How To Use Instagram For Your Business: A Practical 10-Step Guide

8 October 2021
14min
Marketing
How To Use Instagram For Your Business: A Practical 10-Step Guide

With over a billion monthly users, Instagram is a lucrative social media platform for businesses. Almost 90% of its userbase follows at least one business account. It means that the platform can help you connect and reach out to a broader, global audience in no time.

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But to ensure you don’t miss out on a gold mine of users, lower your reach or decrease sales, you need to learn the best Instagram marketing strategies. Here, we’ve created a comprehensive step-by-step guide to using Instagram for your business and its many benefits:

Top 5 Benefits of Having an Instagram Business Account

Let’s discuss the unexpected benefits of using Instagram for your business:

Learn What Your Customers Like

The first and foremost pro of using Instagram is efficiency. For instance, Instagram users publish new content on a day-to-day basis to help you understand their preferences and likes. This way, you can quickly figure out their location, lifestyle, personal beliefs, values, and so much more.

This feature is crucial for businesses since additional information assists you in creating an accurate ideal consumer profile. It also helps you optimize your Instagram marketing strategy and boost verified leads.

Connect With Customers Across Various Channels

Using Instagram on your website helps you connect with consumers across different channels while increasing cross-channel engagement.

For instance, let’s assume that you add photos from your Instagram business profile on your website. Your customer browsing on your website may not follow you on Instagram.

However, when they come across your gallery of Instagram photos, they may click on them to see your account, give you a follow, and re-connect with you in the future.

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Make Money Directly on Instagram

With Instagram, businesses can enjoy on-platform e-commerce sales. In today’s digital era, there is a greater emphasis on increasing profits via product placement.

Instagram has evolved since its inception and now includes a ‘Shop’ tab present prominently on the app’s home dock. It allows customers to check out, as well as purchase directly through Instagram.

The mobile app also lets you display shoppable posts where businesses can add tags to specific products with links that include a price, product description, and ‘shop now’ that redirect your customer to your store.

Not to mention, research reveals that up to 72% of Instagram users purchased products through the app at least once. With Instagram, it’s easy for businesses to boost actual sales.

Launch Advertising Campaigns

Your Instagram marketing efforts don’t always have to be 100% organic. Often marketers try to connect with a new audience by launching an advertising campaign. It helps you increase brand awareness and boost visibility.

Instagram allows you to target the following three types of audiences:

- Core Audience- The social media platform enables you to display ads to users based on their location, gender, age, interests, and multiple other demographic features

- Custom Audience- The app lets you target users who already have some connection with your brand through your website, email, Facebook, and other social media apps

- Lookalike Audience- With Instagram, you also have the option of targeting audiences that look like your existing consumer base

Easy to Target and Retarget Your Audience

Targeting and retargeting the right audience is critical to the success of your Instagram ads. This social media platform helps you connect with your core audience through the following features:

- Location- Whether you plan on targeting a country or a single city, Instagram can help you connect to the right audience.

- Demographics- Instagram makes it easy for you to connect with particular demographics. You can specify your target audience’s gender, language, religious beliefs, personal values, political stance, and so on

- Interests- Curate your Instagram ads based on what your ideal audience follows on Instagram. You may even focus on ads they click and social media apps they prefer

- Behaviors- Define your ad’s audience by their actions on and off Instagram and Facebook. For instance, you may retarget potential customers who visited your store but failed to make a purchase.

Are There Any Drawbacks of Using an Instagram Business Profile?

A pro of using an Instagram Business, otherwise known as a Creator account, is that there are no drawbacks. There are only positives unless you plan to keep your account private, which can hurt your reach.

Often, novice Instagram marketers are afraid that creating a business will cost you potential visibility. However, this is far from the truth.

Business posts on Instagram’s algorithm are treated the same as personal profiles, so you don’t have to worry about reach. The best part? Instagram lets you convert your profile to a personal profile or a business profile at any time.

How to Use Instagram for Business?

Here’s a practical step-by-step guide to successfully use Instagram for business:

Create an Instagram Business Account

Create a new business account or switch your account to a business one to access helpful analytics and promotional tools.

How Do I Sign Up for an Instagram Business Account?

Follow these steps to create a business account from scratch:

  1. Download Instagram for Android, iOS, or Windows
  2. Click on the app and select ‘Sign Up.’
  3. Add your email address and, if you want to cross-promote, use an admin email address. Or, you may tap on ‘Login with Facebook’ to connect your Instagram profile to your Facebook Page
  4. Enter your username, password, and fill in your profile’s info
  5. Tap on ‘Next,’ and you’re ready to use Instagram

How Can You Transform Your Personal Account to an Instagram Business Account?

If you already own a personal account, you may change it to a business account by following these steps:

  • Visit your profile and tap on the hamburger menu located in the upper right corner
  • Tap on ‘Settings’ and then on ‘Account.’
  • Select Business or Creator depending on what best describes your business
  • Choose your business category and add your contact details
  • Click on ‘Done’

By switching to a business account, you can access analytics related to follower growth, qualified leads, and post-performance.

Define Your Target Audience

Creating a good social media strategy requires a proper understanding of your audience. Conduct in-depth research of Instagram’s audience demographics to pinpoint who uses the platform. For instance, a study reveals that the largest ad audience on the site is 25 to 34-year-olds. Spend some time identifying the key segments overlapping with your audience.

Defining your target audience is an integral part of your marketing strategy. Here’s how you identify your target market:

  • Determine your existing audience
  • Keep up with analytics on other social media channels to learn who your followers are
  • Conduct in-depth competitor research and compare how your audiences

Learning who your audience is allows you to create accurate content. Check out the type of content your ideal audience engages and posts. Moreover, you may use these insights to develop a creative strategy.

Track the Right Performance Metrics

Your Instagram strategy helps establish what you want to achieve on this social media platform. A good idea is to define your business’s objectives and how you can leverage Instagram to accomplish them. Here’s how you can ensure your goals:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

Once you define your goals, it’ll be easier to identify which social media metrics you should monitor. It varies according to your business type, but your main goal should involve focusing on your social funnel metrics.

You may align your goals one of the following four stages in the customer journey:

- Awareness- Include various metrics like post impressions, growth rate, and accounts reached
- Engagement- This metric is based on amplification rate and engagement rate
- Conversion- Apart from conversion rate, it also includes bounce rate and click-through rate. If you’re using conversion metrics, paid ads, cost per click, and CPM
- Customer- It includes actions your customers take, including repeat customer rate, retention, etc.

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Optimize Your Instagram Bio to Boost Business

An Instagram business profile offers a small space to accomplish great things. Your profile is where potential customers go to learn information about your brand, book an appointment, and visit your website.

To optimize your Instagram profile, write a great bio. People reading your biography are already interested in your profile, so hook them in with a killer bio that gives them a reason to follow you.

You only have 150 or fewer characters to write a compelling Instagram bio. It needs to describe your brand and its brand voice. Here is how you can create a compelling Instagram bio:

  • Make your bio short, simple, and sweet
  • Use line breaks to organize your bio and add different types of valuable info
  • Adding the right emoji’s is a great way to save space, draw attention to important info, reinforce an idea, and inject personality into your profile
  • Add a killer CTA to give potential customers a reason to follow you

Configure Action Buttons

Instagram business actions include action buttons that allow customers to reserve and book appointments. To utilize this feature, you need an account alongside Instagram’s partners.

For this, tap on ‘Edit Profile’ and then click on ‘Action Buttons.’

Share High-Quality Content

Instagram is based on catchy graphics and invigorating photos, so your profile must have a recognizable visual identity.

A good idea is establishing recurring themes of pillars. In most cases, your content will be apparent. For instance, a restaurant is likely to post photos of its food, and a clothing line showcases its clothes.

If your business offers services, try going behind the scenes to highlight your office’s life, customer stories, or people who run your company. You may even check out other similar brands for inspiration.

Take Thumb Stopping Photos

Your profile must include killer photos as it increases the success rate of your business Instagram account. A great part about using Instagram is that you don’t need to be a professional photographer nor have a lot of equipment.

Here are a few ways to capture the best photos:

  • Use natural light
  • Avoid harsh light
  • Use the rule of thirds
  • Try different angles
  • Keep your profile simple and skim-able
  • Make sure there’s enough contrast in your profile

Explore Different Formats on Instagram

While Instagram started as a photo-sharing app, today, it hosts a variety of things, including reels and live broadcasts. Here are the different formats that are useful for your brand:

  • Instagram Carousels
  • Instagram Guides
  • Instagram Live
  • Instagram Reels
  • IGTV

Engage with Your Audience

Ensure you respond to comments and mentions of your business in a timely fashion. This will motivate users to engage with your brand.

Often, marketers are tempted to automate engagement using bots, but this rarely works out well. Instead of doing this, dedicate an hour or so everyday to respond to mentions and tags.

In addition, keep up to date with social media guidelines, mental health resources, and troll policies to manage a positive community on your profile.

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Measure Success and Tweak Your Profile Accordingly

When using Instagram to run your business, you must track your progress to successfully achieve your goals.

An Instagram business profile provides access to high-quality, built-in analytic tools. Plus, you can track data back to the last 30 days.

You may use other analytic tools such as Hootsuite’s to automate reporting, track more extended time frames, and make it easier for you to compare Insta’s metrics with other social media platforms.

Optimize Your Instagram Profile to do Business

Once you create an Instagram Business account, you must optimize it to do business. Here, we’ve added the top tips to make Instagram a robust sales, marketing, and customer service tool:

Share Content Consistently

Share posts, stories, and other formats of content to Instagram daily. Let’s discuss how Instagram’s posts differ from Instagram’s stories:

Instagram Posts

Your Instagram posts remain on your profile, so the good idea is to use them to add updates with high-quality photos and evergreen content.

Although Instagram allows you to share multiple photos, you should limit your pictures to two or three. This way, your content won’t seem spammy.

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Instagram Stories

Instagram stories, on the other hand, disappear after 24 hours. It means you can be more playful and experimental with them. A good idea is to use the post for behind-the-scenes looks.

You may add as many Instagram stories as you’d like and as often as you want without making your content seem spammy.

Instagram Videos

Videos in Instagram posts may last as long as 1 minute, whereas videos on your stories can last up to 15 seconds.

The following mediums will help you boost your customers’ engagement with services and products. You may even use trending hashtags to connect with new followers.

Focus on the Quality of Followers, Not Quantity

Most Instagram marketers believe that having a large number of followers is necessary to create an optimized Instagram profile. It is because a larger following makes your profile appear more credible.

However, a quick look at Instagram profiles of top businesses across the world reveals that follower quality is far more critical than quantity. There are innumerable ‘clickbait-y’ Instagram profiles with millions of followers. But these profiles notice comparatively less activity, likes and comments, shares, and engagement rates.

So, instead of boosting follower count to create an air of credibility, social media marketers should develop a strategy that engages their target audience.

Invest in a Robust Instagram Analytics Solution

The best way to identify whether your Instagram strategy is performing well is by using real-time analytics. While Instagram’s Business profile offers essential insights and information about performance, you’ll find that third-party tools ensure a wealth of otherwise inaccessible data.

By investing in powerful Instagram analytics tools, you can measure the performance of your tracking links, the engagement rate on posts, and consumer behavior towards various post types. This data helps optimize your Instagram’s strategy and profile.

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Upload Multi-Grid Images to Make a Statement

You should focus on creating a profile that makes a statement. And what better way to achieve this than by creating a multi-grid image collage.

Leading brands like Rolls-Royce rely on multi-grid images to share large photos that look unattractive if cropped to fit within a single post.

The best part? When brands upload several indecipherable images, followers become curious and visit your Instagram profile to see the complete picture.

Write Keyword Optimized Captions

Instagram’s Explore Page allows you to search for content using location tags or hashtags. In addition, Instagram offers content recommendations based on your interests and interactions.

For instance, if you regularly like or comment on food-related posts, Instagram’s explore page will display content that aligns with your interest. That’s where post captions come in.

Instagram Explore page algorithm utilizes a revolutionary account embedding framework that plays an integral role in determining which accounts are topically similar. This unique framework learns the meaning and representation of a specific word based on context.

It also identifies how certain accounts are similar, based on the keywords present in their names, bios, usernames, and captions. For this reason, you must write descriptive captions with relevant and trending keywords to improve the chances of your post showing up on the Explore page.

Utilize Alt Text

Instagram includes an innovative feature that enables creators to add alternative text to describe your photo vividly. The app then reads out the image’s description to let you hear what the picture contains. The alt-text feature was initially created to help followers with visual impairments better understand its graphic content.

Apart from creating a positive experience for visually-impaired customers, you can use alt text to improve Instagram’s SEO. To ensure this, you need to add trending keywords in your alt text to help Insta’s algorithm better understand your content and its relevance to users.

Typically, Instagram automatically generates alt text for your images. Be sure to edit your alt text to make it increasingly descriptive and compelling. To add your alt text, click on ‘Advanced settings’ and tap on ‘Write Alt Text’ before sharing your post.

Include Compelling Call-to-Actions

In 2018, Instagram introduced a new feature for business profiles, i.e., Action Buttons. These are present on your business profile and make it easy for users to take action to engage with your brand.

With these buttons, you can make the most of your Instagram profile by offering your viewers a simple way to interact with your business and visit your online store.

An excellent way to compel your viewers to take action is to consider using third-party apps to integrate captivating CTAs.

Use Socialays to Improve Your Profile

Another excellent way to boost your business profile is by using Socialays. This innovative software reads your comments and reacts to them to help ensure you effectively communicate your business goals, missions, and visions, and values.

Here’s how Socialays helps improve your Instagram business profile:

  • This state-of-the-art technology goes through your comments and analyzes emotions in 9 main categories including sadness, excitement, and happiness. This enables you to get your message across effectively.
  • This proactive software takes instant actions based on custom needs. This may include hiding comments that include hateful language and profanities or turning off ad content. This helps you ensure a positive experience for your viewers.
  • Boost on-page engagement and connect with new followers by staying on top of comments, queries by followers, and mentions.

Enable Notifications to Maintain Activity

Instagram profiles attract the most attention when it becomes the center of a community. To achieve this, you need to engage and interact as most users expect a quick response to their queries. In fact, research reveals that 41% of all U.S. respondents expect a response within 24 hours.

For this reason, your team must respond to your audience in a timely fashion. You can ensure it by enabling push notifications. Here’s how you can achieve this:

  • Tap on ‘Options’ by selecting the cog icon on your profile
  • Scroll down and click on ‘Push Notifications’
  • Next, make sure you turn on ‘Vibrate for Notifications’ and select ‘From Everyone’ for your comments

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Use Highlights to Showcase Your Business

Instagram offers Stories Highlights to share more about your company. In addition, Stories Highlights prolong the lifespan of your stories by featuring them on your profile after they usually disappear.

Since Instagram’s Stories Highlights are displayed above your grid, you should kick off with the following basics:

- About- This includes posts on your brand, its values, and brand voice
- Location or Highlights- If your brand has multiple locations, consider talking about each one of them by sharing photos
- Customer Reviews or Posts- Consider creating a graphic that showcases reviews from your customers and elsewhere
- FAQs- Share FAQs to provide customers easy access to information they often request. It’s also a great way to save time when responding to customers because you can redirect them to your highlight

Cross-Promote Promote Your Instagram Business Account On Different Social Media Channels

When cross-promoting your IG business account, the most important thing you need it’s important to get your links (Instagram account) everywhere. Here are the top practices to keep in mind when promoting your Instagram business account on other channels:

Use Facebook to Reach Out to a Wider Audience

Facebook is well-known as the king of social networks boasting more than 2.41 billion monthly users across the globe. It means that tapping into the world of Facebook marketing is an incredible way to promote your brand, increase visibility, and improve organic and paid traffic.

Facebook ads help you target your ideal audience while delivering exceptional quality content that encourages your viewers to click on your social landing pages. In addition to this, Facebook’s diversified audience and easy connection to Instagram make it the perfect place to cross-promote your social media accounts.

Following are few practical tips to boost your IG account on Facebook and achieve your business goals:

Include a Link to Your Instagram Account

To cross-promote your Instagram profile on Facebook, you need to pinpoint the perfect place on your profile to add your IG link. Adding the link in posts and stories is likely to get lost and even unnoticed.

So, you need to insert the link somewhere; it’s easy to locate and clickable. The ideal place to add your Insta link to showcase it to your followers is in your ‘About Us’ section.

Since your old followers will already be aware of your social media accounts, including the link in your ‘About Us’ tab allows your new followers to learn more about your company and its Instagram profile.

Promote Your IG Account on Cover Photo’s

Updating your profile picture and cover photo is a fantastic way to offer brand-new content and engage with your followers.

Since your Facebook followers are likely to like and comment on your cover photo, consider promoting your Instagram account through it. To leverage this technique, you may use your best Instagram post as your cover photo and link your profile in its description.

Share Your Posts on Facebook and Create an Instagram Tab

Sharing your content from Instagram to Facebook is a great way to save valuable time spent on brainstorming new posts and effectively cross-promote your social media accounts.

By linking a post from your IG account to Facebook, you provide followers the perfect chance to discover your social media account, interact with your IG posts, and give you a follow.

To boost your Facebook cross-promoting efforts, you may create a separate tab on Facebook. This way, your followers can learn that your visual content sources from Instagram.

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Make Instagram Part of Your Email Campaigns

An incredible way to enhance your social media reach and gain new Instagram followers is by integrating an effective email marketing strategy.

This way, email marketing offers you a unique and incredible chance to reach your email subscribers and connect with them on IG.
Create a carefully planned email campaign to make sure your email campaign and Instagram workhand-in-hand. Grab your viewer’s attention by adding incredible visuals featuring your newest and best Insta posts that compel your audience to visit your Instagram profile.

Keep in mind that sending the same email to mention your Instagram account can be repetitive. Instead of doing this, focus on ensuring your email subscribers are always aware of your social media presence.

You can do this by adding customized elements and clickable Instagram icons. Make it extra special by offering the icons a sophisticated or eye-catching look.

Cross-Promote Your Business Profile on Youtube

A common misconception among social media marketers is that you can’t promote your Instagram account on YouTube. However, the fact remains that YouTube is an incredible place to boost your Instagram following.

People who click on your videos and watch them will want to interact with youeven more to see new content. Combining your YouTube marketing strategy with Instagram’s marketing efforts is a fantastic way of putting your posts in the spotlight.

One direct and easy way to convert your YouTube subscribers is by promoting your Instagram profile in your video content. You can do so by mentioning your Instagram account at the start or end of your video. Plus, add it in the video description so they can support you across multiple channels.

Another excellent way of building your Instagram following via YouTube is by promoting your account through influencer collaborations. Instead of requesting influences to add a link to your Insta account, you may reach out to influencers that are willing to tell their viewers about your brand, your Insta account, and more information about your content.

Tweet Your Instagram Content

Twitter is an incredible resource to promote your Instagram account. Leveraging Twitter to cross-promote your IG business profile can be as simple as sharing your posts or including a link to your profile; there are several powerful ways of increasing your follower count.

For instance, Twitter’s 280 character limit captions allow you to include short status updates to promote your post more effectively. Instead of linking your Instagram posts, consider linking posts from influencers and past buyers to showcase that users love your products/services.

At the same time, you may compile your brand’s funniest and original tweets in IG stories and save them to Instagram’s Story Highlights. It provides you with unique testimonials while simultaneously cross-promoting your accounts.

Don’t Forget to Use Pinterest

When cross-promoting your IG business profile using Pinterest, you need to remember that Pinterest users want quality, not quantity. It means that users will see visual content that piques their interest or inspires them.

The trick to successfully promoting your profile on Pinterest is by capitalizing on scroll-stopping content that includes relevant links. Here’s how you can do this:

  • Create a brand new board
  • Create a new pin and add your best Instagram content
  • Curate another board that directs you to the page where you can add destination links
  • Add links to your Instagram posts

The Bottom Line

In some cases, a practical and visual Instagram profile can prove far more valuable than a website. While a website requires people to come to you, Instagram lets you connect with users where they are.

Start by optimizing your Instagram profile, leveraging its exciting features, and by being consistent. It allows you to drive organic traffic on your Instagram business account while fostering organic relationships by engaging with curious users.

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