How to use Instagram for business: features and benefits

With over one billion monthly active users and more than 500 million regular daily users, Instagram is a social media giant. More and more businesses are joining the photo-sharing service, but not just to share cool photos of their brand on their news feed. 
With the rise in influencer marketing, vertical content and long-form video, Instagram is one of today’s most powerful platforms for businesses to create content that connects with your customers. 
More than 200 million users visit at least one business profile a day, and a whopping 75% of them take action, whether that be a follow, a comment or a conversion.
What features can your business take advantage of on Instagram, and how can you expect to benefit?

Instagram Stories

Since 2016, one of Instagram’s most popular offerings, Stories, provides users with the chance to post videos and photos in a slideshow style format. Vertical, full-screen, immersive content is leveraged by 400 million Instagram accounts everyday to provide a continuous stream of content. It offers users a chance to post several updates without spamming followers on their main news feed. 
Businesses can take advantage of stories to showcase timely content which is curated to your customers, helping you to stay front of mind and not fall victim to the Instagram algorithm. From product promotions, timely content, Q&A’s, polls, competitions and behind the scenes footage, you can seamlessly use stories to bolster your marketing campaign efforts. 

How Hubspot uses Instagram for business
Image Credit: Instagram @HubSpot

Take GLAMI, a fashion search site which wanted to reach a younger audience in time for winter. Its immersive video ads for Instagram Stories, combined with other social techniques, saw a 61% increase in reach among women aged 18-24 purely through its Stories, and 13% increased conversion rate with those exposed to them. 


One of the more recent feature launches, Instagram TV (IGTV) is the social media channel’s effort to take on the long-form video giants like YouTube. IGTV allows users to watch and create long-form, vertical video from Instagram creators that’s longer than timeline videos allow. 
IGTV is a great way to tell stories, and it’s also a better way to engage your audience on the details of the story that you are trying to tell, without trying to cram a lot of information int a 30 second clip. People that stay to the end of the IGTV video are also more likely to follow a call to action at the end, and become a repeat consumer. Video is key to an overarching digital marketing and social media strategy. IGTV is an accessible method which boosts your chances of getting seen – and a great way to win the hearts (and minds) of customers!
Be sure to take a look at our social media glossary if any of these social media concepts are new to you.

Shopping on Instagram 

For Ecommerce businesses, Instagram’s shopping service is a great way to expand your audience and attract new customers. The Shopping on Instagram feature lets customers shop with brands and turns your Instagram page into a visual storefront. Users can browse goods from your page and then tap “Shop Now” to go directly to your mobile site, making it as easy as possible for the customer to purchase. 
And if you are interested in tracking the value of sales, then be sure to read our guide to proving the value of social media on sales.

Shopping and sales is a great Instagram for business feature
Image Credit: Instagram @KateSpadeNY


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Benefits of Instagram for business 

What benefits can your brand expect to see from using Instagram for your business? 

Build brand awareness 

You can also use Instagram to measure the success of your brand awareness campaign. Whether it be follower count, likes, comment engagement or use of your hashtags, you can look at analytics to see what content is performing well, and what could be improved upon. You can also request this information from influencers, to monitor the performance of your relationship. But remember, a one-off post is unlikely to have long-term effects. Instead, you need to focus on building lasting relationships. 
92% of consumers listen to recommendations, and influencers, who build up their following and have a loyal fanbase of people who trust their recommendations, are used by hundreds of thousands of brands for a reason. 

Engage with your audience

Many people think about sites like Twitter for customer engagement, but Instagram has one of the most actively engaged user bases. And based on research, Instagram generates 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter, and 58 times more engagement than Facebook. 
Using instagram as a business engagement tool
Using micro-influencers in your marketing efforts can drive engagement rates by 60%. Often overlooked for Instagrammers with a larger following, micro-influencers have an average of 22.2% more weekly conversations than the average Instagram user. They also have higher engagement rates and more niche followings, offering the perfect opportunity for you to connect with your audience. 

Track your objectives easily

So many companies invest in sales for platforms but don’t measure the effectiveness of it. With Instagram Ads Manager, you can track everything from link clicks, leads, conversions and the cost per result on campaigns that have been run.
You can measure your objectives against leads and sales, and understand the best way to invest money and what content performs well. This part of the process should never be underestimated. It’s one of the most important benefits for businesses on Instagram, giving you a clear overview of where you’re going right, and where you can improve (and you always can!). 

More Instagram for business tips

Determine the right performance metrics 

If you’re not measuring yourself against the right metrics, you won’t be able to achieve the levels of success your campaign deserves. As a result, you won’t be able to make actionable efforts to increase your sales and visibility. 

There is little point in monitoring the number of likes on a post if you’re most interested in the number of clicks or conversions of a Black Friday campaign. Similarly, if you’re pushing brand awareness, you need to prioritise monitoring comments received, follower growth, engagements per follower, and how engaging your hashtags are. 

Post regularly 

The more regularly you post, the more engagement you’ll receive. This will, in turn, boost your followers and chances of them turning into customers. It sounds simple, but Instagram’s organic reach algorithm continues to change, and fresh engagement is more important than ever before. 
You should still follow the rule of quality over quantity, but make sure to keep your uploads steady. Keep your audience wanting more, but don’t let them wait so long that they get distracted by a competitor. 

Don’t dismiss yourself over business size 

With so many users on the app, the sky’s the limit to what you can achieve. The audience on Instagram is so varied, and with the specific and tailored targeting that Instagram has, small and large companies can take advantage of the benefits of the site. 

Start engaging now

It’s a crowded market out there, and personalisation is becoming more and more important. Using Instagram shows your customers that you’re more than just a faceless business which churns out weekly scheduled posts. 
It’s the perfect opportunity to get personal, be creative, build trust, relationships and credibility. No matter your industry, size, or location, there’s no reason why your brand shouldn’t be on Instagram. For help creating and implementing your Instagram strategy, get in touch with us today.