With over 800 million monthly users and more than 60 million photos posted each day, a segment of your buyers and influencers is likely using Instagram.

 If you are a B-to-B organization, don’t dismiss it as a consumer-only play. It’s all about how, what and when you post. Many B-to-B brands are having massive success on the platform.

 Like any marketing channel, you need to have a strategy for how to best use it. Over the next few weeks, we’ll define some sensible tactics you can use to maximize your Instagram success.

Let’s start with a few basics.

Personal or business profile: If you are a large business (think Coca-Cola, L.L. Bean, Principal) with hundreds or thousands of employees, you definitely need a business account. But even if you own a local women’s clothing store, you probably want to convert your personal account into a business account. It would still be in your name; that does not change. This does not mean you can’t or shouldn’t post pictures of your favorite treat on a stick from the fair. If you’re a small business owner, the odds are that much of your business’s success is due to your brand. You aren’t two people (work you and home you), so there’s nothing wrong with showing both on a business profile within Instagram.

There are some significant benefits to having a business profile or converting your personal profile into a business one.

When your account is designated as a business profile, followers can click on your contact button to get in touch with you right from your Instagram page just like they would from your website. A business profile also allows you to create and publish Instagram ads without having to use Facebook’s ad tools.

The most valuable aspect of switching your personal profile to a business one (or starting with a business profile) is that you can use all of Instagram’s analytics tools. You’ll be able to access valuable data about how your posts are performing.

Your bio: Your bio serves as your elevator pitch for your entire account. It gives people a sense of not only what your business is all about, but your brand’s personality. It’s your opportunity to give people a reason to click the follow button and engage with you.

Don’t get cute when it comes to the name of your account. When someone searches to see if you have an Instagram account, or you show up in their feed, you want them to be able to recognize that it’s you instantly.

You have 30 characters to work with, so you can add a keyword or descriptor. But be sure you use your real name or brand name first. You want to show up in the search results.

For the rest of the bio, keep it simple and straightforward. If you met someone at a networking event and they asked you about your company, what would you say? Be thoughtful about keywords in your bio. They aren’t searchable, but they will help your audience identify that your content will be relevant to them. 

Your bio is the only place on Instagram that you can include a clickable link. So choose very carefully. If you have a business profile, along with your one link you can create buttons that will allow users to connect with you.

Many businesses use a branded hashtag, such as Des Moines’ yoga, barre and fitness studio Power Life, which uses #MyFeelGood. Branded hashtags are a great way to create user-generated content and many other strategies that we’ll explore in the following weeks.

Next week we’ll look at some successful content strategies.