Hey! If you’re reading this post then you’ve realized that Instagram is a powerful tool to grow your business.
The photo-sharing app has reached over 600 million active users and has the highest engagement rate of any social media platform, so it’s time to start optimizing your business profile.
We’ve compiled a detailed beginner’s guide with some of the best practices for you to start getting your brand ahead of the competition.

1 –  Determine your strategy
First off you need to know what your strategy is – What will you be using Instagram for?
Using Instagram for your business may have very different purposes:
– Increase sales
– Generate traffic to your website
– Increase your brand awareness
– Generate specific campaigns
– Create a community

After understanding what your main strategy is you should create SMART goals for your long-term strategy. These might include:
– Getting X followers per week
– Generating X leads per month
– X mentions on hashtags per campaign
– X reach per post

It’s advised to have your goals written and read them on a weekly basis – This will keep you focused on your long-term strategy. Done with creating your strategic goals? Good!
It’s time to focus on practices to achieve them.

2 – Gather competitive intelligence
After knowing your purpose on Instagram it’s time to do some research on your main competitors. You’ll see how they are using Instagram to leverage their business.
For example, you can check how many followers they have, the engagement they generate in terms of likes and comments and how often are they posting.
You should also check some of the BEST BRANDING EXAMPLES on Instagram and research specific information regarding optimization of your main strategy.
This research will be helpful to understand if you’re going in the right direction and to inspire you to overcome your competition in a more innovative way.

3 – SETUP YOUR ACCOUNT (settings)
Already have Instagram? If not, just download the app and register. Choose a username that is equal or similar to your brand for easy recognition.

Your bio has a limit of 150 characters on which you should provide a pitch for your company, either what your business is about or what your mission is. You should also include a link that allows people to click and go directly to your website, this is critical to boost your traffic and generate sales.

Change your account to a business account
It allows you to add a “contact” button for followers or potential customers to contact you directly without going to your website. Just add an email or phone number and the button should appear
With this feature, you’ll be able to see important insights related to how people are viewing your content. These may include:
– Impressions
– Website Clicks
– Reach
– Follower activity
– Followers source

4- IMAGERY IS POWERFUL
Everyone in Instagram is about visuals. Hence, your account should have great imagery to present your potential customers. Great imagery not only will attract more users but will also make them scroll your page longer and see more of your content. Ultimately, they can choose to follow you or even become your client.

Let’s divide this in 3 steps:
First, consider the visual style you want for your Instagram brand.
Choose one filter or a set of filters that you will use for the majority, if not all of your photos. This will make your page seaming less and easy recognizable by your followers each time you post. With this, you are creating a cohesive digital identity.
Second, choose the content you’ll mostly publish on your page
A restaurant will mostly post pictures of food, a clothing brand of its clothing lines, so choose what to focus on according to your business nature.

Tip: Take a look what your strongest competitors are doing and replicate it in a more innovative way, if possible.

Finally – Articulate your Instagram in a way that people feel welcomed to your page, be creative and surprise them with great content. See the EXAMPLE above, don’t you get a good first impression from this business account?