6 Underutilized Instagram features for small businesses

Written By
January 11, 2024

Ah, Instagram. With its 1 billion active users and counting, it's a hub for social interaction, personal branding, and of course, business marketing. For small businesses especially, Instagram is a bit like a gold mine waiting to be tapped. It's a fantastic place to show off your products or services, connect with customers, and build your brand.

But are you truly making the most of Instagram? Sure, you've probably mastered the art of the perfect post, dabbled in Stories, and maybe even run a few ads. But there's so much more to Instagram than meets the eye. Let's explore six often-underutilized Instagram features that can give your small business a big boost.

Shoppable Posts

Shoppable posts are essentially Instagram's response to the thriving world of online shopping. They transform your Instagram feed into a virtual storefront, allowing your audience to shop directly from your posts.

Imagine scrolling through a brand's feed, spotting a product that catches your fancy, tapping on the product tag, and getting directed to the product page on the brand's website. That's the beauty of shoppable posts - they make the path to purchase shorter and simpler, which is excellent for conversion rates.

You can showcase up to five products per image or twenty products per carousel. Users can tap on the product tags to see more details, such as the product name and price. With one more tap, they're taken straight to your online store, where they can purchase the product.

To further boost the effectiveness of your shoppable posts, consider using high-quality images that display your products in real-life scenarios. Also, remember to create compelling captions that enhance the appeal of your products.

Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels, a clear nod to the immense popularity of TikTok, lets you create and share short, entertaining videos. Instagram has been prioritizing Reels, which means they tend to get more organic reach than regular posts.

Reels can be up to 60 seconds long and can be spruced up with a variety of creative tools, such as filters, music, and speed controls. Given their short format and creative possibilities, Reels can be a great way to showcase your brand's personality, demonstrate your products, or share educational content.

The Explore page of Instagram, where Reels get a prime spot, is a discovery engine. It's where users go to find new content and accounts. By creating engaging Reels, you can reach new audiences and grow your follower base.

Instagram Guides

Instagram Guides offer a new way to share and consume content on Instagram. They allow you to curate collections of posts with added commentary - kind of like a blog post within Instagram.

Guides come in three types: Places, Products, and Posts. Small businesses can effectively use Product and Post Guides. Product Guides allow you to showcase a curated set of your products, while Post Guides let you share a collection of your (or others) posts on a specific topic.

For instance, a skincare brand could create a Product Guide for its best-selling products and a Post Guide on "How to Build a Skincare Routine."

Guides are featured prominently on your profile and can also appear on the Explore page, giving your content more exposure. They can help you establish your brand as an expert, engage your audience with valuable content, and even drive sales through Product Guides.

Instagram Live: Real-Time Engagement

Let's not forget about Instagram Live, a real-time broadcasting tool that allows you to connect with your audience in an immediate and unfiltered manner. Its spontaneous nature encourages engagement and makes your interactions feel more personal and authentic.

You can go live to host Q&A sessions, demonstrate how your products are made, give your audience a sneak peek behind the scenes, or even unveil a new product line. Live sessions can be saved and shared on your IGTV for later viewing, allowing you to extend the reach of your content.

Remember to promote your live session ahead of time to maximize viewership. Interact with viewers during the broadcast by responding to their comments and questions. This active engagement can foster a stronger sense of community around your brand.

Close Friends List: Exclusive Content for Your Top Fans

The Close Friends feature isn't just for sharing personal content with a select group of friends. For small businesses, it can be a creative way to offer an exclusive experience to your most loyal customers.

Consider creating a Close Friends list of your top customers and share content that's exclusively for them. It could be early access to new products, special discounts, or behind-the-scenes content. This VIP treatment can make your top customers feel special and appreciated, fostering stronger loyalty.

Instagram Insights: Understanding Your Audience

Lastly, there's Instagram Insights, the analytics tool provided by Instagram for businesses and creators. It's packed with useful data about your followers and how they interact with your content.

Insights can tell you when your followers are most active, which can guide you on the best times to post. It can show you which types of content are performing best, helping you fine-tune your content strategy. It provides demographic data about your followers, like their age, gender, and location, which can help you understand your audience better.

One underused part of Insights is the data on actions taken on your profile, such as website clicks, call clicks, and location clicks. These can give you valuable information on the customer journey and where you might need to optimize.

So, start making a habit of regularly checking your Instagram Insights and using the data to guide your Instagram marketing strategy. Because the more you understand your audience and how they interact with your content, the better equipped you'll be to deliver content that resonates and drives results.


In conclusion, small businesses have a wealth of untapped potential on Instagram through these six underutilized features. By leveraging Instagram Guides, Shopping, Reels, Insights, Stories Highlights, and Live, Canadian small businesses can enhance their online presence, engage their audience, and drive growth. Embracing these features allows small businesses to stand out from the competition, foster meaningful connections, and unlock new opportunities for success on the ever-expanding platform of Instagram. Don't overlook these powerful tools – harness their capabilities and watch your small business thrive in the digital world.