Let’s make something clear: This is not another generic advice post for marketing your products on Instagram. No, this is something much more powerful. This is a guide to using Instagram for business by maximizing the platform Instagram created specifically for that purpose:
Their analytics and ads platform.
In this guide, you’ll learn the advantages of an Instagram business account over a personal account and everything you can do to make the most of your time on Instagram. That means more traffic, more leads, and more sales.
Let’s get started.
Using Instagram for Business: What a Business Account Can Do For You
There are a lot of major differences between a personal Instagram account and a business account. If you’re serious about Instagram marketing, you need a business account.
For example, a business account gets you access to:
- Real-time metrics on how your stories and promoted posts perform throughout the day.
- Insights into your followers and how they interact with your posts and stories.
- Allows you to add information about your company like business hours, location, and phone number.
- Add links to stories so your followers can buy your products directly from Instagram.
If you haven’t converted to a business account yet, do so now by following these directions:
- Go to your profile and tap .
- Tap Switch to Business Profile.
- On the Connect Your Facebook Page screen, you’ll see all of the Facebook Pages you’re currently an admin on. Select the Page you’d like to associate with your Business Profile on Instagram. Learn more about Page roles.
- On the Set Up Your Business Profile page, review your business’s contact information, make any changes and tap Done.
Now that you’re all set up, let’s talk about your new tools.
To keep track of all the recent changes Instagram has implemented in their platform, click here!
Instagram Business Analytics
With a business account, you get access to Instagram’s advanced analytics software.
Not only does this allow you to see the demographics of your followers and who is liking and commenting on your pictures, it also shows you which photos perform the best and result in conversions.
If you’re running an Instagram account for an online eCommerce store, for example, you can see how different product photos perform against each other.
Say you put some product photos on a white background, some out in nature or the city, or some with cute animals next to your product.
By using engagement data such as likes, comments, or clicks, you’ll be able to tell which type of product shots perform best so you know what to post more of. (Like more pictures of dogs!)
Whatever niche your business is in, Instagram analytics can help you understand your audience’s wants, create better content, and ultimately drive more traffic and sales.
Understanding the Analytics Platform
Before you delve too deep into the rabbit hole, let’s understand the basics: Demographics.
Knowing where your audience lives, how old they are, and when they’re most frequently engaging with your content will set up the foundation of your content strategy.
The analytics above can be found by tapping the bar graph in the top right of your Instagram page, then scrolling down to see follower demographics.
As you can see, it shows when your followers are most active, how old they are, where they live, and what gender they are – all useful information!
It looks like our followers are most active around 9 to 10 PM. That means we should be posting at least once around that time, every day.
But there are some other important metrics you should be aware of…
What’s the difference between impressions, reach, and engagements in Instagram Analytics?
There are a few different terms you’ll want to familiarize yourself with if you haven’t already:
Of all these, the most important are:
- Impressions – The total number of times all your posts have been seen.
- Reach – The number of unique accounts that have seen your posts
- Engagement – The total number of likes, comments, and clicks your posts have gotten.
Engagement is the most important of the three. It doesn’t matter how many people are seeing your posts if no one is interacting with them.
Key Takeaway: When going through your analytics, look for the posts that get the most engagement and create more posts like that. Schedule those posts to go out during your peak engagement hours. These two things are the biggest powers of Instagram analytics.
For more information on Instagram analytics, check out the Visual Marketing Index.
Instagram Paid Advertising Overview
Now that you understand how to use the analytics to improve your account, it’s time to understand how to boost your best posts to achieve more clicks, leads, and sales.
Released in late 2015, Instagram ads are a great way to drive targeted traffic to your eCommerce site. Since 2015, Instagram ads have driven more than one billion user actions. And just last year, it more than doubled its advertiser base in six months to 500,000 advertisers.
In short… this stuff works. But how do you use it?
Types of Ads
Instagram gives you four ad type options:
- Photo Ads — One simple photo in landscape or square format.
- Video Ads — Videos can be up to 60 seconds long in landscape or square format.
- Carousel Ads — Include up to 4 more photos people can view by swiping.
- Stories Ads — Advertise on Instagram stories with photo or video content.
While each can be used effectively, for the purposes of keeping it simple, I’ll be using photo ads in all our examples and instructions.
Ad Campaign Objectives
You can decide the purpose of your ad by choosing one of the following objectives (note that this choice is important and will affect how your money is spent and how your ad is optimized).
- Awareness — Drive awareness of your business, product, app or service.
- Reach & Frequency
- Brand Awareness
- Local Awareness
- Consideration — Have potential customers learn more about your products or services.
- Website Clicks
- Video Views
- Reach & Frequency
- Conversion — Increase product sales, mobile app downloads, even visitors to your store.
- Website Conversions
- Dynamic Ads on Instagram
- Mobile App Installs
- Mobile App Engagement
For maximum ROI when you’re just starting out, I would stick to consideration or conversions.
Robust targeting options
You already know based on your analytics which of your posts performs well. Now you just need to get that post in front of more people like your followers.
Luckily, Instagram’s ad platform allows you all the same in-depth targeting options as Facebook. These include targeting based on location, demographics, interests, behavior, lookalike audiences, and automated targeting (let Instagram decide).
They also offer the ability to use your Facebook custom audiences if you have them, which is awesome!
How to Create Your First Instagram Ad
Here are the exact steps to creating your first Instagram ad:
Step 1: Sync Instagram With Your Facebook Account
While you can create Instagram ads from within the app itself, I prefer doing it from my computer via the Facebook Ads manager. To do that, you need to sync up your accounts.
Go to the settings tab on your Facebook page and click “Instagram Ads”.
Next, click “Add an Account” and fill in your Instagram login credentials and hit “confirm”. If you don’t have an Instagram account, you can create one from this box as well.
Step 2: Create Your First Campaign
Visit the Ads Manager to create your first campaign. In the upper left corner click “+Create Campaign”.
Next, choose your campaign objective. (Note: not all objectives are compatible with Instagram Stories Ads.)
Again, you probably want to go with conversions as your objective.
(Note: In order to use this objective, you need to have a Facebook pixel installed on your website. If you don’t have it, you’ll get a message letting you know.)
Give your campaign a name and hit “continue”.
Step 3: Create your ad set
On the ad set page, choose to optimize for “purchase”.
Next up it’s time to choose your ad spend and targeting options. For help deciding who to target, check out The Next Ad University’s full guide.
Pro Tip: If you already have Custom Audiences, you can select them for targeting with your Instagram ad.
After that, you’ll select your ad placement.
On the next page, you’ll choose your ad spend. I recommend starting low – no more than $5 per day. You can always increase the budget if the ad is performing well.
When you’re done, hit “Continue” and you’ll decide your ad type. Note that the “Carousel” format isn’t compatible with Instagram.
Finally, add your text, image, and call-to-action choices. You can preview them and see how your ad would look in each format.
Once you’re happy with the way it looks, place your order!
Step 4: Check your results and tweak as necessary
Once you’re done, let it run for at least three days. (It takes about three days, but as many as seven, to see the true results of an ad.)
After three days, come back to review the results. If you’re positive, or even breaking even, it’s probably a good idea to scale up your budget. I wouldn’t go any higher than $20 until you’re at least slightly positive and the ads been running at least seven days.
If the ad is negative, you can either tweak the image, the description, the offer, or the targeting, but not at the same time. If you want to test anything in your ad, it’s important to test only one variable at a time so you know exactly which change caused a change in conversions.
Otherwise, if an ad is negative, cut it entirely and try another product.
Add a Link to Instagram Stories
Ads are not the only way to drive traffic and increase conversions in your ecommerce store using Instangram, you can also add a link to your stories to attract more followers to your store and discover more products.
Here’s how to do it, according to Social Media Examiner:
Step 1: Start Your Instagram Story
You can take an image or video directly within the Instagram Stories app or swipe up on the Story screen to import any image taken within the last 24 hours.
Step 2: Add the Link URL
To add your link, click on the chain link icon at the top of your story.
A new window will appear on your screen, allowing you to input the link destination of your choice. Type in the complete URL address and tap on the green check mark (on Android) or “Done” (on iOS) to save the link.
Instagram Story analytics do not currently track URL clicks, so to measure your traffic and conversions, you’ll want to use a link that you can track separately. I recommend you use a link shortener such as Bit.ly or Rebrand.ly to create a shortened URL you can track metrics with.
Once you’ve successfully linked a URL to your story, the chain link icon will appear highlighted to indicate your story has a link.
Step 3: Continue Editing Your Story
Add any other content including text, stickers, and filters to your story, then upload it to your profile as you would any other story.
I highly recommend you include a call to action (CTA) in your story text to direct your viewers to access the link. Common CTAs include “Swipe up to see more” or “Tap ‘See More’ to visit our website.”
How Your Followers Can View Your Story With a Link
When people on Instagram view one of your story posts that includes a link, they’ll see the See More option at the bottom of the screen.
While the See More prompt is clearly visible, some viewers may not notice it if they aren’t looking for it. Less-frequent users of Instagram may not even know to look for it, which is why it’s prudent to include a CTA as shown in the figure above.
Using Instagram for business is one of the best ways to drive high-converting traffic to your eCommerce store. Expert product photos tend to perform really well, and you can even leverage user-generated content so you don’t have to take your own photos.
Instagram accounts for one out of every five minutes spent on a smartphone. It’s got a LOT of user attention, and you can scoop up that attention with your ads by using Instagram for business.
Plus, by using Instagram for business, you get access to detailed analytics to understand everything about your customers, from what they like to when they browse.
If you’re not using Instagram for business yet, what are you waiting for? Get started today!