How to Use Instagram for Businesses
Instagram spans beyond photos of precious pups and #OOTD posts—the social media titan is also one of the most popular and lucrative platforms for business.1 From carousel posts that display your top ten products to stories that blast your Black Friday sale, Instagram is a savvy medium that business owners can leverage to reach a global audience and increase revenue.
The site has incredible reach: 500 million people use it daily, 90% of them follow at least one business2 and 70% of Instagram users open the app to make purchasing decisions.1
With these stats, it’s no wonder Instagram is a leading marketing tool. Here’s everything you need to know to join the 200+ million businesses on consumers’ Instagram feeds.1
The advantages of Instagram for businesses
Whether you’re wanting to learn more about affiliate marketing strategies or simply looking for ways to market your business yourself, Instagram has endless advantages to doing so. Social media networks like Instagram provide global exposure for brands with just a few clicks, an eye-catching profile photo and engaging posts. To build brand awareness, businesses can use a variety of tools, including stories, reels, targeted Instagram ads and product tags to instigate purchases, humanize its value propositions and establish themselves as a trusted brand.
Instagram also provides companies with opportunities to closely engage with customers by conducting weekly polls on Instagram stories, interacting with comments on posts and responding to direct messages.
To gain an understanding of follower trends and content performance, businesses can view Instagram Insights, which provide a look into:2
- Accounts reached
- Accounts engaged
- Content interactions
- Total followers
With this data, companies can equip themselves with knowledge that can inform marketing strategies, product launches and user research.
Partnering with a digital marketing and social media agency can also help bring your efforts to the next level.
How to leverage Instagram as a business
Building a brand on Instagram is similar to decorating the scariest home in the neighborhood on Halloween. In other words, you’ll want to curate a captivating experience that brings everyone to your front door to receive your offerings. The best news is that there are plenty of Instagram tools at your disposal. We’ve outlined how to use Instagram below so you can create an effective Instagram strategy for your business.
1. Determine your objectives
Instagram’s sheer reach may feel like reason enough to use it as a marketing tool. However, it’s critical to join the social media platform with a clear business plan to create a business profile that speaks to your target audience with purpose.
Defining your objectives can inform your marketing strategy and provide you with a framework that drives your voice, marketing initiatives and consumer relationships. For example, companies may utilize Instagram to:
- Keep customers in the loop – Whether you’re a local boutique or a fine arts retailer, Instagram provides effective and compelling content tools to keep customers in the know. Eye-catching feed posts can be used to announce an upcoming sale or event, introduce a new team member, promote a new product, or support a local partnership.
- Build and maintain a community – At the forefront of social media is community. Creating a business profile that consumers can interact with cultivates customer loyalty and trust in your brand. More specifically, Instagram allows you to interact directly with your clients and followers to share news, answer questions and open up a dialogue about their needs, wishes and goals.
- Showcase the company’s core values and community – Research indicates that consumers are increasingly attracted to companies whose values correspond with their own. In fact, a 2021 survey reports that 60% of respondents purchased from a brand because of their shared values.3 Brands can create a brand personality through unique language and a curated aesthetic.
Need inspiration? Consider the Instagram campaigns that spurred you into action or increased your interest in a company. Assess how your competitors are using Instagram as well, and which of their posts generated a large number of likes, follows, shares and comments.
2. Establish your ideal target audience
To establish your ideal target audience, start with your existing customers or Instagram followers. Through user research and surveys, identify the wants and needs of your audience by determining:
Don’t have a client base yet? Again, check out your competitors. Their followers—especially those who express their love for the brand in comments and shares—can tell you a great deal about your target audience and how to connect with them.
3. Determine your persona before stepping into the game
Knowing who you are as a company is just as vital as familiarizing yourself with your target audience. Before you begin posting on Instagram, it’s important to lay out a plan for the way you want to communicate with current and potential customers.
That said, consistency is key in digital marketing, and an Instagram business account that’s at odds with your website or Facebook account through misaligned messaging or schema can give a consumer whiplash and impact their trust in your company.
As such, when creating an Instagram profile, every business must consider:
- Tone of voice – The tone of voice you adopt for your Instagram posts should mirror either the ethos you’ve already established on other digital platforms or the foundational values of the company you’re getting off the ground. Naturally, this should align with your products and/or services. A poetic, inspirational tone of voice may work beautifully for a company that sells organic, handmade soaps, while a retailer that sells skateboards can benefit from a more relaxed tone of voice that speaks specifically to industry expertise.
- Color scheme – A consistent color scheme is equally crucial. Drawing time and again from the same part of the color palette will give your account cohesion and polish. A cohesive feed also makes your brand both recognizable and memorable. Per design principles, businesses typically utilize monochrome, analogous, complementary or triadic color schemes to create contrast and balance that’s pleasing to the eyes of Instagram users.4
- Content – Millions (literally) of companies use a combination of photo posts, reels and stories to create a dynamic brand identity. Whatever you choose, there should be a certain consistency and cadence to the Instagram content you publish.5 Posting memes for weeks on end only to slide in a live video of your team behind the scenes may cause a follower to doubt the credibility of your company. It’s optimal to deliver relevant and reliable content on a consistent basis.
4. Open an Instagram business account
Once you’ve established the framework of your brand voice, content, and objectives, it’s finally time to download Instagram’s splashy ombre icon and build your business profile from the ground up:1
- Step 1 – Sign up with your business’ email address.
- Step 2 – Head to Settings, then Account and switch your profile to a professional account.
- Step 3 – Select a category that aligns with your business.
- Step 4 – Add your contact information, and you’re ready to begin posting.
5. Optimize your business profile
Data demonstrates that we have all of seven seconds to make a stellar first impression with consumers.6 Daunting? No doubt. But it’s also an opportunity to further develop and refine your brand. There are two ways to capture audience attention off the bat:
- Be super judicious with your profile pic – Profile pics on Instagram are tiny—110 by 110 pixels, to be exact.7 Concision here is key. If you don’t have a logo in place, deem it a priority. Whether you choose the first letter of your company’s name or a design, aim to make it captivating, colorful and memorable.
- Craft a pitch-perfect bio – Instagram grants users 150 characters for their bio, which underscores the importance of ensuring yours is punchy, succinct and enthralling. If possible, aim to convey your core principles and the lifestyle you advocate rather than just the products and services you offer. (For an example of this, check out @aloyoga: Bringing yoga to the world. Inspiring mindful movement from studio to street.) You’ll also want to include your website and, if it makes sense for your industry, your location.
6. Deep dive into Instagram’s range of posting options
One of the beauties of Instagram is that it gives businesses a great deal of creative liberty. But this is only valuable if you know how to use and take advantage of its different types of posts.
Whether you choose to work with a tech-enabled growth firm or tackle Instagram on your own, understand the advantages of each type of post:
- Photos – Instagram feeds are the backbone of every business account, they provide a consistent look into your brand, your offerings, and your values.
- Carousels – Brands can boost social media engagement and showcase a collection of new products using carousels, which allow up to 10 photos per Instagram post.
- Stories – Stories can increase brand awareness and keep customers up-to-date on upcoming deals or events.
- Live stories – Instagram live stories help brands connect with their community members. Customers can interact directly with comments and brands can add guests to the live stream to create rhetoric around a product or service.
- Reels – Instagram reels are snappy and often creative videos that give your audience a front-row view of your brand. They can increase your following and boost engagement rates.
These are incredibly valuable Instagram tools that businesses can use in their social media marketing efforts when executed successfully.
7. Build an editorial calendar
Brand consistency extends beyond language and aesthetics. It also applies to the consistency in which you publish content to the platform, as this can build brand recognition and trust.
Some companies choose to post daily; others, multiple times per day.
Examine your competitors’ frequency and analyze your Instagram insights to determine the best times to reach your target audience. From there, you can develop an editorial calendar to stay on top of your content strategy.
8. Use relevant hashtags
Hashtags are the lighthouses of the Instagram marketing world, guiding consumers to your reels, stories and business profile. While Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, an overuse of hashes can appear gimmicky at times and take away from your brand authority.
That said, a tech-enabled growth firm like Power Digital can assist your company in finding relevant and trending hashtags that speak directly to your target audience.
Reach—and exceed—your potential with Power Digital
Instagram’s enormous popularity, user-friendly features and visual nature have established it as a marketer’s dream platform. Whether you’re taking your initial dive into digital marketing or are searching for strategies to increase your exposure, it can be a fantastic forum to connect with customers, build brand awareness, and expand your reach. If you’re ready to launch your Instagram strategy, consider partnering with a digital marketing agency like Power Digital.
Power Digital has the marketing prowess and data intelligence tools to take your efforts to the next level. As a tech-enabled growth firm, we work alongside our clients to help them rise above the noise and make a genuine impact—on Instagram and beyond.
Let’s get the conversation started.
- Instagram for Business. Getting starters on Instagram for business. https://business.instagram.com/getting-started/
- Instagram. About Instagram Insights. https://help.instagram.com/788388387972460
- The Source. Consumer values, brand expectations change in 2020. https://source.wustl.edu/2021/05/consumer-values-brand-expectations-change-in-2020/
- SitePoint. Principles of Design: Color. https://www.sitepoint.com/principles-of-design-colour/
- Forbes. Why consistency is the key to successful branding. https://www.forbes.com/sites/williamarruda/2016/12/13/why-consistency-is-the-key-to-successful-branding/?sh=5ae33c327bbd
- Forbes. You and your business have 7 seconds to make a first impression: here’s how to succeed. https://www.forbes.com/sites/serenitygibbons/2018/06/19/you-have-7-seconds-to-make-a-first-impression-heres-how-to-succeed/?sh=7f7a0a5a56c2
- Expert Photography. Instagram profile picture size guide. https://expertphotography.com/instagram-profile-picture-size-guide/
- Business of Apps. Instagram revenue and usage statistics https://www.businessofapps.com/data/instagram-statistics/