Instagram is one of the major social networks in the world with around 600 million active monthly users and counting. The photo-sharing app is one of the most effective brand-building tools available today for businesses, as it can provide people the visual identity of a brand.
In May 2016, Instagram launched its new features for business users such as business profiles, Insights (analytics) and new tools to promote posts.
Instagram is mainly a mobile app that is free and downloadable from Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Signing up is easy – you just have to fill in your email and information, or you can just connect it to your Facebook account and Facebook fills in information for you. You’ll only have to create a username and password.
If you already have an Instagram account, you can convert it to a “business account” for free. Instagram can suggest that your account has access to the business profile by indicating a “Switch to a Business Profile” message on top of your profile screen. You can click “Learn More” to learn about the features of a business profile. Next, you will be asked to connect your account with your Facebook profile and Facebook business page. After that, you need to update your business’ contact information and once completed, your Instagram account is already switched to a business account.
However, if you do not receive the message at the top of your profile, or if you just have created your Instagram account, you can go to Options then scroll down to the Account section. You will see the “Switch to Business Profile.” Click it and just follow the instructions on how to switch your account. This service is also free.
Take note that business profiles will only be open to you if you already have a Facebook page for your business.
Once you have provided contact information for your business account, a “Contact” button will appear next to the “Edit Profile” button. When looking at other business accounts, the “Contact” button will be next to “Following/Follow” button. Upon clicking the button, you will have the option to get in touch with them, or get directions to their business location.
Instagram’s business account also offers Insights, a business analytics tool. It’s not as detailed as other third-party analytics tools, but it is a convenient tool to help you learn more about the demographics and behavior of your audience. Insights feature weekly metrics such as impressions, top posts, reach and engagement around posts, along with information on followers like their age, gender and location. It also shows your followers’ most active hours of the day and your followers’ active days of the week on using Instagram.
Insights can also give you data for an individual post by clicking the “View Insights” link below it. Instagram will show you the reach, impressions and engagement for that particular post.
You can also make an advertisement out of a post you already shared by clicking on it then selecting “Promote.” From there, click “Call to Action” so you can select a target audience, choose a time period for your ad to run, and set a budget. Your ad will appear on your followers’ and your selected audience’s home page in between organic posts.
Most recently, Instagram Stories can now be an platform for businesses to advertise. In March 2017, Instagram launched an update that enable business profiles to run full-screen ads in Instagram Stories. You can use a photo or a video that is no longer than 15 seconds and it would pop up between organic stories that users and your followers watch. You will also be able to get the same Insights statistics similar to other Instagram ads and posts.
Instagram’s new updates and services are making it truly ideal platform for promoting businesses. Try upgrading your account to a business profile now to help you get wider reach and increase followers.