Did you know that there are 4.2 billion active users on social media? That’s around twice as many users as there were just five years ago. The average person spends around 2.5 hours each day on various social media channels.
As a small business owner, you can use Facebook and Instagram to build your business in ways you never could before. You can develop relationships with your customers, make sales, and build brand awareness. Social media is a great platform to interact and connect with your prospective and existing customers. It’s a way to show them that there’s a human behind the social media account.
Each social media platform has its own features that small businesses can use to their advantage. Today, I will talk about how you can use each of them to amp up your online marketing efforts.
How to Use Instagram and Facebook to Your Advantage
1. Use Instagram and Facebook Stories
Instagram and Facebook Stories allow you to string together more than one picture or video into a “story” that will disappear 24 hours later. Stories appear at the top of a user’s Facebook and Instagram feed when they open the app. Stories are great because they let you show what’s relatable and fun about your brand. You can show your followers a “behind the scenes” look at your business and your process. You can show hints about upcoming products or speak directly to your audience if an issue ever arises.
This is a great spot to show the person behind the brand. Stories are more casual than posting a video and allow you to have a conversation with your audience. Additionally, you can posts surveys within a Story. You can use this feature when you’re brainstorming new products. Your customers will feel connected with you as your take their suggestions into consideration while developing a product. While it may take more creativity to develop quality Instagram Stories that seem authentic, they’re a wonderful opportunity that you can utilize within the Instagram app.
2. Go Live Often on Both Platforms
You don’t need a ton of production equipment to go live on Instagram and Facebook. Just make sure you have good lighting and quality background, and you’re good to go. Going live is another avenue for interacting with your audience. You can give them a head’s up when you plan to go live or do it randomly. You can also send a notification to your followers when you do, so they’ll be sure to tune in. You can speak about a single topic during the live video or make it a general Q&A. Make sure you monitor the comments while going live so you can see what people are saying and asking. It’ll make your customers feel great when you acknowledge what they’re saying during a live video.
Another great thing about going live is sharing the video instantly and directly to your Instagram Stories. After your broadcast has ended, click “share.” It can then be replayed on your Stories in its entirety. Your audience will be able to rewind the video, which is great for them if they missed something you said.
3. Make Quality Instagram Reels
Instagram Reels popped up in the wake of the TikTok craze, but they’ve received a positive reception from users, brands, and Instagram influencers. An Instagram reel is a short video, around 15 to 30 seconds long. Within the Instagram app, you can use different editing tools to make the video fun and engaging. It can include filters, captions, stickers, and multiple video clips. Reels also have their own dedicated tab on someone’s Instagram account.
Reels can be shared to your Stories after you upload them and share them to your Feed. Unlike Stories, Reels won’t disappear after 24 hours. They have a dedicated spot on your Instagram profile, and people can interact with them like they would a post.
Some ideas for Reel content include:
- Educational content, such as my “Small Biz Tips”
- Behind the scenes information
- New product showcase
- Upcoming sale announcement
You can also use Instagram’s Green Screen Filter to showcase your graphics in the background while still engaging with your audience.
4. Develop Videos for IGTV
IGTV (Instagram TV) allows companies to create a long-form video series on the app. You can post a video that’s up to 60 minutes long (if you’re verified). If your account isn’t verified, you can post a 10-minute long video, which is longer than a normal video. One great option for an IGTV series is to create tutorial videos. Depending on the product or service you sell, you can make how-to videos that cover what you sell or other topics in your industry. If you’re hosting an event, you can stream it through IGTV. This gives those who weren’t able to attend the event the opportunity to engage with it, which can also hook future event attendees by showing them what they were missing out on.
5. Collaborate With Facebook Groups
Many Facebook users are members of countless Facebook Groups. They’re a great way for businesses to engage with their audience. They allow for multiple conversations between many people that have similar interests. It can take a lot of work to build a Facebook group from the ground up. Look for established and existing Facebook groups that you could partner with for a special drop-in.
Keep in Mind These Best Practices for Instagram and Facebook Content
When creating your social media calendar, remember the acronym CARE:
- Consistent: Post consistent content to keep your audience engaged. You should be posting daily to your Stories, Feed, and Reels. For Lives, IGTV, and Facebook Watch, you can keep the cadence weekly or episodic. If you don’t post enough content, it’s just a raindrop in a deluge whenever you do post. The more captivated your audience is, the more likely they’ll convert.
- Authentic: As we discussed earlier, you want to create an authentic voice for your brand. Post in the first person, share selfies, showcase milestones, and highlight your unfiltered personality. Videos are one of the best mediums for conveying authenticity, and those can be used in Stories, Feed posts, Reels, etc.
- Relevant: Feel free to join in the conversation topics on social media, including weighing in on current events. Re-share articles that you like, leave comments on them, participate in current trends, and make pop-culture references in your posts. Your social media platforms aren’t just for announcing news around your business. They’re for having meaningful conversations as well.
- Engaging: People comment on your Instagram and Facebook posts with the hopes that you’ll see it and respond. When you respond to comments and messages, you’re showing your audience that you’re there. Additionally, commenting on content from other social media accounts leads to follower growth. If your account is verified, your likes and comments will go to the top. This gets your business’s name in front of people
Utilize Facebook and Instagram to Their Full Capacity
What’s great about all the new features in Facebook and Instagram is that they’re free. The big thing is knowing what’s available and how to best use it for your business. Think about the brands you follow on social media. How do they interact with their customers? Do you like what they’re doing, or do you see opportunities for change? Think about that as you develop your marketing strategy for social media.
Is there an Instagram or Facebook feature you use that I didn’t mention? Drop a comment below and let us know!