If you or your clients are using Instagram for any kind of marketing, you should have an Instagram business account. It doesn’t matter if the profile is for a freelancer, a family-owned business, or even a “guru” or influencer.
Instagram business accounts don’t require any kind of official business status or verification, and they provide enormous benefits that are entirely necessary for anyone marketing on Instagram.
In this post, we’re going to break down everything that you need to know about Instagram business accounts, including why they’re so important, how to convert your account, what you need to do to set it up, and the best practices you need to see results.
What is An Instagram Business Account and Why Do I Need One?
An Instagram business account is Instagram’s version of a Facebook Page. It tells Instagram that you’re using the platform for some sort of marketing (even if not for a conventional business), and it allows you to access a number of features that personal profiles don’t have.
- The ability to boost posts
- The ability to add links to your Stories (if you have 10,000 or more followers)
- Access to native analytics
- Gaining features like Shoppable posts, which allow you to sell directly from your Instagram posts
- The ability to add partner accounts as branded partners that can post on your behalf
- Potential verification options
- Clickable CTAs to drive people to your site, to book appointments in-app, and more
The benefits that come with an Instagram business account are essential if you want to be able to market successfully and track the impact of your campaigns; you won’t have the same kind of access to these extremely useful features without converting.
Are There Any Drawbacks?
Here’s the happy answer: There are no drawbacks at all to converting to an Instagram Business or Creator account. There are only positives unless for some reason you want to keep your account private (which you really shouldn’t for reach purposes).
People worry that a business account will cost them potential visibility, going the way of Facebook’s declining organic reach.
As of right now, this has not been the case. Business posts are treated exactly the same as personal profiles in the algorithm, so reach isn’t impacted for business accounts, and as long as your engagement stays strong, you’ll be good to go.
And even better: You can convert your profile back to a personal profile at any point.
How to Create or Convert to a Business Account
When you’re looking to set up your business account, you can either create a new business account or convert a personal profile to a business account.
If you already have an Instagram account with some momentum, it’s best to convert the account that you already have to a business account. To do this, head to your settings, and then scroll down until you see “Sign up for a Business Profile” and “Switch to a Business Profile.”
If you decide to sign up for a new business profile, you’ll be asked to link to a current Facebook Page and provide your contact information including name and phone number. This will create a separate business profile, and leave your personal one intact.
You can also choose to convert your existing account. If you’re using the current account for marketing purposes, go for this option. You’ll be asked to link to a current Facebook Page, or to create a new Page if you don’t already have one.
You’ll then be asked to confirm your email and phone number, and then once you click through the next screen, your account will officially become a business profile.
Insights won’t be immediately available, even on posts several days or weeks old, but will likely become available within a week of switching over to a business account.
How to Setup Your Business Account For Best Results
Setting up a business account will naturally be a little different from setting up a personal account.
The first thing that you should do is ensure that your profile picture, bio, and bio link are all representing your business well. Do they sum up what your business does, and send users to your website or a designated landing page?
Ideally, your profile’s bio should:
- Explain to users what you can offer them and how it benefits them directly
- Offer instructions for how people can share user-generated content
- Include a CTA (Call-to-actions)
- Feature a branded hashtag, if you have one.
You’ll also need to update your profile to include information that wasn’t there before. Navigate to your profile in-app, and then click “Edit Profile.”
When you click on “Edit Profile,” you’ll see a list of options for what to edit. One of the first things you should do is choose the category and subcategory that best represents your business because this can help you show up in the right searches.
You’ll also want to update your contact information and determine what clickable contact buttons you want available on your Page. Note that you need to enter the email address and phone number that you want to be publicly available; don’t list your personal cell number unless you want calls at midnight asking obscure questions.
On this screen, you can choose to remove the contact buttons and add specialised action buttons.
Choosing Action Buttons on Instagram Business Accounts
Action buttons are clickable CTAs that make it easy for users to take their desired actions. They can Message, Email, Call, View Shop, Book Appointment, Place Order, and more.
A restaurant can enable a delivery service to schedule, pick up, and deliver orders to customers, and a salon might use a booking CTA to have appointments booked online.
Businesses who use Instagram Shopping Features (where you tag pictures with products) can set up a View Shop option. This is an outstanding way to drive traffic and high-intent users to make purchases.
How to Secure Your Account
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for people to try to hack into high-profile, high-follower-count accounts and either do some damage or hold the account hostage of ransom. While the hackers are typically focused on really high-profile accounts with millions of followers, it’s still better to be safe than sorry.
Enabling two-step authentication will be important to protecting your account. This can be found under the Settings tab as well, labelled with an easy-to-find tab of “Two-Factor Authentication.”
Enable authentication, and you can choose if you want to have authentication through a code sent by text to your number or through a third-party authentication app like DUO Mobile. Some businesses prefer third-party apps, as they add an extra layer of protection for their accounts. You can read more about this here.
You can also access recovery codes. Save at least one in a safe, secure space; you can use these codes to get back into your account even if your phone isn’t available to you. This means if your number were to change or someone changed the number in the system, you could still get back in.
After two-step authentication is enabled, you’ll be required to enter in a security code every time you log into your account– even if you’ve used the same computer or mobile device before. This is well worth it to protect you and your customers.
Requesting Verification for Your Account
Is there anything sweeter than that coveted blue checkmark appearing next to your profile’s username?
Just like on Facebook and Twitter, business accounts can now request verification status. If granted, they’ll be given a blue checkmark next to their names.
Verification status is essentially a visual badge of honour. It lets users know that you’re someone of relative importance, that you take your marketing seriously, and that you can be trusted to be the person or business they think you are.
Requesting verification is actually easier than it is on other platforms. Head back to your Settings tab, and look for “Request Verification.”
You’ll be asked to fill out a simple, quick form that includes your username, your full name, and any well-known pseudonyms. List the category of your Page, and then upload a photocopy of a government-issued ID.
Note that just because you request verification and fill out the form doesn’t mean you’ll be granted verification status. You’re most likely to be approved if:
- Your account authentically represents a real person or registered business.
- Your account is the only one of the business or person it represents; you can’t have six versions of different pages to be running around (with the exception being language-specific accounts).
- It’s public and complete. If your account has a bio, profile picture, and multiple posts, that’s a good step.
- There’s no sign of “add me” links to other social media services.
- Your account represents a well-known and often highly-searched brand or person.
Moderation Features Available with Instagram Business Account
Community management is something that many businesses struggle with. It can be a lot to keep up with the comments and engagement happening on your posts as your business grows. Sometimes you may also find yourself dealing with trolls.
Instagram has expanded its native moderation features extensively. To access them, choose “Settings” and then “Privacy.”
Here, you can find the ability to customise and automate moderation tasks.
These include the following:
- Limit who can comment on your posts, tag your account in their picture, and mention your account in their post or Stories. You can allow everyone, people who follow you, or people who follow to take any of these actions.
- Set up filters to hide offensive comments. Instagram has an automatic offensive word detector that’s pretty good at flagging common hate speech and swear words. You can also choose to filter comments containing the most-reported words on the platform, or to set up a manual filter.
There was a food blogger awhile back who shut her account down because people kept accusing her of being anorexic. Moderation features would have allowed her to filter out related words and block comments automatically.
- Restrict accounts. Restricted users can still comment on your posts, but no one can see what they said except you and them. This is a way to keep vocal customers or trolls happy.
- Block accounts. If you have someone dropping hate speech, harassing people, or causing mayhem, go ahead and block them. They can’t see your account or interact with it if so.
- Determine where messages go in your inbox. When you click on “Messages,” you can set which inbox different types of messages will go to. Followers on Instagram, for example, automatically go into the “Request” folder, while those you’ve recently chatted with default to the “Primary.” Adjust this as needed.
These customisations can be changed at any time.
Instagram’s Shopping Features
One of Instagram’s brightest and most popular features amongst B2C and eCommerce businesses is their Shopping capabilities. Like most of Instagram, these have expanded significantly over the past few years.
You can now tag products in post content and in Stories, which (when clicked) will show users more product information and allow them to purchase. You can tag multiple products in a single post.
We know this is a powerful feature since over 130 million users click on shopping posts every month. And since it’s mobile-first with auto-filled forms, it helps solve the issue many eCommerce brands sometimes have where customers may be reluctant to purchase on mobile due to the effort that needs to be put into the checkout process.
How to Set Up Instagram Shopping for Your Business
It does take a little time and effort to set up your Instagram Shop, but if you’re selling physical products and your target audience is on Instagram, it’s well worth it.
Before you start, have a business account set up and connect to your Facebook Page. Note that you do not need a Facebook shop, but you must have an Instagram business account and be connected to a Page to use Shopping features.
Then, ensure that you’re eligible. Your business must:
- Be in a supported market
- Have eligible products
- Be compliant with their Commerce Policies and Merchant Agreement
- Own a website domain that you intend to sell from
Once you do this, either upload a product catalog to Facebook through your Business Manager, or sync with an eCommerce partner like Shopify. If you’re working with a partner like Shopify that automatically tracks inventory and price changes, that’s the way to go.
Once you do this, go to Settings, then Business, and then find “Set Up Instagram Shopping.
You’ll select a Page to connect to if you haven’t already, and then you’ll be asked to choose a catalog to connect to and which domain you’ll send people to. Once complete, you can submit your Shop for review.
Once approved, enable the Shopping feature if needed and then start tagging away!
Instagram Stories & Reels
Instagram started out as a photo-sharing feed, but now Stories are just as frequently used as the rest of the app. Reels are an extremely recent development, but there’s no reason to think that they won’t be an important part of the app moving forward, too.
As a quick recap:
- Stories are the mobile-friendly, full-screen images and 15-second videos that show up at the top of users’ feeds. They’ll disappear after 24-hours, though you can save Stories in the Highlights feature.
- Reels can be found in the Explore section and with the new “Reels,” tab on the main dashboard. Reels are Instagram’s Tik-Tok copycat feature, where short videos are set to music.
Businesses should absolutely be using the Stories feature, and if at all able should consider testing out Reels.
Let’s look at best practices for each:
Instagram Stories Best Practices for Businesses
These are the basics to consider:
- Use Highlights to consistently control the narrative. Highlights are essentially organised, categorised feeds of Stories that can live on your profile page forever below the bio text and above your feeds of content. Use this to your advantage by creating categories of Highlights that represent your business well and could help you make a strong connection with new viewers.
I like to have one featuring UGC, and at least one showcasing tips and tricks shared by the Page. Other possible options include new product feeds, employee-generated content, behind the scenes pictures, and event videos.
- Be interactive. Use interactive stickers, add music clips, and share UGC Stories and thank users with mention stickers. If you’re using the feature more often in a way that others can engage with you, they will.
- Post daily if possible. You do not have to worry about users getting fatigued by this feature; many log into the app and immediately start with Stories. Post at least once daily if you can.
- Share information & keep it interesting. Share tutorials broken down into simple steps, Q&As where you answer user questions, and shed light on industry news.
- Using Shopping features if you have them. Tag products here, too! Shopping features aren’t just for in-feed posts, so you want to get your shoppable content as much visibility and reach as possible. Then add them all to a Highlight.
Reels Best Practices for Businesses
Since Reels is a Tik-Tok lookalike, you can follow most of the same general advice for content creation.
This is the biggest tip that we have:
Find a way to add value.
While humor is great, brands who want to make an impact should consider fun ways to share valuable information with this feature. Short snippets of answers to commonly-asked questions can go a long way, and tutorials also do well here.
Instagram Business Account Best Practices
Now that we’ve covered all the essentials for how to set up your Instagram account on the technical side of things, it’s important to look at some of the details that can help you make a powerful first impression.
The following best practices will help you to better connect with your target audience and see more results on- and off-platform. They include:
- Have a strong, well-written bio. We touched on this above, but it’s important so I wanted to reiterate it here. Focus on incorporating a unique selling proposition to explain what makes you different, and describe the specific value you can add to your customers’ lives. Make sure that the bio matches your brand voice.
- Use your profile link to your advantage. Unless you’re running paid ad campaigns, we really only get one true link on Instagram, and that’s found in the bio. Choose this link carefully. While you can update it to showcase relevant, timely content, it’s almost always a good bet to keep it consistent and send users to your home page or a specific landing page.
- Use your Analytics. One of the best parts of Instagram’s business accounts is the native analytics. Their online-platform Insights can be found in the app, and will show you how your content is performing overall and on an individual basis.
You can also track follower count growth, see audience demographics, and even see how many clicks on CTA buttons people are making. Use this to decide if your profile needs some changes, including tweaked copy to make the CTA more powerful.
Whether you consider yourself to be a formal business or not (or if you’re managing social media for a client who feels this way), all “official” Instagram pages should be converted into a business account.
The ability to have detailed native analytics, boost ads, and utilise incredible features like links in Stories or shoppable posts is too big of an opportunity to pass up. Instagram business accounts give you all of the benefits without taking anything away from you in the form of reach or engagement.