Everything you need to know about using Instagram business—from setting up your account to creating a winning strategy.
Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms. From gathering insights to selling products, Instagram keeps rolling out tools to help business owners succeed on the photo-sharing social media platform.
More than 25 million businesses worldwide are already using Instagram for business, and more than 200 million users visit at least one business profile every day.
It’s not too late to join and become successful on Instagram for business. With the right marketing strategy, Instagram for business can promote your products and services, boost your brand, and increase sales.
Here’s everything you should know on how to use Instagram for business. Whether you’re just getting started or you need to refine your existing strategy.
Get an Instagram business account.
If you already have a personal Instagram account with brand-appropriate content and an established following, you might want to convert it to an Instagram business account. This gives you access to all the business features but makes the transition seamless for your existing followers.
You could also choose to create a brand-new Instagram business account. This is the right choice if you don’t have an existing personal account or if your personal account does not accurately represent your business.
How to Register an Instagram business account from scratch:
- Download the Instagram app for iOS, Android, or Windows on your smartphone or computer.
- Click Sign up.
- Enter your email address. It’s a good idea to use your business email or an email designated specifically for your business’s social media accounts. You can also log in with Facebook if you already have a business account there.
- Choose a username and password and fill in your profile information.
- You have now created a “personal” Instagram account that can be converted to a business profile. Continue by following the steps below.
How to convert a personal Instagram profile to a business profile:
- Go to your profile and press the three lines icon at the top right of the screen.
- Tap Settings and select Switch to a business profile. Instagram also recommends that you connect your business profile on Instagram with your business’s Facebook page. Add details about your business, including your name, username, profile picture, website URL, and a short biography. Be sure to include contact information so your followers can connect with you.
To get the most out of Instagram, it is a good idea to date on some of the social media platform’s terminology.
- Bio: This refers to the biography section in your profile. Businesses can also use their bio to include a call to action.
- Direct messages (DMs): Users can privately communicate with each other through direct messages. If a customer has a complaint or question, it’s best practice to chat with them through a direct message to keep the conversation private. Direct messages are often referred to as DMs.
- Filters: You can apply preset filters to your photos to enhance features and colors.
- Follow: When you follow a user on Instagram, you’ll see their content in your timeline. You can also view their Instagram Stories at the top of the application.
- Followers: Your followers are people who will see your pictures in their timelines.
- Hashtag (#): Like Twitter, a hashtag on Instagram is used to index words or phrases. When you click on a hashtag, you’ll see other posts with the same one.
- Highlights: A highlight reel of your Instagram Stories appears on your profile above your photo gallery and stays until you remove it.
- Home: Tap the home button to land on your home screen, which is also your timeline or feed. Here you’ll see photos from those you follow.
- IG: IG is an abbreviation for Instagram.
- Instagram handle: Your handle is your username. To mention a user on Instagram, you need to use their handle, which always starts with the @ symbol.
- Instagram Stories: Stories is one of the most popular features on the platform. These pictures and videos disappear after 24 hours. Read more about Instagram Stories below.
- Tag: There are a few ways to tag people on Instagram, including in a photo’s caption, Instagram Stories, and photos. Use the @ symbol to tag someone in a caption or an Instagram story. You can tag someone in your photos before you post the picture.
How to use Instagram business to improve your business
Between posts, ads, and stories, there is no shortage of potential marketing tools on Instagram. Now that you know how to build your profile and understand the common Instagram terminology, here’s how to use Instagram to build your business.
Add professional-looking photos.
Instagram is a photo-sharing social media platform, so it’s important to share visually pleasing content.
To add a new photo, tap the camera button at the bottom of your screen. You can take a new photo or select one from your camera roll. On the next screen, there are multiple options to personalize your post. You can add a filter, tag other users, write a caption and add a location. You can also turn off comments on this page with the advanced settings.
Use Instagram Stories.
Instagram Stories is one of the channel’s most popular features. These photos and videos disappear 24 hours after they’re posted. Instagram offers many tools that make it easy to create engaging and creative stories.
You can leverage Instagram Stories to market your products and services, getting your messages to followers that otherwise might not see regular Instagram posts in their feed.
On Instagram Stories, you can post recorded videos, still photos, live videos, boomerangs (videos that loop back and forth), basic text, music, and focused photos. You can also add stickers such as your location, temperature, user tags, and hashtags.
Another way to draw attention to your brand is with Stories Highlights, which stay on your profile until you remove them.
Stream live videos.
In addition to Instagram Stories, users can take and stream live videos. You can give customers a live look behind the scenes of your business’s interesting aspects, show products, or answer live questions through the comments.
Once the video ends, it stays in your Instagram Stories for 24 hours. If you want a video to remain on your Instagram feed, you can upload a video you’ve taken or shoot one directly through the app to post. If you choose to shoot or upload a video, you can still add filters and change the cover.
Interact with other Instagram users.
As with any social media platform, it’s important to engage and interact with your followers on Instagram. Here’s how.
Liking: Liking is a simple way to connect with other users. To like a photo, either double-tap the image or tap the heart button under the post.
Commenting: Next to the like button is a comment button – tap it, and the app will take you to the comments page for that photo, with a text box where you can enter what you want to say. Hit Post when it’s complete.
Mentioning: As on Twitter, you can use the @ symbol to tag other users in your Instagram comments or post captions.
Tagging: Instagram allows you to add tags before you post content. To do so, tap Tag People before sharing your photo, and then tap wherein the photo you want to add a tag. The app then prompts you to type in the person’s name to search for their account. Once you’ve tagged other users in your photo and shared the image, other users can tap on the photo to see the people who are tagged.
Hashtags are a great way to help users find content on Instagram. Hashtags can include letters and numbers, but they can’t contain any non-numerical characters. For example, #musicinus works as a hashtag, but #music&us does not.
Because users can search for hashtags and click on hashtags they see in posts in the app, relevant hashtags can be a highly effective tool for getting noticed. However, make sure you’re using the right hashtags for your brand.
Instagram allows a maximum of 30 hashtags in a post or comment, but that many would be excessive. The fewer hashtags you can use to get quality responses, the better. Using a lot of popular hashtags might earn you a lot of likes from other users. Still, it probably won’t increase your following all that much, and the interactions you get will likely not be from people interested in your brand but rather those who just saw and liked your image.
Advertise on Instagram.
There are three formats for advertising:
- Photo ads: These look like regular photo posts, but they have a Sponsored label above the photo. They also have a Learn More button in the bottom right corner under the photo.
- Video ads: Like the photo ads, these look like regular video posts, but with a Sponsored label on top.
- Carousel ads: These ads look identical to photo ads but feature multiple photos that users can swipe through.
All three ad formats appear in users’ home feeds. These ads support four objectives: video views, click-through to your website, mobile app installations, and mass awareness.
Other tips and tricks on Instagram
To get the most out of your Instagram account, keep these tips in mind.
Links don’t work in Instagram captions. The only place you can share a working link that takes users to a website in your profile. Links don’t work in captions or photo comments, so if you’re trying to direct people to a specific webpage, you can change the default link in your bio to that page and note in the caption that the link is in your profile.
Make sure your posts relate to your brand.
Run giveaways and promotions. Post an image advertising your giveaway, sale, or contest, and ask users to repost that image with a specific, custom hashtag to enter. You can then search that hashtag to see who has reposted it and pick a winner.
Respond to other users’ comments. Interacting with customers and followers shows you are paying attention and care about what they say. They’ll be more likely to continue following you and interacting with your pictures if they feel like they matter.
Share posts directly to your story. With this feature, small businesses can interact with their followers while promoting their products or services. If a client posts a photo of your product, you can share the post directly to your story to highlight the product and your client.
Use IGTV. IGTV is a feature that shows long-form, vertical videos. IGTV is available in a stand-alone app and within Instagram’s app, and each video can be up to an hour-long. If you get creative, you can use IGTV to market your business in several ways, including hosting FAQ sessions and conducting how-to chats.