Instagram Do's and Don'ts for Small Businesses

Social Media Marketing

Instagram Dos and Donts for Small Businesses

While Facebook appears to be the King of social media these days – with over 1 billion users – statistics show that the everyday internet user does in fact have an average of 5.54 social media accounts (according to Global Web Index). What this tells us, is that there is no ‘one platform’ best suited to getting your message out there.

With over 500 million monthly users, Instagram is a platform that is growing all the time; increasingly used by businesses of all different sizes. And while most of us know the basics of hashtags, what are some other tips that small businesses can use? 

Why you should consider Instagram for Business

  1. Firstly, it’s important to understand how “Insta” differs from other platforms. For example, as opposed to Facebook or blogs – where you might post longer chunks of content – Instagram works best with just a few snappy words and an eye catching image.

    Every day over 80 million photos are uploaded, so it’s important to keep in mind that people are more likely to focus on the image rather than the words beneath it. Make sure your image grabs attention straight away! If you need to include written content, consider uploading some text onto an eye catching backdrop (for example, if advertising a sale).
  2. By using popular and relevant #hashtags, you can instantly connect your content/brand/product with users from all over the world. So whether your brand is all about delicious breakfasts, vintage outfits or the newest technology, it’s a given that someone will be searching for it. Research the tags most relevant to your business.
  3. Remember – your Instagram doesn’t have to be strictly focused on your product 24/7 – have some fun! Whether that means giving your audience a sneak peek into a new product, engaging them with some behind the scenes photos of your staff out at lunch, or sharing your favourite ‘Friday vibes’ playlist – remember this: people like to know about the person behind a brand.
  4. Likewise, photos tagged with a location tend to receive 79% higher engagement than others, so be sure to tag the places you and your co-workers visit (as well as your business). This not only increases awareness of your brand, but also helps customers to get a feel for your culture/interests as they see the places you regularly check in (such as restaurants or businesses).

    Also be sure to encourage your followers and customers to tag your store/location when posting photos online. You may consider offering them an incentive for tagging your business or location (such as a voucher or discount). Contests are another great way to engage your following.

Instagram Do's and Don'ts


  • Include annual celebrations and community events (such as company anniversaries or any fundraisers your company partakes in) on your page.
  • Mix things up, with behind-the-scenes pictures, sneak peeks and sale announcements.
  • Know your business, and your online ‘voice/personality’
  • Only use hashtags that are relevant. For example, if your business is all about providing customers with financial services, don’t tag your pictures with ‘clean eating’ and ‘foodie’ just for ‘spam likes’.
  • Brainstorm a catchphrase that is unique to your business, and use it as your company hashtag. For example, local Brisbane business Nodo Donuts use the tag ‘BakedNotFried’. It’s quick and easy to remember, and sums up their ‘no dough gluten free’ range.

Instagram Dos and Donts for Small Businesses


  • Be spammy. Sure, you could add 50 hashtags of every trending/popular word you can think of in order to get more likes, but it just makes your business look unprofessional. Try some of these popular tags instead:

#entrepreneur (9,900,395 posts)
#marketing (6,080,462 posts)
#smallbiz (637,802 posts)
#smallbusiness (3,532,851 posts)
#sales (3,092,277 posts)
#tech (2,090,819 posts)

At the end of the day, remember this: you want your Instagram and social media accounts to be engaging! 

For examples of some of my favourite local small business Instagram pages, see below. 

Nodo Donuts – @nododonuts

Based in Brisbane and run by the lovely Kate Williams, it’s not hard to see how her gluten free ‘baked not fried’ donuts became a big success. Since launching their Instagram account in 2015, Nodo donuts have amassed almost 20K followers and have opened two Brisbane stores

Instagram Dos and Donts for Small Businesses

Orange Sky Laundry – @oslaundryau

With touching photographs and videos, Orange Sky Laundry are a great example of how personalised content can convey important messages to thousands. As well as media coverage and behind the scenes pictures, the mobile laundry service for the homeless also share stories of the folks they help along the way; giving their supporters the chance to see how their donations directly improve the lives of others.

Instagram Dos and Donts for Small Businesses

Jasmine Rawlinson

Digital Content Writer at SponsoredLinX

Hi I'm Jasmine. As a content writer for SponsoredLinX, I'm constantly on the hunt for new marketing trends and fresh news.

Comments (1)
Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

Thanks for sharing this information. I think the examples businesses you included help drive home the point of the Instagram platform.