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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Millersville chapter.

Recently, posts have been circulating on Instagram about its new algorithm. The algorithm is constantly changing, so it is crucial for small business accounts to know the ins and outs of it. Different engagement actions have various levels of influence on growing exposure and following.

The most important way to engage with a small business account is to save their posts. Sending a direct message (DM) to either the account itself or sharing the post via DM with a friend comes second. Leaving a comment gives businesses motivation and boosts posts if many users are creating conversation underneath it. A like is the least influential way to support a small business since it costs nothing and requires minimal effort. Denise, a home décor blogger, displays this algorithm with a beautiful graphic from her account @farmhousebargainhunter. Click here to view the graphic.

iPhone showing instagram on a table with a plant next to it
Photo by Alex Bracken from Unsplash
You will want to implement other types of content besides the basic Instagram post. The goal is to utilize all aspects of the app and post content consistently to attract followers. Fran Saraco from the Shopify Blog explains how to utilize new features of Instagram in her post. Instagram Reels are the newest feature within the app, resembling the same format as videos on TikTok. Saraco suggests sharing your Reels to your feed first and add hashtags to increase visibility of all users. By using popular hashtags and background songs that relate to your business, your Reels can become visible on many users’ accounts when scrolling through them.

You can create content through two other popular features, which are Instagram TV (IGTV) videos and Instagram Stories. Content creators can make longer video content through IGTV videos. Posting a preview to your feed will increase views and exposure to followers. Feature some of your products and talk about them or host a Q&A session about your small business. The possibilities are endless, and creativity should be the driving force behind these.

To take advantage of Instagram Stories, use location hashtags where your business is located. If you are located near large cities, be sure to tag them because tourists may look up these particular locations.

It is essential to provide a small description of your small business in your Instagram bio. You should also provide your contact information, including the link to your website to purchase products and a professional e-mail address. If other accounts want to collaborate with you, they will be able to easily get in contact with you this way. Try to make your feed aesthetic through the use of the same filter, a color scheme, or a pattern of what types of photos you post. First impressions of your page are everything to a new potential follower.

Another excellent way to collaborate with other small businesses and increase following is through giveaways. If you partner with another account, both of you can include a few products to give away to followers. This shows your loyalty to your supporters while spreading reach as well. Create giveaway rules that follow the Instagram algorithm, including tagging a friend in the comment section and sharing the post on Instagram stories. Both businesses will benefit from these types of collaborations since followers from one account can begin to follow the other and vice versa.

Bobbi Brown make-up on a marble table
Element5 Digital/Pexels
The most important piece of advice to remember when growing your small business is to always be authentic. You will be the voice and representation of your brand. Craft it the way you want but remember to listen to your followers and create content for them. Best of luck to you in growing your business!



Rachel Ritchey

Millersville '22

Rachel Ritchey is a senior public relations major at Millersville University. Rachel is the President of the Millersville University Her Campus Chapter. She is also the PR Chair of the All Campus Musical Organization and a member of Navigators. She is passionate about type 1 diabetes awareness, women empowerment, social media management, music, mental health, and self-care. ♡
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