When you’re running a small business, you need to spend a lot of time improving your online presence. Even if you’ve got an amazing product, and you’ve spent a lot of money designing logos and hiring great salespeople, your business won’t be successful if you’ve put yourself on the online map. Even if your business is a brick-and-mortar store that’s been popular for years, more people are going to start finding you online. One of the most important ways to stand out is by having a strong Instagram presence. Just take a look at these mind-boggling Instagram stats from Oberlo if you don’t believe us.

The Instagram platform, which started as a fun way of sharing photos among friends, is now one of the most effective ways businesses connect with their customers. So if you want your small business to shine on Instagram, follow these tips.

1. Switch to a Business profile

If you haven’t done this already, you need to switch to an Instagram Business Account. By switching over, it’s easier for followers to get in touch with you, and you can easily publish ads and get more info about followers with the Insights feature.

2. Use a hashtag tool

Instagram runs on hashtags. By using the right ones, you’ll attract the right followers and get influencers and industry leaders interested in your brand. But it takes a lot of work to research trending and industry-related hashtags. By using a hashtag tool like Hashtagify, they’ll do that work for you, so you can focus on improving your content.

3. Ask questions in your captions

Engagement is an important part of running any social media platform. But sometimes, it can be tricky to get followers talking. An easy solution to that is by asking a question in your caption. For example, if you’re a bookseller, ask your readers what their favorite book is and why.

4. Post at least once a day

Constant posting is key to not only being taken seriously by followers, but also by Instagram’s algorithms. If you aren’t posting all the time, then your Instagram won’t be an exciting place for anyone to visit. By committing to posting at least once a day, you’ll have regular output without posting too much. Considering that visual content is more than 40 times more likely to be shared than non-visual, posting often on Instagram is a no-brainer.

5. Schedule posts in advance

Most people post to Instagram the second they take a picture. After all, that’s how the app started out. But if you have a social media schedule to follow, then scheduling is key. Use a tool like Later to do this. 90 percent of Inter brand 100 companies had Instagram accounts back in 2017, so the better you get at Instagram, the more your online presence can be like theirs!

6. Optimize your bio

Posting great pics and including great captions is key to marketing your posts on Instagram. So considering how much work you put into posts, shouldn’t you also put work into your bio, which represents your business? According to Sprout Social, to optimize your bio, you need to include:

  • A branded hashtag to encourage tagging and sharing
  • A slogan or brief description that speaks to your brand voice
  • An Instagram-specific relevant bio link pointing to your homepage or a promotion (hint: you can use a URL tracker like Bitly to further assess your Instagram traffic)

7. Use Stories

Instagram Stories is a relatively new feature on the platform, but that’s no excuse not to use it. Stories only last for 24 hours, which means that they’re a quick, fun way to stay engaged with followers. Especially if you’re selling to lots of young Gen Zers (50 percent of whom are on this platform), use this feature.

8. Use the Repost app

One of the best ways to create engagement is by sharing content. The Repost app makes this easy by allowing you to quickly share, automatically linking to the original account and including the caption. In 2018, more than 95 million Instagram posts were uploaded daily, so you’re sure to find some great shareable content.

9. Use the Boomerang feature

Considering how popular GIFs are, and how fun they are to make, use the Boomerang feature to create short, cute, repetitive videos that show off your brand. For example, if you’re selling sportswear, create a Boomerang showing off a customer exercising in your gear.

10. Use Instagram Direct to connect

Once you’ve gotten comments, likes, or follows, privately messaging people on Instagram Direct is a great way of personalizing engagement. Just remember to make it personal: automatized messages never look good.

These are some of the best ways to market yourself on Instagram. What other strategies do you use to stand out on social media?