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Top Instagram Tips For SME’s

Instagram Tips for sme's

I must admit I don’t have a large following on Instagram. I started using Instagram couple of years ago but I was using it for personal reasons (and still do). Share my personal life pictures and my lovely dog Chanel.

Over 90% of the 150 million people on Instagram are under the age of 35 which is why it is such an attractive platform to so many brands. It is the jackpot of the younger market. 

  • Instagram currently has 300 million worldwide and 70% are outside US.
  • On an average day Instagram users post 70m photos and hit the ‘like’ button 2.5bn times.
  • The average Instagram user spends 21 minutes per day using the app. That’s a lot for an app that just shows images.
  • The app is more popular among younger people, with usage at 41% among those aged 16-24 and at 35% among 24-34s.
  • 51% of users are male while, you guessed it, 49% are female.

Have you ever wondered to see which brand are the most popular on Instagram? Totems Shares That.

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 17.25.57

Nike is currently leading the way with 13.1 million users.

Brands that use Instagram see a bigger engagement on Twitter as well. Focusing purely on the top 25 most engaging brands, the average post engagement rate is 3.31% on Instagram compared to 0.07% on Twitter.

Now that we have some stats, here are some tips.

1. Make it personal 

You don’t have to make it all about your brand, you need to make it personal. Share emotions that people should associate with your brand. Tell a story behind your brand that allows people to make the human connection. What is your team environment like? What do you do every day? What does your brand stand for?

Here are two examples:

For here or to go? #justdoit

A photo posted by nike (@nike) on

Anyone else agree? Take a snap of how you have enjoyed reading #daringanddisruptive by @lisamessenger #collectivehub

A photo posted by Collective Hub (@collectivehub) on

2. Show them how it’s done

When we say that we are an expert in one industry we need to prove it to people. Instagram is a great place to do that. If you can show people what they can do with your products or service it will be a great way for them to understand more about your brand. Cosmetics company Benefit had fans submit photos using the hashtag #realsies for one of their mascara products. They then linked these submissions through to a microsite where an image mosaic is displayed.

Here is another example of how Hello Hair shows to their fans what can be done with their hair:


3. Use Hashtags 

When we use hashtags we maximize our opportunity to be seen by potential users. If you look around at the larger brands on Instagram, 80% of their posts will contain at least one hashtag, while the average post has at least three. Now I know that some of you question everything so the data that I got was from a research done from L2.

We as SME’s need to use popular hashtags that are relevant to our brand. Later when you will build a stronger audience you can create your own hashtag.  You are probably wondering what hashtags to use, to make your life easier I shared top 100 Instagram hashtags in a blog articles last year which you can read here. You can also check websta for up to date analytics on what’s hot and you can also check Iconsquare.

4. Sponsor 

Okay so I understand that you might not have the budget to advertise on Instagram yet, but there are other options. There are a lot of business’s large and small that sponsor relevant influencers on Instagram. Neil Patel wrote an amazing article on what happened when he purchased a famous account and invested 57,000 US Dollars on sponsorships.

I’m not suggesting that you need to invest £50k, you can invest less by targeting the right people and collaborating with them. Find key influencers in your niche, for example if you are a restaurant find food instagramers and have a chat with them, invite them to your restaurant for a complimentary meal and ask them their opinion. See that they feel about the brand. I see some bloggers that they put on their bio that they are sponsored by XYZ company, please don’t ask them to do that. Bloggers will lose their influence and people will not believe what they say because they are sponsored. The best sponsorships are the ones that are authentic. Ask them to promote your brand in a creative way but only if they believe in  and like your brands values.

Before you decide with who you want to work with check out their Klout score. (If you don’t know what Klout Score means you can find it here) Go to their Instagram comments, check their Twitter profile, Facebook Fan Page and see if their comments and likes are real. A lot of bloggers claim that they are influencers but they just buy fake followers and likes. You don’t need fake likes, you need real people liking you that will eventually bring your company revenue.


If you can’t find any instagrammers you can use a middle man platform that will help you find Instagramers and it’s more cost effective.The platform doesn’t have UK influencers yet. So this platform is good only if your target audience is international or US.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 12.05.32

5. Engage with others 

Engage with your clients, comment on their pictures, repost their pictures, feature your clients and @mention their username. You can engage with potential clients as well. If you use Instagram search you can find potential clients that can be a good fit for your company.

6. Follow real time people back 

If you are following a corporate account on Instagram and they don’t follow you back what is your impression of that brand? Doesn’t it look like they want to speak and not listen to you? Listening is such an important skill and yet so many brands miss this point out. I don’t mean follow everybody back but follow relevant people, real people that you believe can be a potential fit for your business. End of the day you want them to buy from you don’t you? How do you want them to buy from you if you don’t even follow them back?

Follow Back

7. Inspire people

Like I said in my previous video blog, #InspireToSell you have to inspire people in order to sell your product or service. Create quotes share minimal pictures on your Instagram. It doesn’t have to be crowded with pictures that you like but pictures that inspire and sell. I found an article from BuzzFeed that found 18 accounts that will inspire us to live a better life. Create pictures that people will love and be inspired by them. Design different inspiring quotes based on your industry.


8. Use tools to analyze everything 

We all want to know what’s working and what’s not working on our social media channels. There are a lot of tools that we can use for different platforms. For social media in general it’s socialbakers for Facebook posts it’s Edgerank for Instagram it’s Iconsquare. This tool will give you valuable insight on the following:

  • Most liked and commented on photos
  • Which filters perform the best
  • Optimal posting frequency
  • Best days and times to post your photos
  • Stats about your followers and who you’re following

9. Run a Instagram campaign 

You can run an Instagram campaign using other channels, like Facebook ads or Twitter advertising. You can promote a tweet that has your Instagram picture or you can promote the reason why people should follow you on Instagram.

Twitter Promoted Tweet

Twitter Promoted Tweet

You can create a landing page and have all your and your fans pictures on the that landing page with a reason why people should follow you on that channel. Have a big Instagram follow intergraded into your landing page as well.


I hope you enjoyed my article and will implement all my tips so you can increase your engagement and fans on Instagram. If you need help please do not hesitate to give me a call or email me on an at iqd dot com. I will be more than happy to see how I can help you.

In the meantime you can follow me on Instagram for inspiration and backstage to my personal #LondonLife, if you want daily business and marketing tips follow me on Twitter (@alexnovicov) and if you don’t want to miss my future videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

One last thing… Tips from the PRO’s.

“Don’t worry about your follower count or how many likes you get. Shoot what you want, share what you want, and let your feed represent you and not someone you’re trying to be. I love shooting portraits of my friends, and when I look back through my feed it’s the people I see that give me the best memories.” @laurenlemon, 230K followers

There is the temptation to take the photos that you know other people will ‘like’. I decided to take the photos I want to take, regardless of how many likes I get. I seem to get more comments and feedback when I do that anyway.” – @cschoonover, 32K followers

“Be patient. The gratification is not instant. You have to slow down and take your time. In doing so, you may find there is a lot more to offer in a composition than what originally caught your eye.” @rubenhughes, 46K followers

“It’s easy to follow trends and hack what ‘works’ but we have enough of those accounts. Do something different. (And quit jumping.)” – @reallykindofamazing, 58k followers

“Experiment when shooting. Look for different angles. Get down low to the ground, climb on top of something or hold your camera over your head. If you take a shot, find another angle to shoot the same scene. The more you shoot, the more you will learn what you like and develop your own style.”@mrsgrubby, 132K followers

“Follow people whose feeds you would like to emulate. The more good photos you see in your feed, the quicker you can develop an eye for it. Also, don’t be discouraged or overexcited about likes. Certain types of photos get more likes than others, regardless of the quality. Focus on taking photos that you like, learn from the best, and don’t be afraid to try something new!” – @coryacrawford, 49K followers


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