How to Use Instagram for Business in 8 Ways [+ Expert Tips]

Avya Chaudhary

June 14, 20249 min read

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Instagram has become the place for B2C and B2B marketing in today’s world. Why? Because everyone from boomers to Gen Z-ers can't seem to get enough of it. What’s more, the people who have the greatest purchasing power among them can be found here. 

According to Statista, of the 1 billion+ monthly active users on Instagram:  

  • 16% are between the ages of 35-44 

  • 30.6% are between 35-34 

  • Almost 32% are between 18-24 

And what this means for brands is greater reach and visibility to connect with diverse audiences. To top it off, 70% of shopping enthusiasts use it for their purchases. 

With such incredible potential, it’s no surprise that over 200 million businesses are already using Instagram for branding, customer acquisition and sales — it has become the go-to business forum.  

And if you’re wondering how you can use Instagram for business like a pro, fret not. In this detailed guide, we’ll be covering why Instagram is crucial for businesses, how you can set up an Instagram business account, the many ways you can use it for your business to bloom as well as tips to convert followers into regular customers. So, let’s jump right in. 

Table of Contents

Why is Instagram essential for businesses?

It’s a no-brainer that the more appealing your content is, the more likely a visitor will become your loyal customer who keeps returning for more. And this gives Instagram that added edge, as you can get really creative and visual with your content. 

But let’s look closer at the facts to break down why Instagram has become synonymous with customer delight for businesses:  

  • Reach: With over 2 billion users browsing the app daily, Instagram offers unparalleled reach. So, it's highly likely that your current and prospective target audience is active on that platform. 

  • Accessibility: Reports suggest that 90% of Instagram users follow at least one business profile. This means you have ready access to a huge audience, prepared to engage with your content and product. 

  • Popularity: 80% of global marketers used Instagram to advertise their businesses in 2023 because they know that social media marketing is one of the best ways to promote products and services. This made Instagram the second most popular social media network for advertising.   

So, we’ve covered why Instagram can be a game-changer for your bottom line. But how do you use Instagram for business? Well, let's start with the first step. 

How do you set up Instagram for business?

Here is a step-by-step guide to setting up and using Instagram business for your brand:  

1. Head to your Instagram profile and tap the three lines in the top-right corner. 

The three-lined icon on the top-right corner of an Instagram profile

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2. Click on Settings and Privacy, and then Account Type and Tools.  

The settings button on an Instagram profile-s customization page

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3. Tap Switch to Professional Account

The -Switch to Professional Account- option on an Instagram settings page

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4. Now tell Insta your business story! Pick a category that best describes your niche (bakery, clothing store or even influencer).  

Business category options being showcased during the Instagram Business account set-up process

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5. Select “Business” to unlock your brand's next user acquisition funnel. 

💡 Pro Tip: Use a call-to-action (CTA) button on your profile, and tailor your CTA to speak directly to your audience's needs. Business profiles have call-to-action buttons so customers can make appointments and direct bookings, access customer support and download apps.  

Enable it by tapping Edit Profile > Contact Options > Add an Action Button. 

The various CTA options for an Instagram profile page

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And voila! You're done. 

8 ways to use Instagram for business

Now that your “gram” is all set, it's time to get to how you can extract the maximum ROI out of your Instagram business account. Here are eight strategies to make your brand stand out.  

1. Enable Instagram shopping for a smooth customer experience  

Usually, businesses use Instagram (or any other social media channel for that matter) as an extension of their existing store. And that's where you can stay ahead of the curve.  

Rather than redirecting customers from your Instagram page to the brand website/app, creating a frictionless purchase on Instagram is more rewarding.  

If you have a unique product, a first-mover advantage with “Shops” means you can convert the casual browsing of your passive visitors into active sales while standing out from the crowd.  

Setting up a shop is easy. Here's how to do it:  

  • After creating a business account, connect to your Facebook commerce manager to build a product catalog.  

  • Once your product catalog is linked, submit your Instagram account for review by following the prompts within the app. This process typically takes a few business days. Once the process is approved, your shop and website catalog become one and the same.  

  • Create product detailed pages (PDPs). It's like a deep dive into your products where customers can find USPs, features, benefits and even shipping information — all in one place. 

The in-app buying journey on Instagram

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💡 Pro Tip: You can make your shopping posts more discoverable by using ads with product tags. You can also use the "Collections" feature to group your products into categories/themes (e.g., new arrivals, seasonal trends, gifts, etc.) so users don't have to hop from one product to another when they're looking for something specific.

Product tags on Instagram posts

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Recommended Read: Social Commerce: What It Is and How to Use It    

2. Experiment with different content formats

The content you put out should increase social media engagement. But how can you do this? The answer is quite simple. Identify the kind of content that resonates with your customer. Are they carousel posts, videos, stories or Instagram Live broadcasts? Figuring this out before promoting your shop is key. 

Here are some of the content types to engage your audience with and make the shopping experience a breeze:  

  • User-generated reviews, testimonial cards and carousels featuring your products in everyday use. For instance, Paloma Wool created this 3-picture product carousel featuring their Berlin multi-position belt and different ways to wear it. 

    Paloma Wool showcasing the versatility of its belt on an Instagram carousel post

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  • Product descriptions and videos on the product lifecycle, from the sourcing of raw materials to the final packaging. Is there a better way to gain the trust of your audience? 

  • Fun and engaging polls or quizzes related to your products or industry. For example, you can ask your followers about which new eyeshadow shade they'd be most interested in trying out or host a quiz to recommend the perfect sunscreen to beat the summer sun. You can even run social media contests to get users more excited with the prospect of winning freebies.  

  • Augmented reality (AR) filters allow users to virtually try on products or experience your brand in a new way. Look at Narcissist Cosmetics, for instance. The company offers AR filters so customers can get a better feel for their products so they can make purchases more confidently.  

The Narcissist brand-s Instagram AR filters that allow customers to digitally try their lipsticks

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💡 Pro Tip: While trying out various content formats is vital, it’s also essential to understand which of those formats resonate with your audience and what they seek. This is where Sprinklr’s Audience Insights feature can make a difference. With it, you can: 

  • Gather actionable insights from engagement metrics (likes, follower counts and shares), audience profiles and social signals to know your audience deeply 

  • Discover the trending content and topics that click with your target audience to engage with them on themes that are similar 

  • Create custom audience segments based on posted content, social engagement metrics, social profiles and more 

Sprinklr-s audience engagement dashboard displaying popular fashion and automobile brands as well as the distribution of audiences by interest

3. Use Instagram Live and Stories for greater audience growth

Reports show that brands have achieved a 10-15% sales conversion rate through livestreams, in contrast to 1-2% conversion via traditional e-commerce. You are your biggest marketer when telling your brand's story. And what better way to interact with your followers and drop your products than through Instagram Live and Stories? 

Every month, 4 million businesses utilize Stories ads because it is so lucrative. Furthermore, the 24-hour duration of Stories capitalizes on users' fear of missing out. It prompts them to swipe up and tap on story links before the content vanishes. 

A Madewell Instagram story with a shopping link in it

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When to use Instagram Live and Stories for your business?  

  • Use them to announce product drops or small teasers of your product. It could feature anything from your team working together to a new collaboration with a famous influencer.   

  • Notify your followers about upcoming sales and limited-time deals.  

  • Take customer feedback with polls and quizzes. Allow them to share your story with their social circle. To do so, select “Story” and tap “Allow Sharing to Messages.” 

💡 Pro Tip: If content is king, timing is the queen. The timing of your posts is just as crucial as the content itself. And if you’re confused about when you should be posting your Insta posts for maximum impact, then a social media scheduling and publishing tool, like that of Sprinklr’s, could give you the lightbulb moments you seek, as it can:  

  • Auto-schedule your posts and stories such that they’re published at the best AI-recommended times for optimal reach and engagement 

  • Help you create, schedule and manage all your social posts from across 10+ social channels (including Instagram, of course) and through a single dashboard 

    Sprinklr-s smart scheduling feature suggesting ideal posting times for various social channels

Deep Dive: Best times to post on social media for better ROI 

4. Follow a data-driven approach

Instagram Insights helps you uncover meaningful findings from data to make informed decisions, understand what resonates with your audience and see if your social media strategy needs any adjustments. Here’s a glimpse of the kind of info it can provide. 

Instagram-s native insights dashboard displaying engagement metrics

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However, choosing the right data to track is crucial. Here are some engagement metrics you should monitor:  

  • Engagement rate: Check what type of content performs best by analyzing likes, shares, bookmarks, comments and DMs. 

  • Follower growth rate: This shows the traction your content gains by looking at how quickly your audience expands. 

  • Website traffic: This metric refers to the number of visitors or users who access your website through Instagram. 

  • Link clicks per post: This measures how many times users click the link in your bio, captions or stories.  

These metrics help you identify what works well or is broken in your content pipeline. Was your CTA clear? Was your post not engaging enough? Were your hashtags relevant to what you posted? Keep refining your strategy for future campaigns with these metrics.  

💡 Pro Tip: Go beyond the generic engagement metrics that are provided by Instagram’s native analytics with Sprinklr’s social listening tool to get a better pulse of all the social conversations that matter to your brand. It allows you to gauge the customer sentiment (positive, negative or neutral) around your brand, compare your social performance against competitors as well as monitor user-generated content and visual brand mentions on images, videos and more.

Sprinklr-s social listening tool displaying top words of discussion around a topic and the top themes of discussion around brands

5. Cross-posting from other social networks

Multichannel selling works wonders, especially for micro- to small-scale businesses. If your target audience on Instagram spans across various social networks (which is highly likely), the best way to grab their attention is through cross-posting from X, Pinterest or Threads.  

Adapt content to fit Instagram's format. For example, turn an X thread into a carousel post or a Facebook explainer video into an Instagram Story series. 

Capture leads with exclusive limited-time Instagram-only coupon codes that are valid only for purchases made through your Instagram shop. And in cases where your users visit your website through Instagram, incentivize sign-ups through emailers by sharing BTS footage, product-drop details and early access.  

Consider Glossier. The company is the master of email opt-ins and targeted marketing strategies for Instagram. Here's a product emailer that helped them sell out within hours of a sale announcement. 

A Glossier emailer promoting special sale sets of cosmetics

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Read More: How to Cross-Promote on Social Media (+ Proven Strategies) 

6. Automate Instagram

Social media marketing can be stressful. You are always on your toes, from moderating comments at 1 AM to managing bulk DMs. That's where automation steps in to keep you at the top of your sales channels. It can: 

  • Reply to bulk DMs and manage customer support services 

  • Encourage/restrict comments or any similar action 

  • Discover hashtags, suggested accounts and dormant accounts you should unfollow 

  • Simplify scheduling your Instagram content  

A Sprinklr content calendar for scheduling social media posts
  • Automate data analysis and build transparent relationships with your audience  

A Sprinklr dashboard giving a weekly summary of engagement data

Read More: Instagram Automation Guide for Social Media Marketers 

7. Host an Instagram takeover

Part of marketing your business on Instagram is to pick the low-hanging fruits before your competitors. One straightforward strategic move is organizing a social media takeover. Here you can hand over the reins to an industry expert or a famous influencer from your community for a day. Takeovers are equally important if you want to change your brand perception.  

One of the most famous examples of an Instagram takeover came from beauty giant Sephora when they partnered with makeup influencer NikkieTutorials (Nikkie de Jager). Nikkie shared her favorite products and makeup tips on Sephora’s Instagram handles while the brand tapped into Nikkie’s audience and built on engagement. 

You can also explore different takeover themes like:  

  • Partnering with an industry expert to showcase their experience with your brand and share creative use cases for your products.  

  • Putting a spotlight on your team and letting different employees take over for a day. It also showcases your employee-centric company culture, a day in the life of your team and BTS glimpses.  

  • Hosting live Q&A sessions with the takeover guest, allowing your audience to interact directly and ask questions. 

8. Run targeted ads

This is a no-brainer. Targeted Instagram ads with user-focused content contributed to Thai fashion label Yuedpao in improving their incremental reach by 59% while reducing per-message costs by 14% to a lookalike audience. Yuedpao isn’t the only brand that saw massive engagement with targeted ads. Instagram has many such success stories where brands expanded their reach, lowered customer acquisition costs and drove sales.  

💡 Pro Tip: Use Sprinklr’s social advertising platform to automate your ad workflows, create personalized ads at scale, optimize costs and improve visibility of the performance of your paid campaigns.   

Publishing an ad through Sprinklr-s Ad Manager dashboard

Tips to convert Instagram followers into customers

Unlock the secrets to turning your Instagram followers into loyal customers with these expert tips: 

Tip #1: Commit to consistency 

Run quarterly social media marketing campaigns. Schedule your sales campaign right after a giveaway or event that may have brought you new followers. Activate buy-one-get-one (BOGO) schemes, free shipping and Black Friday sales shortly after you announce a giveaway or collaborate with an impactful influencer. Repeat in cycles.   

Tip #2: Focus on customer experience  
 
Customer-centric merchandising and marketing’s market size is projected to reach $2,024.26 million by 2030. Internalize this forecast and start using high-quality, eye-catching images and videos to grab attention. Include clear CTAs in your posts, such as "Shop Now," "Learn More" or "Sign Up." Reward your Instagram followers with exclusive discounts, promotions or giveaways to incentivize them to make a purchase. 

Learn More: How to leverage social media for improved customer experience 

Tip #3: Position yourself as a thought leader 

Share informative guides on product usage, styling tips and industry trends. Don't be afraid of being opinionated. Educate your audience by sharing industry insights and authentic content. The outcome? Your customers trust you more. 

For example, Dr. Yannis Alexandrides, a dermatologist who called out harmful ingredients in skin cosmetics, launched his brand to address the issue with tons of insight. And guess what? It was a success and received celebrity endorsements from Victoria Beckham and Priyanka Chopra.  

An Instagram collab post between 111skin and Victoria Beckham promoting an eye mask

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Tip #4: Collaborate with other brands 

Brand collaborations on Insta amplify reach and credibility, fostering mutually beneficial partnerships in the digital space. Collaborating companies can harness the combined audiences, leveraging each other's followers to extend reach. Their credibility receives a boost as they align with trusted partners. 

For instance, look at the Red Bull Stratos and GoPro collaboration campaign. The campaign broke the internet, with 8 million people livestreaming the event on YouTube when it aired. It was a win-win strategy for both businesses. 

Read More: How to kickstart your social media collaboration 

Make Instagram Business your sales powerhouse with Sprinklr Social 

When it comes to social media marketing, while you may be tempted to turn every Instagram post into a sales pitch, the focus should be on building long-term success. This requires quality and timely content, building meaningful relationships and a loyal fanbase as well as positioning your brand as a business that proactively cares. This is simpler in theory than in practice. 

But there’s an easier way to set this into action with a unified social media management solution like the one that Sprinklr offers. With Sprinklr Social, you get comprehensive social listening capabilities, unparalleled channel coverage and enterprise-grade governance. It can automate your Instagram management with its industry-leading AI for deeper audience insights, AI-powered content creation, smoother post scheduling and more. Want to know how? 

 

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