Everything You Need to Know to Create an Instagram Business Account

Want to make your design firm IG official? Welcome to Instagram Business Accounts 101—here’s how to get started

From marriages to moving announcements, posting milestones on social media has become routine. So if you’re hanging your own shingle, why not mark the occasion with an Instagram business account? For a designer, the highly visual app is a great place to show off new projects, of course, but the numbers are also in your favor: 90% of users follow business accounts, according to Instagram data.

“Instagram is your second digital portfolio beyond your website,” explains Meredith Hite Herzog, a managing director at the Dove Agency, a communications firm that handles social media strategy for interior designers. “Today, many consumers will engage with a brand on their Instagram before their website and use the platform as a search engine. [Instagram] provides credibility and helps interior designers break through the noise in a highly saturated industry.”

Before you focus on your feed and stories, you’ll first want to make sure the rest of your marketing strategy is in lockstep. For Nora Wolf, founder of public relations firm Wolf PR and its à la carte extension, Wolf Craft, great photography is a nonnegotiable for any firm. “It’s one of the most important things you can invest in,” she explains. “If you don’t have your work properly photographed, it is going to be near impossible to convert [a follower] into a client.”

While Instagram is a great tool for attracting new business, it’s also a fickle one, with a mysterious, ever-changing algorithm. (While your content might perform particularly well one week, Instagram’s elusive mechanisms may make it nosedive the next.) To control exactly who is seeing your content, Wolf says a digital newsletter can “build relationships with your subscribers and keep them updated on your latest projects, even if they’re not always on Instagram.”

What is the difference between a regular Instagram account and a business account?

While an Instagram professional account might seem like any other profile, there are a few features and nuances that make this tier a particularly good match for budding design firms. Not sure how to use Instagram for business? Here are a few great places to start.

Track your metrics

Unlike a personal profile—which will show you how many likes, comments, or view your posts and stories receive—business owners will be able to use their professional account to get a thorough understanding of their impressions, overall reach, and demographic of their engaged followers. According to Alessia Lamonaca—a former growth marketing director who left her decade-long career in marketing and social media to launch her interior decorating business, New Mode Home—knowledge is power. She says: “This data enables anyone looking to grow their audience to make informed decisions and optimize their content strategy.”

Advertise your offerings

If you’re itching to increase your profile’s traffic, use Instagram’s “boost post” to help your post or reel reach a specific demographic. Though boosting a post will require a small fee—which is based on a few factors like duration of boost and target metrics—Lamonaca says it’s “crucial for reaching a wider audience, driving more traffic to your business, and increasing brand visibility.” Finally, she adds, “this tool provides advanced targeting options, budget control, and performance insights to optimize your advertising efforts.”

Schedule posts ahead of time

Make no mistake, it’s very important for business owners to maintain an engaging online presence. However, when a to-do list is jam-packed with install days and admin work, posting on social media can fall to the wayside. Fortunately, an Instagram business account makes it possible for users to schedule content ahead of time.

Add contact information

Ultimately, a business profile has a lot more to offer than a feed of pretty pictures: It can also be a great tool to solicit business. The good news is that Instagram professional accounts have the option to add contact information like a phone number or an email address. Whether you’re looking to pick up a few clients or get some press coverage, your new-and-improved profile will provide a simple way to get in touch.

Connect with other platforms

Why spend precious time uploading the same post to multiple platforms when you can sync your Instagram business account with your company’s Facebook page or Threads account?

Add e-commerce

If you want to shine a light on your online shop or a new product collaboration, Instagram also gives business accounts the opportunity to sell their items directly through the platform. Ruu Silverman, Foley & Cox Home’s store manager, says the retailer typically uploads five shoppable posts to the platform per week. While the store tends to sell smaller items like books and accessories through Instagram, the app often acts as a sneak peek into its Hudson Valley brick-and-mortar storefront. “[We] have clients who reach out [directly about] larger or more expensive items they’ve seen on our feed or stories,” they say. “Reels are a great way to ‘walk’ people through our brick-and-mortar shop in real time or focus on a fabulous design detail on a product.” That said, it’s important to keep in mind that Instagram has some restrictions on what business owners can and cannot sell. While Instagram allows you to post and sell physical goods—as opposed to digital subscriptions or services—it prohibits the sale of some categories like animals, medical supplies, and alcohol.

Recently Instagram unveiled a third profile option: the creator account. While this alternative account is similar to Instagram’s business profile, there are a few features that will uniquely benefit influencers and content creators. (For example, creators can use paid partnership tags when posting sponsored content.) If you’re torn between Instagram’s business and creator options, here’s a general rule of thumb: Business accounts are great for design firms and multi-employee companies, while bloggers and design thought leaders would be a better fit for a creator page.

Is an Instagram business account free?

With so many overhead costs to consider—ranging from your office’s monthly utilities to your favorite design software—you may not be itching to add yet another charge to your bottom line. Thankfully, you don’t have to: Instagram business accounts are free to anyone who wants them. Still, anyone who wants to get their firm’s page verified may have to spend a small additional fee. (Sure, that tiny blue checkmark isn’t mandatory when creating an Instagram business account, but it can give your page some extra legitimacy.) As of February 2023, users can sign up for Meta Verified, where they can verify their Instagram and Facebook pages for up to $15 per month.

How do I get an Instagram business account?

Though all Instagram accounts start off as personal profiles, it’s easy to switch yours over to the business setting. Once you set up your account—all you need to do is enter your phone, date of birth, and login credentials like your desired handle and password—follow these simple steps to create an Instagram professional account. (While there may be some slight differences between the two, this process is generally the same on iOS and Android systems.)

  • Step One: When you have your Instagram app opened, tap the menu icon. (For the uninitiated, this symbol looks like three horizontal lines.)
  • Step Two: From there, you’ll want to select “Settings” and scroll all the way down until you see “Switch to professional account.” Go ahead and give that a tap too. Instagram will show you a few perks of creating a business account, but since you already know the benefits, hit continue so you can get to the good stuff.
  • Step Three: Next you’ll need to select an industry that best describes your business. While Instagram will have a shortlist of general options to choose from—think “artist” and “entrepreneur”—you can also use the search bar to find a more relevant term like “interior design studio,” “home decor,” or “architectural designer.” While Instagram will automatically display your desired descriptor on your page, you can toggle a button at the very top of your screen to hide your profession from your profile.
  • Step Four: Depending on the industry you list, Instagram might ask you to clarify if you’d like a business or creator account. (Remember: Business profiles are great for larger companies, while creator pages are best suited for bloggers and influencers.) Don’t worry: If you change your mind, you can always switch your account settings at a later date.
  • Step Five: Since you want your potential clients to be able to reach you, review your contact information.
  • Step Six: Have a Facebook page for your design business? Instagram will give you the opportunity to link your accounts together. (If you haven’t put the finishing touches on your Facebook page, you can always skip this step and return to it later.)
  • Step Seven: Congratulations! You now have an Instagram business account, which means you can follow like-minded companies, search and save inspirational posts, and even upload some content of your own.

What does a business account in Instagram do, exactly?

Ultimately an Instagram business account is not that different from a personal profile: You can still direct message potential clients, network with local vendors, and post your favorite pictures from a recently completed project. However, if you really want to build a larger digital community or position yourself an as expert in the industry, a professional account has the analytical tools and advertising capabilities to help your business grow.

But just because you set up your Instagram business account doesn’t mean the task at hand is done. Wolf encourages business owners to engage followers by pinning Instagram posts about press coverage, projects, and behind-the-scenes footage to a permanent highlights story.

“Often, potential customers, collaborators, or fans will find you on Instagram before your website,” she points out. “You’ll want to tell your story in a clear and compelling way here too.”

Wolf also recommends that designers reintroduce themselves in stories and posts once a quarter. That can mean a short video saying hello and letting your audience know who you are, or even giving a brief tour around your studio. “You’re always getting new followers—and even your old followers may not remember who you are or what you do,” she shares. “They want to know what makes you special, so [don’t be afraid to let] your personality shine through on your feed.”

Finally, if you want to take your online presence up a couple of notches, check out these digital marketing moves AD editors advise you to ditch, stat.

Source: architecturaldigest.com