How to Use Instagram for Business: The Basics

November 29, 2017

With the holidays and the new year right around the corner now more than ever businesses small and large are beginning to ramp up their social media presence and strategy. Since I get messages all the time from aspiring creatives and business owners with questions on their Instagram business accounts, I figured I would share the notes I put together for a client recently to get you started.

That’s right. Surprise! It’s something I’m beginning to get into! If you feel like your business might benefit please read through this post and shoot me an email at I would be happy to send more information your way on how we can boost your Instagram account.

Start with these few questions

1. What is your goal with your Instagram account? Do you want to increase brand awareness, your online traffic / sales or foot traffic to your business?


Here are examples of each. You can see Chrissy is a blogger and that her Instagram is a huge part of her business. Rudy Jude is an online boutique and Gigi Pip is both an online boutique and a brick and mortar shop. Instagram can be beneficial for all types of businesses.

2. If you’re using an Instagram business account, do you understand the functionality of your profile? 

You can see here that my good pal Amy has a thoughtful bio, clear photo of herself (the face of her business), her website, location, email address and phone number. This way her clients have everything they need simply by looking at her profile.

3. Do you understand Instagram’s analytics tools? By using this free tool you can gain insights into each post’s impressions, reach and engagement in addition to learning more information about your followers and when they are most active.



4. Are you willing to invest a little more time and money into your account? Integrating a successful Instagram account into your business will absolutely require time and at least a little money. Two apps I couldn’t run my account without are Iconosquare (for deeper insights) and Planoly (to plan posts ahead).

Focus in on your goal

Once you’re clear on the questions above, focus on the goal you established in question one. Take a look at the notes below based on your answer. If you’re putting yourself out there online, regardless of whether your business is web based or brick and mortar, I would suggest beginning with brand awareness.

First step toward brand awareness

Curating an Instagram feed where each individual photo speaks directly back to your brand is where it all starts. Once you’ve noted what images perform best, move in and refine what you’re sharing even more.

Start with defining the following:

+ content: what will you share?
+ photography style: what camera will you use?
+ editing style: will you edit on a computer or phone? what filter(s) do you like?
+ written copy: what are you saying? Are you driving sales? Are you encouraging conversation? Be intentional and make sure it connects with your goal.

First step toward online traffic & sales

After you’ve solidified your online brand, determine what your followers will be heading to your site for.

+ what will they read?
+ what will they see?
+ what can they buy?
+ what alternative information will they find?

Focus your content on driving traffic to what you’re ultimately sharing on your site. Let your Instagram support your business!

Converting Instagram traffic to website traffic

A few tips:

+ Influencer outreach / gifting
+ Giveaways – think email list, new followers, tagging friends, etc.
+ Utilize your swipe up feature in your stories whenever possible to drive sales
+ Engage with your audience (liking photos that speak to your brand, commenting, following new accounts that inspire you)
+ Create more blog content to link to: gift guides, influencer/blogger features/interviews, local events and workshops, etc.

First step toward foot traffic

After you’ve solidified your online brand, decide what you want the public to visit your location for in particular.

+ Are you selling goods?
+ Are you providing services?
+ Are you hosting events?
+ Who is your general customer?

Converting online traffic to foot traffic

A few tips:

+ Create a hashtag for local customers to share their goods & experiences
+ Develop time sensitive promotions that link back to your brand & customers
+ Increase local exposure by teaming up with other businesses nearby for giveaways
+ Work with local influencers to create brand awareness, host events, take over your feed, etc.
+ Engage with your local audience (cruise the Phoenix location tag, other local businesses, and Phoenix centric hashtags for potential customers)

One last note: I’ve linked to this article before, but I think it’s important read through when developing content. You certainly don’t want to leave video or stories behind – they play a huge roll in your success on Instagram.

Was this helpful? Do you have more questions? Shoot me an email at, I’d love to chat!

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