In all likelihood, you’re “on” Instagram, but is your business?

When we relaunched our #SchedulicityCares application process recently, so that we could give three $500 grants a week to businesses in need, we heard from some clients who wanted an alternative way to apply other than creating an Instagram post. (BTW, we listened! You can now submit an online form instead.) One of them told us, “Instagram doesn’t make sense for my business.”

Now, don’t get us wrong. We get that not every business needs to be on Instagram, and it’s definitely not worth setting up a business account if you won’t have the time to maintain it. So if you want to go no Instagram, no judgment here!

But it got us thinking about some of the often-overlooked perks of running an Instagram business account. Since we’re all exploring new ways to market ourselves in this “new normal”, we figured that we’d cover some ways we’ve seen businesses use Instagram that you may not have considered. Whether you currently run an IG account for your salon or studio, or you’ve often considered whether starting one is worth it, these should help give you some ideas.

1. Instagram Live can help businesses more than we ever realized

You’ve probably heard the joke that Zoom is behind the quarantine because their business is booming. The same could be said of Instagram Live. Instagram Live has been around for awhile, and we know plenty of brands who’ve used it for marketing, but we’ve never seen it like this.

Over the last few weeks, countless businesses have started using Instagram Live to stay in touch with their clients while their doors are closed. The r result is some fantastic content that’s not overly polished or planned but is exactly what viewers need during their downtime. Things like:

  • Tutorials on everything from skincare to self-massage.
  • Expert Q&As
  • Cohosting happy hours with colleagues to raise funds for closed hair salons or yoga studios
  • Live fitness classes, many of which are donation-based to help pay the rent
  • My facialist even did a live sound healing session (something she often does at the end of an appointment) so we could listen whenever we needed some calm

Because so many of us are working from home and plan-free most nights, you’ve got our attention like never before, which means more people tuning in. Using Instagram Live is as easy as clicking “go live”, and you can let your clients know that you’ll be going live by sending out email messaging with the date and time in advance. It’s that simple.

2. Instagram recently launched a slew of new features for small businesses

It’s been gratifying to see so many companies come up with ways to help small businesses during this time. We also think it’s essential. (That’s why we’re waiving our fees until July 1, 2020 and recently launched our fundraising feature, Tip Jar.) So we were definitely excited to hear that Instagram recently announced that it would make it easier “for small businesses to feature gift cards, online food orders and fundraisers in their profiles or stories.” Read up on how it works to see if you might be able to use it for your own business.

3. You can connect your IG feed to your Schedulicity account to make it more visual (and appealing)

If you’re using your Schedulicity business listing as your main website (i.e. sending clients straight to your listing page to book), now’s the time to connect an Instagram feed that showcases your best work.

We recently updated our built-in feed after some changes on Instagram’s end. For those businesses that had an Instagram feed embedded previously, you’ll have to reauthorize it. New businesses or businesses that haven’t used it before can also easily set one up. Spend a few days cleaning up your feed so that it shows the very best of what you do. It’s a great way to provide visuals so that when clients start booking again, they can check out what you do in detail.

4. Everyone loves a how-to or a before-and-after

Instagram slideshows are the ideal format to show off what you do best, while Instagram videos are great for walking through the process of some of your most common services or classes. For stylists and barbers, it’s perfect for posting before-and-after photos, but you could also consider making a few videos of yourself styling hair at home, so your clients have some tips for how to deal with this awkward growing out period. Fitness instructors can break down what people can expect in their classes when we’re all back to business. You can also walk people through your own daily routines of self-care, diet, exercise. People appreciate seeing visual examples, so they know what you have to offer but also what your vibe is.

5. You can use IG to build trust for when quarantine is over

Because recording videos and posting to Instagram is so easy, we highly recommend using it to give clients information about how you’ll be practicing safety measures when you reopen your doors. We’ve seen fitness studios use Instagram to walk through their cleaning process, salon owners post about their 6-feet distancing solutions, and more. When you reach out to your clients via email to let them know you’re accepting appointments again, you can easily point them to video posts, so they can see how seriously you’re taking their safety. Plus, it will save you all the time it would take to write it all out