In August, Instagram finished its rollout of new tools that allow marketers to create a business profile and enable easier engagement with users.
This free offering allows businesses to feature a “Contact” button to connect with customers, boost high-performing posts through advertising, and gain valuable insights from analytics tools.
Marketers using Instagram finally have access to many of the same tools they’ve had access to on Facebook for years. However, business profiles also change the way users interact with an Instagram profile, so it’s important for pharma marketers to understand how these platform changes affect their channels.
Instagram business profiles include several key features that benefit businesses and consumers alike.
ENHANCED CONTACT FUNCTIONALITIES
Business profiles incorporate a new “Contact” button at the top of the profile, next to the “Follow” button. When users select “Contact,” they’re presented with different ways to get in touch with a business. At this time, it seems that at least one contact option must be enabled on a business profile.
- “Email” allows users to directly email the business instead of using in-platform messaging tools.
- “Get Directions” toggles to a map pinpointing the business’s location as it appears in the business profile settings.
- “Call” provides users with a phone number and the option to dial the business.
The enhanced contact options offered by business profiles facilitate communication between users and businesses and provide more opportunities to link to other assets in the business’s digital ecosystem.
When users visit a business profile, they can easily get an idea of what the business is all about because profile categories — of which there are dozens — are available to businesses using Instagram. Adding a profile categorization improves search results within the app and streamlines the connection between users and the product or service. The full roster of categories is available via Facebook, in the About section of a business’s Facebook page.
IN-PLATFORM INSIGHTS AND ANALYTICS
Business profiles offer in-platform insights and analytics, which can be used to track page and post performance. The new insights interface tracks data for the following metrics:
- Website clicks
- Followers (includes some demographic data)
In the past, marketers had to rely on tracking data manually or pay a subscription fee for a third-party tracking tool. The insights and analytics provided by a business profile automatically include performance data, which reduces human error in calculations and provides more in-depth information about the profile and content, allowing marketers to make informed strategy decisions.
Business profiles allow individual posts to be promoted with paid media, much like they are on Facebook. Options for promoted posts include:
- Call-to-action button
- Audience targeting (automatic or customized)
- Budget and duration of promotion
- Insights and analytics on paid performance
In addition to creating specific ads that don’t appear on an Instagram profile, marketers can now choose specific pieces of content from the brand’s profile to put paid promotion behind, increasing the reach and engagement on those curated posts.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PHARMA MARKETERS
Pharma marketers interested in converting their accounts to business profiles should consider the following implications.
REQUIREMENTS FOR CREATING AN INSTAGRAM BUSINESS PROFILE
In order to create a business profile on Instagram, businesses must also have a Facebook presence. To convert a personal page into a business page:
- Select the “Settings” icon on the top right of the Instagram profile.
- Choose “Switch to Business Profile.”
- Sign in with Facebook, and information from the Facebook profile will be automatically imported. The personal Instagram profile will be converted to a business profile.
Changing your business category is easy, but it’s accomplished through Facebook, not Instagram. To change a business page category:
- Select “About” on your business’s Facebook page.
- Select “Page Info” and hover over the “Category” option to edit.
MANAGING DIRECT MESSAGES
Because at least one contact method is required, a response workflow should be created for guidance on handling direct messages and messages from users, particularly those that mention adverse events. If brands choose to provide an email address for their “Contact” button, these emails can be handled in a manner similar to user comments on photos or other social media feedback workflows.
MONITORING AND MODERATION
Monitoring and moderation tools like SocialQueue™ can help track user comments and emails for retention and compliance purposes. Instagram also gives all users the option to block comments that contain a default list of keywords that Instagram has identified as offensive or create their own list of keywords to filter/block comments.
Instagram is also testing the option to shut off commenting, either on a post-by-post basis or for an entire account.
The ability to see which posts perform well is especially important now that the Instagram algorithm is in full force. Introduced in June, the algorithm does not show users posts in reverse chronological order. Instead, it prioritizes posts for users based on their previous actions. If users engage with content from a particular Instagram account regularly, they will begin to see that account’s content in their feed more often, regardless of the time posted.
Using analytics strategically allows marketers to optimize their content based on what performs well, to ensure higher engagement rates and higher placement through the Instagram algorithm.
Business profiles have access to the same updates and features as user profiles. For example, marketers with business profiles still have access to Instagram Stories, a new feature that allows users and brands to upload photos and videos to a slideshow that lasts for 24 hours. Marketers opting for a business profile do not have to worry about missing out on features from their current user profile.
Instagram has made it even easier for businesses to try advertising on the channel. The simplicity behind the new ad features makes sense. The easier it is to boost posts and advertise, the more businesses will try it. Marketers can access many of the same advertising and targeting features on Facebook and Instagram. Intouch expects Instagram to continue to enhance its ad units and features, possibly expanding ad buys into Instagram Stories soon.
Instagram’s recent steps to provide businesses with more tools to engage with their audiences show that the platform is listening to marketers and is ready to grow. The introduction of business profiles — with their enhanced analytics and advertising capabilities — makes the platform even more valuable to pharma marketers already using Instagram. And for those marketers who have been waiting to see how the platform will evolve, perhaps (if the platform is right for their audience), business profiles is just what they needed to take the Instagram plunge.
Contact your Intouch Solutions representative for more information on Instagram social media strategies and best practices and further guidance on whether the channel is right for meeting your marketing goal.