I’m never surprised when I hear that a local business isn’t doing well on Instagram—but I’m a little disappointed. Instagram can do so much good for local businesses! It’s too bad that so few small business owners understand how to succeed on Instagram.
The problem isn’t Instagram, either; it’s the way people are posting. I want to walk you through the most common things that I see small business owners doing poorly and explain how you can avoid those pitfalls. If you want your small business to succeed on Instagram, keep reading!
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
By far the biggest issue I see with small businesses on Instagram is that they try to post something new and fresh every single time. And I get the rationale—you want to stay fresh, people love new things, etc. But it just doesn’t work.
What you might call “new and inventive” usually reads as “messy” on Instagram. If people can’t get a feel for what you generally post, how are they supposed to decide that they want to follow you? This also muddies your brand identity a lot. A wide variety of content usually means that there’s no consistent brand voice being used, which makes it almost impossible for people to relate or connect with your local business.
Instead, make things easier on yourself. If people loved a photo of your shop’s cat, then by God, post more cat pictures! There’s nothing wrong with posting content that you know will perform well. You don’t want to post 100% cat photos, of course, but adding them in regularly is definitely a good idea.
Once you find 3-4 pieces of content that consistently earn good results, just use those in a regular content mix. Don’t worry about finding out when to switch things up—your audience will show you when they get bored of something! In the meantime, though, recycle your top-performing content if you want your local business to do well on Instagram.
Make the Visuals Look Appealing
No, I’m not talking about the 45 seconds before you post a photo where you try to find the perfect filter.
Images have sizes, and some of those sizes fit Instagram’s layout better than others. If your picture looks stretched out or otherwise misshapen, you’re going to see a serious lack of interest in your brand.
If you’ve even glanced at Instagram, though, you probably know that they have different image orientations, not to mention videos. That means there isn’t a one-size-fits-all size for your local business’ visuals. That said, there are still some guiding rules. Here are Instagram’s recommended visual sizes per orientation/format:
- Square: 1080px x 1080 px, but you should upload the visual at the highest resolution allowed, which is 2048px x 2048px.
- Landscape: 1080px x 566px. Note that you can still effectively use smaller sizes in this layout, like 60px x 400px.
- Portrait: 1080px x 1350px, but Instagram will show the visual as 600px x 749px if you choose this orientation.
- Video to timeline: 640px x 640px and the duration should be 3-60 seconds.
- Video to story: 750px x 1334px and the video should be no longer than 15 seconds.
Did you get all that? Review this list whenever you need to post on Instagram, because I can promise you that without it, you’re going to end up with wonky, off-putting images sooner or later!
Think Before Posting
I know Instagram has a reputation of being for airheaded teenagers and Kardashians, but it takes some serious thought and planning to make it on this platform. If your target audience is on Instagram, then get out there and connect with them! Just make sure you’re following these tips, or you might end up doing more harm to your brand than good.
Do you want to talk about how you can succeed on Instagram? Schedule your free consultation with The Go! Agency!