With the unbelievable rate at which people make use of the platform, it isn't rare to see people wonder how to start an Instagram business right from their homes. In case you happen to find yourself in these shoes, we have prepared an extensive guide below on every important aspect to help get you started.
So how do you start an Instagram business? First thing you do, of course, is open an Instagram business page, publish quality content as it pertains to your niche, work on methods to grow your account and relate with your audience. And of course, most importantly, select a monetization strategy to follow.
All of these, of course, may seem easier on the surface than they actually are. For instance, growing your Instagram business account might require more dedication than the sentences above imply. Keep reading, though, to get the full in-depth guides on each step needed to start an Instagram business.
Why You Should Start an Instagram Business
It's simple, you should start an Instagram business because 1 billion people use Instagram everyday. That's one billion humans that you probably can't reach anywhere else with the same convenience as you can on Instagram.
We can go on and on about other mind-blowing facts regarding Instagram marketing and be here all day, the bottom line, though, is this – Instagram is a unique opportunity for you to get your business to the face of a lot of individuals who are not only interested in what you have to offer, but are enthusiastically looking forward to it.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why you should start an Instagram business.
Step 1: Charting a Business Plan
Just because your business is going to operate mainly on Instagram, does not mean that you wouldn't need to chart a business plan. You chart a business plan for your Instagram business just as you would for a Kombucha business, or a car sale business.
In short, regardless of which industry you choose to enter, and which avenue and marketing strategy you choose to employ, planning is key to success.
And what's more? It is also your means of defense against failure. There is nothing that spells doom more than entering into an investment journey without carrying out through research and planning beforehand.
It is also worth mentioning that your business plan in this case has to include content strategy, growth strategy, monetization strategy, and, of course, cost planning.
Cost planning a business involves identifying beforehand the monetary expenses and resources needed to get the business off the ground, and moving seamlessly.
It is highly important to spend as much time on cost planning mainly because one of the biggest challenges you can face in a business is to get a satisfactory point where everything is starting to look rosy, and then hit a painful snag thanks to lack of sufficient funds.
And when it comes to Instagram business, regardless of the nuances involved, cost planning is just as important as in any other business.
What are the Costs Involved in Getting the Business Going?
Cost planning may generally be divided into two aspects – the starting cost planning and the recurring cost planning. The starting cost is the cost of everything needed to get your business going, while the recurring cost is what you need to keep it moving.
Now when it comes to Instagram business, thankfully the starting cost is quite reasonable, and depending on how big or small you're willing to start, might not even cost you anything but the time it takes to set up the page and build a following.
For those starting small, all you need is your product, a working internet connection, and a knowledge of Instagram growth strategies. For those who have the resources, though, you may be able to spend less time, but more money on targeted advertisements, micro-influencer outreach, and other growth techniques.
We discuss more on these Instagram strategies below.
What are the Recurring Costs?
Once your Instagram business is up and running, the next thing to consider are the recurring costs. This includes activities such as running Instagram ads, reaching out to micro-influencers in your niche, maintaining your store by purchasing required softwares, and maybe even offering some giveaways to your loyal customers.
Of course with Instagram, organic growth is priceless. Still, you have to do everything in your power to make sure that your page is never redundant, and never wholly dependent on the Instagram algorithm alone.
Step 2: Revenue Planning
After going through the process of cost planning, you arrive at the more pleasant task of planning your possible revenue, and how to ensure that you maximize this as much as possible.
To do this, we recommend answering the questions below.
What is Your Niche?
Before you can think of planning your incoming revenue, you must first have a niche squarely at the back of your mind to conquer. Of course if you have a product to market already, the product automatically chooses a niche for you.
If you don't already have one in mind, though, you have to go through the process of researching the best niche for you.
It almost goes without saying that you have to choose a niche that you love, and that has enough target audience on the platform to move your merchandise quickly and effectively.
What is Your Monetization Strategy?
Now that you've identified a niche, what comes next is your monetization strategy. For those who have a product to market, one of the options available is to make use of the Instagram Shop feature, where you integrate your online store directly with your Instagram business.
Another strategy to consider would be to just include your external shop link on your page without directly using the Instagram Shop feature.
There are also other monetization strategies for people who don't happen to have physical goods for sale. We take a look at some of these strategies in the coming sections. But first, a little more on growth strategies.
What is Your Growth Strategy?
Growth strategies on your Instagram page decides what particular methods you wish to grow your account with. There are a few strategies available, each with their own level of risk and acceptability.
For instance if you want to be on the safe side, you can begin to grow your Instagram page through following bigger pages on your niche, using them to link up with other small pages, and interacting insightfully and regularly.
Those who are less patient may go through the controversial “follow – unfollow” method, where you follow accounts in your niche hoping they'll follow back, and then unfollow those who don't.
Finally, for those who have the funds to invest, you may also consider running paid advertisements on Instagram, and reaching out to established micro-influencers to promote your page to their followers.
How Exactly Does an Instagram Business Make Money?
Monetizing an Instagram page, as mentioned earlier, is not limited to one method alone. There's the shop integration for physical products that we mentioned earlier, and then there's affiliate marketing for those without.
All you have to do in the latter is make use of a landing page, where you include your affiliate link, and paste that in your bio where you refer your followers.
You can also include your website link and monetize through ads. Another viable Instagram business is influencer and micro-influencer marketing.
Here you set out to be an authority in your niche on Instagram, and once you amass a good amount of followers, you serve as a middle man between your followers and bigger brands who would like to reach them through you.
How Much Profit Can a Instagram Business Make
The profit potential for an Instagram business is off the charts. From influencers and micro-influencers making six figures a year, purely from Instagram, and bigger brands making way more than that, it is clear that with time and dedication, the sky is really the limit.
What are the Costs of Scaling?
Scaling your Instagram followers involves two basic things – getting more followers, and getting more engagements. The cost of these? Putting in time, and reinvesting your earnings into more outreach, more collaborations, and proper organization, structure, and bookkeeping.
Step 3: Forming a Legal Entity
One of the mistakes social media marketers make is not treating their businesses as a serious one. The fact that your marketing is done online, on a social media platform is not an excuse to avoid all the legal steps that you would for a brick-and-mortar business.
Your Instagram business should ideally be registered with the appropriate bodies and made a separate legal entity on its own. The perks of this, as we will see below, are quite numerous.
Naming Your Business
Giving your business a unique and memorable name is a quite inevitable process especially when running a business on Instagram.
This is not just because branding is the name of the game when it comes to internet marketing, but also because from the very moment you choose to register on Instagram you would have been prompted to select a unique username through which users can search and identify you by.
Ideally, you should choose a name that stands out and, at the same time, is available for registration with the appropriate State body.
You will need this name, along with a couple of other important information, when filing your articles of organization to establish your Limited Liability Company, or whichever company structure you choose to go with.
Register For Taxes
You register your business for taxes by obtaining an official Employer Identification Number from the IRS, as well as other appropriate state organizations, depending on which particular state you choose to establish your company in.
Obtaining an EIN is a relatively simple affair and should not take up too much of your time.
Open a Business Bank Account
What are the benefits of opening a business bank account? Well first of all with a business bank account you provide yourself with the much needed separation of personal and business finances.
It is such a headache to have your personal income mixed with your business income, not just because it makes it harder to keep track of business growth and revenue, but also because it makes tax filing an extremely tedious affair.
And then there's the fact that it is just plain unprofessional to have your business associates and customers make payments into your personal account.
So yes, having a business account is highly important and one of the steps you must ensure to finish before commencing proper business operations.
Step 4: Business Accounting
Business accounting is what comes next after opening a business bank account. Opening a business account, you see, is one thing, keeping proper track of your income and expenditure flow, is another.
Of course it doesn't hurt to hire a proper accountant for this purpose if you can afford it. Professional accounting tasks are quite demanding, and time consuming. Having someone to take the chores off your hands is usually a luxury, especially when you'd rather have all your attention focused on other important aspects of running your Instagram business.
Regardless of which way you choose to go, though, once your business really starts to grow, hiring an accountant may become more and more imperative.
Step 5: Permits and Licenses
Depending on the state or states in which your business is established, you might have to acquire certain permits and licenses before you sell some products – even on Instagram.
Since most states usually have different rules on matters of commerce, it is quite hard to generalize regarding which exact permits and licenses you would need to run your business, as such you should always carry out proper checks on this with the appropriate bodies and authorities before you begin proper business operations.
Step 6: Business Insurance
Getting business insurance is not only great for keeping your business safe from unforeseen liabilities, it is also legally mandated and a no-brainer for any business owner.
The policy you choose to go for is up to you, as there are a lot of options in this regard for business owners. Some of the insurance you may choose to obtain range from general insurance, health insurance, deposit insurance and of course risk insurance.
Step 7: Defining Your Brand
Branding, on a general level, is like getting a constant supply of oxygen for your business. It helps your business to not only survive, but to thrive on a much deeper level, and what's more, as your brand becomes stronger and more popular, your business starts to propel itself with minimal effort on your part, all thanks to branding.
And that is why it is so important. You earn more trust, more recognition, and most importantly, you stand out from the competition.
Promotion and Marketing
Promoting and marketing your Instagram page, as mentioned earlier, is one of the most efficient ways to scale your business and reach even more people.
It may seem ironic to some that a page meant for marketing itself must be marketed. But that is just the way it is.
Customer retention on Instagram is equal to quality engagement. A lot of pages make the mistake of becoming too big to engage with their followers. Do not make this mistake.
Not only will your followers appreciate you and regard your business with trust and authenticity, but so will the Instagram algorithm itself.
Who is an Instagram Business Suitable For
Everybody. An Instagram business is suitable for everybody. It is there for you to take advantage of, if you can only stop thinking that you're not tech savvy enough to build a following.
All you have to do is be yourself, relate with the audience you want to reach, and put up quality content.
Skills and Experiences
Having prior experience in social media marketing, of course, comes in handy for people who wish to run an Instagram business. But this is by no means a mandatory prerequisite. Instagram is a platform where you learn as you go, and the reward for this is well worth in the end.
What is the Growth Potential of an Instagram Business?
One of the best parts of running an Instagram business is that there is no limit to how big you can get. There is no physical space limitation, or geographical limitation. All you have to do is keep putting in time and resources, and your page can amass millions of following and engagements in no time.
Find a Business Mentor
Finding a business mentor, no matter what niche or industry you choose to get into, can never hurt you. At worst you gain some knowledge that you'll hold on to forever, and at best you get people willing to walk you through challenges and ensure that you do not make the same mistakes you did.
All in all, you end up with an easier path to success than you would have had without a mentor. So find someone you trust and respect who's been through what you're about to go through, and you'll have a bigger chance of success.