How to Use Instagram to Promote Your Online Business

Instagram is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal for promoting your online business. In this blog post, we will cover everything from setting up a business account to promoting your business using Instagram.

How to Promote Business Using Instagram

If you’re not making a strategic Instagram marketing effort to grow your business, you’re doing your business a great disservice. And it has to be a ‘strategic effort’ because there’s a wrong and a right way to do it.

Did you know that 70% of customers turn to the Instagram app whenever they want to find inspiration for their next purchase? And over 200 million businesses are already on Instagram?

So, how do you use Instagram to promote your online business and get sales (and not just likes)?

  • Start with an Instagram business account
  • Optimize your Instagram business profile
  • Add an Instagram shop
  • Map out your content strategy
  • Share helpful guides as a small business
  • Build consistency
  • Generate brand awareness
  • Slowly build a community
  • Add customer service
  • Set goals and regularly review them

If you want to know exactly how to execute all of the above for your Instagram business effectively, then keep reading. 

In this article, I’ll break down how to get the most out of your Instagram marketing (with visuals to guide you and examples of how some successful brands are doing it).

10 Ways to Promote Your Business Online with Instagram

As a business, you cannot apply the same strategies everyone uses. This means you cannot just take a photo and upload them inconsistently with the hopes that you’d go viral. It takes deliberate and consistent Instagram marketing efforts to promote your business. 

Here are ten solid Instagram promotional strategies guaranteed to help you scale your business;

1. Start with an Instagram business account 

A lot of small business owners make the mistake of starting their business on Instagram with their personal accounts. While this is a great way to leverage your existing followers and engagement, it isn’t beneficial in the long run.

Instagram has curated certain features, especially for business owners. For example, you get extensive analytics like your reach, impressions, interactions, and more. 

We particularly love that you can schedule Instagram posts and most recently – reels on a business account. There’s also a contact section that isn’t available for personal Instagram accounts. 

For example, here’s an email button, so you can directly email this brand with any questions you might have.

email section

Most importantly, you can tag products on your Instagram posts so it’s easier to purchase. 

 tag products

To take advantage of all these features and more, we recommend starting with a business account on Instagram. While opening a new account, you’d be given options and there, you can choose between being a creator and a business. 

If you already have a personal Instagram account, you can still switch to a business account by following the steps below

  • Log in to your Instagram account and go to your profile
  • Tap on the three horizontal lines located at the top right 
  • Visit your ‘Settings and Privacy’
  • Scroll down and tap on ‘Account type and tools’
  • Tap on ‘Switch to professional account’
  • Choose ‘business’ and connect your business Facebook page

Pro Tips

– Always choose a category that best describe your business.
– If you’re a black-owned business, take advantage of the business diversity info to get additional promotions.

2. Optimize your Instagram business profile

Once you’ve set up your business account, it’s time to optimize it. With a well-optimized profile, you’d organically promote your business. This is because with each profile view you get, you’re indirectly selling your brand. 

Your target audience can browse products and easily convert. You also categorically state that you’re a legitimate business. So they don’t have to be skeptical or spend extra time verifying your page.

Here are a few ways you can optimize your Instagram business account;

  1. Get a unique Instagram handle – your IG handle is one of the top ways people would search for your account. Similar to your business name, you have to be extra creative when creating your social media brand name so people can easily find you.

    You also want to be unique so that when searching for your name, people don’t end up choosing a similar brand that appears before yours. For example, you probably don’t want to name your bakery brand Emma’s bakery because there’s a ton of that already.
Your brand name
  1. Use a professional profile picture – in this case, we strongly recommend using your brand logo since it’s recognizable. Another option is using your most popular product especially if you don’t have so many.
  1. Add relevant links – the first step is to add a link to your website in your profile. However, there might be more relevant links like specific product categories, an FAQ page, merch, community events, a blog, and more.

    That’s why having a link in bio is more efficient here. With this one link, your visitors can find more relevant links they’d need. 
relevant links
Image source: Wise
  1. Your business information in bio – thanks to the Contact section, people can reach your business. However, we recommend adding your business description, address, opening and closing hours to your bio. That way in one glance, they can know what you’re about.

Pro Tips

– Use an Instagram name generator to get unique IG business name ideas.
– Don’t attempt to add links in your post captions – it doesn’t work. This is why your link in bio or link tree link is important.

3. Add an Instagram shop 

Another advantage of the business account is the shopping tab which allows you to sell products directly from Instagram. 

instagram shop
Image Source: Instagram

This shop tab allows people to discover your products through subsequent photo tags and more. Once they tap on these products, they are redirected to your Instagram shop. 

Setting up an Instagram shop isn’t difficult. The first step is to find out whether your market location is eligible. Some businesses in specific countries don’t have access to this feature yet. 

However, if your business is domiciled in any of these eligible countries, you can connect Instagram with your Facebook account and visit the commerce manager to create your own shop

Once you set up your shop, you can then upload your products and their accompanying details – just as you’d do it for a regular eCommerce site.

Pro Tips

– If have an existing store, you can integrate it so you don’t have to manually upload products.
– You no longer have to connect your Facebook account to get a shop but it helps you sync across both channels if you sell on both.

4. Map out your content strategy

An essential part of promoting your business with Instagram is being consistent with posting content on the app. The type of content you post depends on whether your target audience will resonate with your brand or not. That’s why you need a solid content strategy that’ll promote your business and sell your products.

While everyone would probably tell you to focus on creating reels – they aren’t wrong. 91% of Instagram users watch videos on the app weekly. So video marketing should definitely be on the top of your list.

However, posting the wrong reels won’t still give you the traction you need. The same applies to hashtags. You need the right content theme, 

Will you be running sales and discounts? If yes, how frequently? There are also regular engagement posts and those acknowledging national holidays.

A great content type we recommend is using your customer success stories. Not only do they act as a means of referrals, but they also help convert your customers in the middle of the funnel.

Whatever content theme you finalize, segment them and create a content calendar to help you better keep track of what you’d be posting.

Pro Tips

– Regularly share your posts to your Instagram stories and encourage others to share so it reaches more people.
– Conduct competitor research to understand the type of content your target market enjoys.

5. Build consistency 

As a small business, one of the ways to promote your product is by remaining consistent with your brand image. That way over time, it becomes recognizable and more trustworthy. 

Whenever anyone visits your Instagram business page, it should be cohesive, structured, and welcoming. Having too many things going on would be a turn-off for any user. 

This structure should involve the language you use, your overall brand tone, the colors, the graphics you use, the content, and more. 

Here’s an example from a small design business. As you’d see, there’s consistency in interior posts and how it’s presented.

consistency example
Image source: Interiors with Tega

Since it’s all a part of your user experience, it’s important to ensure the overall experience is as welcoming as possible for your new followers and consistent for your existing followers. 

Pro Tips

– Have dedicated posting days and schedule posts for these days.
– Avoid using pixelated logos for your profile picture or even images.

6. Generate brand awareness 

Boost your profile and create awareness for your business by promoting your account. At the end of the day, your current followers aren’t going to be your only buyers. You need to expand your reach. That’s why once you have a solid profile, it’s time to boost it. 

Do this through;

a. Ads

Just like Youtube and Facebook, you can promote your  Instagram posts so they can reach a wider audience. This is popularly referred to as Instagram ads. You can run ads on your Instagram stories or the explore page. Although as a business, we recommend using collection ads. 

This way viewers can see your image and explore some of your products listed in a catalog. Ensure you experiment with multiple content options like video, photos, and carousel posts.

b. Influencers and partnerships

In addition to your ads, you can also reach your target audience by collaborating with complementary brands or influencers.

See how PLT collaborates with cloud nine hair to increase its reach.

Instagram ads
Image source: Pretty Little Thing

Influencers can run one-time campaigns or be your brand ambassadors. We recommend getting creators in your specific niche. So if you’re a car brand, you need to find influencers who are focused on creating car content. Asides from being an easy fit, they’d be truly interested in your brand and promoting your products.

For brand partnerships, we recommend working on the details and deliverables for each team. Once this is finalized, try to sign an agreement and add deadlines to them. Also, add metrics you’d want to track so both parties have an equally beneficial partnership.

Pro Tips

– Always give your influencers a campaign brief so they stay consistent with your brand guidelines.
– Test ad campaign variations to track the most effective combination for subsequent ads.

7. Build a community

68% of branded communities say that communities have helped them generate new leads and 55% say that they’ve seen a boost in sales. 

The fastest way to promote your online business on Instagram is to let your followers do the marketing for you. They could do this by sharing your posts, reposting them, and even referring their networks to your brand. 

However, they wouldn’t just do this for any brand and that’s why you need to create positive sentiments. A great way to start this is by interacting with your followers. Respond to their comments both positive and negative. Like witty comments or reposts. 

There’s also tapping into user-generated content. Encourage your buyers to post a picture of them using your product. If they make this post, repost it to your story or leave a comment. See how Alo Yoga gets user-generated content when their Instagram users tag them to a post.

Alo Yoga

Every time you repost a user’s content, you’re building your community. And that’s because people love seeing other real people. You seem more genuine and trustworthy.

In addition to promoting your business online, you should show that their opinions matter. It’s a great way to build a long-lasting brand. So, conduct regular polls to gauge user sentiment and get product suggestions. It’s also a great way to build user engagement and get your metrics higher. 

Pro Tips

– Create online community forums if you can – they’d serve as town halls for product improvements.
– Responding to negative comments can positively improve your brand sentiments and help you stay on top of the narrative.

8.  Share helpful guides as a small business

While this might seem like an underrated strategy, guides are a way to provide value and establish your business as a thought leader in the industry. 

Guides are an Instagram feature that allows you to share helpful resources with your audience. These are short articles that can contain locations, recipes, shopping lists, product information and so much more. 

So if you’re a travel agency or a local business, you can create a guide for places to visit in your city or country. In this list, you can plug in your business or agency to get more visibility. Here’s an example from @yournationalparks


An alternative method is to directly sell your products by curating an extensive shopping guide. Here, you can list your products from your Instagram shop so users can find similar products to purchase. See how Fenty beauty does it below:

Fenty beauty

Pro Tips

– You can also group your older Instagram posts into a guide for more engagement – especially if you can’t pin them.
Create holiday gift guides or similar content to get a lot of traffic during these peak seasons.

9. Add customer service 

When a prospective user visits your page, they’d be coming to explore your products with questions. It’s important to create a good user experience by providing unmatched customer service. 

Start by utilizing your highlights. Instead of just filling them with your products, create a highlight that answers questions you frequently get. For example, you can have an FAQ highlight, a size guide, and more.

customer service 
Image source: Helm boots

Another way to do this is by setting up auto-replies to every message you get in the DMs. Most people would come with their inquiries directly – even when it’s not during business hours. 

Thankfully Instagram business manager has a feature that allows you to set auto-responders for DMs when you’re offline. We recommend setting expectations with your reply. Like telling them what the typical response time is and when you’d be back. 


You also want to ask some questions you think will be helpful to order beforehand. For example, if it’s a refund, you want to ask what the transaction reference is and why they are canceling that order.

Pro Tips

– You can also add your response time and contact information in your bio.
– Respond to inquiry comments – many other potential customers would use this as a reference.

10. Set goals and regularly review them

Remember one of the features of Instagram business is that you can review the progress and reach of your business online. This is a great way to help you track your promotion success and set goals to help you reach more people. 

Once you set your performance indicators and goals, use these insights to measure whether or not your strategies are working. Thankfully, these metrics can also show you what people aren’t engaging with so you can review your content themes. 

After every campaign, you can track the new accounts you’ve reached, how many interacted with your posts, and how many followed you back. The same applies to your boosted posts and running ads.

 So in addition to vanity metrics such as likes, shares, and comments, some other important insights you should track include;

  • Your profile activity – people who visit, follow you, tap on your contact button or websites
  • User activity – this includes your audience demographic to help you segment your social media audience better
  • Campaign conversions – how many people fill out a form, visit your landing page or purchase a product from your Instagram account

Once you find out what the average numbers are, set goals to increase these numbers and try to exceed them. 

Pro Tips

– Ensure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable and time-bound.
– When setting these goals, have laid out campaigns and strategies to help you get there.


Instagram is one channel that when used right can help you promote your business. Start by intensifying your Instagram marketing efforts. Ensure that your business profile is visible for search and referrals by getting a solid Instagram business name or handle here.


Adaline Lefe

Adaline Lefe

Adaline is in charge of organizing and maintaining content for all of our websites. She is a fantastic researcher and creator. She has over ten years of experience in content creation and management.

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