4 Successful Small Business Owners on the Instagram Campaigns That Really Worked

Especially for entrepreneurs with countless non-social-media-related to-dos on their plates, staying on top of Instagram trends can be tough. It seems like every other week there are updates to the algorithm, new strategies for driving growth, and added features to utilize. While these insights and tools can be powerful ways to drive growth to your business, they can also bring overwhelm to your social media strategy.

To cut through the noise of how to best utilize the platform, we’ve gone right to the source and chatted with four women about the most effective Instagram campaigns they’ve ever launched.

Whether you’re looking to gain followers, boost sales, or serve your audience on a wider scale, take a page from their playbook, with the confidence that—whatever changes may come to Instagram—they’ve worked for business owners just like you.

Strategy #1: Create “How-To” Guides for Your Audience

Shang Saavedra

Owner of Save My Cents, a platform aiming to change people’s financial lives, one cent at a time.

The most effective Instagram campaign I’ve launched: CreatingHow To” guides on how to open and fund investing and retirement accounts has worked well for me. Part of the reason this campaign was so successful is because this information is not widely shared. People really fear investing and think that it’s really complex. Really, opening these accounts takes minutes.

The growth I’ve experienced as a result: I’ve done a few of these campaigns over time and they get shared and liked more often than many of my other posts. I got really good feedback as well—my followers actually took the advice and opened their accounts. This showed me that my account had a real impact.

Strategy #2: Join Forces With Others

Lexie Smith

Founder of THEPRBAR Inc., an online coaching platform and resource hub built to help motivated entrepreneurs and professionals expand their impact, influence, and revenue.

The most effective Instagram campaign I’ve launched: I spearheaded and collaborated with eight other coaches in complementary fields to launch a list-building campaign called The Empower Project. We all contributed one value-packed freebie and promoted the campaign on a variety of channels—mainly on Instagram. All we asked for was for accounts to follow all participating coaches, and provide their email. The campaign was wildly successful for all involved and cost nothing to run.

The growth I’ve experienced as a result: We all captured hundreds of hyper-targeted emails and followers from the campaign without spending a dime. It was more important for us to attract a qualified audience rather than just aim for large vanity metrics.

Strategy #3: Create Images to Make Sharing Easy

Bonnie Chen

Social Media and Content at Dreamers & Doers, a high-impact community and PR hype machine supporting and amplifying extraordinary entrepreneurial women.

The most effective Instagram campaign I’ve launched: Dreamers & Doers helps our members gain visibility in the media, and any time they are featured in one of our partner publications, I create images to help them share the news far and wide.

Recently, 33 of our members were featured in an article in BlogHer, and I created custom images for each of them with their photo and a quote from the article. This allowed them to easily share the news of their feature on their own social platforms. We also posted these images on our Instagram stories and tagged each member, which made it even easier for them to share, amplifying Dreamers & Doers’ brand awareness to their various audiences.

The growth I’ve experienced as a result: Our members were thrilled that sharing was so easy, and 70% of them shared the images across their networks. As a result, we saw a boost in followers, profile visits, and click-thoughts to our website for several days afterward. The added visibility for both Dreamers & Doers and for our members made this easy initiative a huge win-win!

Strategy #4: Build Trust Through User Generated Content

Marissa Pick

Founder of Marissa Pick Consulting LLC, providing strategic consulting focused on digital transformation, content marketing, social media strategy, personal branding, and more.

The most effective Instagram campaign I’ve launched: The most effective campaigns I’ve worked on are the ones that feature user-generated content (UGC) and help to showcase the brand. Consumers trust user-generated reviews and content more than content from a brand. When a brand is able to showcase success and a product through the eyes of its end user, natural engagement follows. Brands will see an uptick in followers, engagement, and responses.

The growth I’ve experienced as a result: One of my clients was working on launching their Instagram as a main component within their overall campaign but it was driving minimal traffic. After leveraging clear calls to action, paid media, and UGC, we saw the channel jump to almost 9 percent of the main referral of traffic through to the website. The percent of overall traffic from social media channels to the website grew as well, but the engagement, interaction, and UGC sparked a massive growth for this account.

When it comes to your own Instagram journey, perhaps the most impactful piece of advice we can give is simply to get started. Whether you experiment with some of the strategies above or use them as inspiration to try another creative idea, it’s key to start somewhere and see what resonates with your unique audience. You never know what may prove to be successful for you and your business.

All individuals featured in this article are members of Dreamers & Doers, an award-winning community and diverse ecosystem amplifying extraordinary entrepreneurial women through PR opportunities, authentic connection, and high-impact resources. Learn more about Dreamers & Doers and subscribe to its monthly The Digest for top entrepreneurial and career resources.