How to Use Instagram for Business: The Ultimate Guide

Written By Alex Arce Updated on April 27, 2022

If you're a business owner, you know that social media marketing is one of the best ways to reach new customers. But how do you use it? 

The answer is Instagram! The app has over 300 million active monthly users, and 65% of them are under 35. It's also ranked as the 8th most popular social network in America.

This reason makes it an excellent way to grow your following and increase sales for your company.

Instagram is a great way to grow your business and market your products online. In the blog post, we will show you how to utilize Instagram for your business and share some best practices.

Why should you use Instagram for your business?

Instagram is the second-largest social platform in the world (after Facebook).  It has a ton of users, and almost everyone uses it or at least knows what it is.

You can't afford to have an Instagram account if your business doesn't use one!

There are many reasons why businesses should be using Instagram, but here are my top three:

1) It's visual.  Instagram is all about pictures and videos (and less so for brands, although you can still post text).  Instagram is a lot more accessible than other platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.

 If someone cannot read a caption or doesn't want to write a post, they can still share something visually!

2) It has a considerable reach.  After using Instagram, I've seen customers' businesses double and triple in size.

How to get started with Instagram?

1) Create an account.  You can set up your Instagram account from a desktop or laptop computer, but at the end of the day, you're going to want to get on that phone and start snapping pics!  It's a lot easier to use it that way.

2) Use relevant tags.  Don't just post pictures without any hashtags.  While you don't want to go overboard (you want to use a couple and make sure they're relevant), hashtags help your content appear on search engines.

3) Be consistent.  Posting once a week isn't enough!  I recommend posting at least once per day, but you don't want to put more than two pictures every hour. Spreading it over the day is best for growing your account faster (and with better engagement).

4) Fill out your bio.   Your Instagram bio is the place to let people know what your business is all about, so be sure to use it!  This area is also an excellent place to put links - if you have a website or blog associated with your business, feel free to put that link down.

5) Take photos/videos of your products.  Instagram users LOVE seeing real-life pictures of products, so if you have a store or blog where you sell/produce something, upload photos of your products and tag them with the relevant tags!

Who is your ideal customer?

There are so many people on Instagram that it might be hard to narrow down who your ideal customer is.  Let's start from the beginning.

1) Who can buy what you're selling?  I don't know about anyone else, but I don't want to look at pictures of a bunch of vegetables.  

So if you can only sell to people who eat vegetables, don't try posting pictures of your veggies to users who eat meat.

2) Where are they?    You might have the perfect product for people living in one country, but it might be tough to sell them your products if you live in another.  

Ensure that you don't post things to users who won't care about what you're selling!

3) Who do they follow?  If you're a bakery and your ideal customer likes to eat at that bakery, you don't want them to follow some other business.

Make sure you know what people in your niche are following so that you can get more of their attention!

4) What kind of content do they like? Instagram users have different tastes, so try to think about what things your customers might enjoy seeing.

5) Consider Influencers.    I know that many people don't want to pay for help on social media marketing (although I can assure you it'll be worth it!).

Still, if you can find an Influencer with a good audience for your target market, you may want to consider giving them a shout and asking if they'd be willing to post some pictures of what you sell.

How do I stay active on Instagram?

1) Post often!  I already mentioned this, but it's worth repeating.  If you want to stay active on Instagram, you need to post often!

It's good to post several pictures every day and remain consistent with that posting schedule to grow your account.  

This schedule will help build up a following of users who know when they can expect new posts from your account.

2) Interact with users!  Don't just post and leave.  Reply to comments, like photos (and be sure to follow the users who like your pictures), and answer any questions you ask.  

This tactic will help get people interacting with you rather than just acting as a business account.  

It will also help your users recognize that you're real and that they should pay attention to what you have to say on social media.

3) Don't whine about negative comments.  Negative comments happen.  There's no getting around it.  But if you're getting a lot of negative comments, ignore them!  

There's no point in responding to people who don't know anything and have nothing nice to say.

4) Stay positive! Instagram users love happy pictures.  If you stay positive and post good things (even if they're about your brand), users will likely like and comment on your pictures.

And if they interact with you, it'll show up in their followers' feeds and might bring them back to your account!

7) Use Hashtags. I mentioned hashtags earlier, but let's talk about them some more.  Hashtags are a great way to get more exposure for your posts.

Many people don't want to use hashtags because they don't want their picture associated with something else, but I've found that it's not worth worrying about what other accounts have posted.  

As long as you're posting good pictures and interacting with users, the people who follow you will like what your pictures have to say.  

Hashtags are just a way to help users find those good pictures faster!

8) Get involved in contests and giveaways. Try running a contest on Instagram. Your followers need to post a picture about it with relevant hashtags to enter.

Your picture will get a lot more exposure if you win because it'll show up on Instagram's explore page for that contest/giveaway!

9) Just have fun & be real. I mentioned this earlier as well, but it bears repeating.  The best way to stay active is to have fun and be real.  

So go ahead, post pictures of your family, post pictures of the things you like to do in your free time, and post pictures about your organization-whatever!  

Just be yourself (as much as possible) on social media, and people will love it!

10) Direct Message Followers. If someone follows you, send them a message thanking them for following!  

It's nice to talk with people directly about what your organization does, and it helps the user feel special because they know that you are directly communicating with them.

Track the performance of your post

You have to measure your social media performance by tracking your post's stats.

I highly recommend looking at post-specific analytics for the following:

1) Reach – How many unique users viewed this post?  

2) Impressions – How many times did people see your post?

3) Engagements – How many people liked, commented, or shared this post?

Make a content calendar to plan your social media post

a content calendar is an easy way to manage your social media content.  

You can use one of many different software or just a simple excel spreadsheet to create a schedule for when you post.    

You could try finding a template to use.  I would recommend making your own, but the templates might get you started on how it works and how to use one.

If you have a larger budget, I would also suggest hiring someone to handle this for you (if possible)!

I know that many companies provide this service, and some people do it independently.  

Doing social media all on your own can be time-consuming (and sometimes tedious), so hiring someone to handle some of the work would benefit you!

Find the best time to post

the time of day that you post is very important.    If you post at random times throughout the day, you're not going to see much engagement and hardly any traffic (if not none).

What's the best time to post?  It depends on your audience!    

Posting during the workday is probably best if you have an older fanbase.  If you have younger users, Thursday-Saturday or Tuesday-Wednesday might be better.  

Look at your social media analytics for the last three months to find out your ideal time to post.  

Track when you get the highest engagement and traffic to your page/ account.  Then use that data to make a schedule based on it!

Use All of Instagram's post options

Not every post has to be a picture!

If you haven't tried videos yet, or even posts with more than one image, I highly recommend it.  

Videos get people's interest because they're short and sweet.  

They give you just the right amount of information about your page without boring your audience with too much info.

Try posting a video about your company and how you started it or something that would not fit on just an image.

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Instagram reels

Take advantage of Instagram reels. It is the newest feature of Instagram. Instagram will push your content to more audiences to promote the new feature.

Instagram often rewards content creators for using their latest feature, and I've personally seen a massive increase in engagement since I started using Instagram Reels.

Instagram story

You can share short videos and pictures with your followers on Instagram stories.

They disappear after 24 hours, so you will need to create new content each day.  (I like to use this option for when I go out to eat dinner or if I'm at a party and documenting my outfits.)

Instagram stories are a great place for interaction with followers. To interact, you can send them an Instagram friend request or answer a question they ask in their story.

You can also use this location to promote something new on your business page.

Instagram stories are a lovely way to show more who you are as an individual or brand and make your page more relatable to your followers.  

For someone new to Instagram, this might be a good option for you since it's less time-consuming than making an external post (like on Facebook or Twitter).

Instagram Live

Instagram live videos are live streaming experiences that end up being recorded and posted as a video when you stop recording. You can use Instagram live in the same way as your personal "story."

Use Instagram live during special events or when you want to interact with more of a community.  

For example, you might have an Instagram Live at a book signing or when there's a contest going on in your store!

Instagram stories and IG live are fun ways to show your audience that you are a person!  

Instagram Highlights 

Instagram Highlights are a way to curate your photos into collections and share them with your followers.

If you want to share several photos and videos at once, you can create a highlights post.  

This feature that Instagram was just released when I started using social media.

I use this more than anything else!  Highlights allow you to make one big post rather than several separate ones, so it's easier to keep up!

Instagram bio

You can use your bio to attract new followers.  Your description is a location that people see when they first explore the page, so make it count!

Use keywords related to your business and tell them what you do.

I put a link in my bio section to our email newsletter. So that interested people can sign up for it!  This way makes it easier than having them search around the website for information.

Use Instagram influencers to grow your reach

Influencers are individuals who have a following on Instagram and are highly popular within their niche. By partnering with influencers in your industry.

You can tap into this engaged audience and grow your reach on the platform. Not only will influencers help to promote your brand directly to their followers.

They can also share information about your business in their stories or posts, helping to spread the word organically.

Whether you work with one influencer or several, tapping into Instagram influencers' power can help expand your reach and grow your business dramatically.

Create a giveaway or contest

The easiest way to create a giveaway or contest on Instagram is by creating an image collage with all the rules and details.  You can also add an entry form at the bottom.

A great example of this would be a business that offers product giveaways!  They could ask people to share their favorite item from their store and then pick a winner.

I have also seen artists and bloggers who host an Instagram giveaway for followers to win tickets to their concert or lookbook contest for their new clothing line!

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Conclusion

You have some great tips to get the word out about your business on Instagram.   I hope this helps you or someone else in need of some ideas.  

If you enjoyed reading, please share this post with your followers!

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