Are you still considering whether it’s worth being on Instagram?

Alejandro Castro Valín
10 March, 2021

No worries, in this article, I’ll explain in detail what Instagram is and how it can help your business. 

You will learn how to install Instagram step by step, and I will show you how to get the most out of this social network and start using it like a professional.

What’s Instagram?

Instagram is a social network that took its first steps in 2010 with developers Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. The main characteristic of this network is to communicate through images and short videos.

In its beginnings, this social network’s attraction was the ease and variety of applying filters to the images, creating very visual and attractive content.

Instagram is a social network designed to be fully functional on mobile devices, both for iOS (Apple’s operating system) and Android (Google’s operating system).

It also has a desktop version, but the web version is minimal compared to the mobile since its inception.

What is Instagram for?

As I mentioned, the main feature of Instagram is to share images or short videos with people.

This social network’s attractiveness is that the content users upload is easy to consume as it is purely visual content.

Over time, Instagram has evolved, and today you find several ways to consume these images or videos, such as:

  • Stories
  • Guides
  • Instagram Live
  • Post feed
  • Reels

This is why the quality of the images or videos is crucial for this social network.

What are the pros and cons of Instagram?

Now that you know what Instagram is and what it is for, it’s time to show you all the advantages and disadvantages at the business level. Are you ready?

Advantages of using Instagram for business

  1. Instagram is totally “free.”

You won’t pay any amount of money to access the content available on the platform.

However, you may be wondering why the word free is between quotes.

The reason for this is that it is true that you don’t have to pay to use the app. Instead, you offer your data so that the social network, which belongs to Facebook, can segment and personalize the ads shown on Instagram.

  1. Show your most human side.

Showing your face and making yourself known is essential if you want to show closeness and build trust.

We love to see each one’s most human side, and photos and video are a great asset to achieve that confidence.

  1. Give visibility to your business.

Like other networks, Instagram offers a profile for businesses where they can visually show what they offer or do, how they can help, etc.

More than 1 billion users are on Instagram, so it’s essential to investigate if your target audience is here and develop a strategy to stand out on this social network.

  1. Drive traffic to your website.

In the description of your Instagram profile, you can add a link, so I recommend that you put one that drives users to the section within your website that you want users to see. 

Important: Instagram does not allow you to put clickable links in the descriptions of posts.

  1. Show your team

If I told you before that it was vital for you to show yourself, it is also imperative to show your team in a close and transparent way, that is to say,  who is behind your company.

People love stories, tell anecdotes about your company, make your users identify with you.

  1. Advertising

Organic content is a great resource, it helps generate interactions and make your brand known, but at the end of the day, a company is there to sell and offer solutions.

One of the best ways to achieve this is through advertising on Instagram and the power of segmentation that this social network offers you.

  1. Sell ​​your products directly on Instagram.

A great success of Instagram is to allow selling products directly on the social network thanks to Instagram Shopping.

Remember to sell your products and show them visually and attractively. Don’t upload stock or catalog images.

Unleash your imagination!

Disadvantages of using Instagram for business

Instagram also has its drawbacks, so I want you to be aware of them:

  1. The algorithm keeps changing.

Instagram is a social network that is already in a state of advanced maturity.

It has a large user base, leading us to the fact that, as with Facebook, we see how this social network is increasingly reducing its organic reach to put advertising as the focal point. 

Even so, if you work well and there is a good strategy in place, organic posts still have a lot to say.

  1. Be prepared for the user’s wrongdoing. 

As you grow in this social network, you will find numerous profiles that don’t behave appropriately on the platform.

Some of them are the famous “I follow you, and I stop following you” or numerous SPAM messages in the message tray.

You will also see some accounts that make 10, 15, or 20 likes suddenly in your posts for you to enter their profile or follow them.

Please avoid these types of actions. 

  1. Unable to add links to posts

Instagram doesn’t allow adding links to posts, so users remain on the platform as long as possible.

The only links you can insert in the posts are the famous hashtags and mentions to other Instagram accounts.

How to use Instagram

Now that you are clear about what Instagram is, what it is for, and its advantages and disadvantages, it’s time to show you step by step all the options you will find on this platform to understand them from the first moment.

Create your Instagram account

The first thing you should do to enjoy this social network is downloading the app to your mobile device.

Instagram is a free app, and it’s available for iOS devices (iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, although the latter does not have the interface adapted to the tablet) through the APP Store.

It is also available for Android mobile devices from Google Play:

Once you have the app, follow these simple steps to create your account:

  1. Add a username for your account. (If it is for a business account, enter the name of your business)
  2. Create a password. (Try to be as reliable as possible by entering uppercase, lowercase, numbers and symbols, and at least eight characters)
  3. Add your phone or email.
  4. Enter your birth date.

With these four simple steps, you have already created your Instagram account.

Home

You will find all the posts from the profiles you follow.

As time goes by and you interact with the accounts you follow, Instagram will show you the most interesting according to your activity.

In this section, you will also see the Instagram Stories at the top of the screen.

Explore

In this section, you can find other users in the search bar at the top.

In the search bar, you can find:

  • Featured pages.
  • Recently viewed profiles.
  • User accounts.
  • Tags.
  • Places.

Below the search bar, Instagram offers you a series of categories to help you find content and accounts that may be of interest to you:

  • Travel
  • Architecture
  • Decor
  • Style
  • Art
  • Food
  • Beauty
  • DIY
  • Music
  • TV & Movies
  • Sports

You also have a special button to access IGTV (Instagram TV), a different type of content, since they are long-term video content.

Reels

One of the latest updates of this social network is the opposite of IGTV, Reels,  characterized by its short videos, 15 seconds maximum.

This section is very interesting if you have a local business since it offers you an extensive organic reach and a highly successful content consumption style.

Shop

Also called Instagram Shopping, in this section, you can see all the products that are for sale through the Instagram platform.

If you are thinking about whether you can showcase your business items on Instagram, the answer is yes, as long as your profile meets the platform’s conditions.

Here is a search engine that will help you find the type of product you are trying to find.

It has a button at the top right called “wishlist,” where you can save all those items that you like.

To facilitate your search in this section, Instagram has a series of filters:

  • Sort 
    • Relevance
    • Newest
    • Price: Low to High
    • Price: High to Low
  • On sale
  • In stock

Profile

You will see your account, where you can view and change your profile photo, a profile description, view your posts, your IGTV videos, tagged images, featured stories, etc.

At the top right, you will see a plus symbol (+) where you can upload your content and an icon with three horizontal stripes, where you can find settings.

Camera

You can identify it by the plus (+) button surrounded by a square located on the home page.

There you can upload:

  • Post feed
  • Story
  • Reels
  • IGTV

Notifications

You can find the notifications under the heart symbol, s located in the home section, in the upper right.

Here you will see all the interactions that people had with you. You can discover:

  • Who mentioned you in a post.
  • Who liked your posts.
  • People who commented on your posts.
  • Accounts that have started following you.

Messages

Right next to the notifications button, you will see all the private messages that other users have sent to you. 

You will also see the reactions that people have in your Stories or the messages they leave you about them.

Main mistakes when being on Instagram

At a business level, I will focus on the main flaws that I am detecting in some accounts with a professional profile.

  1. Not introducing yourself properly.

Many accounts use the technicalities of their industry to describe themselves. You have to speak more easily and simply to reach a larger audience.

  1. Showing the same content.

People can get bored if you keep uploading the same type of content frequently.

If you have a shoe store, show something else apart from your product, for instance, advise on taking care of shoes, what type of shoe best suits a specific situation, etc.

  1. Talking too much about yourself.

You need to interact with the people you follow. Don’t forget that it’s another way of gaining visibility and showing closeness. 

  1. Not paying attention to your followers.

The fact that users spend part of their time commenting on your posts is priceless. Always be grateful and reply to your follower’s messages. 

  1. Not keeping an identifying format.

Maintain a fixed editing style that users identify over time, so they know your posts are yours without having to look at the name of your profile.

  1. Using hashtags without rhyme and reason.

You should identify the right hashtags for your niche, the ones your competition use, which ones are penalized, etc. 

  1. Not posting at the right time.

It’s essential to know when your audience is connected. For this, the Metricool tool will help you solve this error.

  1. Not posting regularly.

Don’t upload content only when you feel like it or when you have nothing else to do. There is nothing worse than seeing an account abandoned.

Did I help you to know better what Instagram is and the potential that this social network has?

I hope this article has helped you know more about what Instagram is, what you can use it for, and the advantages and disadvantages of this social network.

If you have any questions about the article, do not hesitate to write a comment or on my social networks.

Alejandro Castro Valín

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