social media personalities to drive engagement and direct attention can benefit small businesses, too.
According to a recent study, 94% of marketers from a range of company sizes found that influencer marketing programs are successful.
Because influencers can pique their audience’s interests and motivate action, campaign goals like conversions or product awareness become much easier to achieve. Twitter claims that just under half of social media users trust recommendations and product reviews posted by influencers.
That power likely explains why some business owners found that influencer marketing generates 11 times greater ROI than other digital marketing channels.
Micro-Influencers Take on Huge Importance with Small Audiences
Some influencers with a million plus followers like Michelle Phan have taken on celebrity status. They get invited to red carpet events and appear on mass broadcast TV ads.
As these average people become megastars, a clear distinction emerges between them and other influencers. Marketing experts have begun to split influencer types into multiple categories as a result.
“Macro-influencers” like Phan, Kim Kardashian and King Bach have millions of followers and a huge range of topics they cover. “Micro-influencers” have a small following of a few hundred to a few thousand people but often follow a much more niche focus.
Small businesses have realized that micro-influencers are not only cheaper to work with, but they also drive campaign goals more effectively. Micro-influencers have this power because their audience feels stronger connections and finds the content posted more directly relevant to their interests.
You can see this connection in micro-influencer engagement rates. Influencers with less than 1,000 followers can engage 8% of their audience on average, while influencers 10 million+ followers only get “likes” from 1.6% of their audience, and an even lower frequency of comments and shares.
Put simply: small business owners can work with micro-influencers to connect more authentically to audiences and drive more consistent action.
Instagram Stories and Live Video Make Engagement a Daily Affair
Most brands generally avoid posting on Instagram more than twice a day, except for on special occasions. Their reasons include diminishing returns and a fear of oversaturating their audience.
But, two new Instagram capabilities have begun to change that: stories and live video.
Live video can encourage people to watch content for eight times longer compared to pre-recorded video. Instagram stories displays content that gets deleted after 24 hours similarly sparks our love of authentic experiences and our FOMO (fear of missing out).
Instagram stories provide a fun and unique way to engage followers and drive traffic to your web- site. Many businesses have yet to adopt Instagram Story as part of their marketing strategy. However, you can be an early adopter and reap the benefits right now.
Instagram might have started as a fun mobile app, but it has turned into an extremely valuable and powerful marketing tool for companies that know how to use it.
If you create a compelling profile, use hashtags appropriately. Take advantage of new options like Instagram Stories. You can use Instagram to build brand awareness and attract new customers.
“Over 200 million people use Instagram Stories each month,” says Entrepreneur, “which is over 50 million more than those who use Snapchat — and Instagram Stories is just one year old! At this rate, nearly half of all Instagram users will be using Stories by the end of 2018.”
Businesses interested in driving attention towards certain campaigns or maintaining more active engagement with audiences can turn to Stories and Live video to accomplish these goals.
Increasing Demand for Brand Safety and Proof of ROI
The double-edged sword to influencer marketing is that some brands worry about influencers staining their reputation.
Video game streamer PewDiePie, who has the largest YouTube subscriber base of any channel, caused waves after repeatedly using extremely offensive language in his content. Brands that collaborated with PewDiePie had to cut their ties and make statements condemning his actions.
Since influencers are not brand employees, business owners invite a bit of risk when they collaborate with them.
The best way to avoid controversy is to look to influencers’ past behaviors. Ask questions before collaborating in any capacity. Make it clear that your relationship is dependent on a positive image for your business.
Similarly, tie any relationships you have with influencers to concrete KPIs, including ROI. It’s always better to start small with a relationship. After that, establish proof of ROI before committing marketing dollars to a true collaboration.
For instance, try sending an influencer a free gift or just a kind request to highlight your latest campaign. If you like what they do with the information, you can work toward more collaborative content or even an endorsement-type relationship.
Trends in Instagram and Influencer Marketing for Small Businesses Can Help Your Brand Take Off Next Year!
Remember, Instagram is not about instant conversions or links. This is about the long-term benefit, so rate your success in terms of likes, follows and comments – not profit.
Likewise, remember that this is a ‘young’ and ‘hip’ crowd. You need to get to know your actual audience, but you should also get to know the Instagram audience more generally. What you’ll find is that Instagram is a place where ‘in your face marketing messages’ don’t go down well. So, don’t do that!
What’s Your Local Score?
Enter any business name and zip code and see how optimized it is for local search.
Instagram Business Profiles are here!
Let’s face it – social media took the world by storm. And while it initially captured most of consumers, it also paved the way for the businesses to take part in the action too. And that is exactly what is happening on Instagram right now.
As of April, this year, Instagram launched a completely new feature to the platform – the Instagram business profiles. And just like Facebook there will be a lot of advantages for businesses who embrace it sooner than later.
So, What Are the New Instagram Business Profile Features Like?
Basically, the Instagram algorithm for businesses is mimicking the Facebook for Business idea of advertising to a local audience and getting the best bang for your buck. You can reach your target audience and get exposure for your business for even a small ad spend.
However, a lot of people would agree that the new Instagram algorithm for business is even more personal than the Facebook algorithm that is already used by businesses worldwide. The difference is basically in the personal versus the public use.
In short, the new Instagram update filters the advertised content according to two factors – engagement and interest. That way, when a user that you follow engages with the advertised content (likes it or follows it) – you automatically see that content higher in your feed.
What Does This Mean for Marketers?
The best way to answer this question is simple. This new Instagram algorithm for businesses is like music to the ears of every marketer. More so, marketers see this content positioning as extremely helpful when promoting on Instagram.
So… What’s so great about it?
Well, before this update, business profiles were hard to find on Instagram. The only way followers could engage with them was to click their website link in their profile. However, the all new Instagram for Business comes with contact buttons that directly lead to the business’ email or phone – as well as its location on map.
Whether you’re a seasoned Instagram pro or have never used Instagram before – This platform is here to stay and they’ve just made it even easier to promote your business.
Here’s 5 Tricks to Maximize Your Success When Using Instagram For Business
- Upgrade A Personal Instagram Profile to A Business Profile – First and foremost is to upgrade to a business profile on Instagram. You can do that by linking your Instagram account to your Facebook business page. Yup that’s it! Instagram will see the designation and connect it accordingly.
- Embrace the new ‘Stories’ Feature – Many businesses do very well with “Stories” on Snapchat and Facebook. And now, Instagram supports stories – a feature that allows users to post photos and video that vanish after 24 hours. So, try it out occasionally until you’re comfortable enough to use the feature on a regular basis!
- Make Use of the CTA/Contact Button – Direct communication is one of the best features of Instagram for Business. When you set up the Contact button, you can choose how people will reach you – whether it’s email, phone or both.
- Post on A Regular Basis, But Don’t Over-post – Sometimes people can get too much of a good thing, right? And it’s certainly true in this case. Over-posting can have a counter-effect and followers will be more likely to skip your posts. That is why 3 great posts a week can out-perform 30 of them.
- Track the Analytics – Another great part of the all new Instagram for businesses algorithm are the analytics. Only business profiles have access to this feature which definitely makes it an exclusive perk. In order to open it, tap or click the little bar graph icon on your profile and you will see several metrics – one of which is the ‘Insights’ option. There, you can analyze and see how many people see your posts and how many of them viewed your business profile.
A Final Word
It certainly goes without saying that Instagram’s latest update is an exciting new option to promote your business with.
But the bottom line is that no matter how many updates and new features social media platforms rollout on us, what really matters is the content that you choose to share and the people engaging with it. So, I say give it a shot. There has never been a better time to promote your business on this immensely popular platform. Instagram profiles for business is nothing short of a bulls-eye for small business.
What’s Your Local Score?
Enter any business name and zip code and see how optimized it is for local search.
Small Business Services- Essential services can make or break your business. Whether you’re just starting up or heading into your second decade as a business owner, you’re always looking for the best solutions to partner with and make you more efficient and more profitable.
We’ve collected a few essential small business services that we use together into one listing for you. Whether you’re a client or not, we know you’ll find them strong contenders for your business!
Small Business Services: Payroll & Accounting
If you’ve got employees or contractors getting them paid can be a distraction- not to mention a headache if it’s handled poorly. Gusto is the payroll system and it couldn’t be easier to use. Not only is it geared for mobile but it also calculates payroll taxes automatically. If you need it you can also work in benefits, employee discounts and more!
Any business needs an accounting package, and Freshbooks isn’t only a great value, but also lets you access your books from anywhere! Though you’re not likely to need live, real-time support, it is easy to get live help quickly- and they really know their stuff!
If you want to launch email campaigns, there’s a lot of tools out there. But if you also want strong automation and great analytics you’ve got to check out Active Campaign. It’s also got a pretty darned CRM module too.
Social Media Management
We’ve got a couple of great tools that we use to grow and maintain our clients’ social media accounts. First of these is MySoPro. MySoPro is a free tool that serves as a personal social media assistant. This platform allows you to schedule social media posts in advance so you have more time to focus on the important things. You can manage all of your popular social media profiles in one location. You can also upgrade to the pro version for a small monthly fee.
Another great tool, but just for Instagram, is Onlypult. Onlypult’s great for not only scheduling your posts and reposting those of others, you can also optimize your Instagram campaigns for the best engagement.
Of course, you want to take every opportunity to make money online. Part of any key monetization strategy is landing page creation and management along with payment and upsell options. The best system we’ve seen so far is from Click Funnels. It’s powerful and robust and can have your first landing page live in minutes.
Our second essential service for monetization is AdEspresso, which is a great tool to optimize your Facebook advertising and get the most traffic back to your offers. It’s easy to setup but they’ve also got a full suite of online guides and seminars to get you started. They’ve got a 14 day free trial, but even after that it is well worth the modest investment.
If you’re ever looking for an easier way to streamline your sales process and want to close deals faster, consider using Proposify. It’s an online business proposal software and serves as a great tool for delivering proposals to Clients. With Proposify, you’re able to maximize your time, organize your sales team and close deals faster than ever.
Of all of our essential services we’ve listed, Dropbox is one you’ve surely heard of before. Dropbox is a great tool both for keeping all your key documents in the cloud and having them accessible on most any device. It also allows you to share documents with folks either inside or outside of your organization. For smaller organizations, a free account may be all you need. For extremely reasonable costs you can get almost any amount of cloud storage.
Many busy professionals and business owners have a tough time staying organized, especially when it comes to keeping up with appointments and or scheduling/booking Clients. In order to stay on track, try Book Like A Boss. It’s an all-in-one scheduling platform for you to take appointments, sell your products and/or services and manage your business effectively.
If you’re like us, you’ve already thought of a dozen ways each of these small business services can make your small business more efficient and profitable. And if you’re already pulling your hair out over a lack in resources, dare we say implementing these might even make you happy? That’s at least one of the reasons you started your own business in the first place, right?
Did we leave something out that your small business can’t live without? Anything you use that is mission critical to your success? Let us know in the comments!
What’s Your Local Score?
New tool let’s you find out how optimized your site is for local searches.
A groundbreaking new tool on the jvimobile.com home page is designed to help local business owners diagnose and fix their online listings. The new tool, called “What’s your local score?” was launched on November 10, 2015.
We are thrilled to bring this technology to business owners, either online or off.
To use this dynamic widget, a user will input their business name and zip code into a form, and a report will be generated. In order to see the report, you will need to give up your email address so that JVI Mobile may email you with tips and tricks designed to grow small businesses and help with digital marketing techniques. In addition you will receive timely, knowledgeable articles from their newsletter, “Clicks”. It is a small price to pay to not only see your businesses online report card, but also to get a wealth of great information that JVI Mobile provides from time to time.
The launch of this new service precedes the upcoming highly anticipated course, “Killing it on Instagram”, due to launch in the next week. The course is designed to help business owners learn and navigate the fastest growing social network. Really, it seems like a “win-win”.
At JVI Mobile, we are obsessed with engaging awesome social relationships. This new tool will only help small business owners do just that with their customers. First, find out how you are doing, then improve it. We are happy to help guide you on your way!