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Instagram Strategies for Small Businesses

Quinn Tempest Later Lecture Recap

Quinn Tempest, who you might recognize from previous posts on this very blog, recently wrote a blog post and created a video for Later as part of their Later Lecture Series. She tailored her regular Instagram marketing presentation to small businesses, which appealed to me as someone who has been helping a few of our members launch Instagram accounts over the past several months.

Quinn is often highlighted on this blog because she regularly travels to Kansas City to speak at marketing and advertising professional events. There’s a reason she is asked to come back again and again. She offers insightful yet practical advice related to digital marketing and content strategy for businesses big and small. She regularly focuses on Instagram marketing. I want to share some of what I learned from her Later Lecture because I think she provided some great insight!

Quinn emphasized multiple times in this lecture the importance of balancing visual and strategy on your brand’s Instagram profile. AWG members often focus on item and price, which makes sense in grocery retail. And while grocery retailers might be tempted to only post item and price, or snippets from their weekly ad on an Instagram account, I would encourage AWG members to explore different ways to connect with their audience.

Connecting with your audience is a key component of Instagram marketing strategy. Quinn emphasized the idea that Instagram is just one piece of your whole digital brand. And as we regularly remind AWG members, all digital marketing platforms should be used to direct customers back to your website. That is the only digital content you can completely control. Social media platforms are free and are widely-used, but a business has no control over the design and functionality of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. So when you think about the visual and strategic components of your store’s Instagram account, always think about images that will draw in new and current followers and drive them to visit your website.

The Instagram platform offers business accounts so many different ways to direct customers back to their website. While you can’t include hyperlinks in individual posts, you can include one link to your website on your profile bio and direct customers to it in individual post by including in your caption the phrase “Link in bio.” But as you gain more followers, you are given more options to link back to your website. Profiles with 10,000+ followers have the option to offer a “swipe up” link in Instagram stories. Businesses with e-commerce websites also have the option to post pictures of items they are selling that have pop-ups on the image. The pop-up shows a brief item description, the price, and a link back to that item on the website! Grocery retailers that are launching or developing online shopping platforms, this will be a vital part of your online shopping marketing strategy!

Another important way to balance visual and strategy is to decide what you want your Instagram grid to look like. The grid is the collection of picture thumbnails a customer sees when they visit your Instagram profile. Don’t think that customers are visiting your profile? Don’t be so sure! Unlike other social platforms, users have to visit your profile at least once to follow your account. When they visit your page, the layout and images on your grid will give them a brief snapshot of your business and what it’s about. So it’s important to think through your visual strategy and the overall collection of your images, rather than focusing on each individual post.

Instagram Grid

Your profile picture and grid should visually reflect what your business is about. If you’re a grocery retailer, we can pretty much guarantee there will be a lot of food pictures on your grid. But what kind of food pictures? Lots of fresh produce? Hot deli items that are quick meal options for busy customers? What is the color scheme? Bright and colorful? Warm and inviting?

I highly encourage you to read Quinn’s blog post and watch the video. Your Instagram marketing strategy and your small business will be better for it.

Why do I work at AWG? “I like working for a company that supports local, often times family-owned, businesses in everything they do in order to help them succeed and stay competitive. It’s great to interact with the stores on a daily basis and learn about their story and the communities they serve.” -Melanie