20 ways to Promote your Small Business using Instagram


Are you using Instagram to promote your business? Did you know that Instagram has 15x the engagement of Twitter & Facebook? If not then you might be missing out and losing BIG TIME to your competitors.  

Below are 20 excellent ideas to spice up your Instagram posts and stand out from the crowd.

1.    DIYs or Do It Yourself ideas
DIYs are popular nowadays and seem to catch the attention of many online users. Create a few quick DIY videos or photo series showing step-by-step instructions on novel ways to use your product.

2.    Holiday Themes
It is always a great  idea to jump onto the bandwagon and join the holiday rush.  These can be Christmas, Valentines or other less known holiday that your product can use. Post a fun photo showcasing how your product fits the lively spirit of the holidays. Take a hint on how to do this from Bonobos menswear.

Luck of the well-dressed. 🍀 Happy #StPatricksDay!

A post shared by Bonobos (@bonobos) on

3.    The Person Behind Photos
If showing your face on the social media doesn't bother you then it is a perfect way to gain more trust with your customers. There’s nothing like attaching a human face and name to your business. So, share photos of the founder or team behind the business. It gives the viewers the impression that you take pride in it and you are willing to stake your reputation on it – ergo more trust.

We have arrived. #RockyMountainFly

A post shared by Virgin America (@virginamerica) on

4.    Freebies
Reciprocity is the psychological reason behind giveaways.  When you are kind to people, the natural tendency is to respond with the same kindness. Everybody likes to receive free stuff.  You can ask followers to repost your photos using a hashtag in exchange for freebies.

5.    Candid Behind the Scene Photos
Maybe it’s the voyeur-ish tendency in all of us.  Most people like to peek into the inner workings or behinds the scenes action of your company. But certainly, potential customers would like to know what goes on behind the making of your products.  A behind the scene shot of a Gucci campaign showing Jared Leto demonstrates how to share photos that give people a quick look at what goes on behind.

6.    Use “#’s” 

Be a master at using hashtags.  Instagram is a great platform for starting a photo contest.  Motivate followers with an excellent incentive to post images of their own and track entries using your custom hashtags. Like Warby Parker who used the tag #WarbyBarker and asked followers to use it to post pictures of their pet dogs.

7.    Use Stunning Images of your Products

You may say that Instagram is the Mecca of fabulous visuals.  So, be sure to stand out above the rest and style the pixels out of your photos when you upload product images just like what Vans did when they unveiled their new collection.

8.    Celebrate your Achievements
Allow followers to celebrate successes with you. It shows that your business is dynamic and fruitful.  Everybody loves a winner just like Taco Bell in this post.

When it's your birthday but you love tacos. 🌮🎂

A post shared by Taco Bell (@tacobell) on

9.    #Sale @YourBusinessNameHere
Having a sale will not be “a sale” unless you announce it on Instagram and let your followers know about current promos.  Use memorable images in making these marketing promotions.  Starbucks shows us how in this post.

10.    Dare Challenge
Dare followers to join your photo contest.  This is what Adobe does in their monthly creative challenge.  They announce a theme for the month and ask followers to join by posting photos associated with a theme.  Adobe then re-posts some of the great entries.

A reflection of warmth from a 3 am sunrise 🌅 📷by @juusohd

A post shared by Adobe (@adobe) on

11.    Limited Offers
Give a heads up to your followers when you have products or services that are limited either by time or by stock.   Post beautiful images on Instagram, and you’ll be on your way from limited to out of stock.

Now available for a limited time. (cc: @groteskito) #Converse

A post shared by Converse (@converse) on

12.    Celebrate Employees

Feature deserving employee and show how much they are appreciated.  This will show followers what a great staff you have and boost morale in your business.

13.    Post Customer Images

Post or repost user generated content by asking customers to share great images which have your brand in them.  Pick out the unique ones and the ones that have customer satisfaction written all over it.

For life. #PabstBlueRibbon • 📸: @drbake17

A post shared by Pabst Blue Ribbon (@pabstblueribbon) on

14.    New and Unique Ways to use Your Product
If your product has any unique uses other than its primary intended purpose then, by all means, brag about it by posting. You can also let your customers join in if they have discovered any unique uses for your product of their own.  The small business “LetterFolk” does this, why shouldn’t you.

This is #goals for my goals. 📷: @aubryeliz

A post shared by Letterfolk (@letterfolk) on

15.     Quotable Quotes
WeddingWire gives a good example in their post below.  Show images of quotes that are relevant to your business, to your followers and current events.  

Double tap if you've found the one whose weirdness is compatible with your own! 💕#weddingwirewords

A post shared by WeddingWire (@weddingwire) on

16.    “Product Elections”
Display different pictures of products and ask your followers to vote for their favorite. You can do this especially during elections, where people are in the mood for alternative choices.   

17.    Updates and Announcements
Update your followers on your upcoming events with images that also contain some relevant information regarding the event.

18.    Inspiration & Motivation
Blend inspiration to your posts and feature images that tell inspiring stories.  Place a hint about your product without forcing it and only if it feels right.  Just like this picture from Nike.

Everyone loves an underdog. @rogerfederer #justdoit

A post shared by nike (@nike) on

19.    Stop-Motion

Use stop-motion vids to show more than what a single image can.  Here’s a great example that was done by Staples’ which demonstrates how to use it.

20.    Contest & Competitions

Offer a preview of competition you will host and encourage your followers to join through Instagram.  Like the one Oreo did with their dunk contest.