A long time ago (as in 11 years), Instagram was just a millennial platform for sharing photos and earning endorphin-spiking likes and comments. Now, it’s an important sales and promotional arm that everyone from enterprises to startups can (and should) flex.
We’ll walk you through how you can use Instagram to smash your business goals, starting with what an Instagram Business account is and why you need one as soon as possible.
Why You Should Make an Instagram Business Account
First things first, let’s get you switched over from a personal account to a business Instagram account. This will help unlock a few new tools and functionality:
- Real-Time Insights: Learn trends about your followers and the performance of your content across Instagram Stories, Instagram Reels, IGTV videos, live videos, and your feed. You’ll get access to impressions, profile visits, button taps, contact information taps, and content interactions.
- Contact Information: With an Instagram business account, you can list your phone number, email address, physical address, and website URL.
- Selling on Instagram: Activate the shop tab on your profile to make Instagram your next mobile storefront. You’ll be able to create an ecommerce catalog and shoppable Instagram posts for users to buy directly from Instagram.
- Instagram Stories and Private Messages: Access exclusive stickers for your Instagram Stories and private direct messages (DMs).
- Call to Action Buttons: Add a call to action (CTA) button on your profile to encourage visitors to visit your website, contact you, book an appointment, make a reservation, or order food.
- Instagram Ads: Boost your posts with Instagram ads to increase your reach to a select audience you want to target.
- Quick Replies: Create pre-written replies so you can respond to customers’ frequently asked questions instantly.
- Content Scheduling: Business profiles can schedule content to automatically post—personal accounts can schedule content, but it’s a manual process to publish.
- Swipe Up Instagram Stories: Add links to your Instagram Stories that followers can “Swipe Up” to access (you’ll need 10K+ followers to activate this feature).
How to Use Instagram for Business
Your business can use Instagram to accomplish various objectives. For Foundr, Instagram started as an experiment that gave us the credibility to create a course worth buying. For others, it’s a way to connect with influencers with massive reach. It’s a sales generator, audience builder, lead finder, awareness driver, and conversion machine.
Here’s how to use it for your business:
1. Instagram Target Audience
Find your followers. Instagram has over 1 billion users—if you’re looking to build your audience, there’s a good chance they’re already here.
Publish branded content, share your message, promote your products, and interact with your target market. Slowly but surely, you’ll begin to build your following.
Ditch the mindset “if you build it, they’ll come.” That’s not true. Build all you want—if your customers don’t know you exist, they’ll never come.
Make your presence known.
Your target market is already on Instagram. They might not be visiting your website or on your email list but they’re on Instagram. Go find them and build your audience.
2. Drive Instagram Awareness
Whether you’re launching a new product or opening a second store location, your target audience should know about it. Use Instagram to publish Stories, promote posts, and DM your customers to give them the details.
Instagram can be a passive brand builder. Find relevant hashtags, use branded images, and establish yourself in the community.
When your target market searches in the explore tab or taps a related hashtag, you want them to find your brand. You want your business associated with their interests—and you want Instagram (and your followers) to consciously and subconsciously recommend your brand.
3. Find Leads on Instagram
Your loyal customers will already follow your Instagram account but you can also use the platform to find new leads. Once you attract them to your profile, get them to the top of your sales funnel.
Offer freebies and deals to get your Instagram audience to click the link on your profile to visit your website or a landing page. Provide them with an irresistible offer and collect their email address or phone number.
With that information you’ll have a new lead in your pipeline that you can begin to nurture toward a conversion. Continue to provide them with valuable content, acclimate them to your brand, and push the sale when the time is right.
Find influencers and micro-influencers in your niche who’ll be willing to endorse your brand. You’ll need to pay them and provide them with free products but their promotion and validation of your brand could be worth much more than a pay-per-click (PPC) ad.
4. Make Instagram Followers Buy Your Products
Instagram started as a photo sharing platform but now it’s an ecommerce marketplace. Once upon a time, you’d have to send your Instagram followers through multiple click steps to land them on a product page. Now you can sell directly to customers on Instagram without the extra clicks.
First, there are shoppable posts. You can tag your products in your images, add price tags, and empower your audience to add that item to their Instagram shopping cart straight from your posts.
Second, there’s your Instagram shop. You can catalog all your products, create collections, add product images and descriptions, and allow your audience to make purchases from within the platform.
A subtle tactic is to highlight products in your Instagram Stories and encourage viewers to “Swipe Up” to learn more or find an exclusive discount.
5. Increase Website Traffic From Instagram
You can use website traffic for just about anything: awareness, leads, conversions, followers, and subscriptions. Build a following on Instagram and you can start boosting traffic to your website.
Include CTAs in your posts and Instagram Stories to visit your website—this could be to learn more, make a purchase, sign up for an event, or download a freebie.
Swap out your profile link to match your CTA. You can do this once a month, each week, or every other day—it all depends on how aggressively you’re trying to push your followers to your website.
Invest in turning your Instagram followers into Twitter followers, Twitch subscribers, email subscribers, and SMS recipients. You want to get them following you online wherever you have a presence. This is for 2 primary reasons:
- Protect Your Business: If Instagram shuts down your profile tomorrow, you don’t want to lose contact with the incredible following you’ve worked so hard to nurture. Diversify your following portfolio to protect yourself.
- Expand Your Touchpoints: Your followers might not check their Instagram account for a week or intentionally delete it for a short period—you don’t want to lose your connection with these people. Diversifying your channels will help you stay connected in different ways: emails, SMS, push notifications, direct mail, and other social media platforms.
6. Human Resources on Instagram
You don’t have to use your Instagram business account for product promotions and sales—you can also use it as a hiring platform. Post pictures of employees, team outings, and work culture to spotlight the best aspects of working at your business.
When a candidate is considering working for your business, they’re going to consume everything they can about you. They’ll check your website, about pages, social media profiles, news articles, and more. Make your Instagram feed a highlight reel of why your business is a place candidates should work at.
7. Boost Team Morale with Instagram
Employees value being celebrated. Posting pictures of your employees (with permission, of course) is an easy win to make your employees feel special.
Consider doing an employee spotlight series with interviews to learn more about them. There’s also a good chance your employees will share these posts on their own accounts, gaining you some high-quality organic traffic.
Tips for Making Your Instagram Business Account a Success
Optimize Your Instagram Business Strategy
It isn’t easy to use a single Instagram profile to execute all the objectives we listed above. Instead, you’ll want to focus on one or two initiatives to start.
Choose your Instagram’s purpose and stick to it. Be intentional with everything you post. Outline your key performance indicators (KPIs) before you launch to ensure your content strategy lines up with your metrics.
Post Content Consistently
Instagram is all about high-quality visual content—and that’s going to need to be your number 1 priority. Find, purchase, or take incredible photos for your Instagram account that support your business objectives.
Second to quality is consistency. You need to create an Instagram content calendar and stick to it—don’t slack off and fall behind or try to be too aggressive and overpost.
There’s no end-all-be-all posting frequency. Start posting and monitor your engagement. If you post multiple times a week and your engagement goes up, experiment with posting multiple times a day. If you do that and your engagement begins to drop, scale it back.
Use a social media scheduling tool like Sprout Social, Hootsuite, or Later to schedule your Instagram content in advance. This will help you be intentional with your posts, layouts, and captions instead of scrambling at the last minute to whip something up.
Write Your Best Captions For Instagram
Your Instagram posts only have 2 main elements: the picture and the caption. Make both memorable.
Writing effective Instagram captions takes time and a clear strategy.
Experiment with writing longer captions, add emojis here and there, and remember to include relevant hashtags. Check out our guide to writing Instagram captions to learn how to take yours to the next level.
Increase Engagement on Instagram
Whether you’re trying to spread awareness or drive sales, you’re going to need an engaged audience—and the best way to hype up engagement is to initiate.
Find your audience, like their content, and post meaningful comments. Start conversations and contribute to the community. Don’t be robotic or turn on an auto-like app. Be authentic.
It’ll take time and effort but the rewards are worth the labor. This type of engagement doesn’t lead to vanity metrics—it leads to an engaged following.
Master Using Instagram for Business
Want to accelerate your Instagram account’s growth? We have the tips, formulas, and know-how to make it happen. Sign up for our Instagram Domination course to learn the exact step-by-step framework we used to grow Foundr’s Instagram profile from 0 to 500K+ followers in just 12 months.
Oh, and we’re sitting at 3.2M followers now, so rest assured—it’s a scalable strategy. We’re not keeping our approach a secret, though. We’re sharing it all in this exclusive course.
Join the course now to organically grow your Instagram account to new heights.