A Business’s Guide to Insta-Social Success

February 2019
taking a photo of breakfast for instagram

With more than 1 billion users to date, Instagram is the third largest social media platform. As a highly visually-driven platform, businesses are drawn to the simple marketing in an addictive, user-friendly form. But getting started isn’t always easy. That’s why Responsival - the Pittsburgh content marketing experts - are here with our third edition of ‘Setting Up Your Business for Social Success’ to breakdown how to set up your business’s Instagram profile from start to finish. With just a few easy but important steps, your business will have an Instagram profile that’s the envy of your strip mall.

Instagram by the Numbers

Why Instagram is the Social Media Platform your business needs


Many people underestimate the marketing abilities of Instagram due to their lack of knowledge of how the platform has evolved since its incipience. 72% of teens use Instagram every day and 34% of the total number of users are millennials, making it the perfect platform for targeting younger demographics.

Not only does this demographic make up a valuable portion of the consumer market, but more than 72% of users have purchased a product they’ve seen on Instagram. With sales power higher than ever thanks to features like shoppable posts and embedded links for Instagram stories, more than 90% of the top 100 brands are on Instagram. The first step in joining these top brands is setting up a strong business profile… and don’t worry; we’re here to help you out.

Building Your Profile

Adding basic information and constructing a clean profile

responsival instagram profile

Part of the beauty of Instagram is the simplicity of the profile and the simplicity of its setup. With the focus being on images, business profiles on Instagram require only a small amount of information -- which means you must utilize it well. After downloading the Instagram app, you’ll build a profile with the following information:

  • Profile Image: Choose a simple, high-quality image that represents your business. Best practices include using a company logo, but any recognizable image with bright colors should do the trick.
  • Username: The goal for creating the perfect username - also known as an Instagram handle - should be easy recognizability. You want to create a handle that is likely the first thing a company will search when tagging you in images. For us, “@Responsival” was an easy choice. If that was already taken, we would try “@Responsival.webdesign” or “responsival.pittsburgh.”
  • Website: Always include a link to your website in your bio. This will direct people to your site to purchase products, schedule services, or web content. If you don’t have a solid, responsive website for your business yet, we’ve got you covered.
  • Bio: You want your bio to be short, sweet, and to the point. You don’t have to put your company’s entire story in there, but brief information about your expertise, service, and business will give page visitors a good idea of what your business does.

Once your profile is built with all necessary information, you’ll be able to start posting and optimizing your profile as a Business profile.

Sync with Facebook

Establishing a Business Profile and Sharing Posts Between Platforms

instagram facebook integration

If you’ve been following along with our ‘Setting Up Your Business for Social Success’ series, you know that Facebook is an extremely important aspect of your online social strategy. Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, they are highly interconnected, making it important to be sure that the profiles are synced.To do this, you want to select “Settings” in the top right corner when viewing your business’s facebook page. On the left hand side select ‘Instagram.” From here you can log in to your Instagram to connect it to Facebook, claim it as a business account, and add extra contact information to your Instagram profile.

Create Dummy Posts

Make Posts Before You Recruit Followers

Invite followers instagram

instagram dummy posts

When your business is brand new to Instagram, it makes it even harder to gain followers when you have no posts yet. Give potential followers a feel for what you’re bringing to the table by creating dummy posts, which are 5-10 posts that tell a little story of your brand and give a preview of the types of posts you’ll be sharing.

In these posts, experiment with photo filters, hashtagging (which we’ll dive into in just a second), and different tone and voice in captions. See what you like, and look to keep posts consistent in new posts.

For photo editing, we love VSCO. It’s easy to use, has plenty of subtle filters that are in style right now, and even allows you to save customize presets to maintain consistent branding across images.

Invite Followers

Invite followers instagram

Once you’ve created some dummy posts and have your profile set up, it’s time to invite friends to follow your Instagram! There are a couple ways to go about this:

  • Invite Contacts/Friends: On your Instagram profile, click the top right corner with the three parallel lines followed by ‘Discover People.’ From here, you can invite your contacts, similar accounts, and suggestions Instagram makes for you. We recommend following anyone and everyone you deem appropriate at first --- it’s a great way to get your followers up.
  • Develop a Follower Strategy: Consider your demographics first. Moms, kids, college students, dog owners? Once identified, start searching for ways to approach your demographic in the area you serve.

For instance, if you’re opening a new pub on a college campus, your first place to start looking for followers is likely the university’s Instagram page, ‘Class of 2021’ pages, and look at who follows other local bars’ Instagram accounts. With this, you’ll be sure that you are focusing your following efforts on people likely to stop in to your business.

Grow Your Page with Hashtags

instagram hashtags reponsival

Growing your page with hashtags is the best way to organically attract people to your Instagram page. Hashtags allow users to explore similar interests and post types, connecting a variety of accounts to one another. Though present on both Facebook and Twitter, Instagram hashtags are becoming an increasingly important aspect to using the app for business purposes. Here’s a few tips:

  • Hide Your Hashtags: Nothing clutters up a post more than hashtags directly in the caption, especially you can have up to 30 hashtags per post! The best way to combat this is by keeping your caption simple and hiding all your hashtags in the first comment of your post. It makes your post feel less like an aspect of your marketing strategy and more like consumable content for your followers.
  • Hashtagify: Coming up with 30 hashtags per post isn’t easy. That’s why we love tools like By typing in a hashtag you are using, it will give you other related hashtags to add to your post so you can make sure you maximize your reach with each post.
  • Consider Your Demographics & Competition: Take note of what types of posts your demographics are interacting with, what hashtags they are using, and what hashtags your competition uses. By simple using the same “#PhillyCoffeeShop” hashtag as your competition, you put yourself in the running for places users will explore.

So what do you think: are you ready to start building your business’s Instagram profile. As an extremely important aspect of your digital and content marketing plan, your business can’t afford to wait any longer. If you want some help getting these profiles started or keeping them in tip-top shape, get in touch with Responsival: the Pittsburgh content marketing experts.

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