4 Tips for Irish SMEs to get started on Instagram!

I have been MIA the past few weeks. I have nothing but college as an excuse, the MSc in Marketing has been really challenging and very time consuming, but I am enjoying it. I Decided I would share a blog post I actually submitted for a college assignment, but I plan on producing some nice reviews again soon. So let’s get to it!

So why should your SME consider Instagram? Instagram is growing in Ireland with 27% of account ownership and of which, 55% are using it daily according to IPSOS MRBI’s Social Networking Tracker – Aug 2017. It is the right time for businesses to make the effort with Instagram, particularly because of its global reach of 800 million monthly users according to Statista. So, today I want to give 4 tips for Irish SME owners to get their business started on Instagram.

1. What should you share?

Instagram is all about striking and high-quality photography. You need to consider that although your profile is a perfect place to showcase your product or service, that is not all your customer wants. Your posts can be quotes, places or settings that you feel represent or compliment your brand and what it is about. Instagram offers live videos, Instagram stories and regular posts.

  1. Live videos can be used for Q&A type content or can act as a way for a business to stage their new products. They are about creating engagement and building relationships with your customer.
  2. Instagram Stories are becoming very popular and are an incredible tactic for a business to show what goes on behind the scenes of your SME and to also introduce the people involved in or with it. Using the Instagram hashtags and Geotags on your Instagram stories can see your businesses story appearing on e.g. the Dublin Story or #Food story.
  3. Regular posts are the images that build up the profile and, in a way, creates the story of the business. Using the correct captions and hashtags, these posts are your main connection and attraction of new followers for your SME’s page.
  4. All 3 ways to share on Instagram can build relationships with customers and build an image for your business. Using all 3 will work best for your SME as they can complement each other. For example, you can use Instagram stories to highlight the fact you have a new post on your profile or that you will be having a Q&A later on in the day. An example is Niamh Cullen, who uses her stories to promote her new posts:


2. What is your brand’s personality on Instagram?

You want to build a relationship with images with your customer. It’s important that the content you share on Instagram reflects all the aspects of your brand’s personality. Particularly if your SME is relevantly new, Instagram is the perfect platform to establish what your brand is all about. You need to pretend your business is a person, name 3 personality characteristics your brand has or what you want it to portray. For example, Ryanair’s characteristics could be smart, cheeky and cheap. These personality characteristics were established in their consumer’s minds through advertising, actions and content Ryanair shared across all their digital and traditional platforms.

This is what you want to achieve through the images you share on your Instagram.  You can build a story of your personality through the images. You will find that customers will have a preference of which part of the personality they prefer. So, for those who love Ryanair’s cheap characteristic, they prefer seeing Ryanair’s posts about sales and discounts. Whereas, those who love the cheeky and smart side of the brand personality prefer funny and quirky posts by the business. Ryanair makes sure to offer both types of content to satisfy customers. So, it is important that the content a business shares represents the range of personality characteristics that their customers love. This will encourage stronger interest, engagement and reach from the Instagram world. Therefore, your content should try to reflect these aspects of the brand’s personality through a mix of content. To achieve embedding the association of personality characteristics in the minds of your consumer take 3 big sheets of paper. Simply make a circle on each page and put one personality characteristic into each of the circles. Yes, you are making 3 spidergrams. Now, stick it up in the office or in your kitchen and write ideas for posts that you feel represent the personality characteristic. Don’t just keep it to yourself, bring it to dinner, to the office or even ask your customers for ideas of what content or imagery they associate with the brand. This is a really cool idea generation tool that will help you to build up content that represents your business. So, take “cheeky” for Ryanair and here is an example of how a spidergram can help to build content ideas:


3. How many times should you post?

According to Buffer, a business should be posting 1.5 times a day and there is no benefit in posting more than this. So, for your business, we advise to organise and prepare 2 posts a day to encourage engagement and interest in your SME’s Instagram profile to begin. You want your customers to know you are online and involved so they want to keep up with what your business is up-to and sharing.

  1. How to organise your content you want to share?

So, we have covered what you can share, what you need to get across and how many times a day to post. That leaves one last essential tool, a content calendar.

These calendars allow you to organise the times, days and amount of content you share on your profile. They also save you time by allowing you to organise your Instagram posts (and other social channels) for months at a time. It means in one sitting you can organise the content, posts, hashtags and captions in a way you feel best represents your business. When the month’s calendar is completed, it then leaves you time to focus on the Instagram stories and live videos. It is essential to consider the time of year you post and use it in your content e.g. Christmas. HubSpot has made this super easy by offering a free downloadable National Holidays Calendar: 2017-2018. This is particularly important if your SME deals globally, as you need to consider other countries celebrate different holidays in Ireland. The website and mobile application Later.com allows you to schedule and organise your posts through a very easy to use a content calendar. It is a free tool and has been our favourite free tool for Instagram so far.  Below is an example of what the content calendar looks like:


I hope the 4 tips to get your SME started on Instagram has helped you begin the adventure. If you are interested in learning more about engagement, connection and interaction on social media, please feel free to contact me Here.




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