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Every week we answer a common question about marketing or business. This week, our question comes from a fan who entered our giveaway contest for a Fire 7 Tablet. Today, we will answer: “How do I advertise my small business on Instagram?”

Does the idea of marketing a business make you feel like a little kid wearing a big lab coat?

Join over 1,000 other mad scientists. Download our FREE Experimental Marketing Guide.

Instagram is HUGE

Instagram has one billion active users every month. It is one of the most downloaded and used apps to ever exist. Not only does this serve as a social media platform, but it also serves as an incredible platform for you to advertise your small business. 

As you would expect of a platform so large, you can find people Instagram from all walks of life. That means it can be fantastic exposure for your small business. There are countless ways to utilize the app to advertise your small business. Instagram can be used to interact with your followers, post content, and help promote your content. 

To really drive the point home, let’s see what Facebook’s survey says. Eighty-three percent of Instagram users say they discover new products or services through Instagram. Eighty-one percent use Instagram to research products or services, and eighty percent of people weigh Instagram into their purchasing decision.

Instagram has an enormous user base. On top of that, the vast majority of Instagram users use their platform in their purchase/discovery process. When you look at it this way, having an Instagram account for your business seems like a logical way to promote your products, services, or brand outside of your website.

How to Use Instagram

Instagram Business pages allow you to interact with your customers and others who are interested in what you have to offer. Through Instagram Business, you can connect your website to your account, allowing users to access your site from Instagram. This is a great way to help promote your brand and drive more viewers to your website. 

Instagram ads allow you to reach accounts who have never heard of you. This platform lets you create your ads and reach your specific target audience based on features such as location, demographics, interests, behaviors, and more. Having the ability to customize your ads means that you can choose the information on who your ads target. This lets you focus in on the exact target audience that you want your content going out to. 

Beyond advertising and branding, though, Instagram’s biggest opportunities are easy to overlook. You have a chance to be real and engage your followers. Talk to them. Get to know them. Look at what they post and get a sense of who they are and what they care about. Neither algorithms nor streamlined business processes can replace the power of genuine human connection.

Even still, there are easy ways to draw a lot of genuine attention fast. For example, contests are a fun way to gain traffic as well as raise brand awareness. Be honest. When you see “enter for a chance to win a brand new 60 inch TV”, you’re at least curious about what you need to do to win, even if you’re a contest skeptic. Contests gives people the incentive to view and engage with your content, as well as take other desired actions.

This is not even scratching the surface of what you can do with Instagram posts, albums, stories, or live-streaming. These features are so nuanced that we’ll do a separate long-form article about them in the future.

How to Advertise Your Small Business on Instagram (A $1 How-To)

In all likelihood, you’ve used Instagram personally. Using it as a business feels different, though, so we’re going to demystify the most business-oriented task you can use Instagram for: running an advertisement.

There are nine simple steps.

1. On Instagram, go to your profile.
2. In the center of the page, click the button that says “Promotions.”

3. At this point, you may need to verify your Instagram profile and allow access to your Facebook account.

4. Choose your destination. Select whether to send people to your profile, your website, or your direct messages.

5. Select your target audience. If you select Automatic, Instagram will target people like your followers. If you create your own audience, you can select an audience based on interest, age, and other demographic information.

6. If you create your own audience, you’ll do the following. Name your audience, determine locations where your ad should show, select interests, and the age and gender of your target audience.

7. Select the audience that you created in Step 6 (unless you’re using Automatic).

8. Determine your budget for your ad and the duration of the ad campaign. (When in doubt, start with $5 per day for a week until you learn the system).

9. Review your ad and click Create Promotion.

Final Thoughts

Few platforms impact society as much as Instagram does. A phenomenal number of people use Instagram daily, making Instagram a great way to reach a large number of people. Take advantage of all of the tools Instagram has to offer your small business, and see how far it can take you!

Does the idea of marketing a business make you feel like a little kid wearing a big lab coat?

Join over 1,000 other mad scientists. Download our FREE Experimental Marketing Guide.