For small businesses on Instagram, life just got a whole lot sweeter.
For years now, Instagram has proved itself as an effective digital marketing platform for businesses. Local shops, small businesses and organizations of all sizes have used it to raise awareness about their brands' products and services, and showcase their personalities to their target audiences.
In fact, according to Instagram’s head of global business development, 50 percent of its 400 million active users follow at least one business. Still, since its conception in 2010, Instagram has catered primarily to the consumer, not the business.
All that has changed though with the launch of the new Instagram Business Tools. Released in June, these tools will help small business owners expand their reach on Instagram, learn more about their followers and get in better touch with their audience.
The new suite of business tools includes business profiles, insights, and promoted posts.
Business profiles now allow you to distinguish your profile as a business and with that, businesses can now “choose how they want their customers to get in touch with them: call, text or email with a tap of the contact button, as well as get directions [via a map].”
Image source: http://blog.business.instagram.com/post/145212269021/new-business-tools
This ability to give followers multiple ways to contact your business is certainly an upgrade from the one basic website URL businesses were limited to in the past, and should help close the loop for followers who are ready to further engage with your small business.
Luckily, business profiles are free and easy to set up. For more information about how to set up your business profile, brands can visit this step-by-step tutorial on how to convert your personal page to a business profile, or contact us for help converting your brand to a business profile on Instagram and optimizing it for maximum effectiveness.
Keep in mind that Instagram is still rolling out its business tools, so if you don’t see the option to convert quite yet, don’t worry – all businesses should have access to this feature by the end of the year.
When you set up your business profile, you will also unlock access to insights and analytics regarding your followers. This can help you learn more about who your followers are and what they’re doing on your profile. Specifically, you’ll be able to see:
- Impressions: Total number of times your post was seen
- Reach: Number of unique accounts who saw your post
- Website Clicks: Number of accounts that have tapped the website link on your Business Profile.
- Follower Activity: Average times your followers are on Instagram on a typical day
Image source: https://blog.bufferapp.com/instagram-business-tools
Following in its parent company, Facebook’s, footsteps, Instagram will now allow businesses to “promote” their posts. This is different than a paid Instagram ad, as promoted posts allow you to select any image that you’ve already uploaded and give it a boost with a click of a button.
When you promote your business's Instagram posts, you’ll also have the option to add a button prompting people to take action. The available calls-to-action for these buttons include: Learn More, Watch More, Shop Now, Book Now, Sign Up, and Contact Us.
You can also choose a demographic you’d like to target based on age, gender, location or interests, or elect to have Instagram choose one for you.
Making Instagram Work for Your Small Business
With all of these tools available, the opportunity for maximizing your follower potential is greater than ever. However, small business owners still have to make Instagram work for them and their followers by following best practices, engaging with users, and posting memorable photos.
To learn more about how you can use Instagram for your small business, check out our article: 10 Tips for Small Business Instagram Success.