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  • Jonathan Harmon

Instagram Basics for Business

Updated: Mar 31




Introduction


Even if you don't like or use social media, you probably have heard of Instagram and may be considering using it to help promote your business.


In this post, we introduce the basics of Instagram including: what it is, why you should use it, how to set up an account, what you can do with it, and what you should post to help promote your business.


Read on to learn more.


What is Instagram?


Instagram is the second most popular social media platform in the U.S. and is used to share photos and videos.


Founded in 2010, Instagram grew quickly, reaching one million registered users in the first two months, ten million in the first year, and a billion registered users by June of 2018.


Instagram was acquired by Facebook, the most popular social media platform in the U.S., in April of 2012.


Why Should I Use Instagram?


Instagram is a great channel for promoting your business because of its reach, cost, and its potential for driving sales increases.


Reach


One of the key components of successful advertising is reach - which refers to the total number of people who can see your ad or content.


With 130 million users in the United States, Instagram reaches over 80% of the entire adult population.


Cost


The cost of setting up an Instagram account for your business is $0. The cost of posting an image or video to Instagram is $0.


Sales Potential


According to research conducted by e-commerce provider Oberlo:

  • 80% of users use Instagram to help make buying decisions'

  • 50% of Instagrammers follow at least one business

  • 71% of U.S. businesses use Instagram


How Do I Set Up an Instagram Business Account?


You can set up an Instagram account three ways:

  • With the Instagram app on an Android or iPhone

  • On a desktop or laptop computer via the Internet

  • Using a mobile browser on a mobile device

The steps required for each method are detailed below, however, I recommend you use the app as it is the easiest way to use all the capabilities of the platform.


With the Instagram App


  1. Download the Instagram app from the App Store (iPhone) or Google Play Store (Android).

  2. After the app installation is completed, tap the tile on your phone to open it.

  3. Tap Sign Up With Email or Phone Number (Android) or Create New Account (iPhone) and then enter your email address or phone number (enter your confirmation for phone number if used) and tap Next. You can also tap Log in With Facebook if your prefer to sign up with your Facebook account.

  4. If you choose to register with an email or phone number, create a username and password, complete your profile info and tap Next. If you register with Facebook, you'll be prompted to log into your Facebook account if you aren't currently logged in.


On a Desktop or Laptop Computer


  1. Go to Instagram.com

  2. Click Sign up, enter your email address, create a username and password or click Log in with Facebook to sign up with your Facebook account.

  3. If you register with an email, click Sign up. If you register with Facebook, you'll be prompted to log into your Facebook if currently logged out.


Using a Mobile Browser on a Mobile Device


  1. Go to Instagram.com.

  2. Tap Sign up, enter your email address, create a username and password or tap Log in with Facebook to sign up with your Facebook account.

  3. If you register with an email, tap Sign up. If you register with Facebook, you'll be prompted to log into your Facebook account if you're currently logged out.


Creating an Instagram Business Account


Right now, you may be asking yourself, "wait a second, I just created my Instagram account, what do you mean?"


Well, you aren't wrong, if you used one of the methods above, you have created an Instagram account, but it is a personal Instagram account.


To get the full benefit of Instagram for your business you need a business account and the first part of creating an Instagram business account is creating a personal Instagram account.


To complete the process of creating an Instagram business account, on a mobile device:

  1. Go to your Instagram profile page and tap the hamburger menu in the upper right corner.

  2. Tap the Settings button at the bottom of the screen.

  3. Tap Account.

  4. Click on Switch to Professional Account.

  5. Tap Business.

  6. Optional - Connect to Your business Facebook page.

  7. Add details, like your business category and contact information.

  8. Tap Done.

To complete the process of creating an Instagram business account, on a desktop or laptop:

  1. Go to your Instagram profile page and click the Edit Profile button.

  2. Click Switch to Professional Account in the left navigation menu.

  3. Select Business and click the Next button.

  4. Click on the Next button again.

  5. Select a category for your business (check the Show category box if you want to display the category on your profile).

  6. Click Done.


What Can I Do With Instagram?


The Instagram Feed


The Instagram feed refers to the photos and videos you post to your main Instagram page. The photos and images you post there show up in the feeds of your followers and anyone following the hashtags you use in your posts.


Post an Image to Your Feed


You can take and post a photo with your smart phone or post an existing photo from your library within the Instagram app on your smart phone.


To post a new photo:

  1. Tap the + icon at the top of the screen.

  2. Tap the camera icon.

  3. Aim your smart phone at the desired subject matter for your photo

  4. Tap the shutter button.

  5. Apply any desired filters by tapping the appropriate thumbnail at the bottom of the screen (optional).

  6. Tap the edit button to open the editing menu and make any desired adjustments (optional).

  7. Tap the arrow in the upper right corner of your screen.

  8. Write a caption, add a location, choose to post to connected social platforms (optional).

  9. Tap the checkmark in the upper right corner to post.

To post an existing image from your smart phone library:

  1. Tap the + icon at the top of the screen.

  2. Select the desired image from the Gallery section.

  3. Apply any desired filters by clicking the appropriate thumbnail at the bottom of the screen (optional).

  4. Tap the edit button to open the editing menu and make any desired adjustments (optional).

  5. Tap the arrow in the upper right corner of your screen.

  6. Tag people, write a caption, add a location, choose to post to connected social platforms (optional).

  7. Tap the checkmark in the upper right corner to post.


Post a Video to Your Feed


To post a new video to your feed:

  1. From your profile page, click the + icon at the top of the screen.

  2. Tap Feed Post from the menu.

  3. Select video from the menu at the bottom of the screen.

  4. Press and hold the button at the bottom of screen until you have completed recording the video that you want to post.

  5. Tap the speaker at the top of screen to toggle sound off or on (optional).

  6. Apply any desired filters by clicking the appropriate thumbnail at the bottom of the screen (optional).

  7. Click Cover and choose from the thumbnails to select a cover image for your video (optional).

  8. Tag people, write a caption, add a location, choose to post to connected social platforms (optional).

  9. Tap the checkmark in the upper right corner to post.

To select post an existing video to your feed:

  1. From your Instagram profile page, tap the + icon at the top of the screen.

  2. Tap Feed Post from the menu.

  3. Tap the desired video in the Gallery.

  4. Tap the arrow in the upper right corner of your screen.

  5. Tap the speaker at the top of screen to toggle sound off or on (optional).

  6. Tap Trim at the bottom of the screen to adjust the beginning and end points of the video (optional)

  7. Apply any desired filters by clicking the appropriate thumbnail at the bottom of the screen (optional).

  8. Click Cover and choose from the thumbnails to select a cover image for your video (optional).

  9. Tag people, write a caption, add a location, choose to post to connected social platforms (optional).

  10. Tap the checkmark in the upper right corner to post.


Instagram Stories


Instagram stories provides a way for Instagram accounts to share photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours.


Photos and videos posted to your story appear to others in the following locations:

  • On your profile: A colored ring will circle your profile picture and your followers can tap it to see your story. Posts to your story will not appear in your profile grid.

  • At the top of Feed: A row at the top of your followers' Feeds will display your profile picture and they will be able to tap it and see your story.

  • In the Feed next to your shared posts: When you share a post, a colored ring will circle your profile picture and your followers can tap it to see your story.

  • In Direct Inbox: A colored ring will circle your profile picture in Direct inbox and threads and people can tap it to see your story.

Share an Image or Video to Your Story


To share a new photo to your story:

  1. Tap the + icon at the top of the screen.

  2. Scroll to Story at the bottom on the screen.

  3. Tap the circle at the bottom of the screen to take a photo, or tap and hold to record a video. To choose a photo or video from your phone's library or gallery, swipe up anywhere on the screen.

  4. Tap tools at the top of the screen to add effects, download, add GIFs, music, hashtags, draw, or add text to the image (optional).

  5. When the image or video is ready, tap Your Story at the bottom of the page to share to your story.

Following, Commenting, and Liking


Follow an Instagram Account or Hashtag

  1. Tap on the Search icon (magnifying glass) at the bottom of the screen.

  2. Type the name of your topic of interest or hashtag (person, brand, etc.) into the field at the top of the screen.

  3. Review the search results and tap on an account or hashtag.

  4. On the screen displayed, tap Follow to begin following the account or hashtag.

Comment on an Instagram Post


Comments are a key component of the Instagram community and there is more than one way to post a comment. One way to comment on a post on Instagram is to:

  1. Tap the speech balloon icon below the image in the post.

  2. Type the comment in the field to the right of your profile picture.

  3. Tap Post.

Like a Post or Comment on Instagram


Another way to engage with content on the Instagram platform is the ability to like a post or comment on a post.


To like a post on Instagram:

  1. Navigate to the desired post.

  2. Tap the heart icon located below the image.

To like a comment on Instagram:

  1. Tap view all comments

  2. Navigate to the desired comment

  3. Tap the small heart to the right of the comment


What Should I Post On Instagram?


The key to successful Instagram posting is creating and posting content that is interesting and relevant to your customers and prospects. Be sure to keep content aligned with the tone of your business.


Possibilities include:

  • employee pictures

  • new products

  • video of special in store events

  • behind the scenes looks

  • inspirational quotes

  • industry news

  • social media only offers and discounts

  • infographics

  • customer photos

  • testimonials

  • tips and tricks

  • surveys


Summary


Now you understand the basics of Instagram including what it is, why you should use it, how to set up a business account, how to use its fundamental capabilities, and what to post to help promote your business. To learn more about Instagram and its advanced capabilities, check out the Using Instagram section of Instagram's online help center.

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