How to Improve Instagram Marketing for Your Small Business


By Elizabeth Tran

As a small business, do you struggle with limited marketing budgets? Print ads are costly, and you may not be getting the return that you expect. Social media – especially Instagram – has become the best option to market your business because it’s free. With modern technology, you’re almost required to have a social media account – or you don’t exist.

Just one problem though – the only simple thing about a social media account is creating one. What’s next? Is anyone showing you how to be successful to truly see business growth?

Instagram is the most dominant social media platform for visuals. Many small businesses on Schedulicity even depend on Instagram to share portfolios of past work. We’ll walk you through 7 successful tips on how to improve Instagram marketing for your small business.

1. Identify Your Instagram Brand Vision

Ask yourself: what qualities about your service resonate with you and your clients? Do these qualities differentiate your brand from other competitors?

For example, a nail tech can be creative, technical, or even specialize in one type of nail service. As for hair salons, a stylist can be an expert in vibrant colors, men’s fades, or even just natural looks. Make sure you communicate that you’re the expert in whichever specialty you choose. Not only do you show extra care and attention, but that you give your own personal, unique style to each service – which very few competitors can do.

Remember, you don’t need to appeal to everybody. Just understand the top needs of your industry – and knock just one out of the park!

Identifying a consistent brand vision will lead your Instagram marketing and all client communication. Your clients will then feel special, knowing that they’re getting the best service for what they want.

2. Think Like Your Client

Being a small business owner, you may get stuck in the sales mindset. Always showing your best face to each client. However, the successful social media brands think like the client.

Put yourself in your ideal client’s shoes and look at your Instagram feed with a new perspective. Would you buy a service from yourself?

Let’s walk you through a modern-day client journey.

They’re in need of a massage. They’ll either ask friends, but most of the time, research on the Internet first. They’ll review directory listings, websites, and social media before they even contact you.

This is where your brand vision comes into play as well. If the client resonates with your message and look, they’ll book an appointment right away.

Do you get that feeling – when you put yourself in the client’s shoes? Is your Instagram feed representing your business right? Would a client would consider you as a valuable resource?

Reviews, social media profiles, websites, and more. Be the client, so you can win the client.

3. Pick a Clean, Consistent Look for Your Instagram Feed

As you integrate your brand vision into Instagram, pick a clean and consistent look. We’re decades into the Internet era, make yourself look modern and professional.

Instagram is the most obvious platform where a client can easily see if you aren’t. Collages are not in anymore. Nor are heavy amounts of text. Pick one nice visual and go with it.

That’s why we’re blessed with captions and “Read More” links to keep the detail for later. If you don’t attract by the visual, good luck on them clicking to read more – let alone book you!

4. Share Your Expert Knowledge in Instagram Posts

Here’s the obvious fact: the client is coming to you for your expertise. They’re not going to cut their hair themselves, give themselves a deep tissue massage, or anything crazy. So, how do they know that you’re the expert?

Your content.

The Internet is filled with content, much is fluff. You, however, may have a lot to offer with your real-life experience on everyday personal care. Why not share it?

It’s not like a competitor can take your tip and perform the same exact service as you. You have the technique to bang out a great fade!

Instagram is an easy way to share your expert knowledge – first attract a client with the visual and close a deal with a helpful caption. The caption may not need to relate to the photo or video at times, so it’s a great canvas for you to share pretty much anything. Get personal – and relatable.

Clients can see that it’s a balayage photo, but what else can you add for extra value?

Instagram posts are powerful where you can share a quick tutorial and add more context below – for a snackable piece of knowledge. Use Facebook and Twitter for more in-depth content as clients are willing to read more on those social platforms.

5. Ads vs Posts

This is a great transition from showing you what type of content to how it should be displayed. Many times, small businesses see social media as an ad platform. It is not unless you pay for the advertising. If you are simply posting, share something natural.

By “natural,” we mean what did you do today or what are you looking forward to tomorrow? Do you want to share an important message to your clients? Then, you can think about the visual to start the conversation. Visuals should have as limited amounts of text as possible.

Did you know Facebook doesn’t allow much text in their promoted and paid posts? Because Facebook knows that too much text and noise can be “spammy.”

Aim for posts, not ads – and you’ll look more professional on social media.

6. Take Great Photos and Videos

Again, visuals are important in attracting attention on social media. You’ll need to look good to give a great, first impression to new clients.

We’ll stop saying why visuals are important now. Instead, we’ll show you how to take great photos and videos with a simple smartphone camera.

  • Use natural lighting as much as possible. Understand where the light hits your client, so the image’s focus is perfect! Try to take your client outside, but avoid direct sunlight as the skin can look extra exposed. If you can’t go outside, let your client face the window for ideal lighting.
  • Avoid the flash. Using natural light is always a better option.
  • Pick a simple background that you can use consistently in your photos. Find a brick wall, maybe a fun graffiti area. Do remember to not let the background upstage your client. Let your client be the focus.
  • For Instagram, take photos that are great as a square or portrait, so it looks good in your profile’s feed. Some elements may get cut off depending on the photo size. Test it before posting!
  • Lastly, make your clients laugh to help them feel more comfortable. Not everyone is photo-ready. If you’re comfortable, your client will be. Once you’ve got them to laugh, take a ton of photos for a variety of options. You can always delete later 😉.

7. Engage with Clients on Instagram

As you’re posting content on social media, remember to engage further! Reply to comments, like your clients’ posts, and more. Social media is a two-way street for more personalized communication online. With your personal account, do you just post and spy on others? No, you like, comment, and share within the Instagram community.

Why wouldn’t you do the same as your business account? Your business is you. Make your business personable, relatable, and easy to reach. All qualities that clients look for in a service, so extend that further into your social media marketing.

Bonus Tip: If you’re already a business on Schedulicity, add the “Book” button right onto your Instagram profile. The Book button will allow your clients to directly schedule an appointment with you – without leaving Instagram. Close the deal while the clients are already interested! Learn how to add the Book button here.

Instagram marketing requires consistency, simplicity, and personalization. Without all these three elements for your small business, you may not be reaching the people you want as clients. It can be your first impression for many new clients, so make it work!

Schedulicity is the leading online appointment, class and workshop scheduling system and platform for discovering and booking local services in more than 50 different industries. Consumers in more than 7,700 cities across the U.S. and Canada have booked over 117 million appointments, classes and workshops through Schedulicity.

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