Businesses can use Instagram to market and develop customer relationships.
With over 200 million Instagram users visiting at least one business profile daily, businesses who do not have an Instagram account are missing out on growth opportunities. — Getty Images/SDI Productions

Today, if your business lacks a social media presence, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to grow your company and expand your network. Many consumers turn to social platforms to connect with and vet companies before giving them their business. Instagram especially is a popular platform for marketing your brand and developing a better relationship with customers or clients. According to Instagram Business, 60% of people report that they discover new products on Instagram, and over 200 million Instagram users visit at least one business profile daily.

If you are ready to take advantage of this increasingly popular social media platform, follow these steps to create an Instagram business account.

[Read: 3 Things You Need to Know About Selling on Instagram in 2019]

Download the app and sign up

If you’ve never used Instagram before, start by downloading the app on your mobile device. Instagram is available for the App Store and Google Play. To sign up, simply enter a username and email address or phone number.

Set up a free business profile

Once you’ve signed up and have entered the app, select “Settings” in the top right corner, then scroll down and tap “Switch to Business Account.”

Connect to Facebook

You will be prompted to connect your business account to a Facebook page. Once you’ve connected, select “Choose a page,” then set that page to “public.” (If you don’t already have a business page on Facebook, you can do this now. Just select “Create one” at the bottom of the screen.) Connecting to Facebook is also useful because you’ll be able to share your Instagram content directly to Facebook with a click of a button.

Write a relevant bio and add a profile picture

Include a brief bio about your business to capture your audience’s attention — this can include your slogan, website, hashtags or just a brief sentence about your business’s offerings. Don’t forget to add a profile picture so people can identify your company at a glance.

Add business and contact information

While you may have incorporated some of this information in your bio, Instagram allows business accounts to include business and contact information. You should include information such as your store hours, address and phone number — anything your customers or clients might need to contact or find your company.

Many consumers turn to social platforms to connect with and vet companies before giving them their business.

Develop a brand voice and aesthetic

A consistent brand voice and aesthetic signals important information about your company to potential clients or customers. Consider not only the type of content you post, but visual elements such as colors and fonts, as well as the tone of your captions.

Follow accounts in your community

Following business accounts with similar or complementary content is a great way to build relationships and extend your brand’s reach. A simple “follow” can lead to both parties sharing content or even collaborating on posts, which grows both business’s customer/client bases. Checking out accounts in your community can also provide valuable information on what your audience likes or does not like.

Engage with your audience

Establishing relationships through genuine audience engagement is key to building a loyal Instagram following. This can be as simple as providing personalized responses to your audience’s comments or answering their questions directly. You can also share user-generated content, or posts from your customers/clients using your product or service.

Utilize the right hashtags

Of course, your hard work won’t matter if your posts aren’t seen. Using hashtags that are too broad means your account can get buried in a sea of posts, while using irrelevant hashtags won’t reach your target audience. Sprout Social suggests using relevant branded, location-specific or niche hashtags to stand out from the crowd.

[Read: How to Hashtag on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter]

Building your business’s Instagram presence doesn’t happen overnight. Like any relationship, it takes time to develop trust and rapport with your customers/clients, as well as to establish what works best for both your company and your audience. However, putting in the effort to build your business Instagram account will pay off in the long run.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published March 10, 2020