A newbie's guide to Instagram business: five things you need to know

A newbie's guide to Instagram business: five things you need to know

It’s never too late to get started on Instagram. With a billion monthly active users, the snap-happy social network is a marketing Shangri-La.

Brands especially can reap the benefits of Instagram’s constantly evolving business features, which allow you to dive into genuinely useful follower insights, showing you exactly how they interact with your posts and stories.

Is Instagram right for me?

Insta-space isn’t solely reserved for tan-flogging, teeth-whitening ‘influencers’ or travel bloggers with a GoPro permanently strapped to their wrist. You don’t need to be a luxury watch company or pay celebs to share your poop-inducing weight-loss milkshakes to be seen.

Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar business, small agency or a solo freelancer wanting a little recognition, there’s an audience on Instagram ready for you.

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  • 1 How to set up an Instagram account for your business

    Download the Instagram app

    First thing’s first - go grab the app. You’ll find it in the App Store for iOS, while Android users can get it in the Google Play store. Windows phone? Find the app in the Windows Phone store. Download and tap to open.

    Enter your details

    Simply enter your email address and tap next. You’ll also be given the option to log in with your Facebook account. Do that if-if you don’t already have a personal Instagram account - it can be handy if you have a Facebook business page as the two can be linked.

    Switch to business
    Once you’re inside Instagram, click on Settings. Scroll down and go to ‘Switch to business account’. You can now add important business information such as your website, opening hours, address and contact details. Instagram has a brilliant guide to creating a business profile if you get stuck.

    Post, follow, grow

    Okay, so it’s not as simple as that. There’s an art to posting successful content, but it’s completely doable if you know the basics. Hashtags, collaborations, planning… it’s easy once you get into the Insta-swing of it all. And free. Let’s crack on.

  • 2 Establish your brand voice and visuals

    It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing an email or sharing an Instagram story, an authentic tone of voice is crucial across the board. With Instagram, your voice also extends to your image. Speak to your followers, sharing creative pictures with captions that create a narrative in-line with your visual assets on every other channel.

    Check out Smith Hotels: the travel club sums up its photographs in very few words. With its own playfully cool tone, the brand manages to evoke emotion in every post. Think about what makes your brand different and make sure this is summed up in your Instagram bio - think of it as an elevator speech.

    If your followers can see exactly who you are and what you can offer them from a couple of seconds on your page (and like what they see), they’re going to hit that follow button.

  • 3 Create an Instagram content plan

    Once you’ve clarified your brand voice and visuals, it’s time to strategically plan the content that’ll win the hearts of your target audience.

    There are plenty of planning tools to pick from: Planoly, Later and Plann all allow you to visually manage and schedule posts from your laptop or mobile. Have a set of themes you can follow and create a cohesive month-by-month feed that’s easy on the eye.

    Behind-the-scenes photos, product shots, customer testimonials, #inspo (be sure to tag the hell out of users you’re flattering for optimum interaction) and relevant quotes are just a few you can start with. Create a consistent posting schedule, adapting times and dates you share through trial-and-error experimentation.

  • 4 Harness your hashtags

    Hashtags are, at their simplest, a search function to find the things you love. Businesses can use them to find users who might be interested in their product or service.

    Users can use them to find a brand or service they need. Tapping into your target followers by using relevant hashtags in your posts is important and often it’s the more niche hashtags that have the biggest impact on your follower interaction.

    Instead of using the saturated #makeup hashtag, for example, consider less-leaped-on hashtags such as #fakefreckles, #contouringgoals or #veganbeauty.

  • 5 Collaborate!

    Influencers aren’t anything new - brands have been nabbing celebrity endorsements for years.

    But today’s Instagram stars offer businesses something that can’t be achieved with even the mightiest advert. Find the right one for your company and they can bring reality, relatability and authenticity to the table.

    You can find organic influencer matches by searching related hashtags, seeing who follows you already, or can hire companies to do it for you.

    Build mutually beneficial relationships by finding out what motivates your chosen influencer. See if they’re happy to receive free products or services - many bloggers are in the job to receive free stuff they love and shout about it.

    If they’re not interested, then you can talk money. Don’t underestimate the power of micro-influencers, either, especially if you’re a local or niche business. Working with smaller Instagrammers can help you grow in your immediate area and building stronger relationships with local customers.

    With everything on social media, influencer marketing on Instagram can go wrong. Now you’re up to scratch with the basics, make sure you avoid these three common influencer mistakes to enjoy success in your partnerships (and avoid death threats over mouthwash - yes, really).

Staff Writer


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