Creating an Instagram Business Account
Social media is no longer just a place for cat photos or funny memes; it’s becoming a robust business platform. Instagram is among the top channels leading the charge.
Since 2010, Instagram has grown to become the fourth most used mobile app. It also joined the ranks of Facebook and YouTube as a must-have social media profile for businesses, as nearly 40% of B2B decision makers use Instagram to research new products or services.
If you are a brand ready to get the most out of Instagram, look no further than launching an Instagram business account. This special type of account provides much more functionality than a regular Instagram account, and it is easy to set up.
Let’s explore how an Instagram business account can transform the way your brand does social media.
Differences Among Personal, Creator, and Business Accounts
It’s essential to understand the subtle differences between these three primary account options.
- Personal: This is what the average Instagram user enjoys. It has limited features, just enough to create posts and IG Stories and to share with friends.
- Creator: A relatively new feature, Creator accounts are intended for Instagram influencers. These are people who create content but don’t have a business or storefront per se.
- Business: Instagram Business Accounts are the next level up, with extra privileges and options for businesses to successfully market themselves on the platform.
The Benefits of Instagram for Small Business
An Instagram business account gives brands access to promoted posts and Instagram ads. These paid solutions will allow you to expand your brand’s reach, and you can easily track campaigns the same way you do for Facebook ads.
Instagram business profiles are also more aesthetically pleasing. For example, you can add business contact details and an email address instead of a brief description and URL. There’s also room for a call to action button that could say “call us” or “view shop.”
All Instagram business accounts come with the ability to access key insights, showing you how many people are visiting your account over a given period. In addition to profile views, it will show you a breakdown of audience reach, impressions, clicks, and demographic information to help pinpoint your audience even further.
A customer service feature called “quick replies” is a shortcut to faster responses to customer inquiries. This Instagram feature allows you to save common responses in the form of a keyboard shortcut. This way, you can answer inquiries with minimal typing effort.
And for those brands who have fallen victim to false endorsements or credibility attacks, Instagram business accounts provide you with a convenient safeguard. In the settings, you can specify whether other people need prior approval to tag your account as “branded content.” You can also create a list of “approved accounts” if you only have specific partners that are allowed to tag your account.
As your business account grows larger, there are some additional perks worth checking out. For example, business accounts with 10,000 or more followers can add external links to their Instagram Stories. This is a luxury that is meant to be coveted, as you can send viewers straight to your sales page from your Story.
There are some disadvantages to having an Instagram business account. For example, you cannot limit who can directly message you the way you can with a standard Instagram account. To that end, you are not given an option to set your account to private (not that you’d want to in most cases).
How to Create an Instagram Business Account
Setting up an Instagram business account is 100% FREE, even if you don’t end up using a lot of its features.
Download the App and Sign Up
If you don’t already have Instagram, you must download the app from your mobile app store. Instagram is only available via their app.
Next, you will need to open the app, tap “Sign Up,” and enter your business email address. It may give you the option to create an account from your existing Facebook profile, but it’s better not to do it this way. Just use your business email address to be safe.
Setting Up Your Profile
When it comes to creating a username, you will want to pick something as close to your brand name as possible if your brand is one word; that makes it that much easier. However, if it is multiple words, you should figure out a way to abbreviate or utilize underscores in-between each word.
The password part should go without saying; choose something difficult for others to guess.
After choosing a username and password, you will be prompted to “find Facebook friends.” For a business, it’s recommended that you skip this part for now. You will want to fully optimize your profile before inviting friends (or potential customers) to the mix.
Now the fun begins. Start optimizing your Instagram account by tapping “Add a photo” underneath the “Add Profile Picture” option.
Choose a profile picture that professionally and accurately represents your brand. No selfies or group shots here, unless that is hyper-relevant to your company.
Once the photo is uploaded and you are happy with it, click “Save.”
Tap on the profile button to see how your account will appear, then tap on “Edit Your Profile” to begin putting on the final touches.
Start with briefly summarizing your company. For your Instagram business bio, you will want to include a description of the business’s location along with some more details on what exactly your company’s specialty is. After that, be sure to complete all of the contact information fields. Completing every form field in your Instagram business bio helps ensure that people can reach you through multiple communication channels.
Now that you have successfully created an Instagram account, it’s time to make it a business-specific account.
Switching Your Instagram from Personal to Business
Head over to the “Settings” area of your normal Instagram account (that little wheel thing) and click “Account.” Then tap on “Switch to professional account” to launch your business account.
It’s that simple.
From there, you will want to link to your business Facebook page. If you haven’t yet created a business Facebook page, you should do so ASAP. Facebook and Instagram are owned by the same entity, giving you cross-over advantages from one account to the other.
Account Created, Now Time to Post
Creating 2-3 fresh posts in a new Instagram business account before inviting anyone or openly publicizing the new account is recommended. You want people to see that you are active on Instagram, which will make them want to follow you.
How to Promote Your Business on Instagram
Creating an Instagram business account is an important step towards gaining more followers and increasing brand exposure. But it’s not a set it and forget it kind of thing.
Promoting your account requires strategy and hard work. Only accounts that post consistently will gain traction.
Here’s how you can position your account for long-term domination.
Set a Regular Posting Schedule
Success with your Instagram business account starts with timing. First, you have to know when your audience is most likely to engage with your account; then, you can set your posting schedule accordingly.
There are certain days of the week and specific times of the day when audiences are most active on Instagram, but this will vary from business to business and from one industry to the next.
Generally speaking, Instagram is busiest on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during lunch hours (people like to scroll through their feeds in between bites). Sundays are typically the worst days to post since most people are out doing other things.
These rules aren’t necessarily steadfast and true, so you should always consult Instagram analytics to understand your audience better. After a few weeks of regular posting, you will begin to notice patterns in the way audiences react to your account.
Once you’ve determined which times deliver the best engagement, you can start to plan your most important posts for publishing on those days.
IGTV Videos and Reels
Instagram has come out with some more advanced features over the past few years, including the popular Instagram Reels and IGTV videos. These tools present new opportunities to share your content with the masses, and the same basic posting rules apply.
Be sure to publish your reels and videos during the same peak hours when you do your other posting.
Businesses post One-third of the most viewed IG Stories, and there’s a reason. A user views Instagram Stories continuously, without interruption. So they will be able to see a friend’s story then seamlessly run across your brand’s story.
Stories are a great vehicle to exercise your visual creativity. If you can incorporate video in an engaging manner, your Instagram Stories will pop. Plus, you can add text and create calls to action so that people will migrate to your website.
For your best or proudest Stories, there’s an option to archive them using a feature called “highlights.” These will appear underneath your bio and are accessible to users indefinitely. It’s a great way to memorialize product releases or business milestones.
Don’t Always Be Selling
Even though you’ve created an Instagram business account, you should still keep things casual from time to time. One of the most common mistakes Instagram businesses make is selling to their audience in every post.
When setting up your posting schedule, make sure to break up the types of content you publish. For example, try to have at least one post a week that’s light and non-sales.
How to Grow Followers & Business on Instagram
Once you have your Instagram business account fully optimized and you’ve begun posting regular content, it’s time to kick things up a notch.
Start putting the tools in place to help grow your following and expand your business.
Use Instagram Live
People love watching live streams because it gives them a chance to interact with their favorite brands in real-time.
Instagram’s Live feature places you in front of your followers in just a couple of taps. You can use this to announce new product lines, give your audience a tour of the office space, or hold an ask me anything (AMA) session.
Set Up Shop
Then you’ll need to choose how you want customers to complete their purchases by selecting a checkout method. From there, you can pick whether to have your shop on Facebook, Instagram, or both.
Add products to the shop easily by connecting your existing product catalog or creating a new one.
Tagging your posts with relevant hashtags will help your content show up in different searches for new potential consumers. You should use these strategically though, having too many hashtags in one post will look spammy. Technically you are allowed to use 30 hashtags per post, but a smaller amount is better.
Hashtag with purpose. Look at which hashtags are currently trending and see if anything relates to your business. Then, choose hashtags relevant to your type of business, your business location, or any specific products you are marketing within the post.
Equally important is following popular hashtags from your industry. You must stay up to date with the latest hashtags, which are subject to change over time, and make sure you use them appropriately.
You might want to place a hashtag in the first comment of your post if you feel that your image is already too cluttered.
Instagram makes it easy for brands to create their giveaways. Share the upcoming occasion with your followers through an Instagram Story or post, expressing the details of the giveaway and telling them how they can be involved.
You can also team up with another brand account to provide an even larger giveaway prize to winners.
If your brand is well-established, you can bring in some “celebrities” to host a live video session on your account. This drifts into the realm of influencer marketing which is one of the top emerging marketing strategies today.
Sell Gift Cards
Another way that Instagram is making things easier on businesses? By letting them sell gift cards to their followers.
You can now sell digital gift cards via your Instagram Story or right from your profile. Just tap “Edit Profile” and then, under the Public Business Information, select “Action Buttons” followed by “Gift Cards.”
Add a Countdown Sticker
Do you have a brand new product launch dropping at midnight? Fuel some anticipation by adding a countdown sticker, so your biggest fans know to mark their calendars for the big occasion.
A countdown timer builds anticipation among consumers, increasing their desire to buy.
This is the one strategy you will have to pay for, but Instagram Ads might just be worth it. Ads are an excellent tool for collecting information about your audience in a short amount of time. In addition, it is beneficial for unearthing new audiences.
With Instagram Ads, you can split test different ads to determine what works best for a specific product or service. If you’ve had success posting about one product but not another, you can try different variations on the lesser-performing posts to find out what works best. In addition, you can test your ads using other text, colors, or images until you find what resonates most among your viewers.
Instagram has excellent targeting features, allowing you to pinpoint the location of your intended audience and their demographics and interests. There’s a lot of overlap with Facebook ads for those who are familiar.
Continually study the data from all the work you’re putting forth. Instagram Insights has some pretty helpful ways to measure and identify audience trends and other information. Then, you can use these insights to determine what sorts of changes should be made to your existing Instagram strategy.
Instagram Post Ideas for Business
In the spirit of keeping things interesting, businesses should post a variety of content to their feed. You want your followers to expect new and engaging content from your brand.
Here are some business post ideas that perform well.
Fill in the Blank
Fill in the blank posts tend to kill it for engagement. These are pretty simple: a blank background with a line that reads “Fill in the Blank,” then underneath a sentence like “My favorite color is _” and people are compelled to comment with their favorite color.
This works for just about anything. For example, if you are a fitness brand, you could use a line like, “My fitness goal for this year is _”. Again, the goal is to make your audience feel like a valued part of your brand’s process.
Fill in the blank posts also give you a sense of where your audience is, in terms of what they want from you and what you can do to help them. It’s sort of like crowdsourcing.
Remember when we talked about putting a face to your brand? A simple team photo will do the trick.
Gather your employees and co-workers around for a quick smile at the camera phone. You can also take some on-the-job photos, which typically do well for service-based businesses.
Your business is here to help, and there’s nothing like a “tip” post to accomplish this. Whether it’s the “Tip of the Week” or something delivered at a different frequency, you can be instrumental in providing guidance to your followers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Create a post about some of the FAQs you receive from customers. This is an excellent way to address questions or concerns that prospective customers might have had.
Reposting one of your followers’ posts shows that you care and that it’s not just a one-sided relationship.
Plus, if they have a decent following, you can get some likes, comments, and additional people following you.
Encourage Your Followers
It may sound corny, but inspirational posts do make a difference. So instead of using canned lines from those old 90’s posters, make yours unique to you.
Share an encouraging anecdote from your day. The goal is to motivate followers and lead by example.
People love a tease. It’s the reason why movie trailers are so effective.
Show your followers a glimpse of your next major project, product line release, or an upcoming event you’re hosting.
A simple preview can come in a photo, a slideshow, or even a short video (one that cuts off just when the big reveal is about to happen).
It’s not bragging; it’s just reminding people what you’ve done. Create a short video montage relaying some of your past work and possibly adding a tease for what’s to come.
Rinse and Repeat
Recycling old Instagram posts is perfectly acceptable, especially ones that performed well.
If you’ve ever heard of #tbt, you’ll understand.
Launch your Instagram Business Account Today
The decision to launch an Instagram business account should be a no-brainer. Because it’s free, there’s only the matter of going into Settings and switching it on. It couldn’t be easier!
The key to long-term success on IG is understanding what’s working in your field. For competitive analysis, social blade is a valuable tool. It will show you all the ads run by your competitors across Facebook and Instagram, giving you tons of inspiration for your brand.
Instagram domination is possible. With a sound strategy, a qualified team behind you, and a little elbow grease, you can cultivate a brand that will thrive on the platform.