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Using Instagram for business today is a necessity.
Influencers are building their brands on the platform, while small and big businesses are leveraging it to reach new audiences to get more sales.
But just like any other business, launching and managing a business on Instagram can be daunting.
Today, I’ll show you a step-by-step rundown of using the social media platform to launch and grow your business.
The Top Social Media Marketing Software to Use Instagram for Business
Want the easiest way to grow your business on Instagram? Use social media marketing software that helps you enhance your online presence and manage content on the platform.
- Sprout Social – Best for Learning Your True Brand Perception
- Hootsuite – Best All-in-One for Posting on Multiple Platforms
- Later – Best for Planning and Scheduling Features
- SocialPilot – Best for Small Teams Managing Multiple Accounts
- Agorapulse – Best for Streamlining Messaging
You can read our full reviews of each social media marketing software here.
6 Steps to Use Instagram for Business
Here’s how you can use Instagram for business:
- Create an Instagram Business Account
- Develop an Effective Instagram Strategy for Your Business
- Optimize Your Instagram Profile
- Share High-Quality Content
- Engage and Grow Your Audience
- Measure Success to Make Adjustments
The Easy Parts of Using Instagram for Business
With the right strategy, you can take your business to a whole new level on Instagram.
It’s a low-cost and highly effective medium to increase brand awareness, thanks to its 1 billion-strong user base. Plus, the visual-centric nature of the platform creates familiarity with your brand‘s presence, imprinting it on the mind of customers, patrons, and prospects.
Instagram also has an average engagement rate per post of 0.98%, which is the highest among all platforms. This is a huge advantage, especially when you consider Facebook‘s average engagement rate per post of 0.08%. So, if you create the right content, it’s likely your target audience will see and engage with your business.
You also get several targeted advertising tools that let you run a successful business without spending a dime.
The Difficult Parts of Using Instagram for Business
Like two sides of a coin, growing your business on Instagram also comes with its fair share of challenges.
Instagram business accounts allow you to provide a small audience to contact you, but you cannot limit direct messages. This can make things incredibly time-consuming, especially when you’re managing different inboxes and messaging platforms.
The other disadvantage is the potential for decreased visibility.
Users may feel overwhelmed and frustrated if their feed is always filled with businesses trying to sell products and services. While you can avoid this by limiting your promotional content and striving for organic growth, this is still a significant drawback to keep in mind.
You also can’t go private. Granted, you probably don’t want to set your account to private as a business, but if there ever comes a time when you do, it won’t be an option.
Step 1: Create an Instagram Business Account
Sign up and create a new account on Instagram from scratch. If you already have an Instagram account, you can simply switch from a personal to a business Instagram account.
Sign Up for an Instagram Business Account
Here are the steps to create an Instagram business account:
- Download and open the Instagram app on your device.
- Tap Sign up and enter your email address. If you want to grant access to multiple users or connect your business account to your Facebook page, be sure to use an admin email address to sign up. Alternatively, you can also tap on Log in with Facebook.
- Enter your username and password, and fill in your profile information. If you logged in with Facebook, you’ll have to sign in to your Facebook account.
- Tap Next.
You now have a personal account on Instagram. Next, you’ll switch it to a business account.
Switch to Instagram Business Account
The following are the steps to switch to an Instagram business account:
- Open your Instagram account, and go to your profile.
- Tap Edit profile. You’ll see the option to Switch to Professional Account from the menu. Tap it.
- Follow the prompts on your screen. Under What best describes you, select an option that makes the most sense for your business.
- After selecting your business category, add relevant contact details.
- Tap Done.
Step 2: Develop an Effective Instagram Strategy for Your Business
Instagram provides various opportunities for small businesses to reach new audiences and establish their brand. But to maximize their efforts, they need a well-planned Instagram strategy that can help them drive real results.
Define Your Target Audience
Determining who already buys from you is a good first step.
Check the analytics on other social media channels to learn more about your followers there like their preferences, demographics, age, and other factors. Perform competitor research to compare how your audiences vary.
Knowing this information will help you create content that appeals to your target audience. Once that’s done, analyze the type of content they post and engage with to inform your own creative strategy.
We highly recommend using social media marketing software tools like Sprout Social. It’ll help you get a better understanding of your audience and how they perceive your brand, ultimately enhancing your social media marketing strategy.
Lay Out Your Goals and Objectives
The whole point of creating an Instagram strategy is to clearly outline what you want to achieve on Instagram.
Set goals and objectives to identify how Instagram can help you accomplish them. A highly recommended practice is to apply the SMART framework to ensure your goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
Determine the Right Performance Metrics
Once you know your goals, you can easily identify the right social media metrics to monitor. While these will vary for each business, there’s a social funnel you can adhere to when choosing your KPIs.
- Awareness: Post impressions, follower growth rate, accounts reached
- Engagement: Engagement rate (based on likes and comments), amplification rate (based on shares)
- Conversions: Click-through rate, bounce rate, cost per click
- Customer: Retention, repeat customer rate
Create Your Content Calendar
Plot out and research important dates like holiday planning, tax season, or even International Donut Day. Analyze your data to see where your customers start planning for specific occasions.
We also recommend creating “content buckets” that involve developing teams or regular installments that can be built into a series.
Having a content calendar will help you produce regular content and respond to unplanned or last-minute events strategically. Sprout Social can also help you plan and schedule your content calendar more efficiently.
Step 3: Optimize Your Instagram Profile
Your Instagram business profile is like your digital business card. People go there to learn more about your brand, products, and services, visit your website, and several other things.
It’s critical to optimize your profile for making a positive impression on visitors.
Write a Brilliant Instagram Bio
People reading your bio were curious enough to visit your profile. Make the most of this opportunity by hooking them in and giving them a reason to hit follow.
When writing your Instagram bio, apply the following tips:
- Ensure it clearly describes your business and gets straight to the point
- Use line breaks to break long sections of information
- Use emojis to inject personality and draw attention to important information
- Add a CTA, explaining what the visitor will get after clicking on it
Add an Appealing (and Relevant) Profile Pic
Maintaining uniformity across all social media channels aids recognition. So, whatever profile picture you choose, ensure you add it across all your social media profiles. Many brands use their logo as a profile picture, which is a great way to reinforce brand value.
Just like other profiles, Instagram will frame your profile picture with a circle. Don’t forget to take that into account when choosing an image.
Add Relevant Information for Users
When using Instagram for business, you need to give people a way to contact you directly from your profile.
Add your email address, physical address, and phone number. When you add your contact information, Instagram automatically creates corresponding buttons (Call, Contact, Email, Get Directions) for your profile.
Use your link in bio wisely so your followers can click on it to take an intended action. You can add a link to your website, latest blog, or a special Instagram landing page.
Add Story Highlights and Covers
Adding story highlights and covers lets you maximize your business profile’s real estate. You can have a highlight for Saved collections displaying your product. Think Recipes, FAQs, tips, or user-generated content.
Step 4: Share High-Quality Content
Instagram is a visual platform, so it’s important you work on building a strong visual identity. What’s more, there’s so much you can do to publish content in a way that catches your audience’s attention.
Explore Instagram Formats
Here are some of the most popular formats that can be a good fit for your business:
- Instagram carousels
- Instagram Reels
- Instagram Live
- Instagram guides
When taking pictures or videos, ensure you’re using enough natural light and use the rule of thirds (placing the subject where the grid lines meet so that your subject is off-center but still balanced).
Use Editing Tools to Enhance Your Photos
No matter how great your content is, it’s likely you need to edit them, which is when editing tools come in handy.
From maintaining your aesthetic to adding frames and logos, you can do a lot to make your content more interesting. In fact, even Instagram offers several built-in editing tools.
Write Compelling Captions
Insightful captions give your content more meaning, helping build empathy, trust, and community. (Or they can just be funny!) But before working on your captions, you need a clear brand voice. Do you want to use emojis? How many hashtags do you want to add—if any? Do you want to sound casual or formal?
Besides the above pointers, it’s important you be serious about running your business on Instagram. For this, you need to post quality and inclusive content consistently. Schedule your Instagram posts with a social media management tool to stick to a consistent content calendar.
Step 5: Engage and Grow Your Audience
Simply making a business account and posting content isn’t enough. You also need to engage with your audience to grow your business and achieve strategic objectives.
Promote Your Instagram Account on Other Channels
If you have an established following on other social networks, make them aware of your Instagram business account. Tell them about the kind of content you share on your Instagram profile, and why they should follow you in more than one place.
Even if you have a blog, you can embed Instagram posts directly in your posts to show your best content and make it easier for readers to follow you.
Respond to Comments
Be sure to respond and acknowledge any comments and mentions of your business on Instagram. Take out time from your daily routine to respond authentically.
Run an Instagram Campaign
Running an Instagram campaign can help you achieve specific goals, including increasing your overall visibility, driving engagement, and collecting user-generated content with branded hashtags. While they do involve ads, they are not only about paid content.
Your campaign can also include partnering up with Instagram influencers. Choose influencers and creators with an engaged and loyal Instagram following who might be interested in your brand. If you have a limited budget, consider working with micro-influencers.
Step 6: Measure Success to Make Adjustments
When using Instagram for business, you need to track your progress. This will help you understand whether your efforts are helping you achieve your goals. If not, you can identify gaps and opportunities to make the necessary adjustments to meet them.
Use Analytics Tools
When you have an Instagram business profile, you also have access to the platform’s built-in analytics tools that track data back 30 days. Alternatively, you can use other analytics tools to track longer timeframes, automate reporting, and compare metrics.
Perform A/B Tests
Improve your marketing results by testing out different types of content to see how they resonate with your audience.
Here’s how to perform A/B testing on Instagram:
- Choose an element to test, like a hashtag, image, or caption.
- Create two variations of the element based on what research tells you. Everything else about the two versions except the element. For example, using the same image with a different caption.
- Check and analyze results for each post, and choose the winning variation.
- Test another small variation to see if you can improve your results further.
- Start the process all over again.
Collect the insights you learn throughout the process to build a library of brand-specific best practices for your business.