With nearly a billion users, Instagram is among the premiere social media platforms if you’re looking to grow your personal brand or promote your business. More than 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business, while 200 million Instagrammers actively visit the profile of a business every day. With such a vibrant, highly engaged community, is it any surprise that over 25 million businesses maintain a presence on the site? Those numbers represent a real opportunity for someone looking to promote their brand, and give you a good idea of the benefits of an Instagram business account. Luckily, Instagram business tools provide an enterprising user with a whole lot of useful features to help them maximize what the platform has to offer. The site does this by addressing three key needs of business profiles: to stand out, get new insights, and to find new customers.



Setup an Instagram Business Profile

Instagram Business Profile

The first step a prospective marketer should take is to make use of an Instagram business profile. This is a free feature for accounts that wish to be recognized as a business on Instagram. By having an account recognized as a business, a user opens up a bunch of useful features. For starters, you’ll be able to choose how a customer gets in touch with you. Potential customers can call, text or e-mail with the tap of a button, as well as get directions to your businesses’ physical location. A business profile also unlocks access to I nsights. Instagram Insights is an analytics tool native to the platform that gives you data on user demographics, allowing you to view the information in terms of gender, age range, top locations, and online times. This lets you better understand who your followers are and where they’re from so you can assess whether you’re reaching your target audience. Insights can also compare your individual content, letting you measure how a given campaign is doing. This gives you the flexibility to make adjustments when and where needed. Another benefit of an Instagram business account is the ability to promote your posts. You can take a well-performing post and turn it into an ad, all from within the app. Simply select a post you’ve already shared and add a button encouraging people to take action. You can then choose a target audience, or even let Instagram itself suggest targeting for you. Then you can run the promoted post as an ad for as long as you choose.



Utilizing Instagram Video

Instagram Live/Video

Speaking of promoted posts, Instagram’s video features offer you a way to get more engagement from a given post. This feature is a major plus for brand promoters because of the platform’s new algorithm which tracks user engagement in your posts to determine whether or not to display your content. The updated algorithm also places importance on brand transparency and authenticity, which the new Live Video feature helps build. For those unfamiliar with the concept, Instagram Live is a feature that lets you stream, well, live video. Your followers get a push notification telling them when you’re going live, and they can comment and like in real time. The service is also ephemeral, meaning that once you’re done broadcasting, the video is gone. This creates a sense of urgency in your followers, investing them in your brand and makes them want to see what happens next. If your business involves retail sales, another feature of interest is Instagram’s native shopping function. While the platform primarily serves as path for discovery, having the ability to pull the trigger on items while their interest is peaked makes users more likely to purchase your products. And having your product information all laid out on your posts, coupled with how-to videos and unboxings, is what generates that buzz.



Making the Most of Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories

Another feature you want to take advantage of is Instagram Stories. This service allows you to post a series of 15-second clips and 10-second still images. Your followers can also DM you directly from your Stories, and you can keep track of how many times a given story has been view, and by whom. This can have numerous benefits for your business. You can generate buzz for your brand and excitement for an upcoming product launch by featuring behind-the-scenes clips of your company or product teases. The format also lends itself well to holding contests for your followers, which can really up engagement. For business profiles with over 10,000 followers, Instagram also allows you to feature clickable links within your Stories. This opens up massive opportunities if you’re looking to up your click through rate and direct traffic to your businesses website.



By now, you should be able to see the clear benefits of an Instagram business account. It may seem intimidating at first, but the sheer amount of Instagram business tools available to you through the platform is a tremendous boost to any brand looking to make its mark online.