Two years ago, I wrote a column on how small businesses could best use Instagram to grow their businesses. Geez, does that seem a long time ago now. Social media changes faster than Beyoncé changes outfits. There’s a lot you need to catch up on if you want to take advantage of the benefits of Instagram for growing your small business.
Since I wrote that column, Instagram has launched a number of tools that make it easier to grab and keep potential customers’ attention. So it’s time you learned some new social media tricks.
“What I appreciate about social media, like Instagram, is that it’s a platform to tell your story,” says Marcus Samuelsson, the Michelin star-rated chef, restaurant owner, and host of the PBS show No Passport Required. “It opens the door for more and diverse voices to be seen and heard. That’s why as a small business owner in Harlem, I use it as a medium to reflect all the different people who make the restaurant hum—front and back of house—and all of our guests from the church ladies on Sunday to the Latin dancers on Tuesday night.” Samuelsson uses Instagram not only to tell his story but to showcase his food, with great results.
Don’t worry about being perfect on Instagram. Just start. Sure, you’d love even a fraction of the 119 million followers that Kim Kardashian has, but keep in mind Instagram isn’t just for celebrities who have staff and photographers to manage their posts.
“We’re in the middle of rebranding our stores,” said Rick Piazza, who runs—along with his brothers John and Gary—a local, family-owned grocery, Piazza’s Fine Foods in Palo Alto and San Mateo, California. “The grocery business has changed not just since our dad started out, but even in just the last five years. So has our customer.” So Piazza just launched an Instagram feed @Piazzasfinefoods to reach millennials.
@ameliakyoga – Amelia K. Barnes – yoga clothes, mixes inspiration with product to keep followers motivated and engaged
@lifewithoutplastic – Chantal Plamondon and Jay Sinha – husband & wife small business that gained significant following through Instagram
@ronfinleyhq – Ron Finley – gardener, reaching people through Instagram to help his project serving communities by teaching people to grow their own food
@vancityreynolds – Ryan Reynolds – actor who uses humor to engage his IG followers
@natgeo – National Geographic – a beautiful Instagram with outstanding photos
Copyright Rhonda Abrams, 2018
This article originally ran in USA Today on November 7, 2018