Tools Used In This Recipe
Even after its acquisition by Facebook and seeing rivals like TikTok become massive social networks in their own right, Instagram remains a popular and significant part of the social media landscape. If your startup fits any of these criteria:
- Targets a younger (under 35) demographic
- Sells physical products to a B2C audience
- Plans to leverage influencers as a sales & marketing strategy
You should register an Instagram account. In this Recipe we'll walk through setting up an Instagram account for your startup or product so you can leverage it to help grow your community and business.
One unique aspect of Instagram compared to other social networks is that almost all of its functions are mobile-only. You can use an Instagram account on a laptop after it's been set up, but to create one you'll need to use the mobile app. In this Recipe we'll assume that you already have a personal account and a device with the mobile app set up.
From your Instagram account, tap your username in the upper left. This will open a panel at the bottom of the screen that lists your account information. At the very bottom is an option labeled Log In or Create New Account. Tap the link, then tap Create New Account to begin creating a new Instagram account for your startup.
The first step is to pick a username for your Instagram account. While you can change this later, as with other social media accounts once you start using a specific username, changing it will create a lot of cleanup work since you will undoubtedly have references to the old account scattered across your startup's website and documents. So it's worth spending time to pick one that you will be happy with over the long term. Here are a few things to consider if your startup's name is already taken:
- If you are registering accounts for multiple social media platforms, try to make them the same. It'll make your life a lot easier!
- You can add an underscore at the start or end of your name, or even between words, to make it unique.
- If your startup has a product name that's different than your company name, you might have better luck with the product name or even a combination.
- You can use a short prefix to your product or company name such as try-, get-, with-, or join-. These prefix words have the benefit of acting as a call to action.
After you have selected a password, Instagram will use the email and phone you set up for your personal account for your startup. We'll change those later, but for now tap Complete Sign Up.
Once your account is created, Instagram will offer to connect to your Facebook account so it can suggest accounts for you to follow. If you plan to leverage your personal network to grow your business you can connect this account to your Facebook Page for your startup, but otherwise it's better to tap Skip. You can come back to it later. We also recommend skipping the Find Contacts process since it will send information about all of the contacts on your phone to Instagram.
Next you'll add a profile photo. Use your logo to make sure the account connects to your brand.
Once you have your username and profile photo set your new account is ready, but you should still add more information to your account to help people find it. Tap the Edit Profile button to set your name and bio. If your goal is to drive traffic to another site make sure you include a link.
Once you have added a name and bio you're ready to start using your account. Instagram will include a message asking you to complete your profile by finding accounts to follow, so that's worth doing now.
Upgrading to an Instagram Business Account
The next step is to upgrade your new account to a Business account. This is free, and it provides a number of benefits:
- Only Business accounts can advertise, so if that's part of your startup's strategy you will need to upgrade to run ads.
- Instagram now has a native shop feature available to Business accounts. If your startup plans to sell online you can do so directly in Instagram with a Business account.
- Business accounts have access to analytics.
- You can schedule posts in a Business account, enabling you to leverage the account as part of a content marketing strategy.
- Business accounts have additional profile features like category, and you can add contact information like email, phone, and address.
- Business profiles can include a dedicated call to action button.
To convert your new Instagram account to a Business account, from your profile page tap the menu icon in the upper right.
In the menu that appears, tap Settings.
Tap Account, then scroll to the bottom of the menu and tap Switch to Professional Account. Instagram will give you a tour of the benefits of a Professional Account for you to Review. Tap Continue through this walkthrough.
Next you'll pick a category for your Account. If your startup will sell physical products it's better to pick a category that reflects the product, like Clothing or Health/Beauty. Instagram will list popular categories but you are not limited to these. Use the menu to select the option that best fits (you can always change it later). If the option for Display on Profile isn't selected you can tap to enable it. Then tap Done.
Select the category that best describes your business and tap Done. Instagram will ask you to confirm that your account should be classified as a businesss (as opposed to a creator account). In terms of functionality, there's very little difference between the two types. Both have access to analytics, both can set up shops and post items for sale, both can advertise, and both can schedule posts for the future. Instagram's recommendation engine will promote the types of accounts differently, so pick the one that best represents your startup (and a creator/influencer is absolutely a type of startup!).
Once you make your selection, you'll return to your Account profile screen with some new functionality added to reflect your business (or creator) account status.
We cover Instagram's advertising and analytics functionality in a different Recipe, but you can see the new profile functionality by tapping the button labeled Edit Profile. At the bottom of the screen you'll see the new profile options for business. Page allows you to connect to a matching Facebook page so you can coordinate posts and responses between them. Category allows you to change the category you set earlier. Business Diversity Info is only for Accounts with attached Shops, and allows Black-owned businesses to register to be featured on Instagram. Tap on Contact Options to review the options there.
The Contact Options menu allows you to set an email, phone, address, and to connect your account to a WhatsApp Business number.
It also allows you to add an action button, which is only useful for startups that have services that can be booked (like hair salons) or take reservations (like restaurants). Tapping Add an action button will open a list of tools used for booking or making reservations - if your business uses one of these you can integrate it to allow visitors to access your service directly through your account.
With your new Business account on Instagram you can start making posts and recruiting followers to help grow your business. You can switch between your Business and personal accounts by tapping the username in the upper left of your profile screen, which will open a menu at the bottom. Tap the account you want to switch to and Instagram will transition to that account.
The contents of this Recipe are © Innovation Works, Inc. and are licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0 . Contact us with questions or feedback, or to learn more about our structured program in Entrepreneurism based on Startup Recipes.