Instagram is a visual social media network that has become a powerhouse for brands to market their products.
Being visual-based, it works well for niches like fashion, beauty, and travel. Small businesses in other industries with less visually appealing content often need to pay more attention to Instagram.
However, if your small business is service-based, it’s still possible to market it on Instagram and increase brand awareness.
Remember, Instagram has at least 2.3 billion users worldwide, meaning many potential clients are among this population. In the US alone, there are over 168 million average users, so the pool is quite large!
In this guide, we'll discuss various Instagram marketing strategies you can use as a service-based small business owner to get more exposure for your business.
You'll discover everything from creating a profile that stands out to using hashtags effectively and driving traffic to your website.
So whether you're just starting on Instagram or you've been using the platform for a while and have yet to see the results you want, read on for some valuable tips!
How to Use Instagram to Market Your Service Business
It's time to explore the top Instagram strategies for small business owners.
1. Optimize Your Instagram Profile
It all starts with your profile. An optimized profile makes it easy for potential clients to find you and learn more about what you do.
Below are the elements of your Instagram profile you need to pay attention to:
Make it a business account
You must create a business profile or convert your personal account to a business one. This approach will allow you to access valuable business-specific insights. You'll be able to do performance analysis without much effort.
Use a high-quality profile photo
Since you're a professional, your Instagram profile picture needs to say the same. Take a high-quality image that shows your face, and even if it's a selfie, choose the right background, angle, and attire. Instagram also allows you to create an avatar 3D persona based on your photo.
You can use a logo instead if you're a more significant business or an agency. Make sure it's readable if there's text in it.
Complete your bio
Write a compelling bio stating your expertise, services, and the results you can help them achieve. The reason is that you must fit all the essential information within the 150 characters available. Be sure to choose your keywords wisely.
Include external links
Ensure you include a link to your website or portfolio in the bio section so people can quickly learn more about you. If you want to showcase more than one landing page, you can use link-in-bio tools like Linktree.
Provide your contact information
You need to include how people can reach you besides Instagram DMs. Some users may prefer additional or other means of communication when they want to hire you.
So, add your work email address or phone number and choose to display it. Instagram business accounts allow for action buttons where you can direct people to email, call, or text.
Check out the example above of an excellent service-based business Instagram profile.
2. Publish More Video Content
Photos work like a charm if you want to establish an online presence. But have you tried videos?
Video content is the most engaging content on any social media platform and a great Instagram marketing strategy for small business owners offering services.
You can show prospective clients exactly what you’re offering in just minutes. You can create content demonstrating your products or services, such as unboxing videos and case studies.
Remember, the best Instagram videos should only last for a few minutes. That should be enough to pass on the information you have.
Still, if it's a longer video, highlight the critical parts or upload it in a series. If you need to show more or engage with other users, you can do a live stream, which can quickly go into hours.
Also, remember to add captions or even subtitles in your videos so everyone can understand your message.
There are many AI text writers to help you write effective Instagram captions if you run out of ideas.
3. Showcase Your Portfolio in Stories
Your Instagram profile is a reflection of your brand. So, don't hesitate to show what you've been working on lately in the Stories section. It's perfect for telling a richer story, unlike individual photos or videos.
You can add before and after pictures or footage if it applies to your service business to showcase the results someone could expect from you.
Some random before-and-after examples to share include client weight loss goals if you’re a personal trainer, website redesign if you're a web developer, or even a tattoo cover-up if you’re a tattooist.
Also, share the process behind each project so that people understand how much effort you put into it.
When it comes to Stories, use interactive elements like polls, quizzes, and questions to increase engagement. Try to keep stories short and exciting with creative ideas.
Finally, add a call-to-action (CTA) at the end so people can contact you to learn more or hire you for their projects.
4. Take Advantage of Instagram Reels
Instagram Reels are the new thing on Instagram. It's a feature that enables users to create and view 15-second videos, much like TikTok videos. Also, TikTok has 1.4 billion monthly active users and is projected to reach 1.8 billion by the end of 2023.
You can use this format to showcase your expertise in even more detail.
Record yourself giving solutions to common problems related to your industry or showing what you're working on to establish your authority in the field.
Remember, Reels are not about selling but showcasing your skills and know-how.
Also, use music tracks from Instagram's library or record your audio to make your videos even more engaging.
5. Use the Magic of Hashtags on Instagram
Hashtags are essential for reaching the right people with your content. They allow users to explore specific topics and find relevant posts.
They also help Instagram's algorithm better understand what audience should see your content.
If you want to increase visibility and gain followers, focus on using specific tags related to your industry. Some of the most popular hashtags and their variations should be part of your content strategy.
For instance, as a freelance writer, you can use hashtags like #freelancewriter, #copywriter, and #lifeofawriter.
If you're a fitness instructor, some examples are #training, #bodybuilding, and #workout.
Are you a dating coach? You could go with #dating, #relationshipadvice, and #relationshipgoals.
Finding such hashtags will be easy if you're creative enough. You only have to go to Instagram search and enter a word beginning with the hashtag symbol.
You'll see if people use it, the total number of posts, and related suggestions.
Another idea is to use hashtag-finding tools online for research.
Moreover, you can also create your hashtag if it makes sense for your business.
Users can use this tag when they mention or share something about your work, making it easier to track conversations.
6. Have a Consistent Posting Schedule
Frequent posting is essential when leveraging Instagram for your service-based small business. It helps build trust and consistency around your brand.
And so, it helps to create an informative content calendar and stick to it so your followers know when to expect content from you.
When planning a schedule, remember that the more you post, the better. Posting daily on Instagram is a great strategy to see quick results. But try to upload content at least five times per week.
Identifying the best time to post on Instagram is essential for maximizing reach. Also, utilize Instagram scheduling tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to help you automate and manage posts.
Finally, the optimal time to post on Instagram is during peak hours (when most people are online), usually in the mornings and evenings for American users. You can check your “Audience Insights” tab on Meta (formerly Facebook) Ads Manager to see when your followers are online and adjust accordingly.
7. Collaborate with Other SMBs and Influencers
Networking and collaboration are excellent marketing strategies for service-based business owners. If done right, they can help you reach a broader audience and expand your influence in the industry.
Start by connecting with other professionals in your field to brainstorm ideas and implement joint projects.
Such collaborations will make creating better content and building relationships with potential clients easier.
You can also collaborate with influencers and micro-influencers in your niche, as they can help you reach more people.
For instance, if you're a freelance writer, target bloggers or YouTube personalities that create content around writing or freelancing.
Be sure to maintain honest connections and offer reciprocal benefits regardless of the influencer’s follower size.
Potential clients are more likely to hire you if other influencers recommend your products and services.
8. Analyze Performance and Insights
Analyzing your Instagram account performance is the best way to measure your success. It helps you understand which strategies work and which don't so that you can make the necessary changes.
Instagram Insights are a great way to track everything from impressions and reach to profile views and website clicks.
You can also measure the effectiveness of campaigns through engagement metrics such as likes, comments, shares, and reposts.
Use third-party analytics tools to measure performance and track progress over time.
These tools offer detailed reports that allow you to identify opportunities for improvement and make better marketing decisions.
9. Create Instagram Ads
Ad creation is an Instagram marketing strategy for a business owner with an ad budget. Instagram Ads are a great way to get your services in front of larger audiences, maximize engagement, and get more web visitors.
The good thing is that you don't need thousands of dollars. Begin your ad campaign with small amounts, like $5 daily, then scale up as you go.
You can create ads in the Ads Manager section of Instagram's parent platform, Meta. Here you can use the targeting options available, such as age, location, and interests.
You can also set up ads for different objectives, like website conversions or lead gen forms.
When creating ads, you should remember that images and videos are the most effective types of content. Also, use a clear call-to-action to encourage viewers to take action.
Finally, consider using A/B testing for different ad campaigns to measure performance and determine which headlines, copies, images, and CTAs are most successful.
These strategies will help service-based small business owners tap into the power of Instagram and make their work more visible.
From creating high-quality content to using the right hashtags, you can increase engagement, gain followers, and increase sales in numerous ways.
Just be patient, consistent, and creative, and soon you'll start getting the results you’re looking for.
About the author:
Mike Stuzzi is an online entrepreneur who blogs at MikeStuzzi.com. He publishes helpful guides on starting online businesses, the best business and AI tools to enhance productivity, and his personal experiences on the site.