7 Ways to Use Instagram for your Small Business Without Spending Money

While running a small business, you need to make every dollar stretch as far as you can – even your marketing budget. Many small business owners typically focus on things seen as more important than social media. However, some platforms have incredible reach that you don’t want to neglect. Instagram has over one billion active monthly users, and 85 percent of top brands use the platform. If you’re looking to use Instagram to market your small business without dipping into your budget, I’ve created a list of ideas to help boost your followers and grow your business.

Easy, No-Cost Instagram Marketing Tips

If you’ve already created an Instagram account for your business, it’s time to start leveraging the platform to attract users and eventually turn them into leads. Here are 7 ways to leverage Instagram for free to market your small business.

Post Content Daily

One of the most important rules for Instagram marketing is to post a photo or video every day. Keeping your profile fresh with new content each day is a sure way to get your business in front of the eyes of Instagram users. According to IMPACT, brands that post between two and ten times a day see the best results. The amount of content you post each day depends on your business and audience.

User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) is content created by people, rather than brands. This can be any content, including text, videos, images, reviews, etc. On Instagram, UGC is usually photos or videos posted by users or sent to brands. There are three reasons why brands should use UGC: create trust, promote authenticity, and motivate purchasing decisions. Consumers are 2.4 times more likely to see UGC as authentic compared to brand-created content. When users see UGC, they automatically view a brand as more credible because people they know use and like the product or service. Now they know other people are using the product or service and are satisfied with their purchase.


Hashtags certainly aren’t a new strategy, but they are still important. Including hashtags in the caption of your post or in a comment will increase the visibility of your brand. While Instagram limits the number of hashtags to 30, it’s recommended to only use three to 10 per post. Make sure all the hashtags you use are relevant to the content and context of your post. Don’t forget to include your company hashtag as well.

Stories & IGTV

Instagram stories appear in slideshow format and are only visible to followers for 24 hours, but you can save them to profile “highlights” for followers to view at any time. There are several benefits to small businesses using Instagram stories, including:

  • Stories make experimenting with different types of content easy (photos, videos, Boomerangs, and live streams).
  • Stories are found right at the top of the follower feed, making them easy for users to view.
  • Features like face filters, text, and stickers make content fun and exciting.
  • Other users can be tagged, allowing for collaboration and easier influencer marketing.
  • UGC can be shared and reposted within seconds.

The IGTV feature of Instagram allows for long-form video content. IGTV videos can be as short as 60 seconds and as long as 60 minutes. IGTV acts as an extra platform for your video content to be seen, and appears as a 60-second video in your followers’ feed.

Link in Bio

If you’re looking to guide your followers to your website, Instagram doesn’t allow clickable links within the caption of a post. Instead, you can add hyperlinks to the bio section within your profile. While this can be a link to the homepage of your website, it can also be updated frequently to bring users to current promotions, sign-ups, or event pages. You can also set up a platform like Linktree that will allow a user-friendly platform with several links.

Interact with Users

While a bit more tedious, interacting with users and other brands is crucial for growing followers and increasing brand awareness. To do this, frequently like and comment on posts of your followers or brands that you could possibly collaborate with. This interaction shows users there is a real person behind your brand account.

Study Analytics

As you try out these new tips as part of your Instagram marketing strategy, don’t forget to track your data. Without studying the analytics, there’s no way to know how effective these tactics are working for your business. Instagram provides its own insights within the platform, but there are other free analytics tools you can use.

Do you have questions about how to leverage Instagram marketing for your business? Reach out to us today!