With over 1 billion active monthly Instagram accounts and over 90% of accounts following at least one business, it’s more important than ever that your business includes Instagram as part of its social marketing strategy.
Instagram has come a long way. Businesses have literally been built on Instagram and with the ability to have things now like an Instagram online store and stories businesses are growing more than ever.
So how does a business succeed on Instagram? Is there a guide you can follow or a simple set of rules? The great thing about Instagram is that you get the opportunity to tell your story and give your business a voice in a very noisy digital space.
The goal of social media is to be just that, social. Create authentic conversations and engagements go a long way.
By doing Instagram the “right” way, you have to really be different from others and be your own brand. There are still guidelines that you can follow to set your business up for success. So let’s go over those.
How to Create a Perfect Instagram Profile
With these tips, I’ll be assuming that you already have an Instagram page. But if you don’t already have one, here’s a guide to create an Instagram page.
1. Create an Optimized @Username
This is basically the foundation of your Instagram account. You’ll want to make sure it’s something similar to your business’s name. If the name of your business is already taken, try and keep it very similar to your name so people searching for you still can easily identify you. For example, if @instagram is already taken, something like @instagramsocial will be good.
Note: It’s a big win if you can make sure your usernames or handles are the same across the board. When your Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook are all different it makes your life a little more difficult.
To edit your username: Go to your Instagram profile and click on the “Edit Profile” button.
Then you can click on the Username area and type in the new username you’d like.
2. Create a Searchable Business Name
You’ll want to make sure your full business name is your “name” on Instagram. This is how Instagram helps match the searches that users conduct to your profile, and it’s what your profile will say under your profile picture.
To edit your business name: Go to your Instagram profile and click on the “Edit Profile” button – same as above.
This time you’ll click on the Name area and type in your full business name.
Not required, but if you have space, you can add in a searchable term here too. For example, SocialSurge: Digital Marketing.
3. Make Sure Your Profile is Public
Especially if you’re a business, you want people to be able to find you. There’s a setting on Instagram that allows for your profile to be “private” meaning that people have to be following you in order to see your posts and stories… the opposite of being social.
How to tell if your account is private: Head back to your Instagram profile, click the three lines at the top right, click on “settings”, click on “Privacy”, then click on “Account Privacy”. You’ll see this screen, and you’ll want to make sure your profile isn’t set to private, like this.
4. Identifiable Profile Picture
This doesn’t necessarily need to be your logo, but most of the time it will be. You’ll want to have a profile picture that when people are searching for you, they’ll know it is you. It’s the first thing they’ll see on your profile and when searching for you.
For SocialSurge Marketing, we use our logo, which is the same throughout all of our social accounts, and it’s how we’re known. You’ll notice that Instagram makes your profile picture into a circle.
Even though our profile picture is a circle, the image you’ll want to upload isn’t actually going to be a circle. Instagram recommends uploading a square image of around 150 x 150 pixels.
You can see here how Instagram crops the square image into your circle profile picture.
How to edit or add a profile picture: Back to your Instagram profile, click that “Edit Profile” button, and you’re going to see the “Change Profile Photo” button, click that and you’re going to see options similar to this:
Make sure you already have the image you want to use and upload, edit, and publish it!
5. Your Profile Bio
Your profile bio is another powerful tool that you have on Instagram. It will be one of the first things that people will see when visiting your Instagram profile, and it’s your chance to let them know why they should follow you.
It is also a place to make your profile more easy to find. You can use keywords, @usernames, and #hashtags in this section that people might be searching for in order to have your profile pop up!
You can include things like who your business is, what it does, and you should try to show off your brand or personality here too.
You only have 150 characters so make them count.
6. Profile Link
Something that is unique about Instagram is that you can’t attach links to your posts. This is why your profile link is so important.
We usually recommend a service called Linktree for a few reasons.
- You’re able to have multiple links
- You’re able to track link clicks
- You’re able to add personality to your Linktree page
To change your profile link: Head back to your Instagram profile and click that “Edit Profile” button. Click on the link area and add your new Linktree link or whatever link you decide to use.
Note: Almost all traffic coming from Instagram is going to be mobile. So if you use your website as your link, you better make sure that page is 100% mobile-friendly. There’s also no limit to how often you can change your link, so a lot of businesses will change them often to fit with their posts.
Content is king. I’m sure you’ve heard this more than once. It especially holds true on Instagram because without it, you have literally nothing to post.
Making sure your images look good is one way to set yourself apart from other people in your industry. I’m not talking about needing a $1,000 DSLR either, your smartphone will work great!
You use your images and video on Instagram as a lot more than content. You use them to tell a story, to start a conversation, and to describe your brand.
Learn to edit your photos
A great skill to have is editing your photos. Taking 5-minutes to edit your photo can take a decent image and really make it stand out!
It doesn’t have to be anything crazy here either. There are a bunch of great apps for editing photos.
One thing I would recommend is to stick to one or maybe two filters when you do post them to Instagram. This makes your grid more cohesive and flows better together. You’ll see the difference it can make below!
Think about your Instagram grid
Is all of your content going to make your “Instagram grid” have a certain type of look and feel? Are you more worried about the message behind each post rather than the look of it and how it flows? If you can do both at the same time, all the better!
There are plenty of bigger accounts and businesses that just go with the flow and don’t think about their Instagram grid at all and that’s totally fine! One great example is like @Garyvee
While his content kills it, it may not work for you! Here’s another example of @knottoself who really keeps their grid looking beautiful by using the same filter across all of their posts.
8. Consistency With Your Posts
A perfect Instagram profile requires consistent posts! So what is consistent? Again, I’m not talking about anything crazy here either. A few times a week is plenty for most businesses!
The key here is to plan out your posts with a real strategy(link our blog or maybe Kev’s eBook?). Sure there are going to be times where you want to post on the fly when things come up, but creating a strategy will help hold yourself accountable and will step up your Instagram game.
Making sure to post at the right times for your account(link our blog) is key too. You can check out what the benchmarks tell you when to post if you’re just starting out, but if you already have an account with followers, Instagram tells you when you should be posting.
What you read online or what you see another company that is similar to you doing very well may not work for you. Make sure to test pretty much everything. Does video work better than images for you? Do you get the best interaction with your followers on stories? What time of day is best for you? Make sure to test, record your efforts, and then do something about them!
The best way to start on Instagram is by just doing! Make sure you have a plan in place and get your account set up for success, but then you have to get content out into the Instagram world!