If you’re a small business owner, Instagram is probably high on your list of channels that can fuel your growth. Are the business Instagram account benefits worth the hype? How can you make it work for your own brand?
Here’s what you need to know about the benefits that come with a business Instagram account. We’ll cover what they are, what they can do, and how you can use them to increase your audience and gain customers.
1. Position your business to reach 1 billion active users!
Instagram’s one of the most popular social media apps out there. It boasts over 1 billion active users, with 500 million people scrolling, filtering, and posting every day.
For context, if Instagram were a country, it’d be the third most populated country in the world — bumping the USA down to fourth place.
Most Populated Countries (2021)
|4. United States||330,425,184|
The only way to gain access to these 1,000,000,000 users is to get your business on Instagram.
Plus, creating an Instagram account for your business means you’ll strengthen your visual branding — and with that, you’ll be uniquely positioned to reach millions of potential customers.
2. Reach engaged users who like following brands
One of the biggest roadblocks in advertising is that…well, people don’t want to see ads. Social media users are savvy to modern advertising tricks, and most people even train themselves to ignore certain ads, resulting in a phenomenon known as banner blindness.
But here’s the thing — most Instagram users actually like following brand accounts.
As of 2020, 90% of users follow a business on Instagram. Do the math, and you get…90% of 1 billion, which works out to…900 million active users who follow at least one business Instagram account.
900 million is not a bad number. Once you create a branded business Instagram account and update your feed with visually appealing, informative posts, you can be sure potential customers will want to follow you.
3. Auto reply to all your DMs by connecting your business Instagram account with Customers.ai
Once those 900 million users start following and engaging with your brand, they’re gonna have questions. That means they’ll be primed to DM you, which is awesome! Once they do, though, you have to make sure to answer them quickly, or your risk losing their interest.
One of the best business Instagram account benefits is that with an Instagram business account, you can connect your inbox to Customers.ai’s Auto Reply Bot.
With Customers.ai, instead of spending hours each day sifting through DMs, hiring multiple VAs to help out, or worse — not answering DMs at all — you can answer each message instantly.
Send a DM to @Customers.ai.ai on your Instagram mobile app and experience an Instagram auto-reply for yourself.
Remember: instant engagement means you can turn followers into fans into customers. Don’t let your DMs slide!
4. Promote your posts to reach a wider audience
With an Instagram business account, you can boost important posts to get them in front of more people.
Once you’ve picked a post to promote, you can select a target audience, choose your budget, and decide how long the promotion will run.
Because you’re promoting an already existing post, it’ll blend into Instagram’s interface, which means users are more likely to interact with you. As always, more engagement means better customer relationships…which means more sales.
5. Run ads on Instagram to custom audiences
One way Instagram combats banner blindness is by creating a culture of people who love following their favorite brands. Another way is by allowing business accounts to promote existing posts.
There’s also a third way. Business accounts can run ads within Instagram itself by using Ad Manager to select the ad objective, target audience, and ad format.
(As you can see, Instagram is doing a great job targeting one of our content writers.)
Like promoted posts, Instagram identifies ads with the word “Sponsored” just under your Instagram handle. You also get a call to action (CTA) button, which lets you give your followers a clear next step.
6. Coordinate Instagram ads with Facebook, Google, and more
Because Instagram is owned by Facebook, it integrates seamlessly with Facebook ads. It even uses the same Ads Manager.
This means you can easily use retargeting ads to remind your followers about you while they’re scrolling through friends’ Facebook pages or visiting their favorite websites.
If someone finds you for the first time via your Instagram business profile, they’ll need to be “warmed up” before they’re ready to buy anything. Retargeting lets you do that.
7. Use Customers.ai Instagram messaging automation tools to grow your email list from Instagram
When you create your Instagram business account, you’ll have the opportunity to include CTA buttons below your Instagram business bio. One of these is “Message.”
Starting conversations on Instagram is one of the best things you can do for your business, since generating DMs gives your content an algorithmic boost — i.e., Instagram will show your content to more people.
That’s because when users message you for more info, Instagram realizes you’re creating real value. So, it gives you a boost.
Customers.ai’s new messaging automation tools not only help you start conversations on Instagram, but we also help you grow your email list at the same time!
Check out what happens when you message us on Instagram:
Try it for yourself by clicking “Message” on our profile page and saying hi!
8. Refine your marketing strategy using Instagram’s analytics tools
Another of the best business Instagram account benefits is the ability to see who’s engaging with your content via Instagram Insights.
Similar to Facebook analytics, Instagram Insights shows you how you performed on Instagram over the last week. This includes followers gained (or lost), impressions made, number of posts, profile views, website clicks, and email clicks.
It also breaks down your follower demographics by age, gender, location, and times when they’re most active.
Using these insights, you can refine your marketing strategy and only create content that works.
9. Save time by using the Customers.ai inbox to sort and manage your messages
Personal Instagram accounts only have one inbox. A business account, on the other hand, has three: Requests, General, and Primary.
With Customers.ai, you can go even further. The OmniChat® Inbox lets you view all your DMs, sort out the messages that require follow-up, add multiple inbox users, and auto-assign convos to reps…to name a few of its functions.
Plus, you can do it all from your desktop computer. Finally.
10. Auto-reply to all your comments with Customers.ai’s new Instagram tools
When your followers resonate with one of your posts so much that they take the time to comment on it, you’d better follow up.
Responding to comments doesn’t just boost your engagement. It also shows your followers that you want to make a real connection with them, and that you’re ready with answers to their questions.
With Customers.ai’s new Comment Guard, you can instantly send a DM to anyone who comments on your posts. You can also automatically add a link to your Instagram posts after people comment, which sends an already engaged audience directly to your marketing funnel.
11. Place links in your Stories using the “Swipe Up” feature
On Instagram, you only get one link. That’s at the end of your business bio, which means you have to carefully choose where you want to send interested followers. It’s also the reason you see people constantly write “link in bio” in their post captions.
For business accounts with over 10,000 followers, there’s a solution. Using the “Swipe Up” feature, you can add a link to relevant Stories. You could advertise a sale, and then bring followers right to your sales page.
If you don’t have 10k followers yet, no worries. Here’s some tricks to get you there…and in the meantime, check out Benefit #12.
12. Convert Instagram traffic to web traffic for free in your DMs
Just like you can use your DMs to build your email list for free, you can also use them to build web traffic! And best of all, you don’t need 10k followers to do it.
When you use the Customers.ai chatbot to auto-respond to all your DMs, you can choose where to send your followers. You can direct them to your website homepage, a sales page, or drop them directly into a funnel.
This works better than link-in-bio tools, because it instantly puts you in contact with people who comment and message you — and it happens automatically.
13. Tag products and turn photos into shoppable posts
70% of shoppers use Instagram to find new products. With a business Instagram account, you can tag products and turn your photos into shoppable posts.
It’ll look something like this:
If your business is located in the U.S., your followers can use Instagram Checkout to purchase your products without ever leaving the app.
The easier it is for a customer to buy, the more likely they are to do so. It’s a great feature for everyone involved.
14. Bring customers to your physical location by listing your business address
When you create your business account, you’ll be prompted to enter your business’s physical address. This info shows up under your bio, making it easier for followers to find you IRL.
You’ll also select your business category, which helps you show up in local search. For business owners who work from physical locations (like cafes, restaurants, and salons), it’s crucial that you make this info easy for your followers to find.
15. Streamline your day by auto-publishing your posts
On a personal Instagram account, you can’t schedule posts for later. All your content has to be uploaded natively. But with a business account for Instagram, you can use Facebook’s Creator Studio to schedule out posts for the future.
This means you don’t have to interrupt your day just to post on Instagram anymore. Although the Creator Studio doesn’t let you schedule Stories, there are plenty of third party apps you can use if you want to dig even deeper into scheduling all your Instagram activity beforehand.
16. Auto reply to all your Story mentions with Customers.ai’s new Instagram tool
This is a great way to reward and incentivize Story mentions by sending anyone who mentions you a thank-you note!
There’s lots of room for creativity here. Try running a giveaway through story mentions…and as a contest entry follow-up, message participants with a discount code or another reward for entering.
You’ll get a two-for-one — more engagement on Instagram, and more leads.
17. Control who tags you as a content partner by turning on Branded Content Approvals
As your brand grows on Instagram, you might want to partner with influencers…and some would-be influencers might like to boost their clout by pretending to partner with you.
To keep this from happening, business accounts for Instagram let you turn on Branded Content Approvals. This gives you the option to manually approve who tags you, manage your tag requests, and approve business partners who can tag you at any time, no questions asked.
18. Spy on your competitors (the legal way)
Instagram isn’t Instagram without a little virtual stalking.
For real, though, watching what your competitors are doing on Instagram is a smart way to refine your own social media marketing strategy and get inspiration for your next campaign.
You should always be aware of what your competitors are up to, and keeping up to date with the social media platforms they use is a great way to do that.
19. Make the world a better place with Instagram’s social fundraising feature
In July 2020, Instagram launched a new social fundraising feature. Any Instagram user can create a fundraiser for a personal cause, for their business, or for a cause that’s important to them.
The feature itself was a response to COVID-19, and it mirrors the recent spike in digital activism — especially when it comes to social justice.
Use the social fundraising feature to show your followers what’s important to you. Partner with a nonprofit to go even further.
Whatever you do, be real. People know what it looks like when a brand supports a social cause purely for personal gain, and the consequences for faking it are steep.
20. Build authentic brand-customer relationships
Everything you do to market your business should be centered around building human connections.
When you create consistent on-brand posts that showcase your product, speak to your expertise, or just show customers what you’re excited about, it’s like you’re giving them a window into your life. Followers will feel like they’re getting to know you…and if you pay attention, you’ll get to know them in return.
That’s why you want to make sure you’re following up with comments and answering your DMs. People want to know that you hear them. And when you show them you do, you’ll cultivate relationships that are built to last.
How to convert your Instagram account to a business account
If you haven’t done so already, converting an existing Instagram account to a business account is very simple.
1. Go to your profile and click on the hamburger menu on the top right
2. Click on the Settings icon in the bottom right
(Some accounts will let you choose Switch to Professional Account from here.)
3. Click on Account
4. Scroll down to Switch to Professional Account
5. Answer the questions Instagram asks you about your business
And boom! You’e in.
To make the most of your business Instagram account benefits, check out our new tools for Instagram — now in beta. Check it out and see if you qualify for beta access.