Instagram Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners

instagram marketing tips for small business owners
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

By Jess Dixon

Instagram is one of the world’s biggest social media platforms, with over 1 billion monthly active users. This means you really can’t afford to ignore it as part of your digital marketing strategy. However, many small business owners don’t really know how to make Instagram work for them.

Here are my top tips to get you started!

Use the “Link in Bio” Workaround

One of the biggest challenges around marketing for Instagram comes from the fact that you can’t include clickable links in post captions. Fortunately, savvy marketers have found a way around this. Have you ever seen a post with the caption “link in bio” (or the hashtag #linkinbio)? If so, you’ve seen this trick in action.

Since you can have one clickable link in your Instagram bio, you can simply add the relevant link there. However, updating this each time you make a new post can be time-consuming, and also renders older posts obsolete very quickly.

Instead, you can use an Instagram linking tool. This allows you to create a simple landing page where all your Instagram links can be found in one place.

I use, which costs $24.99 (about £20) for a lifetime plan. While there is a limited free version, the paid plan allows you to completely customise your page with your own logo, colour schemes, and so on.

Here’s how it looks: screenshot
Run a Giveaway or Contest

As you’ll know if you’ve been reading my work on the site for a while, I’m a big proponent of strategically using freebies to draw in paying customers. One of the best ways to do this is with a social media giveaway.

Simply choose a prize, set a deadline, and decide what people have to do to enter. You might ask someone to comment, tag a friend, share your post to their Stories, and so on. If you are able to invest some money in your giveaway, you can use a tool like Vyper to take it to the next level. This allows you to monitor entries more easily and use bonus actions to boost engagement across other platforms:

In one notable example, ecommerce retailer Coconut Bowls used a giveaway to garner over 41,000 email list subscribers, 37,000 new Instagram followers, and 15,000 shares.

However you run your giveaway, make sure you choose a prize that is relevant to your audience and business. This could either be a product that you sell, or something that relates to a product you sell. In the above example, Coconut Bowls – which caters to a health-conscious audience – gave away a Vitamix blender that can be used to make smoothies, soups, and so on.

Ensure your feed is on-brand

Your Instagram feed should represent your brand’s visual identity. Your company logo should be your profile picture, and your posts should heavily feature your brand colours and any other visual branding elements such as specific fonts.

My core brand colour is purple, with mint green as a secondary colour. As a result, I alternate those two colours as a base or background colour for my posts:

You can use a simple graphic design tool like Canva to put together beautiful Instagram posts with very little in the way of design skills. You can save your exact colours and font choices to a “brand kit”, allowing you to make sure everything you post is aligned with the image you want to create:

Looking for some branded Instagram inspiration? Take a look at what some of your favourite companies are doing. You’re sure to gather a few ideas.

I love this beautiful branded feed by Unbirthday, an Australian bakery business:

Screenshot of an Instagram marketing feed
Use Stories

“Stories” is a feature that lets you put together multiple pictures or short video clips into a “Story”. The catch? Each Story only lasts for 24 hours. Unless you save it to your favourites on your profile, it’s gone after a day.

You might be thinking, “what’s the point!?” Well, stay with me. Stories actually have a lot of potential. Stories give you the opportunity to get creative, post content on the fly, and engage with your followers in real time. This isn’t an absolute rule, but businesses’ Instagram Stories tend to be less polished than their main feed posts. This allows for an extra layer of authenticity and means Stories can be a fantastic way to share “behind the scenes” snapshots with your audience.

Stories also allow you to use a number of cool features to interact with your audience. For example, you can post a poll, ask a question, add stickers or a fun filter, or use a countdown timer to build excitement.

Here’s a story Penguin Random House did that utilised polls:

Penguin Random House Instagram story

Once you have over 10,000 followers, you can also use the “Swipe Up” feature. This allows you to embed a link in your Story, meaning customers can go straight to your sales page (or any other page you choose) in a single swipe.

Here’s how Starbucks used this feature to advertise its limited-edition summer drinks:

Starbucks Instagram story
Use video as well as visuals

You can post video content as well as visuals to Instagram. Regular posts allow for videos up to 60 seconds long. Stories allow you to string together clips, each up to 15 seconds, to create a longer video.

Given that 51% of marketing professionals think that video content has the best return on investment (ROI), this is an opportunity you don’t want to miss.

So why not share sneak previews of new products, behind-the-scenes video clips, straight-to-camera or podcast style videos, or even video how-to guides?

You don’t need fancy equipment, either. Most smartphones can shoot a good enough videos nowadays, and you can edit them using software like Abode, Lightworks, or OpenShot.

Get creative!

The beauty of Instagram is that, being a primarily visual medium, it gives you endless scope to get creative. So try things out! Just make sure you monitor your engagements and analytics as you go, so you can keep track of what works and what doesn’t.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

More from Marketing...

An article on How to Self Promote Your Small Business But Not Be a T*** About It - YBKBS UK Small Business News for Smart Business Owners

How to Self Promote Your Small Business But Not Be a T*** About It

We all have to sell ourselves at some point – whether it be as a corporate warrior, a small business owner, a ‘disruptor’ or as an individual. But how do we gain a following and self promote WITHOUT looking like a T***?


How To Get Free Customers and Clients

Let’s look at one of the cheapest ways to boost your business status and marketing with networking.

How you can use video marketing in your small business

Cool Ways to Use Video Marketing Content

Video marketing is incredibly popular, and still growing. There’s one simple reason for this: because it works!

have you got a loyalty scheme for your customers? Here's how it should be put together

How to Create a Customer Loyalty Scheme That Works

It can cost up to five times as much to attract a new customer as opposed to retaining an existing one! With numbers like that, it makes sense to focus on customer satisfaction and retention at least as much as you focus on bringing in new leads for your business. 

how to get your content seen by people not in your tribe

Guest Posting: Is It Worth It? (And How to Get Started)

Guest posting – writing content for other websites which include a link back to yours – is well known as a strategy for boosting your business profile. But is it still worth it? And if so, how do you even do it? 

how do you keep old customers rather than chasing new customers all the time? Business help

8 Customer Retention Tricks for Small Businesses

If your business is to stay profitable for the long-haul, customer retention is essential. And we’ll show you how to do it…

do you need a degree to run a successful business? Well here's the answer for small business owners

No Degree? No Problem! (How to Build Credibility Without Going Back to School)

Let’s clear up a persistent myth: you don’t necessarily need an MBA to run a business! You might not even need a degree at all. They can be helpful, of course, and academic study is the right route into business for a lot of people. 

the small business owners guide to procrastination and getting things done now rather than later

A Small Business Owners’ Guide to Beating Procrastination

Have you ever started the day full of good intentions, only to realise that it’s suddenly 3pm and you haven’t achieved anything? Yes – me too. Procrastination gets the best of all of us sometimes, and it can be a real problem for small business owners. 

why you shouldn't be the cheapest small business in your industry

Why You Shouldn’t Strive to Be the Cheapest

If you’re in small business, this is a race you don’t want to win…the race to the bottom and being the cheapest in your industry

what to do when the customer is wrong - small business magazine ybkbs

What to Do When the Customer is Wrong

If there is one business cliche that I want to consign to the past where it belongs, it’s this: the customer is always right. 

Why? Because it’s not true. 

how to run a contest or giveaway that generates leads

How to Run a Contest or Giveaway That Generates Leads

We’ve talked before about how strategically giving stuff away for free can boost your sales and bring in new customers. But do you know what people love almost as much as free stuff? The chance to win something!

email deliverability - why it matters and how to boost it

Email Deliverability: Why It Matters and How to Boost It

Are you following all the rules of good email marketing but not seeing the return you’d like? Perhaps you’re close to concluding that 

If this sounds familiar, don’t give up yet. According to Salescycle, 73% of marketers rate the return on investment (ROI) of email marketing as either “excellent” or “good”. That’s higher than the score for any other marketing channel. In other words, you need to get email marketing right. 

If you’re having trouble getting that high ROI, it’s possible that your email deliverability is at fault. But what is email deliverability and how can you improve it? Read on to find out. 

ways that small business can use influencer marketing ybkbs magazine and platform

Ways That Small Businesses Can Use Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is big business, and still growing. As social media has become more and more a part of our daily lives, people are increasingly turning to their favourite online personalities for recommendations and lifestyle advice.

Listen to Our Podcast...