Are you currently using an Instagram business account, or planning to in 2021? If yes, this article is for you!
Learn why Instagram is one of the top tools for housing professionals to grow their online presence, how to set up an account, and which optimization tips can help you attract more followers and customers.
Why use Instagram for business?
You may be wondering if having an Instagram account for your business is worth it. Here’s why we say a resounding “Yes”:
- 90% of all accounts follow at least one business on Instagram.
- 83% of users discovered a new product or service on Instagram.
- 79% of users searched for more information after seeing a product or service and 65% visited the brand’s website or app.
- 34% of Instagram users are age 25-34, falling in line with the millennial generation of homebuyers.
Instagram is a viable way to help you drive more sales, establish your business’s online presence, connect with customers, and acquire new ones.
How to set up an Instagram business account
Setting up an Instagram business account is quick and simple. Here’s how to do it:
1. Download the Instagram app on your mobile device
Download the iOS app from the App Store, or the Android app from the Google Play store. Once it’s downloaded, click to open and you’ll come to a login screen.
2. Sign up for a new account
Click on ‘Sign Up’ (Android) or ‘Create New Account’ (iPhone) and enter either your business email or a mobile phone number. You can also choose to click on ‘Login With Facebook’ and sign up using an existing Facebook business account.
3. Create a username and password
This step is particularly important. Your username or “handle” is the name everyone else on Instagram will see and use to find you. You want your username to identify your business, so using your company’s name is usually best. For example, our handle is simply @avidratings.
When you type the username into the form, Instagram will tell you if it’s available. If you have a common company name, someone else may already have your handle, so you’ll need to rework the name until you have something unique. Think about adding a location after your company name such as @DivaHomesNY, or including your full company name such as @DivaHomesCo to set yourself apart. Keep in mind your username is different from your “name” which is your business name as you refer to it on your website, Facebook, and anywhere else.
Once you have your username, create a password that’s unique and difficult to guess.
4. Change your account to ‘professional’
After you’ve created your account you’ll need to switch it to a business account manually. On your homepage which houses your feed, you’ll see an icon in the bottom right corner for your profile page. Click on this, then click on the three stacked lines in the upper right corner. This will take you to another menu. Scroll until you see ‘Switch to professional account’.
5. Select a category
Once you change your Instagram to a professional account you’ll be instructed to choose a category for your business. This category tells Instagram what kind of business you run and can be displayed on your profile if you choose, helping visitors understand more about your company. Here are a few examples of categories for home builders, remodelers, and building product manufacturers
- Appliance Manufacturer
- Building Material
- Building Materials Store
- Commercial & Industrial
- Commercial & Industrial Equipment Supplier
- Construction Company
- Home Improvement
- Kitchen & Bath Contractor
- Lumber Yard
- Real Estate Company
- Real Estate Developer
Unlike Facebook, you can only choose one category, so take some time to research your competitor’s Instagram profiles and see how they categorize themselves.
6. Select ‘Business’
Once you choose a category and hit next, you’ll be prompted to identify if you’re a “creator” or “Business”. Creator generally refers to public figures, influencers, and people who create content or art. You will select ‘Business’.
7. Add important business details
Your next step is to confirm your business email, phone number, and add an address. This information will be displayed on your Instagram page so people can easily contact you or find your location.
8. Optional: connect your Instagram to your Facebook business page
If you chose to sign up with your business Facebook page this step will already be done. But if you signed up with an email or phone number and want to connect your Instagram and Facebook business accounts you will need to do this through Instagram. Here’s how:
- Go back to your profile
- Click on ‘Edit Profile’
- Under ‘Public Business Information’, select ‘Page’
- Select the Facebook page you want to connect to the Instagram account.
Instagram is now owned by Facebook, so connecting your accounts gives you a variety of tools like cross-app appointment buttons, easier message management, and the ability to run ads for both platforms from your Facebook business account. Learn more here.
How to optimize your Instagram business account
Instagram is without a doubt a great space to showcase your brand and engage with thousands of potential customers. To get an edge on your competition, you’ll need to position your company as a leader in your industry and find creative ways to reach and connect to your target audience. To optimize your Instagram presence, try these 15 tips.
Manage your privacy settings
Story settings: Go to your settings and select ‘Privacy’. Here you can manage several privacy settings. Click on ‘Story’ to manage who can see your Instagram stories and who can reply to them. For maximum follower engagement, we recommend allowing everyone to see and reply to your stories.
You can also turn on ‘Resharing’ and ‘Sharing’, which allows your followers to share your feed posts to their stories and to share photos and videos from your stories in messages to others. Additionally, you can turn on ‘Share Your Story to Facebook’, which will share your Instagram story to your Facebook business page stories automatically each time you post.
Comment settings: In your privacy settings click on ‘Comments’. Here you can automatically hide any comments Instagram sees as offensive from your posts, story replies, IG reels, and IG live video. You can also choose to manually filter out specific words or phrases that could be offensive to your audience.
Mention settings: A mention is when someone uses your username (@DivaHomes) in a comment section or on a story, which triggers a notification allowing you to see their comment or the content they tagged you in. You’ll want to allow everyone to mention your business since this helps with engagement, word of mouth referrals, and creates some great user-generated content if they have a positive review.
Add a call to action button
With an Instagram business account, you can add a call to action button right on your profile. For homebuilders and remodelers, you would use the ‘Book’ button, allowing people to book an appointment with you, like a renovation consultation or model home walkthrough. This is a great way to get leads to your website and improve your conversion rate. Learn more about Instagram buttons and other business tools here.
Write an eye-catching bio
Instagram gives you just 150 characters in your bio to make a statement to visitors. If you have a company story on your website consider adopting a sentence or two from there. The most important thing is to make it clear who you are and what your business offers. Thankfully, your bio can be edited at any time, and you can also change it to promote deals, product or service launches, and other newsworthy information.
Pick the perfect bio link
In your bio, you can also include one single link. Not much to work with again, so make it count! The best go-to option is a link to your website, but you can change this link anytime to match a promotion or to get leads to complete a call to action like filling out a form on a landing page or signing up for a newsletter.
Utilize the power of stories
One-third of the most viewed Instagram stories are posted by businesses and marketers are using 31% of their Instagram ad budget to promote here. Stories are short 10-second videos or photos that can be viewed for up to 24 hours. Your stories can contain text, links, stickers, polls, questions, music, and many other features. In fact, stickers enhance story performance 83% of the time when used with a video.
Instagram stories are best used for light, fun content. A place to show your brand’s personality and a “behind the scenes look”. Think of ways you can shed your company’s “business” shell a bit and engage on a more personal level with your audience. You can post as many as you’d like in a day, but don’t feel too much pressure; Brands post an average of just 2.5 stories each week.
You can save stories you post to separate “Highlight” reels, which sit at the top of your profile for anyone to watch. You can create an unlimited number of highlight categories, each one holding up to 100 story clips. Think about what kind of categories would your audience like to see such as before and after remodeling posts, interiors of new builds, video walkthroughs of model homes, or new products.
Learn more about Instagram stories here.
Experiment with Instagram live and IGTV
Instagram live allows you to live stream for up to an hour and will disappear after the live video is over. This is ideal for broadcasting Q&A or events because viewers can comment in real-time, making it easy to engage with your audience. Learn more here.
IGTV videos are up to 10 minutes long (1 hour with a verified account). They are pre-recorded videos that can be edited and saved on your Instagram profile. These videos are great for before and after transformation videos, model home tours, and product highlight videos. Learn about IGTV here.
Use hashtags and geotags
Hashtags (#) are used by Instagram users to find relevant content. Users can follow as many hashtags as they want and see posts from those hashtags in their homepage feed. Using hashtags in your posts and stories will help boost your visibility and exposure to potential new followers, who could eventually become paying customers.
You can make any hashtag you want by simply putting the pound symbol in front of a word or phrases like #texascustomhomebuilder or #sanfranciscoremodeler. Creating your own brand hashtags is a great way to build an online community and encourage engagement. For example, at Avid Ratings, we use #AvidCX and #AvidInsights.
You want your hashtags to be relevant and specific to your business and what your target audience is looking for. Do some research on the competition and what your audience may be currently following.
Geotags are essentially location tags that can also be added to both posts and stories to pinpoint where you’re located. For local businesses, this is an important tool to help you reach followers who live in your area.
Post regularly quality content
Part of staying relevant to your audience is staying fresh in their minds. Create a posting schedule and try to stick with it. Once a day is ideal, but if you’re just getting started and don’t have the resources for daily posting, a few times a week is a great place to start. What matters most is consistency. On top of that, it’s better to post less content of high quality, than tons of low-quality content just for the sake of posting. Your audience wants value over anything else.
Also, because Instagram is a visual platform, all your photos and videos should be visually exciting and match your brand.
Maintain your brand voice
All of your content should have the same brand voice. Your brand voice is the distinct personality your brand takes on in its communications. It includes the words and language you use, as well as the types of visual content you create and share. Some brands are more serious, others more casual and laid back. How do you want your business to be perceived? Think of that persona and craft a voice around it.