Instagram is a great social platform. Primarily photo-based, it’s kind of a stripped down version of Facebook. (In fact, Facebook owns Instagram.) It’s also very simple. Post photos, like others’ photos, comment, connect with people and businesses you know. It’s almost exclusively mobile.
In the past, Instagram didn’t distinguish between businesses and individuals. All profiles had the same, scant information. Now, however, Instagram has made it possible for businesses to create their own business profiles, get insights into their traffic and promote themselves with Instagram advertising.
"With so many companies using Instagram, and many people on the platform interacting with them, there was a desire from our business community to do more,” according to the Instagram For Business blog. "So we listened. And, after hundreds of interviews with businesses, three key needs became clear—stand out, get insights and find new customers."
When you convert your account to a company profile, it draws information from your business Facebook page such as location and type of business. That info shows up on your page right under your profile paragraph.
One nifty feature, especially for retail businesses, is the CONTACT button right below your name. Users are given the options of calling, emailing or getting directions on Google Maps or a similar map program. It’s also easier to reach beyond your current follower base by promoting your best images in a process very similar to Facebook’s Boost feature.
See what works, what doesn't work
Perhaps as important is the Insights feature that comes with a business account. You can track which photos are being viewed, where your followers are, how your ads are performing and other information that will help you improve your results.