Keeping your social media profiles and your marketing practices up to date become essential when you want to continue to build your online presence and the impact that it has.

As Instagram continues to grow and evolve as a platform, utilizing all new tools and features will keep you relevant and at the forefront of your audience’s attention span.

For this month of February, the biggest news is that Facebook has extended a version of its Lead Ads to Instagram.

They’re also testing new types of posts and formats, and are rolling out their stories feature to more locations.

Are you ready to know all the details?

Instagram Lead Ads: Now Available

Facebook’s lead ads have been a huge asset for marketers, and were designed to make filling out lead forms as simple as approving information Facebook automatically pulled from your profile. They were such a success on mobile that Facebook released the feature for desktop, too.

And now we have them for Instagram. To run lead ads on Instagram, just select it as a placement on your campaign.

Instagram mobile placements are available; Instagram desktop placements for lead ads are not at this time.

There are a few limitations to Instagram’s version of lead ads. They’re only available to be shown on the mobile app and not on desktop. This could potentially change in the future, just like it did for Facebook, but I wouldn’t count on it since significantly more users only use Instagram’s mobile app. To open the ad and fill out the form, users will also need to click through several pages to complete them; this could potentially make them slightly less effective than the Facebook version.

The fields and questions you can add to the Instagram Lead Ads are also limited. Instagram’s version only supports specific pre-filled forms; it doesn’t seem like you can add your own questions to the form like you can on Facebook. This is another hit, but you can still get name and best contact info, which is the most important part.

Live Stories Rolled Out & Competing with Snapchat: Now More Widely Available

The US and a few other locations have had Instagram’s live stories for a little over a month, but now more locations have access to the feature, too. Live stories are now available globally, including the ability to view and broadcast these stories. Upgrade to Instagram version 10.0 or higher for access.

Instagram Live Stories are a great way to connect with a new audience and boost both engagement and the visibility of your content.

While Instagram stories are so obviously copied from the concept of Snapchat that they haven’t even denied it, this added feature was a good choice. Instagram’s stories are snatching up some of Snapchat’s users; some social media influencers and big names have noticed that their Snapchat stories views and engagements have declined significantly since Instagram stories launched in August. This reiterates the importance of utilizing Snapchat stories (both live and regular) to live up to the full potential of the platform, especially if you don’t have a presence on Snapchat.

Multiple Images & Video Posts: Still in Testing

Instagram seems to be testing a new format of posts that allows users to display multiple images and videos. Sound familiar? It’s the exact design of carousel ads, but it would be available for use to all users as regular posts.

According to The Verge, there seems to be a beta version of this feature that’s been released on select Android devices. The Verge also reports that the feature is clearly in early development and a little buggy, but it is definitely a distinct and new feature. Since the closest we can get now to this is to either run carousel ads or use the layout app to create a collage, this could be a great feature to make sure of. Instagram doesn’t give us the option to publish albums, or groups of images, like Facebook, after all—this would allow us to string together images into a collection to more effectively tell stories and sell. If we’re able to combine this with shoppable posts when that eventually rolls out, the potential will be massive.

Since Instagram hasn’t even officially confirmed this new feature yet, it’ll probably be awhile before we get it– but we probably-hopefully- will. I’m hoping businesses will get access to shoppable posts (check out our recap on that below) first, or that they’ll at least be more widely available soon. Either way, we’ll keep an eye out on any new updates for you, and when we know, you’ll know.

Either way, we’ll keep an eye out on any new updates for you, and when we know, you’ll know.

And now, just in case you missed some of the latest updates, keep on reading, we have collected the very best updates of 2016, just for you!

Top Instagram Updates You Need to Know – December 2016 Edition

New Post Look & Updated User Features

Starting a few weeks ago, Instagram gave its interface a cosmetic update. All non-image content (like descriptions, sponsored tags, and CTAs) will now be moved to the left-hand side of the posts, underneath the header.

It’ll be interesting to see if the new position of the CTAs affects ad results or CTRs; it doesn’t jump out at me quite as much, but Instagram has stated that they’ve made this aesthetic adjustment to “streamline the design and make it more noticeable.”

With this new post look, users can more easily share the posts they like on Instagram. The icon on the right of the username on posts opens a drop-down menu with options like “Share to Facebook” and “Share to Messenger.”

This can expand the reach of our Instagram content, as it allows and encourages users to easily share the content that they love most. Which brings us to our next new feature…

Saved Posts

Like Facebook, users can now save content that they love so they can easily access it at a later time. This is great news for users and businesses—having your content not only shared, but also saved, can keep users thinking about your brand’s content. Users only save content they want to revisit later, after all; sometimes this is to use the information themselves, while sometimes they want to show it to someone else.

Both options benefit businesses and marketers.

The ribbon icon on the right-hand side under the CTA is where users can save content on Instagram.

To increase the likelihood that users save your content, increase the amount of content that offers value, like short tutorial videos. We always wanted all of our content to be extraordinary already, but now it’s even more important than ever.

Save Business Stories (iOS only)

Users can save posts, and we can now save our stories—there’s saving options for everyone in this update.

Plenty of businesses are using Instagram stories to their full potential, getting more eyes on their content. The problem with stories, however, is that they’ll disappear before long and they can’t be easily shared to other platforms. Instagram has given us a solution to this!

You can now save your business stories from the past 24 hours to your camera roll as a single video. This can be re-uploaded on Instagram as a regular post, or uploaded to Facebook and other platforms. You don’t have to worry about “wasting” valuable content that will only disappear.

A great use case for this is showcasing UGC. A number of businesses use stories to feature user generated content; now, you can showcase a stream of UGC in your story and then save it all into one video, which you can upload to multiple platforms with a CTA to encourage more UGC in return.

Note: as far as I know, this does not include live video. I think we’ll see the ability to save and share live videos after the fact later on (like Facebook), but we’ll have to wait a little longer for now.

Shoppable Posts (In Testing)

Instagram has so much selling potential it’s mind-boggling, but with the exception of Instagram Ads, the platform hasn’t given us a lot of flexibility with actually selling directly from it. Plenty of third-party services like Like2Buy and Have2Have.it have found ways around this; Instagram is now, however, testing shoppable posts of their own.

Shoppable posts will allow businesses to tag up to five products in a post image. When a user clicks a “Tap to View” icon below the post, tags will pop up next to the products, showing their names and prices.

If they click on the image, they’ll be able to see even more information, like the product description and any details. From there, they can click on a “Shop Now” link. This will take the user to your site, where they can quickly and easily purchase the item.

Jack Threads from Instagram for Business on Vimeo.

I don’t even need to explain why this has such huge selling potential—combining Instagram’s high engagement and diverse audience with Pinterest’s drive to sell feels like a goldmine for businesses. Being able to tag up to five products per image only increases this selling power, displaying items as a set and increasing the value of your average purchase.

Shoppable posts are still in testing; only a very few select big-name brands have them, and it will probably stay that way for a while. This is a big feature, and Instagram will want to make sure it’s working properly before they release it.

Don’t worry, though- we’ll let you know as soon as they’re rolling out!

Insights & Ads to Stories (Announced/Coming Soon)

I’m most excited for shoppable posts in this batch of updates, but since we won’t see it for a while still, I’ll settle on throwing my enthusiasm into this one. Instagram just announced yesterday that soon we’ll be seeing two things: Business Insights on our stories (as long as we’ve converted to a business profile), and story ads.

The lack of metrics on stories have been frustrating for all of us trying to meticulously calculate our results on Instagram; we could track everything else but this. Soon, we’ll be able to see the reach, impressions, replies, and exists for each individual story. We’ll be able to better understand how users are responding to our stories, and which content they like to see there.

Mindy’s Bakeshop Instagram Story from Instagram for Business on Vimeo.

Instagram Ads have already been so successful that it’s hard to imagine that Instagram story ads wouldn’t be the same. This new ad format will show users full-screen ads when they click on the story, ensuring that you’re capturing their full attention.

Like regular ads, you’ll be able to use the impeccable targeting system and take a look at detailed analytics as the campaigns progress. The idea for these ads is to focus on immersive storytelling.

Airbnb Instagram Story from Instagram for Business on Vimeo.

We’ll almost definitely see the story insights before we see the story ads. The story insights should start rolling out within the next few weeks.

Final toughts

Instagram has had some big changes and developments in the past few weeks, and more is yet to come. These changes are all potentially for huge for businesses. Staying on top of the trends and keeping your profile up-to-date is the best way to maximize results.

What do you think? Have you used any of Instagram’s new features? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Top Instagram Updates You Need to Know – December 2016 Edition

Happy holiday season, everyone! It’s a new month, and we’ve got some exciting Instagram updates to take a look at.

In the last few weeks, Instagram has given us new features—we now have live video and disappearing photos.

We’re going to look at these new features and how to use them, as well as if we’re in store for a Snapchat takeover in 2017 and a reminder about ad costs during the holiday season.

Are you ready to dig in?

For a quick note before we dive in: Instagram will now let users know if you take a screenshot of their disappearing photos– just like Snapchat. Screenshot responsibly, people (and at your own risk).

Live Video Is Here

So this is a big one. With the latest update, you can now—or will soon be able to—stream live video on Instagram. Since the boom of Facebook live video, it’s clear that this is an incredible feature that brands should be using. The “live” aspect adds urgency and can snag a user’s attention quickly, which can massively boost the number of views. When your live stream is done, the story disappears, so it works differently than Facebook’s live video.

Live videos are part of the stories function. When you go live, your followers will see the word “Live” your profile picture in the stories bar at the top of their feed. Public live videos will also be compiled and placed on Explore, so using this feature can give you an automatic (and free) instant visibility boost. This alone is an enormous reason that brands should utilize live video on Instagram.

Live video can be used to get a good number of views quickly. Given the format, however, it will only work if you’re going live at peak times when a lot of users are alone. Knowing when this is ahead of time will get you better results.

Because the story will disappear (and isn’t saved like Facebook’s live video) you don’t necessarily want to rely purely on live Instagram stories to distribute your most important information. If you have a high quality Q&A from an industry influencer, you want that to be permanent- not temporary.

Note: I’m in the US, have the new update and the new disappearing photos, but don’t have this feature yet. According to the Instagram blog, these features will be rolling out globally in the next few weeks. If you don’t have them yet, you will soon.

How to Use Live Video on Instagram

Click on your profile picture in the story bar to add a new story. On the bottom of the screen, next to “Normal” and “Boomerang,” you’ll be able to select “Live.” Once you’re ready, hit “Start Live Video” and you’ll immediately begin your live stream.

You’ll know how many viewers you have at any time, and users can interact with you as you’re live. You can pin a comment that you want everyone to see. You can also completely shut down the ability to comments if you want.

Disappearing Photos & Videos

In our most obvious copy-cat move from Instagram yet, we can now send disappearing photos and videos to other users on Instagram. This is the most defining feature of Snapchat—it was the feature the platform was actually built around—and now we’ve got it on Instagram, too.

You can send these disappearing images and videos to groups or individuals, but you can only send them to people who already follow you. While women everywhere are silently thanking Instagram for this slight restriction, it works in brand’s favors, too. If you let users know, for example, that you’ll release “flash sale” promo codes in these disappearing images but that they need to follow you, that gives them a reason to do so.

Sending promo codes is a great way to use this feature; it ensures that users will continue to open the messages, and it offers value, so they’re not annoyed and don’t feel spammed.

How to Send Disappearing Videos & Images

To send a disappearing video or picture, swipe right from your main feed. You must click on the white arrow to send it privately, and you must choose individuals instead of “story.”

When you click the arrow, you can choose who you want to send it to. You can send it to individuals, or a whole group. You can click “New Group” in the top right to create a new group for the pictures to go to.

The recipients can reply to your photos with their own. You’ll get replies as private messages, so they can be found in the private message tab.

Is Instagram Replacing Snapchat?

First came the stories. Next came the disappearing images. It’s not a surprise that people are asking if Instagram will replace Snapchat, or at least attempt to. Both platforms also have private messaging, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Instagram kept adding features to their platform that Snapchat already has.

I don’t think Snapchat is in any immediate danger. Even though both prioritize video and images over traditional “posts,” they’re still starkly different platforms—even with an increasing number of overlapping features. They’re used in different ways, by both users and the brands trying to connect to them. Considering the number of peers I have who use both on a regular basis, I don’t think we’re at risk for having Snapchat vanish any time soon. Long term that could be a different story, but as long as both keep developing their features, users will stick around for awhile.

December Ads Cost Reminder

As a quick reminder, it’s not unusual for ad costs to increase this time of year due to the increased marketers trying to push their products for holiday sales. The flux of traffic drives up competition, which can increase your ads costs. In some cases these increases may only be slight, but they can be substantial.

Since Instagram ads can cost a little more than Facebook to begin with, don’t forget to monitor all your ad campaigns extra close this time of year, just to be safe.

That’s all for now folks!! Happy Holidays and see you in January!

Wait… are you sure you didn’t miss any of the past month’s updates? Just keep on reading then!

Top Instagram Updates You Need to Know – November 2016 Edition

For this month’s Instagram update, we’re going to look at Boomerang  and Mentions and what they mean for businesses.

Then we will discuss the importance of adding links to stories, and best practices for Instagram stories (did I say stories??) so you can get the very best results when using them.


Boomerang was previously an Instagram-related app that allowed you to capture a brief moment. It takes a burst of pictures, stitches them together, and creates a high quality mini-video. The video captured would play forward, then rewind, then forward again, and on, and on. It looks a little choppy (in a good way), and the back and forth can grab users’ attention in the newsfeed like nobody’s business. The grabbing attention part is great news for businesses.

Boomerang was previously its own app, but boomerang videos can now be created right inside Instagram without leaving. You can use the videos to create new stories.

As a new feature to boomerang, you can now zoom in on the video’s subject with one finger while filming.

How to Use It

To access boomerang through Instagram stories, scroll from “Normal” to “Boomerang” on the very bottom of the screen. You can edit the video from this screen, too.

Boomerang is a great tool to use, but I recommend against overusing it; using it on occasion is great, using it in every post and story is probably too much. Always make sure to hold the phone steady while making boomerang videos; otherwise viewers will be in store for a really rocky video.

While big, dramatic movements (like someone jumping off a diving board) can look great on boomerang, small movements can look just as great. Picture a fork slicing into a piece of cheesecake looping back and forth—simple but effective (and drool inducing).


We can already tag users in posts, but now we can mention them in our stories. This is a great improvement for stories, and can be used to boost visibility and engagement. If you’re mentioned in someone’s story, after all, you’ll immediately receive a notification.

Out of the two features most businesses currently have access to with the new Instagram update, this is the one I’m more excited about.

How to Use It

To mention someone in your story, all you have to do is type “@username” and they’ll be tagged. It’s as simple as tagging someone in a post.

Starbucks is already using this feature in an incredible way; they’re sharing stories of UGC and tagging users and their locations. This can help inspire more UGC, and is a fantastic addition to their Red Cup Contest they host every year.

You can also partner up with other local brands (or other brands in general) and influencers in stories. This can benefit all parties, and can increase the visibility and relevance of your post.

One thing I’d like to stress: please only tag users that are relevant to the story and would be happy to be tagged. Tagging random people or influencers who don’t know you in an attempt to promote your content or connect with them is not a good idea.


And the news we’ve all been waiting for: we’ll soon be able to add links to our stories. We still can’t add them to our posts, but this is the next best thing. In some ways, this could be good; by saving links only for stories (and potentially only for brands), it will keep the number of links lower overall and will increase the chance users will click on the ones we post in stories.

Any links that aren’t our profile bio links or links coming from paid ads are something I’m excited about.

These links won’t be intrusive, which is a plus. Users can choose a “see more” option on the very bottom of a story’s image. From there they’ll be able to preview the link right inside the app. This is good, too; by keeping users in the app, they may be more likely to continue to click.

So far only a few users have access to this, and (at least for now) only verified brands will see this rolling out. Instagram testing and announcing this feature is a great step, though. Hopefully soon we’ll be able to have more than our profile link and links from our ads. This can drastically increase the sales and off-platform conversion potential that I definitely think Instagram has. They haven’t fully tapped into it yet, but I think we’re getting there.

I’ll update this post when links roll out to more businesses going over how to use it, so stay tuned!

Why This Matters

The more features we see get added to Instagram stories, the more complete it will feel. Instagram is not only fleshing out their stories, but taking steps to separate themselves from the Snapchat stories that came first. We’re not 100% there yet (they still feel really similar), but we’re getting closer.

Since Instagram’s algorithm prioritizes certain content over others, having your story appear above users’ Instagram feeds is a huge advantage. This means that stories matter, and if the algorithm ever starts reducing the organic reach of businesses like Facebook, they’ll matter even more.

Stories appearing above users feeds is a huge advantage; don’t neglect it!

These changes are all steps towards making stories more engaging and dynamic, which is a good thing for brands. The more interesting and diverse your content is, the more users will tune in to see what you’re saying. This means more engagement, more views, and (once links come around) more clicks to your site and conversions.

To get access to these new features (minus links, which are rolling out slowly), you need to update to the latest version of Instagram. This is version 9.7 for iOS, Android, and Windows.

Amazing Use Cases for Instagram Stories

The new features are exciting and make Instagram stories more dynamic and interesting. The stories will still fall flat, however, if they aren’t being used correctly to promote your brand.

To get the most out of Instagram stories, some amazing use cases include:

Share UGC. UGC matters more and more in social media marketing, and featuring it in a story is a great way to show how much it matters to you. It’s also an effective method to make sure other users see the UGC. Since UGC weighs so heavily on user opinion of brands, choosing it as a featured story is a smart use case.

Feature tutorials. Content that offers valuable to users is content that will likely perform well. Having brief video tutorials as stories can offer a lot of value to customers in just a few seconds. Teaching viewers how to tie your scarf or pipe frosting roses on a cupcake, for example, are highly visual, interesting, and likely to be really helpful.

Advertise sales and offers. Have a limited time sale going on? Let your customers know! This information is extremely valuable to them, and it might increase the likelihood that they’ll tune in more to see what you’re saying on social media. You can always offer a “limited time only” coupon code through your Instagram stories if you want to elevate this use case further; just make sure users have enough time to purchase, since many of them use Instagram on mobile.

Announce new products. Using Instagram stories to announce new products or brand information can be extremely efficient. You can give users the first look at all new products before sharing the information elsewhere, and give them “inside information” about it. By spacing out announcements, you can ramp up the excitement and hype around your product launch and make sure people are really paying attention.

That’s all, for now, folks!

Eager to know more? Keep on reading what happened in the past few months then!

The Instagram Updates You Need to Make – OCTOBER EDITION

In the past year, Instagram has released some major updates that improve the experience for both users and marketers. They’ve released both algorithms and new tools that help people connect with the content they want to see most. We’ve gotten Instagram Ads, a new algorithm, Snapchat-inspired Stories, and the optional business update.

Instagram Ads have so far been extremely successful as a paid advertising platform for marketers. This isn’t much of a surprise, considering that they’re directly tied to Facebook’s amazing ad platform. This also means that Instagram Ads gets most of the updates that come with Facebook Ads. The new ad features we’re going to look at now are the new objectives, and the video view functioning on mobile. We’ll also take a look at the new save draft feature.

New Objectives

Instagram and Facebook Ads have some new objectives available to choose from when you’re running campaigns. The two new objectives I’m most excited about are geared towards local businesses and brick-and-mortar stores.

Reach People Near You

The first is the awareness objective to “Reach People Near Your Business.” While you could use specific ad targeting in the past to reach a local audience, this objective was created to help local businesses do this easily. With this objective, Facebook will automatically suggest a target area centered around your business with a 3-mile radius.

You can adjust this by creating a custom radius, entering a different street address, or dragging the target area; if you want to use this to target specific neighborhoods or areas that aren’t defined by zip codes, this is a great tool that gives you a lot more control.

Store Visits

The second objective we’re going to look at also focuses on targeting local audiences. The new Store Visits objective fits comfortably with the recent business profile update, which can provide users with directions to your business, and I think it’s a great addition to both Facebook and Instagram Ads. We’ve long had the option to encourage online conversions, but for many local businesses driving in-store traffic is crucial.

In order to use the store visits campaign, you need to add business locations in your business manager (which means you need to be using business manager). You can learn more about this here.

If your business has multiple locations, you can create dynamic product ads to send targeted ads to each specific area.

While it’s a bit of a pain to set everything up if you don’t have it already in the system, this objective is 100% worth it for local businesses.

You can use this type of ad to increase and track store traffic. Users will be shown a map of where your business is in relations to themselves, and will also be shown information like estimated travel times, contact information, and store hours.

Video Ad Views

Three weeks ago, Instagram announced that the way video ads are viewed on users’ mobile devices was changing.

Now, when a user un-mutes a video ad on Instagram, they’ll be taken to the ad’s destination URL– but the video won’t stop playing. The video will continue to play at the top of the screen unless a user clicks away from it. This way, a user will be able to scroll through the landing page or site while still watching the video in the background.

Users can also choose to watch the video in fullscreen, ensuring that you’ll have all of their attention.

This new method of showing users videos can potentially increase the number of users clicking to your site, especially customers who may have watched the video but not converted otherwise.

The closer you can get them to converting, the better, and hey- if they’re already there, why not check out your catalog or sign up for your email?

Save Draft Feature

At the end of last month, Instagram released a great feature that marketers who don’t use scheduling software will love- you can now save your posts as a draft and come back to them later. This was a feature that’s been tested for a little while, and just rolled out within the last month.

In order to save your post as a draft, you get the post ready to upload, including selecting an image, filters, and text. Then, when you scroll back to your feed or profile, Instagram will ask you if you want to save your image as a draft. When you select yes, the entire post will be saved. When you go into the posting section in the future, you’ll be able to review and manage all your drafts.

This feature has a few great use cases. The first is that it can be used to get a few days or a week’s worth of posts ready ahead of time, and you’ll just need to post them when they’re supposed to go live. You can also use this feature to review posts before they go live, which is especially useful if you’re supervising or part of a social team.

Aaaaaaand we’re done with October news. These updates are all quick, easy to make and could have a significant impact on the results you’re getting, both now and in the future.

What do you think? What new features are you most excited about? Share your thoughts in the comments at the end of the post!

Or keep on reading, if you want to have a complete overview of what has been going on on Instagram in the last few months!

Instagram September Updates

For those checking in with the new post refresh, this information is still applicable, accurate, and extremely relevant!

This next section goes over all the updates you need to make to your Instagram (if you haven’t already) to maximize engagement, website traffic, followers, and conversions, and at the end of the post is our dedicated section for everything you need to know about the business profile updates.

Instagram’s New Algorithm

In the past few years, Instagram has quickly made its way into a top-ranking social media marketing position, with the majority of businesses signing up for an account in hopes of connecting with their audience there, too.

The platform turned out to be a huge success for marketers, with incredibly high engagement from followers. This is all good news. The good news just might take a dip there, unfortunately.

While more users are continuing to join Instagram, more businesses are too, increasing our competition. This is only more noticeable as Instagram implements its new algorithm, which could potentially take a hard hit on brands’ organic reach (like Facebook) long term.

So what do we as businesses, brands, and marketers should do?

Keeping our engagement up is more important than ever, and while a user’s (or brand’s) actual profile doesn’t normally get a ton of attention on Instagram, it’s more important than some of us think.

In case you haven’t heard, Instagram’s new algorithm has taken effect, and it automatically prioritizes certain content in a users’ newsfeed. They’ll place content that they believe that users will want to see most at the top of that users’ feed.

While this can be good for users by theoretically getting them the content they’re most interested in first, this may not be great for brands. Facebook’s algorithm, which also reorders content based on what they think users will most want to see, have resulted in an insane decline in organic reach over the past few years, as we all know. Now that the business profiles are starting to roll out, it only makes sense that eventually the same will likely happen here. This means that keeping our content and profiles at the top of their game is more important than ever before.

Profile Updates & Changes You Need to Make

Typically, once a user follows you, they may not visit your profile too often afterward; instead, they’re more likely to just interact with your content as it shows up in their feed. Your profile and the information in it is still important; users can click on your profile at any time, and having the right information could encourage them to follow you or to visit your site and even make purchases. To maximize engagement, the number of followers, and potential conversions, there are five changes and updates you should make to your profile (if you haven’t already).

1. Take Advantage of Your Bio Description

This is one of the biggest updates so many businesses need to make; a large number of brands aren’t making use of the bio available for them to fill out, which shows up on the main profile. And by that, I mean they don’t have anything written in at all.

Though plenty of users look at our content more than our profile, that doesn’t mean that it’s not important.

Your bio is an additional place to sell and promote your brand, letting users know who you are and why you’re on Instagram. Even if you only add your business’s motto or tagline, it still helps fill out your profile and contribute to your brand.

The bio will be one of the first things users see if you have it, so you should always take advantage of that to help form a good first impression. You can also use feature a CTA in your bio, like encouraging users to use a hashtag to share UGC.

Always add a bio to your profile

To add a bio to your profile, click on the “Edit Profile” button on your profile page. Once you do, you’ll immediately see the section aptly labeled “bio.”

Bios can be up to 150 characters but no more, and should represent your brand’s voice. For tips on how to write an amazing brand bio, check out this incredible blog post from Sprout Social.

2. Choose the Best Link

I’ve seen a surprising number of businesses who either don’t place a link on their profile, or they don’t choose the right one that will benefit them the most.

Unlike all other social media sites, Instagram doesn’t let you post links on individual posts. You only get one link period (the exception being Instagram Ads), and that will appear the designated profile area.

Adding your main site as a link in your profile can send your regular site more traffic.

With only one place for a link, you have to decide which link will best benefit your business. An obvious choice is to place a link to your website (or, in some cases, a link to a designated landing page on your site). You can also choose a link to your Facebook Page, or to a sellable shop front like those created with third party tools like Have2Have.It.

The key is knowing which link will benefit your business most.

This link takes users to a Have2Have.IT storefront.

Plenty of big name brands are using the virtual shopfront links (including media sites without sellable, physical products). If you don’t want to use one of these tools, sending users to the homepage or a landing page on your site can help boost conversions.

Unless you’re trying to drive users to a Facebook Page and have an active community already there, I’d advise against linking to a social profile, as it doesn’t hold the same potential for conversions like sales and newsletter sign-ups as the other two.

3. Keep Your Profile Public

This may seem like an obvious change, but it’s plenty easy to have it set to private and not even realize it (I’ve had this happen with not one, not two, but three different clients). You don’t want users to need to follow you to see your content; when they view your profile the first time, you want them to be able to access all of it.

Turn the switch from private to public to make your content viewable by all users.

To update or check your privacy status, click on the wheel in the top right-hand corner that leads to your settings. You’ll see the privacy setting halfway down; switch it off to turn your profile public.

4. Keep Your Username Simple

While users can get plenty creative with their names just like the good ole’ myspace days, brands don’t have that option (or at least they shouldn’t exercise it). Keep it real (and simple), if your business is “Luckys Market,” you don’t want your username to be “eat-a-lot_at_luckys.”

Your username should pretty much just contain the name of your business.

If possible, keep your username the same as your Twitter handle. This helps users find and connect with your cross-platform. Along the same lines, it’s also good to have your logo as your Instagram profile picture to drive home the branding and help users know it is, in fact, you.

Keeping your Instagram username the same as your Twitter handle makes your Instagram seem more official and makes it easier for users to connect with you cross platform.

If you need to change your username, you can adjust it from the same “Edit Profile” screen where you can update your profile picture, off-site link, and bio.

5. Convert to a Business Profile

This feature isn’t available for everyone at the moment, so if you don’t have it, don’t sweat it; I don’t have access yet, either.

When you do have access, though, convert immediately to a Business profile. While there’s the risk that being a brand on Instagram could lower us a bit in the algorithm, it will also give you access to features like the ability to give customers instructions on how to contact you and Instagram’s on-platform analytics. I’m personally dying to get my hands on those numbers.

If you do have access, you can see how to convert your profile to a Business profile here.

How to Update to a Business Profile:

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