Categories Growth Hacks, Instagram

Top 10 Instagram Growth Techniques for Small Businesses

Instagram serves as a potent tool for small business expansion.

By January 2022, the platform boasted an impressive 1.5 billion monthly active users, ranking it as the fourth most dominant social media platform globally.

Its expansive network ensures opportunities to engage with potential customers from all corners of the globe, around the clock.

One might assume that capitalizing on this vast audience requires a hefty investment.

However, the reality is that even without a substantial budget or a massive follower count, Instagram can be effectively integrated into a marketing strategy.

For enhancing visibility on Instagram, consider these top 10 growth tactics tailored for small businesses.

Top 10 Instagram Growth Strategies

Want to navigate the dynamic world of Instagram marketing? Here are 10 pivotal strategies to amplify your brand’s presence and foster exponential growth.

1. Define Your Core Audience

Every business, regardless of its niche, can thrive on Instagram.

While pinpointing your core audience might seem fundamental, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of your ideal customer before initiating any content strategy.

Without this clarity, marketing endeavors can become unfocused and yield minimal results. Avoid the pitfall of haphazardly casting a wide net, hoping for a hit.

Whether you’re a niche enterprise specializing in like Yuplay or slipper slides, if your target demographic frequents Instagram, there’s room for significant growth.

market segmentation


However, it’s vital for small business owners to select the social media platform that aligns most closely with their audience’s preferences before fully committing their marketing resources.

For example, Pinterest might be the go-to for businesses like furniture retailers, while Twitter could be more apt for B2B enterprises.

Ultimately, every enterprise should identify its Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), which outlines the attributes of the perfect customer, be it age, gender, or other demographics.

A nuanced understanding of your core audience invariably leads to enhanced outcomes.

2. Analyze Competitor Strategies

Instead of starting from scratch, why not leverage insights from existing successful strategies or identify areas of improvement? This is where competitor analysis becomes invaluable. As the saying goes, “Keep your friends close and your competitors closer.”

Begin by dissecting your competitors’ Instagram strategies. Delve into their profiles, observe their engagement patterns, and understand their brand positioning.

Address the following:

  • What’s their follower count?
  • What kind of content dominates their feed?
  • How frequently do they post?
  • Which days and times are they most active?
  • Which hashtags are in their regular rotation?
  • Who comprises their follower base?

After this comprehensive review, integrate these insights with the subsequent tactics discussed here.

For instance, when determining your content type, assess what resonates most with your competitors’ audience. Is it standard posts, Reels, or perhaps even snapshots from other platforms like Twitter?

Harness this valuable data to craft a content strategy tailored to your audience, ensuring it mirrors your brand’s voice and ethos.

3. Harness the Potential of Hashtags 

One pivotal strategy to amplify your Instagram presence is the strategic use of hashtags, a cornerstone of any successful Instagram Growth Strategy. These act as gateways, making your content discoverable and fostering engagement, while also drawing in new followers.

Statistics reveal that Instagram posts incorporating over eleven hashtags witness the most engagement, especially for accounts with fewer than 1,000 followers. This insight is particularly beneficial for budding businesses still in the nascent stages of building their follower base.

hashtags engagement

To optimize hashtag performance, employ A/B testing. Given the recommendation of using eleven or more hashtags per post, consider utilizing data analytics tools to gauge the efficacy of each hashtag. It’s essential to discern which hashtags are driving results and which aren’t pulling their weight.

Today, capitalizing on hashtags is paramount for swift and efficient growth on your Instagram business account. 

4. Optimize Your Posting Schedule

Over the years, numerous studies have been undertaken to pinpoint the optimal times for posting on Instagram. While results vary, certain patterns emerge as consistently favorable.

posting on Instagram

The critical times for posting on Instagram include:

  • Morning Moments: IDC research indicates that a whopping 80% of smartphone users glance at their devices within the first 15 minutes of waking up.
  • Lunchtime Lulls: The midday break sees a surge in activity as working professionals take a moment to browse their phones during lunch.
  • Evening Unwind: Post-work relaxation often involves users lounging and scrolling through their feeds to decompress from the day’s events.

Conversely, the daytime hours, when most are engrossed in work or school, tend to be quieter.

To maximize visibility and engagement, align your posts with these peak interaction periods, ensuring your content is front and center for your target audience.

5. Explore the Potential of Paid Ads

Venturing into paid advertisements can significantly amplify your brand’s visibility to new demographics. These ads allow for precise audience targeting, budget customization, and tangible result tracking.

While some small businesses hesitate to invest in paid promotions, fearing high costs or complexity, Instagram’s advertising platform dispels such concerns. Its user-friendly interface and historically high engagement rates set it apart from other social platforms.

Moreover, with the advent of Instagram Reels, the platform is steadily carving a niche in the realm of short video content, a domain previously dominated by TikTok.

6. Forge Partnerships with Micro-Influencers

Tapping into influencer marketing can be a transformative strategy for brand amplification on Instagram. For the uninitiated, influencers are individuals boasting significant social media traction and are perceived as credible voices within their domain.

Micro-influencers, despite having a smaller follower count, stand out due to their highly engaged audience. These individuals have carved a niche for themselves by consistently offering authenticity and value to their followers. While their follower numbers might be modest compared to more prominent influencers, the engagement they command is often more profound and impactful.


To identify suitable micro-influencers, employ Instagram’s search functionality with niche-specific hashtags or explore platforms beyond Instagram. Given the inundation of direct messages these influencers often receive, reaching out via email might yield a more favorable response rate.

Engaging with micro-influencers can be a boon for your brand, given their pre-established trust with their audience. Their endorsement can lend credibility to your offerings. Collaborating with multiple micro-influencers can diversify your outreach, making your campaigns more resonant. After pinpointing potential influencer partners and understanding their audience dynamics, initiate a dialogue.

Beyond content-sharing proposals, explore diverse collaborative avenues, such as product trials or promotional offers, to mutually benefit both parties.

7. Foster Genuine Interactions with Your Followers

Ever stumbled upon the witty exchanges from Wendy’s social media crew? If not, it’s a delightful detour.

However, the underlying message is clear: active and authentic engagement with your audience is instrumental to Instagram success, as it is on any social platform. To cultivate meaningful interactions, consider these strategies:

  • Acknowledge Comments: When a follower invests time to comment on your content, reciprocate with gratitude. A simple acknowledgment or a query about how you can assist further underscores that you value their input and are attuned to their feedback.
  • Engage with Relevant Hashtags: Hashtags serve as beacons, guiding users to thematic content. By engaging with posts under similar hashtags, you not only discover content but also connect with individuals who share your interests.
  • Embrace Emojis: Emojis infuse a touch of emotion and personality into captions and comments. While they can enhance communication, it’s pivotal to ensure their relevance to the post’s context, content, and audience. Experiment with varied combinations to strike the right chord.

8. Boost Engagement with Contests and Giveaways

Leveraging contests or giveaways is a strategic move to amplify your audience reach.

Imagine you’re in the business of retailing women’s apparel and accessories via Shopify. You could initiate a contest inviting participants to showcase their favorite ensemble from the previous season, with the winner bagging a gift card for their next shopping spree.

Such giveaways serve as potent magnets to attract potential customers. They incentivize individuals to interact with your brand, be it through shares, likes, or comments, potentially expanding your visibility to newer audience segments.

Take, for instance, Greenlight, a company offering debit cards for kids. They rolled out a sweepstakes campaign, offering participants a chance to win movie tickets for “The Bad Guys” film. The allure of this giveaway lies in its simplicity: to enter, one merely needs to follow their profile, engage with the post, and tag a friend who’d reciprocate similarly.


For burgeoning businesses, extravagant giveaways aren’t a mandate. Even a modest prize, like movie tickets in Greenlight’s case, can resonate with and excite the target demographic.

9. Leverage User-Generated Content

Maintaining a consistent posting frequency is pivotal for Instagram growth, yet it can be quite demanding. A smart workaround is content curation, allowing you to sustain your posting rhythm without the constant pressure of crafting original content. This can be achieved through captivating vector graphics or, more effectively, user-generated content (UGC).

UGC is a formidable tool for audience expansion. Implement this by introducing a unique hashtag associated with your brand, and then motivating users to share images of their interactions with your products or services. Encourage your clientele and enthusiasts to share snapshots of their moments with your offerings. This not only fosters a deeper connection but also amplifies their propensity to disseminate the content.

Consider LaCroix’s masterful UGC strategy. Their patrons eagerly share images with their favored sparkling water, and the elation is palpable when their photo graces LaCroix’s official Instagram feed. Such enthusiasm is contagious.


Emulating LaCroix’s methodology, you’ll soon witness your community capturing moments with your offerings, tagging you, and even their peers. This organic promotion can potentially usher in hundreds of fresh followers weekly. Indeed, a mutually beneficial scenario.

10. Showcase Social Proof

The concept of social proof is a cornerstone in digital marketing and social platforms. It operates on the principle that individuals are more inclined to engage in an activity if they observe others participating in it.

For emerging businesses, social proof, especially through the lens of social selling, is invaluable.

In the initial phases, it’s imperative to amplify your brand’s visibility and cultivate a loyal community. Social proof serves as a beacon, signaling to potential customers that they’re joining a larger collective that values your offerings, thus enhancing their likelihood to engage or make a purchase.

So, how does one gather this coveted social proof?

For nascent or smaller businesses on Instagram, a strategic approach is to incentivize customers with discounts or complimentary items in return for a testimonial or a promotional post.

Once you’ve amassed this social validation, it’s time to flaunt it.

Consider the strategy employed by Tailor Brands. Their Instagram boasts a dedicated highlight section titled “Customers,” which is a repository of accolades from satisfied clients who’ve benefited from their bespoke logo and webpage designs.

Tailor Brands

Even if your collection of testimonials is modest, ensure they’re impactful. Ultimately, social proof acts as a persuasive tool, nudging potential customers toward your brand.

Wrapping up

Navigating the vast landscape of Instagram can seem daunting, especially when aiming for business growth. However, the journey to success isn’t shrouded in mystery. It’s a blend of dedication, innovation, and persistence.

The strategies outlined above serve as a roadmap, guiding you through the intricacies of the platform. By integrating these tactics, you’re not just chasing fleeting trends but building a sustainable and authentic presence.

Remember, every thriving brand on Instagram started with a single post, a single follower. With consistent effort and a clear vision, your small business can not only find its footing but also flourish and resonate with a global audience. Embrace the journey, and soon, the digital tapestry of Instagram will be a testament to your brand’s story.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is identifying the target audience crucial for Instagram's success?

Identifying the target audience ensures that content resonates with the right individuals. Without a clear understanding of the ideal customer, efforts may be misdirected. Tailored content increases engagement, fosters trust, and ensures resources are effectively utilized for maximum impact.

How can micro-influencers benefit small businesses on Instagram?

Micro-influencers have a niche, engaged following. Collaborating with them offers businesses access to a dedicated audience that trusts the influencer's recommendations. Their genuine interactions and smaller follower count often result in higher engagement rates, making them valuable partners for brand promotions.

What role do hashtags play in Instagram growth tactics?

Hashtags categorize content, making it discoverable to a broader audience. Using relevant hashtags increases the chances of reaching potential followers interested in a specific topic. They also facilitate community building around specific themes or brand campaigns, enhancing visibility and engagement.

Author: Sankalp Uprit

Sankalp Uprit is a digital marketer at SocialPilot who specializes in content strategies. Beyond work, he loves gaming, anime, and reading business books. He's also a nature enthusiast. In the digital realm and the beauty of nature, he finds his true passions, combining them seamlessly in his journey.