February 10, 2014

When most people think about using Instagram, they think about it for personal reasons. The idea of sharing what you ate for dinner or another selfie probably isn't what you think of when it comes to social media marketing for your business. Fortunately though, Instagram really is about a lot more than just meals and duck faces. Instagram is a very powerful tool for businesses. And to help you out, I wanted to give you some of my top tips for using Instagram for business.

Instagram doesn't currently provide the option for "Business" pages on their site. A business profile will operate and look just like a personal profile. So it's important to set up your profile to maximize your marketing potential.

Use a Consistent Profile Photo

I honestly believe that all of your social media pages and profiles for your brand should use the same profile photo. Doing this makes it so much easier for people to find you on new sites. Instagram is no exception. Whether you use a logo or a photo on your social media pages, use the same photo on your Instagram account.

Use a Recognizable Name

You can make your "name" whatever you would like. But if you're using Instagram for business purposes, make your name and username are something recognizable. For example, my name on Instagram is Jenn Herman - just as I'm known on all my pages and sites (I could have used Jenn's Trends as my name just as easily). And my username is jennherman31 - the same as my Twitter handle. It's consistent and anyone who follows me elsewhere can easily find me on Instagram. If I had used @socialmediatrends instead of @jennherman31, people would be less likely to find me easily or recognize the profile when they came across it.

Create a Good Bio Description

You have 150 characters for your Instagram description. This is plenty of space to say something good! I recommend keeping your description similar to what you say on other platforms (for consistency and recognition) but feel free to vary it a little bit. Tell people what you do, who you are, what you enjoy, or where you're located. Keep it fun and in line with your professional branding.

Use the URL in the Bio for Maximum Effect

Unfortunately, Instagram only allows one place to put a clickable link - and that's in your bio. So use it for maximum effect! Determine where you want Instagram users to go on your site. If you generally want to send people to your blog, make your url your blog link. If you want people to go to your products page, have your url link to that page on your site. If you are hosting a contest or promotion and want people to go to that opt-in or landing page, put this link in your bio. Just make sure you change the link to something else after the promotion is done.

Vary Your Image Content

We say it about every other platform, and Instagram is no different. Social media is not a megaphone to constantly tout how awesome YOU are. It's a place to interact and engage with your audience. Don't only post photos about your products. Or only share new announcements or upcoming events. Instead, include a variety of posts about every aspect of your business - and your customers. Share behind-the-scenes content, celebrations, local events, local weather, and other varieties of content. Also mix in a variety of videos with your images.

Use Hashtags Appropriately

When it comes to using Instagram for business, you really do need to use hashtags. They increase your reach and exposure exponentially. However, it's extremely important that you use them properly! Just because Instagram allows you to include up to 30 hashtags doesn't mean you should! Instead, include 5-7 relevant hashtags on each post. "Relevant" means anything related to your post, your business, or your industry. If your post has nothing to do with a sunrise, don't tag #sun and #sunrise.

Be Active and Engaging

The most important thing I can stress (like I do about other sites too...) is to be active and engaging on Instagram. If you're only checking in a couple times a week, you're not going to see the results that other businesses do. You should be posting at least once a day and checking in regularly to answer questions or respond to all of the comments on your posts. You should also be actively engaging on other users' posts. "Like" a lot of posts and comment on other posts. This is how you build relationships!

Give People a Reason to Follow You

Just because you're on Instagram, doesn't mean people will follow you. You have to give them a reason! Share exclusive photos or videos here. Provide Instagram only promotions. Host contests. Celebrate your followers. Make it unique! If you share every post from Instagram to Facebook and Twitter, why would anyone follow you on Instagram too? All they're seeing is duplicate content. You can definitely cross promote to other sites though. If you're sharing a series of images on Instagram, share one of the images to your other social media sites as a teaser and tell them they can see the rest of the photos on Instagram. This gives people a reason to follow you here too!

Implement a Strategy

In order to really be successful with Instagram for business marketing, you need to have a plan. You need to know why you're using Instagram, what you want to get out of it, who your audience is, how often you'll post, what types of content you'll post, and what means you will use to grow your audience and reach your goals. You will also need to track your progress and your analytics to make sure you're adhering to your strategy and determine if and when you need to make adjustments.

So there you have it. My top tips for using Instagram for business! I hope that these help you better utilize your Instagram profile to grow your business. If you are on Instagram, please come join me at @jenns_trends!

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. These are great rules to follow…and they definitely can carry over to any social media platform. While I am not on Instagram, I appreciate the need for practicing some consistency from one site to another and placing your emphasis beyond “self”! Thanks Jenn!

    1. Thanks Kim! And, yes, many of these do apply to all the social media platforms. I’m glad you could glean some value out of the post even if you don’t use the platform 🙂

    1. I agree, Antonio! It’s surprising how often we need to remind people of these things. I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  2. Hi Jenn, I’ve just found you online this weekend after searching for how to write a good Instagram bio and am now reading up all your blogs etc. You provide great info! I am a total social media novice, have just bought a new business and am totally fascinated by Instagram. You seem to think it’s a good platform. I have a question – my business is not really me, like yours is, so I’m wondering if my Instagram profile should have a photo of me or something more relevant to my small business. I am using your tips to write a bio which is about the business more than me, though I’m trying to personalise it too. Cheers, Meredith

    1. Hi Meredith! Welcome to the blog and I’m so glad you’re finding it useful and enjoying it 🙂
      I do love Instagram and think it’s valuable for businesses. Whether you use a photo of you or one of something related to your business depends on a couple factors. People like to connect with people, so having your face there isn’t a bad thing. But if you want to really promote the business or brand, you can use a logo or image related to your business.
      If you want more personalized support, I’d be happy to do a quick consultation with you and help you format and customize your profile. Feel free to email me at [email protected] if this interests you.

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