Instagram is a thriving network with over 500 million monthly active users tapping away on their screens worldwide. What’s more, only 36% of marketers are using Instagram for business, compared to the 93% who use Facebook (source: selfstartr).

Just consider how oversaturated and competitive Twitter or Facebook is (not to mention the necessity to invest in ads or algorithms). Instagram, on the other hand, presents marketers with the opportunity to push through the clutter.

Hence why we thought we’d show you the ropes of how to set up an Instagram account, so you too can take advantage of this social media channel. But first things first, you will need an Instagram account.


Setting up an Instagram account

Before you create a new account (or decide it’s time to refresh your old one), ensure you’ve defined how Instagram will serve your business. This social media network can support a range of business objectives, but to truly succeed, you will need to narrow your focus. Keep in mind that both, high-quality content and consistency, are essential.


Define the purpose of your new channel

Ask yourself, what do I want to achieve on this social media network. Do I simply want to extend the reach of my brand, or create a place where customers could share photos of our products? It could also be that you want to highlight the more human side of your business and your company culture to attract new talent. That’s what we have chosen to do with our own Instagram account @mysocialtap.


Polish your profile

Make sure your username and the name of your account, match that of your business. Add a description, i.e. bio (up to 150 characters), to describe what you do and what the channel is for, be interesting and compact.

Note that links in individual posts don’t work, so make use of the one that does – located in your Bio section. Don’t waste it on your homepage. Update the link frequently, especially when running events, big product launches and special promotions.

Unlike most other social media networks, Instagram doesn’t have a custom cover photo to help with brand recognition. This means most of your branding will come from the content you publish (so, plan wisely).

Great example of an Instagram bio

Image source: GE’s Instagram account

Just recently, Instagram introduced business profiles, allowing users to add contact information, industry and a business address on their profile. Instagram also offers enhanced analytics to let businesses better understand their followers.

While the new Instagram Business Tools can definitely help businesses grow, not all have rushed in to switch. Switching to a business profile requires connecting to the business’ Facebook page, which some fear, might limit post visibility in the future.


Create great content

Instagram is all about visuals, so it’s crucial you can create content that adds value to your audience and potential customers. Seek to inspire and entertain, not directly promote your product or service.

Images and videos (up to 1 minute) can be posted, preferably in Instagram’s signature square format. Uploading images and videos in landscape orientation is possible, but the preview will be cut off at the edges.

Accompany each image with a great caption and use hashtags sparingly to extend your reach. For more ideas on how to use Instagram for business check out our blog post on indirectly showcasing your products, building anticipation and collaborating with others.

Evernote's branded Instagram page

Image source: Evernote’s Instagram account


Engage with others and create relationships

Start by following relevant industry influencers and publications. Don’t forget about project collaborators and brands you have done business with. Instagram is great for showing your team spirit, so make sure to tag collaborators in captions and they might comment or even repost your post.

Take note that it’s best to have the perfect Bio and a few updates already posted in place before you start following lots of accounts. You wouldn’t want influencers to see an empty profile when they check who followed them recently – so don’t miss out.


Instagram + Sendible = ❤️

Socialtap integrated Instagram into its social media management dashboard back in December 2012. Our tool allows to monitor your Instagram home feed, read and respond to comments as well as search for specific hashtags. It’s also possible to schedule your posts in advance, but due to Instagram’s API restrictions that limit 3rd party app access, we had to create a workaround.

All content must be published via Instagram, thus forcing users to always upload their photos and videos via the original mobile app. So, you can “schedule” your post to Instagram via Socialtap (choose the text, image and hashtags) as you would for any other network.

When the post is due to be published, the image and content will be emailed to you (instead of posting directly to the network). Then all you need to do is copy & paste it manually into the Instagram app. You might also want to know more about how to manage your Instagram account with Socialtap.

One of the most recent additions to the Instagram app is the real-time hashtag search. We also added Instagram to our keyword monitoring apps, making it easier to pick up brand mentions on this network. The Socialtap team is also looking into implementing more exciting new features to Instagram fairly soon, stay tuned!

Social media management software for agencies and businesses
If you don’t have a tool to help you schedule social media posts to multiple social media networks just yet, you can give Socialtap a try, completely free for 30 days.