How to Use Instagram for Business?
You won't find a successful brand that doesn't use Instagram for its business goals. Starting from being a small visual-based social media platform, Instagram grew rapidly into the number one marketing tool — especially after being bought by Facebook.
So yeah, having an Instagram account for your brand is not even in question — it's a must-have thing.
However, running a profitable and good-looking profile on social media is hard, and Instagram is no exception. We'll cover working with business promotion on this platform in six steps, describing tools, strategies, opportunities, and specific things every brand needs to know while using Instagram.
Six steps to successfully promote your business on Instagram
Make sure your Instagram account is switched from Personal to Business. If you don't have an Instagram account yet, follow this short instruction:
Download the app in the AppStore or PlayMarket.
Open it and tap “Sign Up”.
Enter your e-mail or login with Facebook — this option works better if you already have a Facebook Business account.
Choose an appropriate, short, and memorable username --don't worry, you can change it later if it eventually won't suit your business. Also, create a strong password.
When you tap “Next”, your profile is created. Now you only have to switch it to Business:
Tap the menu in the upper-right corner and choose the “Settings” option.
In the opened menu tap the “Account” option, and switch it from “Personal” to ”Business”.
Set up your bio, location, account type, and website on the same tab, and click “Done”.
Hooray, now you're ready for bolder moves!
Time to create a good strategy. Start with defining your audience — their demographics, interests. This way you'll find a correct niche for your marketing on this social media platform.
And here's the tricky part: everyone uses Instagram — all ages, all social statuses, all buying habits. To set your path closer to your customers, we created a short guide to defining your audience:
Create a full audience portrait of people who are already your customers.
Analyze your competitor's audience thoroughly.
Discover which group of your followers will most likely engage with your content — check out what they like and which trends they tend to follow.
Make your goals and milestones clear. What do you want to achieve, what are you looking for on this platform, what metrics are the most important for your business? Convert your business objectives into Instagram promotion ones.
Decide which metrics are the most important. Choosing the right option here saves you from doing it later when you gained a certain amount of followers, but things just don't work.
Also, don't forget about the customer's journey. You have to make them pay attention first, then engage with your content, find an interest in buying one of your products, and then, finally, purchase said product. This is not the end of the chain — some things like becoming a brand advocate are important, too, but these basic points are primal.
At this stage you have to decide what marketing goal works best for you:
create brand awareness — make your business visible to potential customers, working with follower growth rate, impressions by post, and account reach;
engagement — create an active audience interested in your products and, specifically, your posts and Stories. For this goal you'll have to keep an eye on ER (engagement rate);
conversions — make your followers your customers via leading them to your products. You'll need a cost-per-click metric and a click-through rate to trace your followers' activity towards this goal.
Once you have your goals set up, you can move to planning. Social media calendar has to be based not only on the business needs but also on important dates, including holidays — this immediately grounds your business, making it significantly closer to people.
Planning forward is too important to skip this step: you need time to prepare content, double-check it, and put it in the planner.
Start mapping out with important events — Black Friday, New Year, world sports day, etc. — whatever is close to your business's niche plus something important to everyone. Any specific occasion is a good time to post because people tend to react to these posts more. Also, it's a great opportunity to set up a sale or a contest.
Another great move is to look for post ideas on the Internet — if you struggle with finding a topic to post, some websites provide long lists of post topics.
And did we mention to post only when most of your followers are online? This is heavily important because the Instagram algorithm puts on the top posts that received more reactions in the first hour after publishing.
You can easily check when are your followers the most active by days and hours:
Find the "Insights" option in the upper-right pie menu in your profile page.
Find the "Audience" tab and tap "See All".
The graph will show the most popular hours or days for your followers.
Sometimes you'll find it interesting that most of your followers tend to scroll through Instagram on Saturday mornings or Wednesday afternoons — after work or even before they go to sleep.
This step is completely designed to make your profile good-looking and effective for customers.
Start with writing a short, but informative bio. We suggest you put in those 150 characters your unique offer — what does your brand do that other brands don't, specific qualities of your products, or goodies your clients can get.
You have to be on point with this one — no unnecessary information or something that needs a whole post to cover. Use emojis for better formatting and line breaks to make your bio readable. If you already have a link inserted in the "link" field, create a short and effective call to action — why does someone have to tap on the link immediately after reading your bio?
Next important thing — your profile picture. It has to be memorable and recognizable — a logotype is the best option. Keep in mind that Instagram always crops them to circle — edit your picture so the whole logo will fit easily.
After that, you can add some contact info — this way people can contact your business directly from this platform. You can add e-mail, phone number, or location — whatever might be more convenient for your business and customers.
Another important step — set up Stories Highlights. It's a place where you can store your most important Stories for quick access no matter how long ago you have posted them. Including your price, feedback, guides, and whatever can be important for your public image.
Now it's time to polish your content. Instagram is a visual-first platform, so posting some eye-catching photos is your number one task once you've planned everything.
We advise you to establish a recurring style and stick to it. Photography is great for showing off your product from every possible angle, and also it's a great opportunity to tell people more about your services.
When unsure, you can conduct research — what content do your competitors post? What aesthetic do they use? What posts received the most engagement?
Based on that, start creating your own unique content. You can hire a professional photographer or shoot and edit everything yourself. Don't worry, it's not rocket science — you can do it even from your iPhone. How to get perfect shots with your phone camera? We've got you covered on this one, too:
use natural light;
avoid direct and powerful light sources;
rule of thirds is a great base for creating a proportional perspective;
shoot at multiple angles;
don't overdose your photo with details.
Even after creating a perfect shot, you still need to edit it. Polishing every photo will help you to keep posting in your unique brand style. You can use any photo editing app you find convenient, or even mix them for heavier edits.
Post captions are also important. Find your special writing style and write compelling captions. They can be informative, engaging, entertaining, or educative — basically, you have to supply your photos with relevant information so they won't be easily skipped in your followers' feeds.
Also, Stories! This is a perfect tool to share a glimpse of behind-the-scenes and keep your customers updated on your brand's offers. Instagram Stories are highly popular and sometimes dominate posts by views, so your Stories posting has to be consistent.
You can also use other formats — it's good to explore them all to research what your audience likes the most. You can try carousels to share more excellent pics or more text, Reels to entertain your followers with short videos, IGTV to educate them through longer videos, Live to connect even closer, and Guides to keep everything important in one place.
Now it's time to expand your audience to bigger numbers. You can do it multiple ways. The easiest one is to engage with your followers through their mentions of your brand and the comments they leave. This makes them aware that your company hears & sees them, which is a really important part of brand-customer relationships.
To make it easier for people to find you on Instagram, use specific hashtags. Ask yourself, what would you type into the search bar, if you wanted to find a business in your niche and your location? Create targeted hashtags and put them in your posts to attract more people. You can also create your very own branded hashtags and encourage your followers to use them in their feedback posts — this way you can easily track opinions on your products and use them in your marketing needs.
The other great way to grow your audience is to give your account promotion on other channels — e-mail feed, other social media platforms, your website, or blog. For the latter, a great option will be to embed your posts right into your articles. For the e-mails, you can add a hyperlink to your Instagram profile to your signing at the end of each letter.
Collaborating with influencers is a highly effective way to gain new followers and boost your sales. Influencers are people who gained a lot of followers and their trust, so sponsoring their posts to promote your business is a really great way to attract new loyal customers. Microinfluencers are even better — their audience is more loyal, and their blog thematics is more niche, meaning your product can fit just right in their content.
Another paid, but really effective way to reach out to potential customers — placing a targeted ad. You can do it from your Instagram app or from Facebook Ads. There you can target your niche audience and make them see your ad, interact with it, or encourage them to do some action — go to your online store, book an appointment or participate in a contest.
The profile is set up, you post great content, your followers number is growing...What else is left? THat's right, metrics. Metrics are really important to track your success, find mistakes and analyze them for better performance. Your Instagram has a built-in Insights tool that allows you to see the most important metrics right in the app. There also are other analytics tools outside Instagram — usually, they provide more metrics for a monthly subscription fee.
Using these tools and analyzing what your audience likes, what makes them tick, and what are their interaction habits, you can post relevant content that will attract their attention and make them invested in buying your product. Just make sure you use relevant metrics — conversions if you want to lead people to your website, engagement rate if you want to keep people interested in your content, and impressions if you want to create big brand awareness.
Our main advice on running an Instagram account for your brand is: don't be afraid to experiment. Try different strategies, different styles, and tools — being creative and responsive to your audience's needs is what matters the most. You might start slow, but with baby steps, you'll reach your peak marketing performance in no time — just keep it consistent, creative, and keep your performance in check. People always see your effort and acknowledge it, so keep up with creating great content.
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