Instagram Tutorial for Your Small Business

Kristin Eriksen

Kristin Eriksen

Content Marketing Specialist

July 06, 2018

Instagram Tutorial for Your Small Business

Kristin Eriksen, Content Marketing Specialist
July 06, 2018


Instagram tutorial for your small business

According to research from the Nielsen Company audience report, adults in the United States spend about 10 hours and 39 minutes every day consuming media. This research found that smartphones have the largest reach, with users interacting over social media and reading blogs. As a small business owner, it’s likely that your target audience is using social media. Therefore, you should capitalize on this opportunity to grow your brand, reach your customers and increase sales. There are many social media options to choose from when it comes to marketing your small business. If you’re considering using Instagram for your business, this guide will provide you with a good foundation to make the most of the platform.


What is Instagram?

Instagram is a social networking app that’s owned by Facebook. Instagram is available for free on Apple iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. The app enables you to upload and share photos and videos with your followers. A posted video or photo will be displayed on your profile where followers can view, like or make comments. Instagram has over 800 million monthly users which provide small businesses with a great opportunity to expand their customer base.

Deputy Instagram


What is Instagram for?

Given that 80% of Instagram users voluntarily connect with a brand on the platform, you can utilize Instagram to market your business without a hard sales pitch. Instagram for business is used for consumers to find brands that they want to interact with.


How Instagram works

Instagram uses machine learning to make a unique feed for everyone on the platform. This means that users get a personalized feed depending on how they interact with their accounts. The key aspects that establish what is seen in Instagram feed include:

  • Interest – A user’s past behavior will determine their level of interest and whether they will see a post.
  • Relationship – The proximity to the person who’s sharing is determined by interaction like commenting.
  • Recency – Posts that are shared more recently will have priority over older posts.

How to use Instagram

Getting started on Instagram is a fairly simple process. This guide is for Instagram beginners who have little or no experience of the platform.


How to set up your Instagram

The first thing you will need to do is to set up an Instagram account for your business with the following steps:

  • Download the appropriate Instagram app for the operating system on your phone.
    Select ‘Sign Up.’
  • Enter your email address (you can also tap ‘Log in with Facebook’ if you want to sign up with your Facebook account).
  • Choose ‘Next.’
  • When you’re in the App, select ‘Settings,’ scroll down and choose ‘Switch to Business Account.’
  • Complete your business details, like phone number and opening hours.

Your Instagram profile

After you sign up on Instagram, your profile will be made up of your:

  • Name – Include your brand name, some keywords or a short description of your business.
  • Username – Select a username that represents your business. It should be consistent across all social media platforms so that consumers realize they’re dealing with the same business. Your username is also known as your Instagram handle.
  • Website – You can use this clickable link to showcase the content on your website that you want users to see. You can change your website link as often as you want, so it’s a great way to highlight your latest promotions.
  • Bio – Your bio should describe your business and display your brand personality. You should also use the 150 characters to explain what users can expect from your Instagram profile. Try using emojis and hashtags in your bio to add personality and for users to find your brand. See how Target makes use of emojis and hashtags to highlight its competition.

Target Instagram


Your profile photo

Ideally, your Instagram profile picture should be an image of your logo and be the same one displayed on your website and other social media platforms. For the mobile app, your profile picture should be a minimum of 110 pixels width x 110 pixels height. Your picture will be shown in a circle, so your logo has to be clear when cropped. Have a look at how Deputy’s logo is clearly displayed on our Instagram account.

Deputy Instagram2


Your Instagram content strategy

Now that you’ve set up your Instagram account, you should have a plan about how to utilize the platform to benefit your business. A content strategy detailing what you’ll post should form part of your marketing strategy. Your Instagram content strategy should also contain the following:

  • Frequency – You should create a content calendar to track the frequency of your posts. It’s important to post regularly to build your following, however posting too much can turn users off. The frequency of your posts will vary according to your business so you will need to test to find out what works best for you.
  • Themes – Try to be creative when deciding what to post. Users may get bored if you post about the same thing all the time. Instead, think about different themes, for example, a restaurant can have a specific theme for Valentine’s Day.
  • Style – If your business doesn’t have a style guide, it’s a good idea to create one for your Instagram account. Your style guide should include details about hashtags, types of photos and the ways that your brand will stand out amongst your competitors.
  • Visuals – As Instagram is a visual platform, special attention has to be given to the visual aspect of your posts. As well as choosing a color scheme to match your brand, you should also use a consistent filter. Using the same filter for your posts will help users recognize your images. For instance, Madewell’s Instagram incorporates its color scheme for consistent images and branding.Madewell Instagram
  • Hashtag – The right hashtags can provide a boost to the visuals on Instagram. Be creative when it comes to hashtags. Try to come up with something that your followers would want to share. It’s best to avoid using just the name of your business as a hashtag. Instead, consider using a word or a phrase that captures your brand. Sprout Social lists some examples of how some big brands have successfully used hashtags.
  • Follow – After you’ve set up your account and have a clear branding strategy in place, it’s time to start working on gaining visibility on Instagram. You should follow as many people who are relevant to your business as possible. For example, influencers, brands with complementary products and past customers. Read this blog for a guide on how to use social media influencers to promote your business.
  • Promote – You should advertise your new Instagram handle on your website, other social media platforms, email newsletters and in-store. To make the most out of every promotional opportunity, ask people to follow you when introducing your Instagram handle.

How to use Instagram stories

Instagram stories have been growing in popularity and now attract 300 million daily users. Instagram stories enable you to share a number of videos and photos and they appear like a slideshow. Instagram stories are only available for 24 hours. Instagram stories cater to mobile phone users who want engaging and informative content in as little time as possible. Used correctly, this format of Instagram videos and photos can help to drive engagement for your business. For example, the retailer, J.Crew, used Instagram stories to give followers a sneak peek at its pre-sale items.

J Crew Instagram

You can use Stories Highlights to show stories at the top of your profile. This feature is useful if you want to group certain products together so that your followers can find them easily.

The Instagram story size should be 1080 pixels width x 1920 pixels height in order to prevent image distortion.

Instagram gives you a choice of the following formats when using Instagram stories:

  • Type – Create text-only posts using different fonts or make captions by adding text to photos.
    Instagram story modes
  • Live – Make a live video that followers will be able to watch from your feed. If you don’t want the live stream to disappear after 24 hours, press ‘Save’ after the video ends.
  • Boomerang – This Instagram video is similar to a GIF and plays on a loop.

How to add Instagram stories

If you’ve already created your business account, add stories by doing the following:

  • Open the Instagram App.
  • Tap the camera on the top-left corner.
  • Choose from the following formats:
    • Normal – This is the default Instagram story setting.
    • Type This feature does not use an image or video, but a colored background for you to write whatever text you desire.
    • Boomerang For GIF-like photos that will create a video that moves forwards and backwards.
    • Superzoom This video automatically zooms in on an object that you select by tapping the screen.
    • Rewind This video plays in reverse.
    • Focus This feature will give you the look of a professional portrait by focusing on the subject’s face while blurring the rest of the photo’s background.
    • Hands-free – Record up to 15 seconds by tapping the camera icon. There’s no need to hold the button to record your video.

How to add a location to your Instagram story

Location tags can help your story get featured in Instagram’s selection of location stories to increase the reach of your post. Add a location to your Instagram story by:

  • Creating a video or photo.
  • Choosing the folded smiley icon at the top of the screen. You’ll see various stickers.
  • Tapping the ‘Location’ sticker.
  • Selecting where the video or photo was taken.

How to add a hashtag to your Instagram story

Hashtags help users to find your posts. You’re allowed to use up to 30 hashtags per Instagram post. Here’s how to insert your hashtag:

  • Create a video or photo.
  • Tap the ‘Aa’ icon on the top-right of the screen. A cursor will come up in the middle of the screen.
  • Amend the color, size and location of the cursor.
  • Tap the ‘#’ symbol, write a word or phrase, then press ‘Enter.’

How to add a sticker to your Instagram story

You can use image stickers to pin to your video or photo to make your content more interesting. Add stickers by:

  • Creating a video or photo.
  • Choosing the folded smiley icon at the top of the screen. You’ll see various stickers.
  • Choosing a sticker. You can change the size by pinching it and moving it to where you want it on the screen. When the sticker is in the right position, keep pressing it and tap the ‘PIN’ button that appears at the bottom-right of the screen.

Adding stickers gives character to your posts. See the example below:

Instagram story poll


How to add highlights to your Instagram story

You can choose to keep stories for more than 24 hours by turning them into highlights. Your highlight is shown on your profile page to give users access to a story that you’re very proud of.

Here’s how to add highlights to your Instagram story:

  • Create a video or photo.
  • Add your video or photo to your story.
  • Open your story and choose ‘Highlight’ in the bottom-right corner.
  • Tap ‘New’ to name your story and add it to your profile’s reel.

You can link your Facebook business account to Instagram using the steps below:

  • Tap ‘Settings’ on the top-right of your Facebook page.
  • Click ‘Instagram Ads.’
  • Choose ‘Add an account.’
  • Enter your Instagram Username and Password and tap ‘Confirm.’

Liketoknow.it app

There are some apps that help to enhance your business on Instagram. One such app is liketoknow.it. This fashion app lets social media influencers tag their Instagram photos with the items in the picture as well as a link to a retail partner of liketoknow.it. If a follower buys an item through the link, both liketoknow.it and the influencer get a part of the profit. This app helps to introduces Instagram users to new items as well as allows influencers to be paid for their work.

Liketoknowit app


Ready to take your business to the next level?

This guide to Instagram has given you the basis for opening and managing your business account. If you have more questions, search through Instagram’s FAQs to get the latest updates on this powerful social platform.

After you set up your Instagram account, be sure to follow us at @deputyapp to find out more about who we are and how we work.

Follow @DeputyApp
Here at Deputy, we make it our mission to improve the lives of employers and employees, using technology to transform operations and help businesses thrive. Increasingly, organizations are moving away from manual entry of data and spreadsheets towards a more efficient cloud-based software approach.

Deputy’s leading workforce management software is used across the globe to schedule, track time, and communicate with employees wherever they are. To learn more, set up time with one of our reps for a customized demo to see it in action.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kristin Eriksen
Kristin is a creative and results-driven content specialist. She is a recent grad from Florida State University with a degree in Information, Communication and Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys reading a good book, the sounds of a great playlist, and seeking adventures in the outdoors.
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