Decide why you are using Instagram for business
When using any marketing channel, it’s important to have goals you want to achieve. Instagram is no different. If you’re going to invest your time and money in Instagram marketing, ask, “What do we want to achieve?”
Write your goals down and continuously monitor them. Think of your written goals as a formalized gut check. It encourages you and your team to be more intentional with your Instagram content because you can always refer back and ensure everything you share serves those goals.
Bonus tip: If you’re using Instagram for business to drive more sales, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide (free worksheet included) that will teach you everything you need to know to set up your shop and get your Instagram page and posts optimized to drive sales for your business. You can download it here!
Optimize your profile
If you’re using Instagram for business, think of your profile as your homepage. You get 150 characters, one link, and a few action buttons to win over potential customers—so be sure your profile makes a good impression.
The only place on the Instagram app where you can share a clickable link is in your bio, so this is valuable real estate. You can keep a static link to your homepage or frequently change the link to reflect current content. However, link-in-bio tools such as Buffer’s Start Page help you use the link more strategically by turning the single link into a catalog of resources.
Instagram business accounts also have access to Action Buttons—additional clickable buttons for specific calls to action such as Book Now, Contact, View Shop, etc. Action Buttons are a great way to get more links into your profile and make it easier for your fans to interact with you.
Lastly, don’t forget to consider your grid. When people visit your profile, they’ll see your recent posts in grid form. Avoid sharing visually similar posts back-to-back, so your grid always looks appealing.
Bonus: Use a recognizable profile image
When it comes to choosing a profile picture, it’s important for people to instantly recognize it when they visit your Instagram profile. For most businesses, this means choosing one of the following options:
There’s definitely no right or wrong here and don’t feel you must limit yourself to one of these options, but think about what will help people who visit your page to recognize your brand the quickest.
Why do businesses use Instagram?
Instagram isn’t just a place to share photos of your day. With over 90% of users following at least one Instagram business account with their personal accounts, consumers use the app to research new products, stay in the loop with their favorite brands, and make purchases. Let’s take a look at how businesses meet them there.
Drive website traffic (and sales)
Ultimately, businesses use Instagram to make money. For some, this means setting up a digital shop or sending referral traffic to their website—either through a clickable link sticker or their Instagram bio. The platform itself reports that over half of its active users have visited a website after seeing it in Instagram Stories.
Direct sales aren’t always the goal. Instead, many businesses are looking to build trust and authority as a brand so that when a follower wants a specific product or service, their company is the first to come to mind.
Rachel Vandernick, Lead consultant of The Vander Group, explains: “Many companies won’t make direct sales but can maximize it to nurture leads, build community, source user-generated content, and keep engaged with their audience. I encourage brands, especially small businesses, to look at social media as a path to purchase, a touchpoint in the consumer journey, not necessarily the final destination.”
Customers will also use hashtags or searches to find your business on Instagram. It’s a way for them to get your contact information, send you direct messages, and find your physical store location through geotagging. Creating interesting content with striking imagery is the best way to keep these new customers and encourage them to engage with your brand.
It’s no wonder a recent report by Social Media Examiner found that 88% of marketers reported seeing additional exposure for their businesses when using social media, while 69% saw an increase in leads.
Diversify your marketing strategy
For a small business owner with limited resources, adding Instagram for business to your marketing strategy can quickly feel like another job to check off the list. While there is a significant time commitment with social media marketing, putting all of your eggs in one basket is never the most successful approach.
Whether you’re focusing on SEO and rankings or building your email list, diversifying across different digital marketing channels opens you up to a wider audience and bolsters your brand against platform updates or unexpected traffic that could change your visibility overnight.
Take the UK ecommerce brand Partner in Wine, for example. While steadily increasing its following on Instagram, the business went viral on TikTok and saw an influx of sales and new followers across its social media accounts.
Partner in Wine is a good example of why diversification matters. While audiences don’t necessarily translate from one social media site to another, customers expect to see your business on different platforms. This is especially important if your competitors are on Instagram. If you’re not playing in the same field, you’re losing that audience entirely.
Is Instagram suitable for B2B businesses?
Instagram is a visual platform, which means that it caters more to certain industries. Beauty, fashion, food and beverage, hospitality, retail, and travel brands typically perform better than others. But that’s not to say that others can’t find success.
“Just because a brand or industry isn’t inherently ‘sexy’ doesn’t exclude it from using Instagram well. If the content matches the audience, any brand can find useful applications for Instagram in its greater marketing strategy.”
Rachel Vandernick, founder and lead consultant, The Vander Group
Before launching into the Instagram app as a B2B company, though, do industry research and look at engagement levels for the site compared to a more business-focused platform like LinkedIn.
General Electric, for example, has gained many highly engaged Instagram followers with targeted educational content. Its use of relevant hashtags for their industry and products makes it easy for new users to find them and see the brand as an authority in the field.