If someone had approached me a year ago and said, “Listen up, there’s going to be a huge pandemic. People will go crazy for toilet paper, you will learn how to make a sourdough starter and social media will be more secure than the oil industry.” I’d probably have said, “Go home bro, you’re drunk”.

While the economy is on shaky ground, social media use is on the rise. With a 20% spike in Instagram and a 30% increase in TikTok use since isolation, social media has become the keystone of communication and for individuals and business owners. It’s time to consider how you can make social media work for you. Whether you sell fidget spinners or own a coffee shop, I’m here to share all the tricks I’ve learned to help boost your business using Instagram.

Find Inspiration

When you started your business, I bet you had a brand you looked up to. Maybe it was Apple or Glossier, whoever it was, finding inspiration through other social media accounts is crucial to knowing what you want to achieve online (and no – you can’t aspire to be like someone just because they have a lot of followers). Make a saved folder of accounts you like and reflect on the similarities between them. Are they bold? Are they using a tone of voice you like? What connects them? Write that down.

Regularity

Some clients (especially the cool ones) fear posting too much or looking spammy. I get it man, but here’s the thing, the Instagram algorithm can be a little bitch sometimes. You heard me. The only thing we know for sure is that you’ll be rewarded for regular activity on your feed. If you post regularly and consistently you have a better chance of being seen by your followers. This is a good thing if you’re selling anything online, or just want to be the first place they visit when you open your doors again. Stay active!

Assess Your Analytics

Instagram analytics are basic but important. If you haven’t already, check them regularly. Make a report of your best-performing posts each week. Numbers are your friend here, and I’m not just talking about likes, shares, reach, and followers gained per post are all good to keep track of. Reflect on the numbers daily and ask why some posts perform better than others. If you had a bad week with low numbers, don’t stress – compare it to a week when you had better activity. Ask yourself, what’s different? Take a look at your locations too. If you’re a New York coffee shop but New York is coming up second on your follower locations, why is that? Could you pay more attention to your local audience? Use local hashtags? Engage with other local businesses? Know your data!

Show Your Personality

Do me a favor and check out the TSA on Instagram. Yes, the TSA. Why do you think 1 million people follow the TSA? Did Kim Kardashian endorse them or are we all just really into onboard liquid measurements? Believe it or not, the airport’s least entertaining department has become one of Instagram’s most entertaining accounts. The TSA is proof that no matter how dull or unlikable a business can be (I’ll never forgive them for confiscating my face cream), with the right account, tone of voice, and sense of humor you can appeal to everyone. I mean, come on – The TSA?


Think about your company culture. Does this shine through in your online personality? Could you do more? Could you share a little bit about Troy and his need to fold napkins a certain way or congratulate Kathy on making WFH playlists for everyone from her apartment in Bedstuy? Business is built on people, and at a time like this it’s time to show that!

Get to know your Followers

Find ways to reward your followers for interacting with you on a daily basis. Maybe it’s answering DMs from customers or liking their posts. Comment with your appreciation on posts they tag you in, be personal, and don’t leave them on read. Sign off with the name of the business owner or social media manager. Don’t just restrict your communication to followers, speak to the businesses who follow you. Reach out and show some support! Make those online connections something to look forward to when you log in each day. Who knows, maybe their followers will become yours someday.

With nobody going out, our screens have become a window to the outside world. If social media has never been your thing before, now is the time to use it to keep your business alive. It’s possible to grow your business online, it’s possible to create an empire with your fingertips and it’s possible that we’ll be in line after lockdown to visit YOUR business – thanks to the hot IG account we’ve been watching throughout quarantine. 

Kristina Ross

This article was written by Kristina Ross, an editor and social media strategist who's clients include @bodegacatsofinstagram, @thefabstory, and @flatbushcats. She built @thefabstory to an audience of 1 million in 18 months and offers services to help other businesses do the same. A Filipino/Scottish girl who’s indulged at every slice joint in the Lower East Side, she’s offered to lend us her insights on how your business can make the most of social media during the lockdown.

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