Here's How Small Businesses Can Spend Less on Instagram Marketing

By Val Razo

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Promoting products on social media has become an important element of digital marketing for both big and small brands. According to the Manifest survey, 73% of small businesses invest in social media marketing and 63% of them plan to plan to increase spending.

When it comes to Instagram marketing, the number of small businesses who promote products on this platform is growing rapidly. Since Instagram has growing sales potential, it’s no wonder that more and more small businesses jump on the bandwagon and want to reach their target audience on the platform.

However, the niche is saturated: As specified in Business Instagram, there are over 25 million businesses and 2 million advertisers on the platform. The world’s most popular brands like Nike, Victoria’s Secret and GoPro have armies of loyal fans. Most small business owners realize that they have to invest much time and money into Instagram marketing to cut through the noise.

Although it seems difficult for small businesses to get results on Instagram, there are proven ways to spread the word about your product, build brand loyalty and trust, and increase e-commerce sales.

Want to know the best part? As a small business owner, you can still run an effective Instagram marketing campaign without spending much budget. Keep on reading this article to find out actionable tips for small business owners.

5 Ways for Small Businesses to Spend Less on Instagram Marketing


1. Use the Right Social Media Tools

Having an Instagram presence isn’t enough to achieve your business goals. Running an effective Instagram marketing strategy includes many aspects (analysis, targeting, writing captions, content creation and curation, communication with fans, providing customer support, etc.) and it’s nearly impossible to do all of these things on a good level unless you have a social media marketing agency or the right social media tools.

While hiring a digital agency can be expensive, there’s a great variety of tools to automate some social media marketing processes and make your life easier. No matter how experienced at social media management you are, it’s more likely you’ve heard about popular tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, or Sprout Social. With these tools, you can get amazing features, but when it comes to choosing social media software, the total price is the second factor that affects the purchase decision:

2_smm tools



The good news? There’s a great variety of social media tools that help you simplify Instagram marketing without investing much budget:

Believe it or not, social media tools help both big and small brands optimize social media marketing processes, and therefore save time and money. If you’re just starting on Instagram, you can consult your partners or friends to ask them for cost-effective alternatives. 

2. Hire a Freelance Moderator

Today, 95% of people follow at least one company on social media as it’s easier for customers to contact brands and express their thoughts without being interrupted. What is more, there are many ways to contact a brand: direct messages, profile tags, comments. Thus, brands need to provide customer service on social media. People want to get heard on Instagram; just take a look at an example from Coloring Notebook:



If you don’t solve followers’ requests, you’re losing your potential customers. Thus, it’s important to make sure your followers and/or visitors get information about your company/product on time.

While it can be difficult for small business owners to reply to every comment, there are two ways to optimize the process:

  • Set up quick replies for direct messages: Once you have a list of the commonly asked questions, you can prepare replies to send them to these followers. Not only does it help you save time, but it also helps customers get a reply fast.
  • Hire a freelance moderator: Some requests need a human touch. Unless you can afford to have an in-house moderator, you can find a local freelance worker who can monitor your Instagram and reply to comments when you need it.

NB: If you lack experience and want to make sure you have the right social media marketing strategy, you can always turn to Social Hire and enhance your results.

3. Collaborate with Nano-Influencers

Influencer marketing has become an important element of any successful social media marketing strategy. As specified in the Business Insider Intelligence report, Instagram is the most popular social media platform for running influencer campaigns and 79% of brands collaborate with opinion leaders on Instagram.

Doubtless, working with macro or even micro-influencers is expensive for small businesses. Luckily, nano-influencers, a new breed of opinion leaders, who have less than 1000 followers help brands get wonderful results. Since they have in-person connections with their followings, these influencers have higher engagement rates.

Today, businesses of all sizes and shapes turn to nano-influencers. Here’s an example of the partnership between Cluse and Débora Caires, a blogger who has around 385 followers. With 86 likes and 2 comments, she achieved an engagement rate of 22%:




Want to know the best part? There’s no need to spend your influencer marketing budget on working with one top-notch mega-influencer; you can use the same sum to collaborate with 50 nano-influencers and reach a wider audience.

4. Give Carousel Ads a Try

In June 2018, Instagram had reached one billion active users. Moreover, Instagram is considered to be one of the fastest-growing social media networks, so it attracts both users and businesses that want to interact with them. For small businesses, this means a saturated niche, so seeking out alternative ways to reach your target audience is a must.

If you want to reach your audience fast, get ready to pay for advertising on Instagram. The company offers different ad types for businesses of all sizes to achieve business results. However, there’s one proven way to promote your product without spending much - carousel ads.

Carousel ads allow companies to upload up to 10 images/videos within a single post with a call-to-action button so that interested users can get in touch with the company with ease. Here’s how this type of ads looks like:



As a small business owner, you don’t have much budget to experiment with the ads, so it’s important to make sure that your advertisement hooks attention. Whether you want to show off your product from different angles or tell a story about your brand, carousel ads give a great chance to grab users’ attention without spending much money.

5. Sponsor a Giveaway

It’s no secret that people love free stuff, and it’s the main reason why social media giveaways get higher engagement rates and attract participants fast. However, running an Instagram giveaway is a waste of money and time unless you have a solid number of interested users. With smaller followings, it’s difficult for small businesses to cause a buzz around the giveaway on their profiles.


You can always team up with other companies or influencers to sponsor a giveaway and enter an already established community. It doesn’t take much money and effort to give away branded freebies, yet it can help to promote your product and establish a connection with your target audience. Just take a look at an example:



However, being a sponsor doesn’t mean that you can forget about moderation. If you want to achieve great results, you need to monitor comments and moderate fake participants, and the best way is to use different social media marketing tools to work with your partners. When done right, an Instagram giveaway can boost engagement, build brand awareness, and turn visitors into customers.

In a Word

The days when Instagram was a perfect platform for big brands only are far behind us. Today, Instagram offers many opportunities for small businesses to reach their target audiences, promote their products, and increase sales. What is more, there’s no need to spend much on Instagram marketing to get results - just pay attention to the above-mentioned ways to reduce the costs of running Instagram profiles for businesses.


About the Author: 

Val Razo is a freelance SMM consultant with 5+ years of experience who helps small and medium businesses. She believes in the power of social media, so Val keeps up with digital trends to make the most out of campaigns. Follow her on Twitter to stay tuned for more.

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