Top 9 Effective Instagram Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

Social media platforms have great potential for small businesses who want to reach their potential customers, market products, and boost sales without running expensive marketing campaigns. In fact, research shows that 91% of small businesses invest in social media marketing, and 94% of these companies rely on non-paid content in their strategies.

If your small business doesn't have the time and budget to maintain an active, engaging presence on several social media platforms, you’re better off choosing just a few social channels to focus on. And there’s a strong case for Instagram to make the cut. 

With over 2.35 billion monthly active users, nearly 90% of the users follow at least one business account on the platform and spend around 30 minutes a day in-app. So, Instagram is one of the best digital marketing tools for small businesses. 

But simply setting up an Instagram account and posting content isn’t enough to stand out in such a crowded marketplace, where 25 million businesses are vying for audience attention. You need a proper plan on how to reach, impress, convince, and convert your audience into buyers.

It goes without saying that integrating videos into your Instagram marketing strategy is vital because social media users prefer video content over any other type of media. In fact, Instagram itself has prioritized its Reels feature by using its algorithm to boost the popularity of vertical videos.

Despite starting as a photo-sharing platform, video quickly became Instagram's most popular content format, with 91% of its users watching videos weekly and 86% saying they want to see more videos from brands. 

Also, It's no secret that social media influences purchase decisions. Videos don’t just entertain—50% of users have taken action after seeing a product on Stories. Plus, followers can buy directly from videos. Business accounts that have set up an Instagram Shop can tag up to 20 products on video feed posts. You can also tag products on Instagram Stories by clicking on the sticker icon and selecting the product link sticker.

Instagram gives you different options on what type of video content to create, which means you can forge a mix that suits you best. No matter what types of video posts you want to focus on, here are nine Instagram marketing tips for small businesses.

  1. Build an Instagram Video Content Plan

Planning video content should always be included as part of a larger marketing goal. Before deciding on the exact content for any video asset you create and distribute, you must:

  • Finalize your video’s objectives. Your video should play a role in achieving your marketing goals. For example, a video could help you with brand awareness, engagement, product promotions, etc. Finalizing your video’s objectives will help you measure its success. 
  • Decide on your target audience. After finalizing your objectives, deciding on your target audience is the next crucial step. Creating a video without a specific audience in mind will likely result in wasted efforts and minimal conversions. 
  • Nail down your messaging/story. What action do you want your viewers to take after watching your video? The answer to this question can help you craft your message. 
  • Draw a timeline. Creating video content can take a lot of time and effort. Draft a timeline to help you manage expectations and ensure you’re on track. 

Pro tip: Use Instagram scheduling tools to help you find the optimum time for posting and plot your content in advance. 

2. Cooperate with Video Content Creators

Aside from not having to produce the video yourself, which requires a lot of work, partnering with video content creators can help you earn the trust of your audience. Data by Influencer Marketing Hub shows that 61% of consumers trust influencer-made content, while only 38% trust content posted by brands. 

As a small business, partnering with video content creators can help you scale up on volume and put your brand in front of your ideal audience. Singapore-based fashion brand, Beyond the Vines, partners with content creators and influencers to post about its newly-launched products. Having multiple partnerships with content creators helped the brand grow its presence across Southeast Asia. 


And if you want to vet Instagram creators and manage several influencer partnerships from one dashboard, you can rely on the Popular Pays platform like Duck Camp did. The company wanted to find editors who could turn their existing long-form video assets into mobile-friendly video ads in a short period of five days.

With the help of Popular Pays, Duck Camp’s activity drove a 0.8% increase in CTR, a 50% reduction in cost per click, and an 80% reduction in cost per landing page view compared to the brand’s existing creative running at the same time.

3. Focus on Providing Value with Videos

While beautiful photos and eye-catching content could’ve gotten you the likes in the past, people are now more discerning about the content they consume—it has to provide value, whether for entertainment or educational purposes. 

Cookware brand Great Jones uses videos to teach people about its products and new recipes.


How-to videos and Q&As are great ways to provide value to your audience. Your content shouldn’t always focus heavily on trying to sell your products and services. Instead, think of ways your videos can help your audience. 

Wouldn't it be great if you could implement small business lead generation tactics by hooking in audiences with valuable videos? For example, you can divide your valuable videos into two parts and offer viewers to sign up for your email list to get access to the next part. Strategies like this help you reach a wider audience who otherwise may not know about your brand. 

4. Optimize Videos for Discoverability

Optimizing your videos for discoverability means understanding the Instagram algorithm and helping your content appear in Explore and search. To do this, it’s essential to know what keywords you want to rank for and use them on your captions and hashtags. Using descriptive captions with relevant keywords can seriously improve your discoverability. 

Another way to get more eyes on your content is by adding a location tag to your videos. This can help people nearby find your business and ultimately boost your sales on Instagram.


Sticker and stationery subscription business Pipsticks Sticker Club always includes product-related hashtags on its video posts. 

Optimizing your video begins with posting high-quality content with the correct dimensions—before thinking about captions and hashtags. 

5. Experiment with Behind-the-Scenes Videos

Behind-the-scenes (BTS) videos humanize your brand and help customers build a connection with you. BTS content can also give your audience a deeper understanding of your process and what sets you apart from competitors.


French butter brand Le Buerre Bordier shares BTS clips of the butter production process. The simple video shows what makes the brand unique while explaining the hard work that goes behind preparing the world-famous butter.

With a variety of Instagram tools, it’s easy to create a strong social media calendar to fit your BTS ideas naturally and plan these posts in advance.

6. Lay a Bet on Vertical Videos

The majority of your audience is viewing your content through their mobile phones. 

Vertical videos work better on mobile because they fit the entire screen, making it a more immersive experience. Always create your video with the mobile screen in mind (9:16 aspect ratio). In general, 90% of vertical videos perform better than horizontal videos. 

Plus, Instagram Stories is the only place you can add links aside from your bio, making it a great way to get more website traffic and promote specific landing pages. And one of its most popular features is the interactive stickers that allow your audience to answer polls, take multiple-choice questions, and more. Many brands use interactive elements on their Instagram stories ads to great effect. 

New York-based business The Bronx Native uses vertical videos on its Instagram to showcase events and product features.


And if you want to take the next step and drive engagement with vertical videos, it's a good idea to make good use of Animaker's vertical video maker. Choose from ready-to-use templates and customize them to your needs with a few clicks.

7. Partner with Instagram Influencers

Like video content creators, influencers have gained a voice and an engaged following on Instagram. Partnering with an influencer who is considered an expert in your niche can do wonders for your follower count. 

To announce its first New York location, Singapore coffee company Kopifellas partnered with NYC-based food micro-influencer Jerica Feasts, who made an engaging Reel video and wrote a descriptive caption. 


For small businesses, it can be hard to find the right influencer for your video marketing campaign unless you track social mentions and turn to social media users who have an interest in your company. People who have already spread the word about your company are more likely to respond positively to influencer outreach initiatives.

8. Invest in Instagram Video Ads

As a small brand, your followers can be limited. Investing in social media ads is the most effective way to get your name out there. With ads, your content can reach your target audience based on specified demographics and interests. 

When it comes to Instagram ads, there are different types of video ads you can create: in-feed video ads, Reels ads, and video Instagram Story ads. This gives you endless ways to get creative and tell your story.

Clothing brand Bearbottom ran interactive Instagram Video ads for Stories and Reels to boost awareness and sales.


The company wanted to see if including music could improve campaign results. The campaign using licensed music drove a 14% lower cost per purchase, a 19% increase in conversion rate, and a 19% increase in return on ad spend, compared to usual video ad creative without music. This demonstrates the value of adding music to videos, to make your content more entertaining and boost campaign results.

9. Use Social Proof in Instagram Videos

Social proof and customer reviews can significantly influence how someone views a company. A study by BrightLocal found that 79% of customers read online reviews regularly when researching local businesses. It only makes sense to integrate social proof into your Instagram videos. 

Videos that feature real customers work because they feel more genuine and authentic—buyers need to know that real people recommend your business. 


Beauty brand Mermade Hair features real customers in its Instagram videos. This makes the brand appear more relatable and human. While using celebrities to promote your products has advantages, customers want to see people who look like them. 

Not only does it help to provide viewers with social proof, but it also helps to generate leads, as loyal customers are more likely to convert. And if you want to encourage user-generated content, create branded hashtags to collect more social proof. 


Video is easily the most engaging type of content you can create, no matter the social media platform you choose. In a world where attention span is getting shorter and shorter, videos are the best way to capture your audience’s attention and keep them on your page longer. 

If you still haven’t utilized video for marketing your small business on Instagram, use these tips and examples to guide you. 

If you are wondering the prerequisites to creating and posting your own Instagram video, check out this Instagram video length guide.

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