Advertising on Instagram: What Businesses Need to Know

by Danielle Dean

Breaking: With more than 800 million active users, businesses of all sizes are turning to Instagram to broaden their reach and connect with their target audience.

Read time: 3 minutes, 50 seconds

Whether you’re a major brand or a mom-and-pop operation, Instagram is a social media platform that you simply cannot afford to ignore. The photo-sharing juggernaut now boasts more than 800 million monthly active users, 80 percent of which follow at least one business account on the platform. And brands are beginning to take notice, too – in the past year alone, the number of businesses that advertise monthly on Instagram has doubled from one million to more than two million. If you’ve been wondering how to get the most out of Instagram advertising, below are some valuable tips to help you leverage this visually-driven platform to broaden your reach and create more meaningful connections with your target audience.

First Things First: Create a Business Profile on Instagram

Before you can get into the more advanced aspects of advertising on Instagram, you will need to make sure that you’ve created a Business Profile on the site first. This isn’t quite the same thing as having a public Instagram page for your business; it’s a feature that you must opt into by switching to a Business Profile in your account settings. Here’s how to do it:

1. Log into your Instagram account on a mobile device and visit your profile page.

2. Tap the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner to access your account settings.

3. Tap the line that says “Switch to Business Profile,” and then tap “Continue as [Your Business Name].” Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, the app will tie your brand’s Facebook page to your Instagram account when you take this step. This way, any posts you publish via Instagram will automatically be posted to your Facebook page as well. (Note: If you have multiple Facebook pages for your business, choose the one you use the most to share updates with your fans and followers.)

4. Tap “Next” in the top right-hand corner. At this point, your Instagram Business Profile will automatically import the profile information from your Facebook page. Double-check to make sure that you have a phone number, physical address and email address in your profile. Make any needed changes or updates to your contact information, and then tap “Done.”

5. You’re all set! Now your customers will be able to contact you directly through your Instagram profile, and you’ll be able to view important stats via Follower Insights. You can also begin advertising by promoting your Instagram posts.

Explore the Various Advertising Tools on Instagram

Instagram has created an impressive array of powerful advertising tools to help you reach potential customers in a non-intrusive way. Here are some of the most popular tools on the platform:

  • Photo and Video Ads: These clean and simple advertising formats are designed to blend in seamlessly with the surrounding content. Photos can be displayed in square-shaped or landscape format, and videos now allow for a length of up to 60 seconds.
  • Carousel Ads: You can create an additional layer of depth to your advertising campaigns by utilizing Instagram’s Carousel Ads, which allow users to swipe to view additional images or videos within a single ad.
  • Instagram Stories: This is an ephemeral (disappearing) content offering that advertisers can use to share images and videos in a Snapchat-style format. Instagram Stories disappear after a 24-hour period, and they are designed to capture real-time, in-the-moment stories or themes to make a more organic connection with your audience. Stories can accommodate photos or 15-second videos, and they allow for stickers, filters and added text as well. Your followers can voluntarily watch any Stories you post, but Instagram’s algorithm also surfaces these Stories in users’ feeds automatically based on their viewing habits. You can learn all about how to use Instagram Stories for your business at this link.

Take Free E-Learning Courses to Learn Instagram Advertising

Instagram’s advertising platform is robust, to say the least, and many of its tools and features go beyond the scope of this article. The good news is that Facebook offers free online courses to help you learn more about how to build your brand’s presence on Instagram. With topics ranging from Instagram ad formats to using Instagram Stories, these video-based e-learning courses cover everything you’ll need to know to advertise on Instagram with confidence. You can visit the e-learning home page at this link.

Gone are the days when Instagram was simply a repository for photos of fashionable outfits or yesterday’s lunch; this uber-popular outpost is now a powerhouse platform for businesses as well. Use the information outlined above to help you drive awareness, attract more customers and take your business to a new level.

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