The path to Instagram success (and business goal-getting) is laid out by a set of fundamental actions we call Instagram basics. What you should call them? The A-B-C of how to stand out among the platform’s 1 billion users. But don’t let the number burst your bubble. Step up to the challenge by following our advice to a tee.

Listen, we all know that the pandemic is wrecking havoc among businesses, big and small. But Instagram can help your step out of the chaos and into a safe, reliable online universe filled with potential customers (and new streams of revenue).

We were right to predict that 2021 is the perfect year to launch your business on Instagram. However, this is post is not meant as an “we told you so”, but a as reminder that it’s never too late to start. So, let’s make up for lost time and dive into the specifics.

This article covers the nitty-gritty details of hot to get started on Instagram. That’s right. If you’re wondering how to set up an Instagram account for business, we’ve got you covered with the Instagram basics.

1. Create your account(s)

Creating an Instagram account is pretty straightforward. To begin with, download the Instagram app from the App Store (iPhone) or Google Play Store (Android). Then, open the app, choose whether to log in with your email address OR your Facebook account, and follow the on-screen instructions.

At this point, we recommend you use an email address. However, make sure you also have a Facebook account, because it will come in handy later on. For example, you can’t switch to a business profile or manage ad campaigns without a Facebook account. So, save yourself some trouble along the way, and set both accounts from the get-go.

And, if you’re more comfortable working from your laptop, feel free to use the desktop version of Instagram.

2. Switch to a professional account

If you plan to use Instagram to promote your brand, then you need a creator or a business profile. These two types of profiles will spoil you with several analytics and Instagram promotion tools that personal profiles lack. Yes, this is one Instagram basics tip you don’t want to disregard.

To make the switch, go to your profile page and tap the three-lines button at the top right side of the screen. Select “Settings” and then tap on “Account”. Once you open the “Account” screen, scroll to the bottom of the page and select “Switch to a Professional Account”. 

Switch to a professional account

Remember that this switch will require a Facebook page as well. In case you haven’t created one, Instagram will give you the opportunity to do so on the spot.

3. Choose a relevant profile photo

We can’t talk about Instagram basics without mentioning the importance of your profile picture. It’s one of the first branded elements your potential customers see, so make sure it grabs their attention. 

If you’re a business, the best practices recommend setting your logo as a profile picture — or a short version of it. Not only will this help you with brand-recognition, but it will also help you appear professional. 

If you’re a creator, then a headshot that’s representative of your niche or personality is the way to go. Make sure to use contrasting colours and include props if these help your followers understand what’s your area of expertise. Stay away from pictures that are too season-specific, at least until you gain more popularity. 

Consistency is key when it comes to recall rates, so stick with the basics.

4. Craft your bio

With your Instagram account all set up, it’s time to craft your bio. And we do mean craft. Because we can’t stress the importance of your bio enough. These 150 characters are your best chance to pitch your business and convert Instagrammers into followers and then customers. 

Use your bio to make sure people understand what your business does. Keep it short and to the point, but let the fun side of your brand show. There’s no reason why valuable information and witty puns can’t beautifully blend together.

The secret to getting your bio right is not trying to overdo it. Here are a few tips that will help you get there:

  • Use relevant keywords and hashtags
  • Format your ideas and make them easy to read
  • Use emojis to visually separate ideas
  • Mention your branded hashtag
  • Include a call-to-action
Example 1 of a well-crafted bio
Example 2 of a well-crafted bio

5. Follow a few relevant accounts

Instagram basics are not only about setting up a new account. They are also about what you can do to start growing it. The first step towards achieving this goal? Follow a few relevant accounts yourself.

If you read our advice on how to launch your business on Instagram, then you’ll already have a list of Instagram accounts to follow. These can be other businesses your audience has an interest in, but also influential members from your audience. 

Make sure to keep the number of followed accounts relatively low at the beginning, and increase it as you also gain followers. Why? Because having a disproportionate gap between the number of people following you and those you follow won’t look professional.

6. Follow a few relevant hashtags

Instagram gives you the option to also follow hashtags, not only accounts. Why is this important? Because hashtag threads are a great way to find potential customers based on interests connected to your business. 

For example, if you have an italian restaurant, consider following hashtags such as #pizzalovers to discover new potential followers. Then, interact with relevant posts to raise awareness about your business and enter the radar of pizza lovers. 

Step 1: Search for a hashtag

To follow a tag, open Instagram and tap the search icon at the bottom of the screen. Enter your hashtag in the search bar at the top and select the “tags” category. Once the list with the tags appears, choose one and hit “follow”.

Step 2: Hit “follow”

7. Upload, edit, and post for the first time

Ready for another Instagram basics step? Good, because by this point, you should have your marketing plan finalised. With your strategy complete, you’ll be able to start posting and reaching new followers.

To upload your first post, click on the “+” button at the top right of the screen. Select your photo or video and hit “next”. But not so fast! How about editing? Instagram is known for its selection of filters, but ask yourself: “are these enough?”. To make a stand, you’ll probably need to up your editing game. Luckily, our article on how to edit an Instagram post will help you shine.

Don’t forget to craft a stellar caption and add relevant hashtags to your post. This way, your engagement rates are guaranteed to meet your expectations.

8. Start posting stories

Instagram stories are displayed at the top of users’ feed. Unlike posts, Instagram stories vanish after 24 hours. Their short life span also influences their less-edited aesthetics.  

Since they were launched in 2016, stories have become synonymous with Instagram. In fact, users love ‘em! And how could they not? Stories feel real and authentic. They provide a direct means of communication thanks to features such as Stickers, Questions, and Polls. 

Plus, their chronological algorithm ensures you pop right in front of your audience every time you upload a new story. To broaden your reach, include hashtags and mentions in your stories. Whatever you do, make sure to post at least 2 or 3 stories daily to keep new followers coming in.

9. Comment on posts and interact with other accounts

To gain new followers and raise your engagement rates, you need to interact with other accounts. Instagram is a community-based platform, so interaction is at its core. So, when considering the Instagram basics you have to check, you can’t overlook how you account reaches out to other Instagrammers.

That’s why you won’t get very far unless you like and comment on other posts. Being active will not only gain you more exposure, but will help you come across as an authentic authority. 

However, make sure to only post relevant comments that are meaningful and mindful. Don’t use the comments section to randomly promote your business. Instagrammers don’t like that.

10. Schedule your posts for the upcoming weeks

Our Instagram basics list ends on a high note. Or, better said, on a consistency note. To grow your audience on Instagram — and your account — you need to have a consistent schedule.

Since you’ll probably have a hard time posting at the same hours, every day, having an Instagram scheduler such as Preppr will come in handy. 

Ready to apply our Instagram basics?

Starting as a small business on Instagram can be daunting. However, if you follow our Instagram basics steps, you’ll be on your way to growing your audience and boosting your revenue in no time.

In case you need extra help, remember that Preppr is here with tons of tips, tricks, and awesome features.

Now, ready to get started with your business on Instagram?


Ilona Iftode is a copywriter with a taste for adventure. She lives to write, travel and explore new concepts in the realms of advertising, marketing, SEO and beyond.

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