If you asked us back in 2016 where we thought Instagram would be today, we probably wouldn’t have guessed its evolution to a fully-functional social commerce space. Nevertheless, we’re here for it! Instagram is now a place where businesses and shoppers can directly interact, shop, and communicate all without leaving the app – making it one of the most accessible social platforms for business.
Once known as the “photo sharing” app, Instagram has expanded to become a landscape where brands and businesses can grow and reach a wider audience. However, for business owners more green to social media, running an Instagram Business profile might seem daunting, but that’s hardly the case! With the help of Instagram’s business-minded features and a few universal tips on planning and creating content, you can become the social media savvy business owner you were always meant to be!
How to Use Instagram for Business
If you’re a business owner reading this and your business isn't already set up on Instagram, take this as your cue to change this right now! For business owners to reap the full benefits of being on Instagram, make sure to register under the business category on Instagram and Facebook. To do this, head over to your settings and switch from a personal account to a professional one. If you don’t quite see the reason to change just yet, let us walk you through all the benefits
Besides seeming like a legitimate business to potential customers browsing your profile, there are many perks: insights on your posts, communication tools to chat with customers, and a simple marketplace feature known as Instagram Shops. With 70% of shoppers looking to shop via Instagram, there’s no reason you shouldn’t make the switch to a business account. Did we mention it’s free?
Key Steps for Setting up Instagram for Business
Finish setting up your profile - After switching to a business account, there are a few housekeeping things you need to do to ensure your account is open for business. Start by adding a bio, a link to your website or online store and physical address (if applicable), and your contact information. From there you can start creating a few highlights for your business using Instagram Stories and begin planning out your first nine grid posts to best communicate your brand’s identity and aesthetic. Each of these tips will help communicate to the world you’re a credible business. We’ll dive deeper into more of these best practices in our Instagram for Business 101 downloadable below.
Craft goals and objectives - Begin by identifying your business objectives and goals, and the steps you’ll need to take to achieve them. You can ask yourself a few questions like: What am I looking to accomplish with being on Instagram? Is it greater brand awareness, increased conversion rates, or perhaps all of the above?
Find your niche - Research who your business currently serves and other potential target audiences. You can help narrow this down by outlining what solution your business provides and all the audiences who might benefit from your product or services
Create a content strategy - Developing a successful content strategy can be a cinch, once you have an idea of who your target audience is, your goals and objectives for Instagram, and what content works best for sharing your business’ story. Check out this blog post with everything you need to know about creating a content strategy on social from start to finish.
Begin building your digital communities - As a new business on Instagram, it’s important to dedicate time to cultivating a community of engaged followers. Respond to your followers in a timely manner, and shout them out when they tag your business. Follow nearby businesses, relevant hashtags, and influencers in your niche. Engaging with your audience builds trust which results in customer loyalty.
Review and apply Instagram insights - Instagram offers high-level insights and analytics into your profile and content, which allows you to learn about your follower demographics, when they’re most active, and what posts drew the most traction. You can refine your content strategy based on this learning and instantly swap tactics that aren’t working for ones that resonate with your audience
Instagram Tools to Highlight Your Business
Instagram Badges, Stickers, Shops, and Product Tags help businesses become more accessible to their audiences. Let’s dive a bit further into how each tool works.
Instagram Badges - This new feature is a way for creators and business owners to earn money via Instagram Live. There are many creative ways to use Instagram Live, but one of the ways you can use them to generate traffic to your business is by hosting an auction or giveaway. Badges can help with bidding on products and/or raising money for any business endeavors you wish to complete.
Instagram Stickers - There are a variety of Instagram stickers out there, and each is geared towards driving user engagement. Ask your followers questions on the products and/or services they might be interested in or what content they would like to see more. Check out our Instagram Polls breakdown to better incorporate the feature into your business content.
Instagram Shops and Product Tags - For any business account selling a product or service, Instagram Shops and Product Tags are the way to go. Instagram shops make your Instagram grid shoppable while staying on the app and product tags make any product shots or user-generated content shared on your Grid easy to click and purchase on each post.
Resources for Managing Instagram
There are several resources out there to help make running your Instagram easier including a few PLANOLY products and organizational techniques meant for the entrepreneur on the go.
Content Buckets and Content Batching - For every social media content plan there should be a rule to use content buckets when planning content. Start by picking the categories of content you want to make and then spread them out over the month. This way when you go to create content you know exactly how much educational, user-generated content, lifestyle shots, Reels, etc. there is. Once you know your content categories try making the majority of it in one sitting. This way you’re not scrambling or
Templatize - Designing content might be even harder than finding the inspiration for the content on Instagram. Apps like StoriesEdit and Canva are perfect for creating quick and cheap content that looks like a designer did it. You can edit each template to your liking and post them either on your Stories or feed. Automated replies are a great way to create standard responses for any customer needing help. This way they know you’ve seen it and will get back to them in a timely manner.
Instagram for Business 101 - We created a nice downloadable to help you get started on everything Instagram for business.
If we know anything about small business owners is that you all work very hard to make your product or service as special and successful as it can be. That also means social media might not be your first priority when it comes to running and managing your business but don’t be discouraged. Start out by setting realistic goals for yourself and don’t compare your Instagram to anyone else.