Instagram for Business: How to Set Up and Perfect Your Profile

Every time you scroll through your Instagram feed, you probably see a few branded posts. According to Hootsuite, more than half of Instagram users follow at least one business, and companies are recognizing the valuable marketing opportunity this social media platform offers.

An estimated 70 percent of U.S. companies use Instagram for marketing purposes, and there’s no denying that it’s an effective way to reach new shoppers. Hootsuite’s research reveals that 75 percent of Instagram users take action after seeing an Instagram advertisement, whether it’s “liking” the post or visiting the company’s website.

If you’re building an online presence for your business, you should take advantage of Instagram’s marketing potential. However, it’s challenging to create an account that’s sure to reach and engage your target audience. There are several best Instagram for business practices to follow when setting up your new account.

Choose the right handle

First and foremost, you need to pick an effective handle (or username) for your business’s Instagram account. Ideally, your Instagram handle should be the name of your business, but that’s not always possible.

If the handle you want is already taken, try variations of it. Add underscores between words, or tack your state’s abbreviation onto the end. For search optimization, try to begin your handle the same way that users would be expected to search for it. If your business is called Kathy’s Candies, it’s better to use a handle like @Kathys_Candies than @TheRealKathysCandies.

Finally, it’s helpful to use the same handle across different social media sites, like Twitter and Facebook. This will make it easier for people to find you.

Switch to a business account

Even if you’re a one-man (or woman) show, you should have an Instagram business profile, as there are numerous benefits to making the switch. You’ll be able to add more contact information to your page, including buttons that send followers your email address, phone number, and directions to your location.

Business accounts are given access to advanced analytics tools that monitor your overall impressions, top performing posts, follower demographics, and more — for free! Making the switch gives you the opportunity to create ads and promote posts to reach a wider audience.

Optimize your Instagram bio

A well-crafted Instagram bio will help you appear in search results — both on Instagram and Google — and find new followers by extension. Your company’s name should be straightforward, and your bio should include a short description of your business, relevant keywords, and your location.

Don’t overlook the website field in your profile. You can’t include clickable links in Instagram captions, so including your site URL is extremely important. Typically, you’ll want to include a link to your website. However, if you’re running a seasonal promotion, you may want to include that link instead. Instagram analytics reports how many users click the link in your bio, but you can glean even more insights by using a trackable link, such as a Bitly.

Organically reach a wider audience

There are several free tactics to ensure that your Instagram posts are seen by more users:

  • Include up to 30 relevant hashtags on each post.
  • Tag the location of your post.
  • Post during the times when your followers are most active.

These tactics will help you organically reach more people and grow your following.

Cross-promote your Instagram and your website

Some people view Instagram solely as a tool for driving website traffic, but it should be a two-way street. Yes, you want Instagram followers to visit your website, but you also want website viewers to visit your Instagram.

You can encourage this behavior by taking advantage of the URL field in your Instagram bio, and by creating posts and writing captions that encourage people to visit content on your website. It’s possible to link your WordPress.com and Instagram accounts using a free program called “If This, Then That” (IFTTT). IFTTT allows you to automatically share Instagram posts to your website.

Furthermore, there’s a WordPress.com Instagram widget that embeds your latest posts on your site, allowing visitors to click through to your social media page directly from your website.

When you use these strategies to set up a business page on Instagram, you will effectively reach your target audience and begin to build a following, thereby increasing leads and driving new business.

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