Instagram might have started out as a place for people to share gorgeous photos of luscious food, adorable pets, glamorous travel destinations, and other glossy glimpses of their fabulous lives. But it didn’t take long for businesses and entrepreneurs to realize it’s the perfect venue to promote their brands with enticing visuals that tap into people’s passions and aspirations.
If you’re looking to take advantage of the boundless potential of Instagram to expand your reach and engage with potential customers and clients, the first thing you’ll have to do is set up an Instagram business account. Sound frightfully complex and time-consuming? Well, it’s not! Read on to learn how easy it is to start building your business on this dynamic platform and take advantage of Instagram’s business features, including account verification, insights about your customers, metrics on your engagement, and even in-app shopping.
Create an Instagram business account
If you already have a regular account, it’s easy to convert it to an Instagram business account. Just go to the Settings in your profile, tap Account, and tap Switch to Business Account. You’ll also need to connect your new business account to a Facebook Page so you can access all the available tools and features, including the ability to advertise on Instagram.
Verify your business
For many businesses, getting that little blue check mark next to their name signifying a verified account is like finding the Holy Grail. It gives you a certain cachet because it means you’ve been vetted by real live people at Insta HQ. It also means that you have enough renown that someone, somewhere might want to pretend to be you.
But beyond the clout it provides, verification does serve several genuine purposes. It gives people confidence that you are who you say you are, which is particularly important if you’re looking for new customers and clients. It proves that you are somewhat well-known, since it requires that you’ve been covered by various news outlets. It prevents any future imitators from copying you. And it helps with your visibility by pushing you to the top of Instagram’s search results.
If you think your business might merit a verified badge, applying for one is easy. Just go to your account Settings, scroll down, and tap Request verification. You’ll then need to attach a photo of your personal ID or a business document like a tax filing or articles of incorporation with your request.
If you don’t get a badge, you can reapply in 30 days. Or you can find other ways to increase your legitimacy and authenticity among your audience. For example, be sure to link your Instagram account to your company website and your other social media accounts. And put a link to it in your email signature as well. This will help ensure that your Instagram presence is connected to all of your other online activities.
Get Instagram Insights
Having access to Instagram Insights is one of the biggest and best perks of creating an Instagram business account. In fact, it’s such a popular feature that many individuals switch their personal accounts to business accounts just so they can use these tools to learn about their followers and track how people are interacting with their posts and stories.
Instagram Insights provides demographic information about your followers, such as gender, age, and location. It allows you to track engagement with your profile, posts, and stories, including number of likes, comments, saves, visits, and clicks on the website link in your bio. You can see when your followers are most active so you can time your posts appropriately. And you can see where your impressions are coming from, such as hashtags, the home feed, and your profile.
All of this information and more is designed to help you maximize your performance on Instagram, including expanding your reach, increasing your impressions, and getting more followers. By knowing which of your posts and stories do the best, what types of people are following you and interacting with your content, and learning more about the timing and geographical location of this activity, you can develop your Instagram presence with more precision and focus for better results.
Access special features
As Instagram increasingly becomes an essential marketing tool for businesses big and small, the platform is adding new features all of the time. However, many of these features are being rolled out slowly, with just a few businesses being able to utilize them. Still, it’s a good idea to get familiar with these special features so you’ll be ready for them when and if they’re available to you.
One such feature is Shopping on Instagram, which allows businesses to tag products within a post and have people click on them and buy them right on the app. Businesses can also use call-to-action buttons that appear on a promoted post and can be used to allow people to perform actions within the app like ordering food, booking an appointment, and making a reservation.
Instagram is clearly moving toward streamlining the processes of purchasing, booking, ordering, and reserving to make the platform more useful for businesses and consumers alike. And while the current offerings are only available on a limited basis, it’s best to be aware of what’s coming down the pike so you can design your marketing and business plans accordingly.
Reach a vast audience
Hopefully, you can now see how quick and easy it is to set up an Instagram business account and you’re now ready to take the plunge. But if you’re still wondering whether Instagram is a platform that’s really worth using to market your business, here are a few facts and stats that might convince you.
With 1 billion monthly active users and 500 million who use the platform every day, Instagram is the third most popular social network after Facebook and YouTube.
Instagram is something that people like to use often, with 22 percent of all users logging in at least once a day and 38 percent checking the platform multiple times a day.
If your business caters to teens, you should know that 72 percent of all teenagers in the United States use Instagram, making it even more popular than Snapchat with this demographic.
500 million people use Stories every day and 2 million brands are using Stories. One-third of the most viewed Stories were created by businesses, proving it to be a significant marketing tool.
Among U.S. businesses, 71 percent use Instagram, and there are 25 million business profiles on the platform. What’s more, 80 percent of users follow at least one business.
Convinced yet? Great! Now it’s time to get your business account set up and start growing your business with Instagram!