Instagram is now far from the platform we once knew from when it started. From being a repository of selfies, food porn, and travel goals photos to one of the most effective digital marketing channels, its 800 million active monthly users have turned it into one of the most popular and fastest growing social media platforms there is.
This social media giant presented a lot of possibilities when it opened its doors to businesses, creating metrics for marketers so they can measure how well they’re doing in terms of brand exposure. Since then, Instagram evolved into a business tool that digital marketers must use to their advantage.
But before you start uploading your next social media post, you first have to know what your goals are on Instagram and how you can accomplish them using the photo and video-sharing platform. Whether it’s to increase sales, drive traffic to your website, raise brand awareness, or assure customer satisfaction, knowing the basics of how to use Instagram is essential to successfully leverage it as a digital marketing tool.
Starting with Instagram
Before you can begin your Instagram journey, you have to sign up first, just like with any other social media platform.
1. Download and install the app
Since posting on Instagram can only be done through your mobile device, downloading the app (App Store for iOS, Google Play Store for Android, or Windows Phone Store for Windows) is a must.
Once installed, open the app and click the Sign-Up button.
2. Create an account using a business email address
Make sure to use a business email address and not sign up through your Facebook account for this step, as this would create an account that’s linked to your personal Facebook account. What you need is a separate, standalone Instagram profile for your digital marketing efforts.
3. Choose a username
To avoid confusion and stick to your business’s brand, it’s only right to use your company name as your Instagram username. You can use variations if the intended username has already been taken like adding an abbreviation of the business location.
You can also let Instagram generate a username based on the one you’ve entered, which you can change anytime you wish.
4. Add a profile photo
Before uploading a profile photo, Instagram will ask you to find people to follow. However, you can skip this step until such time you’ve completed setting up your account. You’ll have plenty of time to do this later by accessing Settings.
When you tap ‘Add a photo,’ you’ll have a choice to import from Facebook or Twitter. If you opt for that, make sure that the account linked to the email address is from a business account. Choose a profile photo that is easily identifiable and associated with your brand, like a logo or a professional headshot.
Instagram profile photos are cropped into a circle, so make sure that your picture fits the shape. Choose a photo that’s no less than 110 pixels, so it still looks big when the account is viewed on a browser.
5. Complete your profile
Access your Instagram account by tapping the profile button on the bottom right side, then edit your profile under the “Followers” and “Following” counter by filling out the bio and contact information fields.
You can add a relevant link for your business under “Bio”, such as your website or online shop to redirect people to a site you want them to go. More importantly, it’s recommended that you add a brief description of your business and your location in your profile.
6. Switching to Business Account
Once you’ve completed the sign-up process, you can now turn the account into an official business profile.
If you’ve already finished the previous steps enumerated, you can tap “Try Instagram Business Tools” to eventually convert your personal account. You can opt to connect your business’s Facebook page or you can just tap “Don’t Connect to Facebook Now”.
You will then be asked to choose a category for your business, update your contact information, and provide other business details for your business profile.
Using Instagram for Business
Once your Business Profile is set up, you now have access to different Instagram business tools like Insights and Promotions, and you can start using the platform to spread the word about your company!
You need to post a photo or two before following other people so that they have an incentive to follow back.
2. Adding captions and hashtags
Keep captions brief. Hashtags are added because it makes your content simpler to find, and in turn, makes your account more accessible. You can either use any of the Top Hashtags or a customised or specific hashtag to target a particular niche.
3. Engaging with people
There are Instagram users of various age, gender, and location, so make sure to know who your market is and start following users based on that.
As mentioned, following other users should be done after completing the account and posting a few photos or videos. “Follow” can be accessed through the account page or Settings, which will search both your mobile contacts and Facebook Friends for people you can follow.
Don’t stop at following other users. Make sure to interact with them through comments, likes, or Instagram Live or Stories. Engagement would make them want to follow your account back. You can also tap influencers who may promote your brand.
4. Integration with other accounts
It’s essential that you add or link your Instagram account—or just about all your social media accounts—to your other online efforts, including blogs and websites, as this will help spread the word.
These are just the basics of how you can start using Instagram to grow your business. There are evidently a lot of other strategies to implement like the frequency and time of posting and your contents’ theme. You’ll be able to fine-tune your strategies as you go along and eventually find more ways to be more effective on the platform.
Keep in mind that your methods will rely on your business goals for using the app, so make sure these are well-defined and in-line with how you use clips and images. Pretty soon, you’ll be producing desirable results.