7 Steps to Insta-Success: How To Use Instagram For Your Businesss


Instagram is currently the fastest growing social media platform and, as business owners, we need to figure out how to use it for our businesses. In this post, I thought I would cut through the noise and give you 7 practical, no-nonsense steps you can follow to make the most of Instagram for your business. Please leave your best tip in the comments at the end of the post! I would love to hear how you are using Instagram effectively and which of the 7 steps you’re using for your business.

1. Optimize Your Bio: It’s Your Instagram Business Card.

If people like what you are posting and they want to find out more about you or your business, your Instagram profile is going to be the first place they look. In this way, your bio acts much like your business card would in a live networking situation.

The ‘must haves’ for your profile include:

  • A professional-quality headshot (don’t use your logo…people want to connect with other people!)
  • A brief description of your company
  • A brief description of what you will be sharing on Instagram
  • A link back to your website (important!!!)

2. Showcase Your Products (But Only Some of the Time).

While Instagram is an amazing way for product-based businesses to showcase their wares, you need to do more than that to build an engaged and responsive community. While posting creative and attractive product shots should definitely be part of your strategy, consider other ways you can showcase your business through photos.

Some other photo and video ideas include:

    • Behind-the-scenes photos
    • Employee photos
    • Personal and/or family photos
    • Event photos
    • Photos shared by your followers
    • A demonstration of your products or services
    • The origins of your products (for instance, Starbucks posts photos of the farmers who grow their beans)
    • Random photos that convey the values, culture or ‘vibe’ of your business

3. Use a Tool Like Iconosquare to Optimize Your Posts.

Iconosquare (formerly Statigram) provides a way to dig a little deeper into what’s working for you on Instagram, and what’s not. It will display information such as:

  • Most liked and commented on photos and videos
  • Optimal days and times to post based on your unique audience
  • Which photo filters perform the best
  • Stats about your followers and who you’re following: for instance, followers who don’t follow you back.
  • Optimal posting frequency

Knowing how your photos are performing will take some of the guess work out of your efforts, and will allow you to focus on those things that are giving you the best results.

4. Tag People Where Appropriate.

I have often alluded to the importance of keeping social media ‘social’, and tagging people on Instagram is a great way to do this.

When you tag someone in a photo, they automatically receive a notification and the photo is added to their ‘Photos of You’ section. This will ensure that those people see your image, and increase the likelihood that they’ll share the photo with their own audience.

This can lead to increased engagement, increased sharing, and increased followers, when done right!

5. Don’t Just Post – Engage.

It’s easy to think of Instagram as simply a photo-sharing site, but if you fail to engage with your followers and with other Instagrammers, you will never experience the full benefits of the site.

Tracking hashtags is one way you can monitor conversations happening about your brand, products or industry. This will give you a chance not only to find out what people are saying, but to jump in and take part in the conversation.

Another way to engage with other users is to like and comment on their photos, and of course to respond to comments on your own images.

6. Use Hashtags: They Are Not Optional.

Hashtags are an integral part of Instagram, and as such, the vast majority of your posts should include at least one of them (often you can safely use 2-3 per photo). Hashtags are the primary way people outside your group of followers can find and potentially follow you, so they’re not something I would recommend skimping on!

Some of the types of hashtags you may want to use include:

  • Brand hashtags
  • Contest hashtags (if you’re running a contest)
  • General keyword hashtags: For instance, if you sell shoes, #shoes or #sneakers
  • Product-specific hashtags
  • Event hashtags
  • Trending hashtags
  • Location-based hashtags

7. Post Regularly.

Obvious, I know, but so, so important. You need to become a consistent and trusted source of visual-content, and one of the best ways to do this is to post regularly.

Instagram doesn’t tend to move as fast as other social networks, so posting high-quality images or videos 2-3x per day is often sufficient. The actual frequency isn’t as important as the regularity with which you post however; consistently posting 3x per week is better than posting sporadically.

And if you can consistently post more than 2-3x per day, go for it! The more you post (within reason), the faster you’ll build your community on Instagram.


There you have it, folks! My 7 steps to insta-success and how to use Instagram for your business!

Looking for more practical ways to use Instagram for Your Business? 

I am a Small Business Owner, Why do I Need an Instagram Account?

6 Ways to Instantly Blow Up Your Instagram

9 Tips for Making Instagram Your Professional Secret Weapon

What’s your best tip for using Instagram for business? Share with us below!


  1. says

    Hello Kim,

    Great post as usual !

    Honestly speaking, I was never active on Instagram, may be because of my blog content – blogging. I just use that for photo sharing and that’s it – no business. After going through your post, I think I would be trying Instagram for business for sure !

    While all the 7 points that you mentioned were great and sure to help, I particularly like your point of using tools like ‘Statigram’. I will be checking that too.

    Thank you again for making me aware :)

    – Bhanu
    Look what Bhanu Chander just posted..How to improve Creativity & Lateral thinking – part 1My Profile

  2. says

    Great Post and Love Statigram. So much great data.

    I’ve toyed with my bio a lot and since including my phone number (since most are on mobile when viewing) I’ve been getting phone calls. I’ll definitely try to post more and see if that increases engagement. Awesome tips :)
    Look what MIchael Kawula just posted..Unique Ways How To Get CustomersMy Profile

  3. says

    Great article – was wondering how to manage/post to multiple instagram accounts (business, non-profit, and personal) on my android phone. Any suggestions?Thanks again.

  4. says

    I’m trying to keep my own blog as well as my family’s small business website going along with the social media. Its not easy, but I really appreciate your regular tips & newsletters.
    Having recently gotten an instagram account for myself & our business, I have very quickly learnt:
    1- follow others if you expect to have followers.
    2- post often
    3- Hashtags are essential. Very useful though to also use location hashtags.
    4- Tag users who are big in your city. I regularly tag @cityofdurban and they often share my photos and credit me with the photos
    5- Selfies are awful. If you have to, do it very seldom.
    6- Try to use good quality photos

    Hope that helps other users.
    Look what Amelia just posted..Review – Non PerishablesMy Profile

  5. says

    Thanks for sharing more insight about Instagram.

    I definitely need to add consistency. It seems to be the last of the social media I think of but it’s one I where I really enjoy posting.

    I also use Iconosquare since it has the helpful statistics. I was recently introduced to Webstagram. I like that because in the “Grid” mode I can see a portion of the comment when I scroll over the image. It helps as to whether I want to open to that image to make a comment.
    Look what Patricia just posted..Personalize Your Zazzle Product With A Famous Quote or One of YoursMy Profile

  6. says

    Kim Garst, First of all great post. And these points are really important for instagram marketing. Mostly I am promoting my website on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin. But now I will start promoting my website on Instagram.

  7. Jerawan Slagle says

    First of all, thanks Kim for this great informational about Instagram! It came right on time when I needed. I will start practicing this and will see how it’s going to work and I will give you some feed back later on. Thanks a million again!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge