How to Use Instagram For Business in 2017 – Beginner’s Guide

How to Use Instagram For Business in 2017 – Beginner’s Guide


People use Instagram to be inspired and discover things they care about.

It’s time for you to inspire users with your brand’s story and let them discover your product or service.

See how to set up a free business profile, create content and use Instagram to grow your business.

This guide is great if your starting up your Instagram business profile for the first time or want to learn a beginner marketing strategy for 2017 which drives results.



1. Create a business profile

2. How and why use hashtags

3. Plan a goal

4. Create inspiring content

5. Gain targeted followers

Expected reading time: 12 minutes.



Create a Instagram business profile

Creating an Instagram business profile is easy, free and quick.


Step 1. Download and open Instagram

You can download Instagram for your iPhone at the App Store, Andriod from Google Play Store or Windows Phone from Windows Phone Store.

When the app has installed on your phone, open it.


Step 2. Sign up

You can choose to create an account by ‘Logging in with Facebook’ or ‘Signing up with your phone or email’.

Note: Instagram uses your phone number to secure your account, so only you can recover the password.

Step 3. Enable your business profile

Navigate to your profile and find your settings (top right icon, looks like a gear).

Scroll down to the ‘ACCOUNT’ section, then look for the option ‘Switch to Business Profile’.

Tap it.

On the next page press continue.

*If you didn’t sign up using Facebook, you will need to Log In with Facebook now.

Connect your Facebook page. Select the business page which you are an admin of.

If you don’t have a page for your business you can select at the bottom “Don’t have a Facebook page for your business? Create one.”


Step 4. Edit your profile

To finish your profile you’re going to edit your profile picture, description of your business benefit and call to action and add your website link.

On your profile, click the ‘Edit Profile’ button.

Upload your logo

Tap your profile picture and choose one of the options to add your image.

You should upload your businesses logo here.


Note: If your logo is tiny, think about creating an alternative version for Instagram, it should be easy to read and remember.


Create your Instagram bio

Your bio should be short and sweet.

Let users who discover your profile and know nothing about you instantly understand your business. You only have 5 seconds of their attention so get creative.

Consider including a call to action to tell your new followers what they can do to interact with your brand.



In the heart of Toronto we sell luxury cupcakes which help plant trees. See how by clicking the link (link)


Your profile link should send users to your business conversion goal

If you have a sale send them to a specific landing page that lets them know about the sale and lists the items.

If you want them to sign up for your email list, send them to a form that lets them sign up.

Note: your bio call to action should be related to the link you give them.


Example of an Instagram business bio and link working together:

FrenchBakery sells luxury cupcakes which help plant trees. See how by clicking the link


A few tips:

– Don’t always rely on your homepage as your link. Users don’t always know what to do when they end up on it.

– 90%+ of users who visit your website from Instagram are on a mobile device.

– Most sites are naturally responsive, but make sure your website is responsive for mobile use otherwise your visitors are not going to be happy and won’t be coming back again.



Plan a goal

Have a goal for your Instagram business account.

Do you want to increase awareness of your brand, reach a new audience by taking your offline business to online or simply build a targeted following?

Take a moment, sit back in your seat and think about this one. What is your business goal on Instagram?

Planning your goal can always change, but it’s good to have one when you’re starting off to avoid confusing users.

You may be thinking “my goal is to gain followers Aaron”.

I want you to be more specific. Try “I want to gain followers who are females aged 20-25 on the west coast of the USA, who are interested in fashion”.

Much better.

Now you should have a rock-solid goal in mind 🙂


Create inspiring content

“People use Instagram to discover and be inspired. They follow their passions and explore the world through photos and videos.”

Your job is to inspire people by visually showing your product or service.

With over 500+ million users of a diverse global audience, your opportunity to expand your business is endless.

So how do you reach the right people?


Rich content

Use rich visuals to create an emotional response (laughter, warmth, excitement, wonder, joy etc…)

When you take a photo or video considering lighting, composition, focal point and busyness.

Your content should make people want more. Think about that painting you saw and instantly said I want to see more of this artist’s work. That’s what your content should do.

Learn how to take great photos with a phone.


Here are some examples of great photos…

Take note of lighting, composition, focal point and how the setting is not busy.




Tell a story

A story behind an image is the key to drive real business results.

A story doesn’t need to be complex, it just needs to be clear and let users know what is happening in the image.

You can use Instagram captions to tell your story, once again short and sweet is key here.



Stay relevant to your brand

Remain authentic to your brand.

If you’re brand is about dogs don’t post a picture that isn’t related to dogs.

Always stay on a theme.


For example…

…If you’re product is hiking boots, take pictures of your boots being used outdoors.

…If you sell cupcakes and want to talk about global warming, decorate a cupcake with the world melting on it.


Place your product, service or app in real-life situations.

Get close and personal with customers, show how your product helps people and makes their life great.


Be creative

Being creative isn’t always easy. Great content doesn’t just get picked from trees…unfortunately.

Instead you need to inspire yourself by learning from other brands and Instagrammer’s–follow their lead.

Take your time too, don’t rush or force your content because only well crafted photos or videos is what drives results and builds a loyal following.


Embrace Branding

Your content should clearly show your product logo.

Yet it should be integrated seamlessly: don’t shove it in users faces, just make it easy for them to recognise the brand behind the product or service.


Clear goal

Keep your goal from before in mind.

Focus aligning your content to it. Tell users what they should do in your caption.

Direct attention to the product you’re pushing sales for.


Avoid filters

Photos with filters on Instagram get less likes and comments, or engagement.

When you take the original photo or video, always rely on that being good enough to upload without any editing.

This will save you time and also result in having an organic feel to your brand.


How and why you should use hashtags

Hashtags are ways of categorizing content on Instagram.

You can place hashtags on your photos or videos to essentially tag them and let users find them.

An example of a hashtag would be #dogs.

If you searched for this on Instagram you would be greeted with photos and videos with dogs in them.

You can search for hashtags using the search feature on Instagram.


The same goes for #cycling.


Look at the top posts, this is where you want to end up.

Because if you get your photo or video into the top posts, you gain a lot of exposure to people searching for that hashtag.

Instagram places high performing content in the top posts, because it has lots of likes and comments.

When you’re new on Instagram it can be hard to get your content in the top posts.

But as you build a following, gain more likes and continue to create inspiring content, you will gain traction and see your images reaching the top posts frequently.

But for now, you can gain great exposure in the recently upload section.

Lot’s of users still browse this content and will discover your brand.


Where to find hashtags and how many to use

Lots of advice on the web tells you to just use the most popular Instagram hashtags, but that won’t help you gain targeted followers.

Using hashtags targeted to your content and audience works.


A great place to find popular hashtags for your niche is

Anywhere between 3-5 hashtags is perfect for brands.

Don’t become a #hashtagwhore.


You also want to create a branded hashtag.

For example Ben and Jerry’s ice cream is #benandjerrys.


If you were to click on the top left photo from the results above. You would see this:


The reason we could find this image is that they used the #benandjerrys hashtag in their caption.

Let’s take a look at how you can start using hashtags so people can discover you…


Adding hashtags to your content

To add hashtags to your content you want to add them to your caption when uploading a photo or video.

Aim to blend hashtags into the story.

For example:

Creeks, waterfalls and sun. A perfect day to be #blessed with the brand team. Good job we had our suncream with us. #summer #california (sun-emoji)


Gain a targeted following

Gaining an engaged loyal following on Instagram is easy.

You need to be active. Start liking images, commenting and following users.

But wait!

You need to be liking, commenting and following your targeted audience.

The idea behind this is to let users know you exist by notifying them via liking, commenting and following.

The more users you do this to = the more you expose your brand.


Let’s look at how you can find your targeted audience to either like, comment or follow using an example.

Target audience: Males, Age 23-27, USA, Interested in fashion


Use hashtags to find images to like/comment on

Navigate to Instagram’s search feature and type in a hashtag related to your niche. For our example we will use #malefashion

Recommend: save hashtags related to your business using a spreadsheet.


Scroll down to the most recently uploaded section and start liking and commenting on images.

Keep in mind your target audience and look out for them in these images.

Daily goal: like 100 photos or videos and comment on 20 photos or videos a day.


Use Instagrammer’s to find users to follow

Over time you will become more familiar with Instagram accounts and brands. Making it easier for you to target users.

I recommend creating a spreadsheet of Instagram accounts that you believe have a following of your target audience.


Instagram’s search feature allows you to find Instagramer’s and brands.

Use this to search tool to find a competitor in your niche.

Alternatively, you can google ‘top (your niche) Instagram accounts’ to find users.


When you find an Instagram profile related to your niche, you can view their followers.

I found @GQ because I know they will have a young male demographic who are interested in male fashion and based in the USA.


Click on their followers number, this shows you who is following the account.

Here’s the users following GQ:


Then from here you can easily follow their followers.

This is the best way to find your target audience and let them know you exist.

You can follow a maximum of 80 (+/- 20) people an hour.

You should start seeing a mass increase in your following if you do this.


To conlude on how to use Instagram for business

So there it is, you should now have an active Instagram business profile which is uploading inspiring content and gains targeted followers.

Quick recap:

— Enable business profile in your settings and link to your facebook business page

— Add your logo to your profile picture, bio about your business and a CTA + link

— Add visually rich content that tells a story and is authentic to your brand

— Like, comment and follow users to make it easier for them to discover your account

I hope you found this guide helpful from a beginner level.

If you have any further questions, fire a comment below.

– Aaron