In this day and age, businesses use social media as a part of their overall marketing efforts to hit core business objectives. For many, Instagram is a key part of the mix. Not only is Instagram one of the most engaging social media platforms, it currently has over 1 billion monthly active users around the world. In this post we’ll explain how to manage a business Instagram account.
Instagram and its parent Facebook are a great place to start when you have limited resources.
It may seem like a simple thing to post online, but managing Instagram for your business requires:
- Skillful execution
In simple terms, it’s a lot of work.
If you’re a new business looking to make your mark or an established business planning to start on Instagram, you need to:
- Understand the value of using Instagram
- Learn how to manage all the work
- Use the right tools
When all the elements come together, Insta can light your sales funnel on fire.
How do I get my business on Instagram?
Whenever anyone asks me how to manage a business Instagram, the first thing I tell them is to get an Instagram Business account.
If you’re already using a regular account, you can easily switch over to a business account.
The reason you need a business account is because it will give you all kinds of information about your posts and the people who view them.
For example, a business profile can provide information about:
- Impressions and reach
- Profile views
- Change in followers (up or down)
- Website and email clicks (via buttons that can be added in your bio section)
- Details about your followers (e.g. gender, age, location and the times of day they are most active on Instagram)
You can use these insights to improve your posts for more sales.
First, make a plan
After setting up your business’ Instagram Business Profile, you’ll want to put together a strategy that breaks down:
- Your goals (i.e. reach 1000 followers in first six months)
- The type of content you want to share (i.e. video, photo, IG stories, etc.)
- The voice or tone that’s appropriate for your business (i.e educational, serious, fun, etc.)
You’ll also want to answer other important questions such as how often you plan to post and how the work will be done (e.g. how are you going to post it, who’s going to post it, will it be done remotely on a phone or scheduled in advance).
Tips from the pros
To the uninitiated, Instagram can seem like a whole new world. So to shorten the learning curve, we’ve put together a list of best practices.
Know your audience
Knowing who is most likely to buy your product or service will make it easier to come up with content ideas. Use the data an Instagram Business Profile collects to understand who your followers are, when they’re active on Insta, what kind of posts they like and more.
Rule No. 2: don’t “binge post.” It will get lost in your audience’s feed and it may annoy them seeing a bunch of posts all at once.
Because your audience will forget about you. Using the scheduling tools listed below will help space out your posts by scheduling them ahead of time. Aim for a regular schedule so followers come to expect fresh posts every Tuesday and Thursday, say.
Make everything easy for your audience
If you want them to check out a link, provide the link or an easy way to access it (for example, by mentioning how the link to purchase is in your bio).
If you don’t make it easy, they will continue to weigh whether they want to purchase or not and may end up not purchasing at all. Same applies if you want to share a link to an article or a new blog post. Give it to them right then and there.
Keep it simple!
Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many tools and doing too many different content pieces at once. Start simple and it will grow from there.
For content, if something isn’t working, move on to something else. Focus on doing a few good things really well and consistently, rather than too many things not often enough.
Tools to help manage a business Instagram
There are many online tools that can help manage your day-to-day activity on Instagram. These tools can help schedule content ahead of time, repost posts that your customers tag you in and more. Here are some of the best:
This is important to use for your Instagram bio. Since you can only put one clickable link in your bio, utilize Linktree to keep all the important links (to purchase, to recent articles, etc.) to make access easier for your followers.
Best part is, there’s a free option!
Scheduling content, setting up campaigns and monitoring all your social channels is super easy with Hootsuite. While it is not the best platform if you’re only using Instagram, there’s no better option if you’re active on multiple social channels.
Similar to Hootsuite, Later lets you schedule ahead of time. What makes it great is the visual layout that helps you plan your content calendar. Really powerful and useful tool for any business that is focusing their social efforts just on Instagram.
Very similar to Later, this platforms helps set up Instagram content ahead of time. Some people prefer Gain’s layout, but otherwise both are equally useful.
This platform helps you find accounts and content relevant to your audience to better understand what they like to see. You can use what you learn to decide what type of content to produce.
Every image you post is an opportunity to impress and connect with your audience. Using this editing tool will make your cell phone photography look like a million bucks!
Reposting followers’ content to your own main feed can be time-consuming and tricky if done manually. Repost helps you share customer images with ease and efficiency, while still giving credit to the original poster.
Most of the tools listed here come with a free trial or promotional period that can be cancelled if you decide you don’t like or need it.
Why would a business want to use Instagram?
For many small businesses and startups, social media allows them to tell their stories and make a splash in whatever industry they’re entering.
Posting on Instagram has become standard in many companies’ communications efforts
As social requires so much effort to manage, you want to make sure that your efforts all contribute to your overall business objectives. Whether it’s to increase sales or raise brand awareness in a specific industry or market, the content you create and publish should reflect those goals, while still being interesting to the consumer.
There are hundreds of businesses that run mainly — if not solely — through Instagram because it allows them to connect directly with consumers through their daily Instagram use.
The platform’s amazing content-publishing options include:
- Main feed static posts
- Instagram stories
- Video posts
- Instagram TV
Instagram works like a company’s personal media center to share all the amazing new stuff that’s going on.
The best part? It’s free to post, it can be relatively simple when managed properly and there are so many types of content pieces that can be shared. Posting interesting content allows you to be creative and really show the personality and behind-the-scenes work of your business.
Remember, consumers connect to creative storytelling and not just product promotion.
Canadian small businesses that are killing it on Insta
A great example of a small business that uses Instagram effectively is Small Batch Soaps. This vegan and natural-based soap company shares beautiful photos that get people excited to purchase.
While it helps that the products are visually stunning and look tasty enough to eat, the way the company uses Instagram is aspirational to any new business. Small Batch Soaps shares:
- New product announcements
- Videos of the owner making the different soap creations
- Closeup product shots
- Pictures/news of the events where they sell their soap
Small Batch Soaps posts stories on a day-to-day basis, along with video and product closeups to their main feed.
The company’s social media efforts turned a weekend-only side hustle into a full-blown eCommerce business.
Other examples of Canadian brands that launched via Instagram and have grown into big players in their industries are:
- Farsali Skincare
- Wuxly Movement
- Vancouver Fashion Truck
While all these examples are from different industries, each show how much growth a business can have by sharing their message on Instagram.
In conclusion: how to manage a business Instagram
The results are in: if you had to choose one social media platform to promote your small business it would be Instagram. It’s free to start with and it’s visual — the surest way to stop people from scrolling past your posts.
To be successful on Instagram, you’ll need to make a plan and stick with it. But the data Insta provides can help you evaluate whether your posts are resonating with your audience or not and when (and how) to refine them for better results. You can’t ask for more than that, can you?