A Small Business’ Guide to Growing on Instagram

Instagram is the chosen social media app for over 112.5 million people in the United States alone. We all know how powerful a tool Instagram can be for big companies that use it to promote their products and engage with users. That leaves us with this question:

As an entrepreneur, how can YOU grow your Instagram presence in an organic and meaningful way? 

The good news is, Instagram gives even the smallest of businesses an opportunity to grow and engage with the public right along with the “big boys”. We know getting the ball rolling can be intimidating though, so we’re sneaking you our top tips for growing your presence on Instagram and finding new followers to engage with!

1. Post consistently (ideally at least once a day)

It’s common sense, but also backed up by countless research: 

The more often you post, the more likes and followers you get

Instagram accounts that post at least once a day get more engagement and gain followers at a faster rate than those accounts that post more infrequently. If you’re only posting less than once a week right now, you can nearly double your follower growth rate by posting 1-6 times per week. You can more than double it AGAIN by bumping up posting to once or more per day!

Long story short, consistent posting on Instagram helps you get into the flow and see great results quickly. Instagram’s timeline is algorithmic, which means that frequent posting is crucial for your posts to appear at the top of your followers’ timelines. These posts can get shared and generate positive engagement, leading to your posts ranking higher and higher in your followers’ feeds! 

2. Lean into videos, Instagram Live, and Instagram Stories

Instagram has grown far beyond just photo sharing! Videos, live videos, and Instagram Stories are key tools for growing your Instagram presence, but often underutilized. 

Hubspot research recently showed that up to 54% of users want to see more videos from the brands they support. Videos also happen to get up to 21% more interactions than images--that kind of boost is exactly what you need when you’re looking to grow your account!


Instagram stories are another great way to stay at the forefront of your followers’ minds (and encourage them to share your content!). 57% of brands indicate that Instagram Stories have either been “Somewhat effective” or “Very effective” for reaching their followers and improving their social media engagement. 

The best thing about Stories is they don’t need high production value to get the job done, and they’re in perfect bite-sized packages of 15 seconds. This means you can share anything that’s on brand for your business: your favorite new pair of fall boots, the cute kitty you saw on your windy walk, or even a video from a happy customer wearing your items!

Finally, don’t miss out on going LIVE on Instagram to grow your presence. Not only does it help humanize your brand by giving your followers a behind the scenes look at you and your business in real time, but live videos are automatically bumped right to the front of your followers’ Instagram stories. What a great way to refresh their memories and boost engagement with the click of a button! 

Here’s an idea: go LIVE when unboxing your latest Boutique by the Box shipment! Your followers will love getting a sneak peek at what’s coming to your online store soon. 

3. Don’t Skimp on the Hashtags - but Do Your Research!

More than any other social media platform, hashtags are an absolute necessity on Instagram if you’re looking to grow your presence and followers. Using the right hashtags can send your posts to the far reaches of the globe, finding new potential customers in a specific and targeted way. 

Since users can even choose to follow a hashtag, you’re already set up for success! You just need to find the right tags that will reach the most people without getting lost in the crowd. 

Instagram maxes you out at 30 hashtags per post, although sources say that eleven hashtags seem to be the optimal number for boosting Instagram engagement. It seems that users don’t get “hashtag fatigue”, so if you’re looking to get as many eyes on your post as possible try using between eleven and thirty hashtags!

So how do you know which hashtags are right for you and your business? You can start by visiting a site like all-hashtags.com and typing in a word related to your post. You’ll get a generated list of thirty related hashtags! 

Quick tip: When you plug a hashtag into Instagram, look for hashtags that have between 50,000 - 400,000 posts. This will be the sweet spot where you won’t get lost in the noise, but will still be reaching a significant number of potential followers!

A great trick to boosting your presence is to share posts related to hashtags that are already trending. For example, if it’s National Cat Day you might find a bunch of new followers by sharing a picture of your kitty sleeping on your favorite sweater with the trending hashtag. This gives new followers a chance to find your awesome content (while making them smile at the same time!)

4. Don’t Ignore Your Analytics

Your instagram analytics may seem mysterious and scary, but they’re an incredibly useful tool that hold the key to growing your presence.

Tap your profile photo on the Instagram homepage, then tap the menu (three horizontal lines). You’ll see a bar graph icon that says “Insights”. This is where you’ll be able to take a deep dive into your content! 

One key area to look at is your posts under  “Content You Shared”. You’ll see your posts sorted by most impressions, and you can sort them yourself to get even more specific! For example, you can view your top videos from the past thirty days sorted by most likes. 

Take careful note of any trends you notice. What types of images and videos seem to get the most engagement? Sharing more of these kinds of posts is a good start to growing your Instagram presence and earning new followers!

You can learn even more by tapping on a post and selecting “View Insights” in blue. This will show you even more details about what effect your post had on your followers. It might say that 12 people visited your profile after viewing this post, or let you know that it reached 650 pairs of eyes! All great information for choosing content that works best for your business. 

5. Engage With Your Followers

There are a lot of ways to keep your followers coming back to your profile and boosting where you show up in their feeds. These are all great ways to help you grow your Instagram presence!

First of all is the easiest one: don’t ignore the engagement you’re already getting! Be sure to like and respond to the comments on your posts. This will continue the conversation, and make your followers feel like they’re really getting to know you rather than just following a faceless brand. 

Another great way to boost engagement and grow your Instagram presence is including a “Call to Action” in your post. This is a key tool to implement in your captions! Ask a question for your followers to answer in the comments, ask them to like the photo if they “love finding great deals on cute sweaters”, or share a quick tip and ask them to tag a friend that would find it helpful. Not only does this drive up the engagement on your posts, but it could introduce you to new followers!

One of the best ways to engage with your followers, find new ones, and really boost your presence is to host a contest. Standard contest rules include asking people to like the post, make sure they are following your account, and tag 3 like-minded friends that they’d like to know about the contest. This is a great way to reach new Instagram users who might never have seen your posts before!

Ready to Get Started?

Growing your Instagram presence isn’t something that happens overnight. It will take time and energy, like all things worth growing! But once you get going, you’ll notice that your Instagram account and business will start to grow organically and exponentially, and you’ll end up with a base of loyal followers who will keep boosting you up as you bloom. No money can buy those kinds of engaged and dedicated customers!