A Guide to Instagram for Business
In June of 2018, Instagram reached a milestone of one billion active users per month. As of January 2020, it has maintained its popularity worldwide. The sheer volume of users and a large potential audience means an Instagram business account can help you build your brand…perhaps with a little help from ads and influencers.
Although trailing behind Facebook (which has owned the platform since 2012 when they bought it for $1 billion), Instagram has a targeted niche of users that cannot be easily reached through other social media platforms. You can use Instagram very effectively for business, especially if your brand is particularly photogenic.
Find out more about how to use Instagram in this guide for businesses. Let’s start by delving a little deeper into its users…
Instagram Users – A Younger Demographic
Instagram users are relatively younger than users of Facebook and other social media platforms. According to Statistica, more than 50% of Instagram users worldwide are under 34 years old. Meanwhile, the average age of Facebook users in the U.S. is 40.5 years old.
In terms of online marketing, Instagram can be used to target a younger audience. Although there are demographic settings for social media ads so you are able to reach the demographic of your choosing, Instagram can typically be used to reach the under 35s.
What is Instagram?
While most people know of Instagram, you might not be an active user so here’s a quick lowdown. Instagram is a social media platform mainly intended for photos and videos. Its filters and features allow users to be creative with their shots, posting and sharing professional-looking photography.
Users can directly edit the photos or videos that they want to upload when using the Instagram app. It does not require high-level photo-editing or video-editing skills. The app tools are extremely user-friendly and very easy to use – which is great for businesses.
How Instagram Works for Businesses
When a business sets up an Instagram for business account, they can create an online store and social media promotion platform at the same time. Setting it up is really pretty easy. You can either create a new account from scratch, or you can convert a personal account into a business account.
To set up an Instagram for business account from scratch, all you need to do is:
- Download the Instagram app
- Open up the app and click Sign Up
- Enter your email address and click Next (at this stage you can also have the option of connecting your Insta page to your business Facebook page)
- Choose a username and password and complete your profile information (make this as specific as possible and use as many keywords for your business as you can)
- Click Done
And voilà – you have a personal account that’s ready to convert to a business account. Here’s how to do just that:
- Log into your personal account
- Go to your profile page
- Tap on the three-line icon and go to Settings
- Select the Switch to Professional Account option, then click Continue (at this stage you can also connect your Facebook business page to your Instagram business account)
- Provide your contact information. You must include your email, phone number, and a physical address (if applicable)
- Click Done
And now you have an Instagram for business account.
Extra Features on Instagram for Business
Instagram for business has the same features as a personal account plus added features such as:
- Instagram Insights – this tool provides you with analytics that can help you adjust your business strategy
- Contact information – your business contact information such as phone, email, and physical address will be visible to your customers
- Instagram Ads – you can choose to pay for targeted ads for specific demographics based on age, gender, location, likes, education, etc.
- Call-to-action buttons – you can incorporate this button if you want your visitors and potential customers to purchase or subscribe
- Shoppable posts – these types of post allow visitors convenient access to your checkout page
Why Instagram Works for Businesses
Globally, there are now more than 25 million businesses using Instagram. Most of them are small and medium enterprises.
In terms of global reach, Instagram is still far behind other social media platforms like Facebook and Youtube with 2.4 billion users and 2 billion users, respectively, but it does have a few advantages over other social media platforms when used for business purposes. Check out these surprising statistics:
- 60% of online users discover new products on Instagram
- 200+ million Instagram users visit at least one business profile daily
- 80% increase on the time spent watching videos on Instagram
- One-third of the top-ranking stories are from business profiles
- Users spend 53 minutes on average on Insta every day
- 71% of U.S. businesses are on Instagram
- 50% of IG users are following at least one business profile
- Instagram generated four times more interactions compared to Facebook
Instagram works well for businesses because it is more focused on engaging the audience in terms of product discovery and conversions and can help to boost your brand awareness.
Tips for Using Instagram for your Business
You can use Instagram for business in two main ways. The first is to create brand awareness and audience engagement through telling a story or posting pictures and video. The second is simply to sell, by using call-to-action buttons and shoppable posts.
Here are just some ways you can use Instagram for business to reach out to your target customers:
- Create content that has added value – As a visual platform, your posts should be able to immediately capture the attention of your target audience. Unlike articles, you cannot include too much information on one photo or image even if it is an infographic. Create posts that are entertaining, eye-captivating, and informative
- Have a consistent theme – Most people like a sense of stability and consistency from brands. This is especially true for loyal customers and subscribers. Use a consistent theme in a broader sense like using certain filters, font, color schemes, etc.
- Engage with your target audience – You should be responsive with the comments, especially with questions directed at your business. You can also use polls, contests, and quizzes to engage your followers.
- Tap Instagram influencers – Instagram is full of influencers who could potentially endorse your brand or products and pass on referrals from their own loyal audience.
- Implement ad campaigns – Just like other social media platforms, you can implement ad campaigns for specific demographics on Instagram. Set your budget and your target leads and make sure you analyze performance so you can tweak your campaigns for best results.
- Post regularly – Once your business profile attracts followers, you need to consistently schedule posts to update your followers.
Does your Business need Instagram?
Determining whether your business needs to have an Instagram account will primarily depend on two factors: your type of business and your target audience.
It’s fair to say that there are some industries whose target audience simply isn’t going to be on Instagram, so putting in the time, effort, and budget necessary to run social media platforms isn’t really necessary. On the other hand, if your ideal customers are on Instagram, that’s where you should be, too.
- Generally, it’s worthwhile having multiple social media accounts to reach a bigger audience
- If your business is focused on consumer items like tech products, you can be visually engaging in your posts
- Your core business message might be easily communicated through photos or graphics
- Instagram is growing fast as a platform and becoming more focused on business branding
- The general audience and users of Instagram are mostly young people
- You will need to have an available resource who can manage and regularly update your multiple social media accounts. Make sure that Instagram is really essential or it might just be extra baggage
- Your product might not be suited to Instagram. For instance, if you are selling audio-based products like audiobooks or podcasts, Instagram might not be the ideal platform for promoting these products
- There’s little space for additional content like articles on Instagram. The information you can display is limited
- Links are not clickable on Instagram. If you want to drive traffic to your website, users have to copy and paste the URL
Examples of Businesses that use Instagram Effectively
Big business brands like Ikea, Starbucks, Intel, General Electric, and Taco Bell actively use Instagram to engage with their audience and promote their products. These businesses, however, are not primarily successful because of Instagram.
However, there are some small businesses that became successful largely because of their Instagram strategy. Here are three examples:
- Pura Vida Bracelets – Translated, the name means “pure life”. Costa Rican brand Pura Vida’s products are focused on the theme of life’s simple treasures and laidback philosophy. Instagram strategy: Their posts emphasize the core philosophy of the business. Each photo is full of personality, which allows the customers to imagine having the products.
2. 33 Acres Brewing Company – a microbrewery with a unique style. Instagram strategy: 33 Acres are ultra-consistent in their branding and imagery, which is eye-catching for its emphasis on monochrome with a splash of color.
3. Chubbies – frat-house humor at its finest. Instagram strategy: Funny, low budget and aimed at dudes – Chubbies really knows their audience.
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