More and more small business owners are finding that social media activity is a great way to promote their companies. If you're considering this kind of marketing yourself, Facebook probably comes to mind as the number one tool for promoting your business. Have you considered Instagram too?

This is a particularly potent tool if you're trying to reach out to younger (18 to 34 year old) consumers. Save Local Now provides Instagram marketing services along with search engine optimization, content marketing, and email marketing. If you'd like to start using Instagram for marketing yourself, here are some key do's and don't's to keep in mind:

DO Use Hashtags

Hashtags are a vital tool for organizing your photos and making them easy to find. Besides picking out relevant and popular tags that are already in use, you can try your hand at creating a hashtag that's all your own. Use a clever phrase or the name of your business to brand all of your Instagram posts. (Make sure to include this key tag in every caption!) Note that some of your popular products may already have hashtags of their own; feel free to include these when you're featuring those products in your pictures.

DO Show Off Your Merchandise

Instagram is an ideal platform for publicizing new products. Use image editing tools and the app's own filters to make your goods look their absolute best. Keeping your followers up-to-date on your latest and greatest offerings will encourage more traffic coming through your doors.

DO Offer Special Promotions To Your Followers

Instagram, like most social media platforms, is something of a popularity contest. The quest for followers can be a frustrating one. As a business owner, you have a secret weapon in this struggle: Discounts and other special offers! Make a post offering new followers a discount on their first purchase or throw a surprise sale for followers that visit you within the next 24 hours. Adding an exclusive benefit for followers only is a strong motivator that will convince people to follow your feed. Tools such as Vibbi allow you to make posts look popular and in turn this can be beneficial as more followers then tend to like the post or your account.

DO Announce All Your Events

Do you have an upcoming seasonal sale or special blowout? Make it a part of your Instagram marketing strategy by posting pictures to announce it! For especially big events, update your account bio to let visitors know when the event is beginning and ending.

DO Engage With Your Audience

Strive to respond in a positive way to whatever attention you get through Instagram. Comments, in particular, should be responded to as quickly as possible. Portraying your business as responsive will pay big dividends.

DO Geo-Tag Your Photos

When you post pictures to your Instagram feed, you have the option of adding a location tag to them. Always do this for your pictures if you're trying to drum up more business for a physical store. Your photos will have an added attraction when your audience can see how close your business is.

DO Express Your Creativity

Don't be afraid to get arty with your posts! Use Instagram's own filters or employ a third-party editing app like Afterlight or Rhonna. For business marketing, the ability to add text to your images is especially useful. Combine multiple photos into a single image using Instagram's own Layout.

DON'T Post Blurry Photos

Though a social media outlet like Instagram is an inherently casual medium, don't think that you have an excuse to post low-quality images. Your pictures are a representation of your business, and you want that representation to be as professional as possible.

DON'T Spam Hashtags

The potential of hashtags can get a little overwhelming, and you need to resist the temptation to load every post with dozens of the things. Stick to a handful of very relevant hashtags for each post; a good rule of thumb is to limit yourself to six.

DON'T Pick A Complex Username

If at all possible, keep your account simple by using your business's name without any additions. Extra words or numbers might confuse followers and make it harder to associate your account with your business.

DON'T Write Dull Captions

Captions can be the most persuasive part of your posts! Expend some effort in making them entertaining, tempting, and appealing.

DON'T Forget To Include A Link!

Your account bio absolutely has to have a link to your business's website. This will be the key tool potential customers use to learn more about your business after noticing it on Instagram.