How to use Instagram for business: Your ultimate guide

instagram, instagram for business

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So, you are considering opening a business account on Instagram, “a place where visual expression from business inspires visible action from people around the world.” Sounds like a great community to be part of - even if they are the words of Instagram.

The first thing you’ll need to do is bookmark the Instagram for Business website and download the app. You will need them to create your account – on desktop or mobile. The site also holds a lot of useful information to help you along the way.

We are here to help you navigate all that by taking little steps, one at a time. This guide will get you started, help you create great content for Instagram(opens in a new tab or window), and grow your followers and your business.

In the article below, we will provide you with the ultimate guide for using, and Instagram for business, so your business or brand can start making waves in the social media scene.

Add clear information to your profile

Once you’ve downloaded the app, sign up to Instagram for Business and create a business account – if you used your Facebook information for both accounts are linked now. Upload a dazzling profile icon and write a quick bio. Let’s talk about how to make better versions of them.

01. How to write an Instagram bio

Instagram biographies are often one of the first things your Instagram audience will see. This is a great opportunity to quickly show them who you are and how you can help them. Because it’s limited to just 150 characters, how do you make the most of that little space? Here are a couple of tips:

  • Convey the personality of your brand
  • Use emojis for visual information
  • Include hashtags — they are discoverable and clickable
  • Break the text into lines so it's easier to read.

02. How to choose your Instagram profile icon

Your Instagram profile picture also takes up prime real-estate, so it’s important to think about the image you want to use. As a business or brand, an Instagram logo(opens in a new tab or window) is a popular and effective option.

  • Select a square image of 320 X 320 pixels
  • Ensure it’s high-resolution and presents clearly on your Instagram profile
  • Make sure it’s spaced well within the profile icon round shape.

03. Complete your profile.

Instagram offers various features to optimize your profile, why not use them?

  • Add a username and your name. Since these are the elements that are included in Instagram search, so fans and customers can find you.
  • Add your website. Since this is the only place where you can include an organic clickable link or link in bio(opens in a new tab or window), not on posts. You might also want to embed your Instagram feed(opens in a new tab or window) on your website.
  • Add your contact information. If you would like to be easily contactable for enquiries or new customers, you can also add your contact information onto your Instagram for business profile. This includes your phone number, email address, and office location.
  • Pick your categories. Instagram for Business also allows you to add a category to your business. From design, to blogging and more. This allows you to be more easily found and more easily identified.

Add a CTA. Call-to-action buttons, like buy tickets, attend an event, etc.

Photo by Erik Lucatero on Unsplash

Define your Instagram business strategy

An Instagram strategy allows you to clearly identify what success looks like and how you will get there. Since you’re investing time, energy and resources into your social media presence, it’s important to ensure that it is delivering value to you and your business.

One way for you to visualize this is with Business Models(opens in a new tab or window), this lets you outline how you can create value or make profit out of your product and services.

Your audience, your goals and a posting schedule are the main elements you have to consider in your social media strategy.

01. Define who your audience is

You may know by now who your customer or user is. But it’s also to consider what type of content they will find value from and engage with.

To have a better understanding of your audience and potential followers or buyers, review your customer profile – demographics, values, needs, challenges, shopping behaviors, social media channels and type of content preference.

You should also take a look at how your competitors are reaching the same audience you’re after and how successful they are at it.

Having a clear idea of the benefits and value that your brand offers is helpful to define who belongs in the core of your target audience.

02. What are your goals

Setting clear goals for your Instagram business(opens in a new tab or window) account will help you stay on track and measure your progress. Think about applying the SMART tools, for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely goals.

Depending on the needs of your business these goals could be:

  • Creating brand awareness by increasing your reach
  • Engaging your followers by measuring likes and sharing rates
  • Increasing your conversion rate of followers into buyers
  • Looking for customers generated content to connect with them at a deeper level

03. Set up a posting schedule

Next, you need to commit to a regular posting schedule, because your followers would like to hear from you. Take into account the time needed for you to create it and when to post it so your followers are on their phones.

Is it going to be pictures, videos(opens in a new tab or window), stories, polls?

Let’s take a look at the type of content and a couple of tips you create the best content for your business on Instagram.

Share content with value

From branding messages, to product display and Instagram TV, it’s important to ensure that the content you share on Instagram has a clear purpose and goal. Below are some suggestions to help you reach new audiences and grow your followers.

Embrace your branding

What’s the essence of your brand and your aesthetic theme? You should stay consistent across your posts so people recognize your brand in their daily feeds, and are eager to read your catchy captions.

Refinery29(opens in a new tab or window), the vibrant media company focusing on young women, has built over the years a great niche theme around inspirational quotes paired with graphic elements– and they keep coming, better and better each day.

Use high-quality imagery

Who better to take inspiration from than Instagram itself? Instagram(opens in a new tab or window) posts are of crisp, high-quality imagery. There are no fuzzy snapshots here. The more clean and sharp your image is, the more pleasant it is on the eye and the more likely it is to get ‘liked’ and shared.

And if you’re in need of some high-quality images, Canva offers more than a million in a curated library of premium photographs. See below for a taste.

Photo by Alexy Almond

Photo by Andrea P. Coan

Display your product creatively

If you are marketing a product, it’s important to find creative ways to highlight how it can be used in everyday life. Take a look at cookie brand Oreo’s Instagram feed. They’re consistently inventive in the way they portray their product.

All of the images are cohesive in both tone and color, while providing a consistent message about Oreo (that it’s the world’s favorite cookie) in completely unique ways.

What are some unique ways you can showcase your product? Take a look at other brands and note what they’re doing – you’ll be sure to find inspiration there.

Connect with your audience

Another important part of social media marketing is to ensure that you are communicating and being interactive with your followers. One way to easily stay across the conversations about your brand or business, is to search your brand hashtag and look at your tagged photos frequently to feature loyal customers who give you a shout out straight from their personal space. Remember to select these pics carefully, so they stay true to your brand’s visual style.

Airbnb(opens in a new tab or window) frequently features user photos. This way, the brand is still accessible and personal. By showing real life people in these Airbnb rooms, it lends warmth and credibility to the experience.

Try Instagram Stories and IGTV

Over 500 million people use Instagram Stories every day. The post, that stays up for 24 hours, allows for pictures, videos, live streaming, polls. It’s a great vehicle to post offhand content with minimal post production, to strengthen your connection with existing followers and to attract new ones. Take a look at fashion brand Everlane for inspiration.

Through IGTV, Instagram TV, you can show long-form, vertical videos. IGTV is available in a stand-alone app and within Instagram's app. Each video can be up to an hour long. You can host anytype of events on it: from FAQ sessions to how-to chats. And you can even post previews to the event.

Stay current

A good way to stay current is to follow your favorite brands and stay up-to-date with social media trends(opens in a new tab or window). Also keep an eye on what your competitors are doing, because you want to make sure that you remain true to your brand personality and that your feed stays fresh and distinctive.

Grow your audience

So your Instagram business account is up and running. Now, how do you take it to the next level and grow your audience?

Connect with your followers

Instagram is all about community – the essence of social networks. Always stay in touch with your current followers and respond to comments, mentions and the tagging of your brand.

Use appropriate hashtags since they are searchable. That means that when someone clicks on it, they see all the content tagged with that hashtag – a great way to be discovered by people who don’t know you yet.

If you want, you could create your own branded hashtag, and encourage people to use and spread it in their own posts.

Follow other brands and influencers

Get involved in the community. Make yourself visible. Follow the people who are active in discussions that are relevant to your brand – you can find who they are by searching certain hashtags.

Launch a campaign

You may still be a small brand, but you could reach out to the new crop of influencers, the so-called micro-influencers, with smaller but more targeted followings.

Consider Instagram ads

Grow the reach of your content even further by starting a paid or “sponsored” campaign with engaging Instagram ad designs(opens in a new tab or window).

Consider a shoppable post, so people can buy your product just with a click on a “Buy” button. Or an interactive add with a quizz or a poll to engage new audiences through regular posts or Stories. Instagram explains all your options here(opens in a new tab or window).

Optimize your results

So, how is your business doing? Are you seeing an increase in your following numbers? Are you selling more products? You’ll need to check regularly to be able to make adjustments in your strategy. Instagram offers analytic tools so you can check on your numbers, the metrics on how your posts and stories are performing.

An easy way to track and optimize the results of a post is applying what’s called A/B testing. Create two versions of a post – with a tweak on the caption, the image, hashtags, and monitor which one performs better. And then fine-tune your next post according to what you learn. Got a brain drain from all the brainstorming? Get started with our free business name generator(opens in a new tab or window) and let it refresh and inspire you with great ideas in a flash.

Get inspired by Instagram success stories

Browse the Instagram for Business site for more insights on how to use the platform and some Success Stories(opens in a new tab or window) from brands, local and global, who are advertising on the platform.

Keep posting

Be sure to give it time. Solid Instagram followings don’t happen overnight. Stick with it, keep posting, and interact with your customers. Respond to their comments, comment on their images, and like photos relevant to your brand, your image, and your interests. And spread your network. Don't be afraid to hit up other brands to offer collaborations or partnerships. It’s a big world out there, but it gets smaller if you land the right social connections.

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