An Instagram business account gives brands, influencers, and creators performance data to understand how followers interact with their content—insights to guide business decisions and advertising functions to action on them.
Ninety percent of Instagram users follow a business account, and 81% use Instagram as a platform to research products and services. Instagram, in short, is no longer just a visual platform for pretty pictures. Its library of content types—Instagram Stories, Reels, and IGTV—make it an ideal platform to reach new audiences, learn about users’ content preferences, and share powerful visuals.
And it’s easy to get started.
Three types of Instagram profiles
Instagram business accounts are just one type of account you can have on Instagram. In total, there are three types of account, each created for different types of users:
- Personal account: the vast majority of users have personal accounts, which don’t have analytics or advertising features
- Creator account: for influencers and content producers who want audience insights and Instagram Shop features
- Business account: for brands and companies selling products or services who want access to advertising, links, scheduling posts, and deep insights
The benefits of an Instagram business account
Detailed analytics, the ability to track post performance, additional information in your profile, and features like Quick Replies provide plenty of reasons to create a Business account.
Tools like these make it easy to:
Learn about your fans
Instagram Insights not only highlights the demographics of your followers, like their age and location, it tells you what content they prefer and when they’re usually online, so you can plan content campaigns and share photos when your audience is most active.
Sell directly to followers
Avoid disrupting users’ scrolling with Instagram’s in-app purchase feature. Your audience can browse and buy products without ever leaving the app, reducing friction in the customer journey and increasing conversion rates.
Run ad campaigns
Instagram ads can expose your brand to new followers and potential customers through powerful targeting capabilities. Analytics show which content is performing best and how many users follow through on your call to action.
Control the customer journey
In the past, it was almost impossible to direct Instagram users away from the app—the only links allowed were in profiles (hence the ever-present “Link in bio” CTA). Creators with a business account can add links to their Instagram Stories if they have over 10,000 followers, giving them the chance to use Instagram as a lead-generation tool.
How to create an Instagram business account
There are two ways to create an Instagram business account in the Instagram app:
- Switch from an existing personal profile
- Create a brand new business account
Most existing brands who want to start using Instagram will create a new account from scratch. But if you already have a solid following, it makes sense to convert your personal profile to a business account to retain those followers. If you don’t have any followers, start fresh.
There are other considerations to this. If you’re an influencer who’s grown a following for sharing humorous fitness videos and have created a line of workout gear off the back of it, you might consider creating a separate business account for your product, or you might convert your existing profile to a business account and continue sharing content as both an influencer and a brand owner.
If you’re on the fence, think about:
- Time constraints (Do you have the resources to post regularly on both a business account and your personal one?)
- Brand personality (Are you synonymous with your product? Is the main purpose of your account to entertain and connect rather than sell your product?)
- Brand awareness (Do you want to create a separate online presence for your product so that it’s easy for people to find through search?)
Fashion influencer Arielle Charnas started out sharing posts on a personal account about her family, lifestyle, and clothing. After growing a huge following, she launched a fashion label, Something Navy, under a separate account.
Switching to a business profile from a personal profile
If you already have a personal profile you want to change into a business account, tap Settings in the top right corner, click Account, and scroll to the bottom, where you’ll see a blue link that says Switch to Professional account.
Tap that and you’ll be asked what type of business you have and whether you want to add your phone number and contact information to your profile.
How to create an Instagram business account from scratch
Businesses that are ready to get started on Instagram can create a business account from scratch in just a few steps:
- Create a new Instagram account.
- Choose your username and password and enter your contact details.
- Set up the account (it will automatically be created as a personal profile).
- Once you have set up your account, go to Settings > Account and tap Switch to Professional account.
Note: Choosing your username is a bit like choosing your domain name. Ideally, you want it to be the same as your brand name, but there are ways to tweak it when an exact match isn’t available:
- Using your actual domain name (e.g., with .co or .com on the end)
- Adding punctuation to break up separate words (like Hannah.Rochell and Nanda_Schwartz)
- Adding a prefix at the beginning of your name (like mrdrewscott)
- Adding extra letters to the beginning or end of your brand name (like xosarahmorgan)
- Adding your location suffix to the end of your name (like thedoersuk)
The process from there is the same as if you were switching from a personal profile.
When creating your Instagram Business profile, bear in mind that:
- You can’t have a private business account
- The algorithm treats business posts the same as posts from personal profiles
- You can run Instagram and Facebook page ads in tandem
Quick tips for making the most of your Instagram business account
Make the most of the available features
Business accounts have access to more features than personal profiles. You still have up to 150 characters to use in your bio, but you can add your location, address, and the type of business without taking up any space. You can also include links in your Stories, schedule posts, set up an Instagram shop, and create Quick Replies.
Loftie includes its website, a link to its shop, and a contact button, while Irma makes the most of Instagram’s Quick Replies feature.
Use a branded profile picture
It’s easy for brands to get lost in the crowd on a jam-packed Instagram feed. Use a branded profile photo that includes your colors, logo, and any recognizable brand features to stand out and spark brand awareness.
Athletic Brewing uses a two-tone logo with its bright brand colors.
Create a cohesive feed
Don’t let the suite of powerful business features distract you from ensuring your feed looks good. Use a limited color palette and consider how each individual post will look as part of the bigger picture.
Dollar Shave Club posts content in varying forms on its feed, but it sticks to a designated color palette so it looks uniform.
How creators can start an Instagram business account
It’s not just LLCs and corporations that are benefitting from Instagram’s business features. Influencers and content creators are leveraging the detailed insights and engaging features to build huge followings and serve their followers their favorite content.
The creator economy is booming right now. Never before have we seen celebrities made in bedrooms, their curtains tightly drawn as they stream their favorite game to millions of viewers or film a strangely mesmerizing unboxing video for their YouTube admirers.
Instagram has become one of the go-to social media platforms for creating and sharing content. The selection of content types means creators can engage with their audience in a variety of ways, building a repository of guides, videos, behind-the-scenes footage, unboxing videos, and everything in between.
Instagram Business accounts are best suited to influencers and creators who have started their own product lines or sell services, as the access to targeted ads and demographic data makes it easier to reach people who might be interested in becoming a client or customer.
Play as you go: things to consider when you post on your business account
Creating a huge, hypothetical strategy probably isn’t as valuable as learning through experimentation. Trial and error will give you insights into what content is a hit and what’s a miss, as well as who it is you’re reaching and their main pain points.
Understanding who your audience is, planning content out to fit their needs, and creating a monetization plan (whether it’s through affiliates, selling products, or via brand partnerships) can help focus your efforts and drive your experimentation–-here are some questions to ask yourself.
1. WHO you’re posting for
- Who do you want to reach?
- What are their biggest problems?
- How can you solve those problems?
- What kind of content do they want to see?
Dig deeper by conducting audience research, scouring relevant hashtags, running audience surveys, and digging into any available insights you have.
Look at the questions your target audience is asking on social media, check competitor feeds to see what kind of posts get the most interaction, then use this information to craft an image of your ideal follower.
2. WHAT you’re posting
Figure out what your goal is with each post—Driving consumers to your site? Selling your latest product? Encouraging comments?—and determine what type of Instagram posts fit that need. Experiment with a mixture of Stories, Reels, feed posts, and videos to see what works best with your audience.
For example, if you’ve created a recipe for your latest nut butter product, you might show it in action via a Reel, or if you’ve collected UGC of consumers unboxing and using your products, you might post a series of Stories to highlight them, like Glossier.
Glossier reshares UGC in its Stories under its Top 5 series.
Consider your posting schedule and how often you’ll share content each week. Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, suggests “a couple of feeds a week, a couple of Stories per day.”
3. HOW you’ll make money
- Will you sell a product or service or generate money in another way?
- What monetization methods work with your business model?
- What Instagram features can you use to monetize your business?
There are two clear streams of monetization for business accounts:
- Support marketing efforts: traditional businesses can use Instagram to support their marketing efforts. Even if you sell products directly on the platform, your content is marketing for those on-platform sales.
- Sales sans products: creators don’t necessarily have to sell a product (although that’s always an option). You can make money through affiliate links, brand partnerships, links, running courses, and taking part in ambassador programs.
Brand deals are the most common way for creators to generate an income on Instagram, followed by ad revenue and affiliate links. For brands that sell products, Instagram Shopping and shoppable posts can generate revenue through in-app purchases.
Thinking ahead: how to start growing your business account
With your business account set up and a plan for moving forward, you can start to consider the bigger picture and how you’re going to get more followers.
The Insights feature and ad capabilities mean you can track which methods are working best, but to get you started, here are some ways you can promote your business account:
- Instagram ads. Set up and run campaigns through your Instagram business account. Choose the demographics of the users you want to target and create eye-catching graphics to grab their attention, whether it’s in their feed or Stories.
- Hashtags. Research hashtags that are trending in your industry, discover what’s popular on the Explore page, and spy on your competitors to see what hashtags they’re using in their posts.
- Partnerships. Partner with similar brands that have a similar audience, create content together, and promote each other’s accounts. Perhaps you run a giveaway together or create a collaboration with your products (Instagram’s Collab feature makes this easier than ever).
- Influencers. Team up with influential accounts in your niche and have them promote your products or services.
Building an Instagram business from the ground up
Instagram for Business has made it possible for creators, influencers, and brands of all different shapes and sizes to make money from social media. All they need is a loyal, engaged audience, which is where Instagram comes into play.
Engagement rates on the platform are higher than any other social channel, and the range of content types allows businesses and creators to reach their audience in a variety of ways.
Get to know your audience. Build an Instagram strategy. Then put it to work with Instagram for Business’ array of features.