Until recently, Instagram was a pretty self-contained network that didn’t allow for any interaction outside it, except for a link in the bio. With the introduction of ads, the situation has changed a little, but Instagram remains somewhat closed off compared to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
The hesitation to use this platform for marketing comes from illiteracy on how to effectively drive and measure sales from Instagram. However, it is possible (and not that difficult once you know how) to acquire leads and sales on Instagram. Here are a few proven methods.
Use relevant hashtags
While it seems like a no-brainer, there is still a lot of confusion on how to employ hashtags effectively. Some decide to not use hashtags whatsoever (you’re not Beyoncé, you can’t afford this), or stuffing every image with 30 irrelevant hashtags.
Here is the deal: think of them as keywords. Have a good variety and use just enough to be discoverable. I tend to incorporate a few major hashtags to get more exposure, some less used hashtags, so my posts stick on the top longer, and some variations in between.
If you want to include abbreviations used in your industry, make sure to check what those abbreviations can lead to on Instagram. Not all abbreviations are what you think they are, so click on it to see what kind of content pops up. Another advice is to spend some time analyzing the best hashtags for your niche. For example, foodies might use #foodporn instead of #lunch.
Think where you link
How many times have I seen one free opportunity to send the traffic to your website being misused and wasted! I am talking about a single link that actually works as a live link — in your profile. Please, do not send those people to your homepage and let them scatter around.
Get clear on what you want them to do on your site and link to the most appropriate page. Send them to an “about” section, store page or to your latest blog post. If you feel like nailing this Instagram game down, create a landing page specifically for Instagrammers with a special offer or a call to action. It is also a good idea to talk to them in their language and make experience on your website cohesive to experience on the network.
One issue (that we’ll solve in a second) is the fact that analytical software usually attributes Instagram traffic as “direct,” meaning it treats these people as though they simply typed in your URL. To combat that, create a special separate trackable URL, either using tools like Ow.ly or Bit.ly, or Google URL Builder if you’re employing Google Analytics. This way, you’ll know exactly how many people clicked on that URL. If you’ve built a specific landing page for Instagrammers like we’ve discussed, that will help with analytics too.
I walk you through the process of creating that link in the video below.
Tell a story with pictures
Instagram is all about creative visual storytelling. If you want people to convert into customers, “hook them in” with an engaging story of your brand. What do you offer? What value does it have for them? What kind of lifestyle does it entitle? And so on and so forth.
Paint the picture with every new post. Don’t forget that text here matters as much as the visual aspect of it. While the visuals will draw people in, text is what will make them stick for the journey.
Irrelevant images, inconsistent branding and wacky filters will not help you get more customers. But masterful crafted storytelling will entice people to click on that link in the bio we’ve just discussed.
Treat Instagram as a beautiful showcase of your brand. Some companies go as far as to turn their Instagram account into an actual online catalog of their products.
If you have a service-based business, don’t throw Instagram to the curb. You can find creative ways to market your services on Instagram in a visual form.
Think about Instagram posting not as a collection of random images from your day, but as a mood board of your business. Through skillful storytelling, show them what it’s like to work with you or use your products. Showcase fulfilled needs and successes; showcase aspirational lifestyle that comes with your brand. Show them your shared beliefs and how you (or your offering) can elevate their lifestyle.
Check your competition
It helps to watch what your competition is doing. Get a clear picture of what works and doesn’t work for them and improve on it. Or, create a completely different experience on your page.
See who they are following and who follows them. Be on the lookout for any influencers or people with huge followings. If you do identify influential profiles following them, see if you can reach out to them and get them to follow your brand as well.
Also, evaluate what industry leaders are doing on their profiles to get leads and sales from Instagram. These people and companies are usually on the forefront of changes and new creative marketing strategies. See what strategies they are employing and what gets the best response. Try to mimic these tactics adding a touch of your own creativity to them.
Don’t shy away from occasional sales
If you want leads and sales on Instagram, go after them directly. Delight your customers occasionally, and create a special Instagram-exclusive sale with a promo code. Share a super-exclusive promo code in Instagram and test how many times that code was used, which will give you a pretty good idea how engaged and active your followers are. They will love their little reward and feel appreciated. Plus, it will entice more people to follow your brand and pay attention to your messages. Upload an eye-catching graphic with a huge copy over it. Do it sporadically, though.
If you haven’t tried them yet, employ Instagram ads. Because Instagram shares all of the targeting capabilities of Facebook, you are getting a really powerful tool on your side. Not only can you target specific ages or genders, but you can also target people based on their demographics, interests, and even purchasing stages. Plus, you get really in-depth analytics that will inform you and help you make better decisions moving forward.
You might get amazing results relatively cheap. If you know your audience, it shouldn’t be an issue to identify more people with similar tastes and interests. It all depends on your skillful copywriting and great offers.
Instagram really doesn’t require more time or energy than any other social network. Yet, you have to be diligent and clever in your tactics.
What other tactics and strategies do you use to get more leads from Instagram? I’d love to hear your suggestions and creative solutions. Share in the comment section below or head over to Instagram @lesyaliu to continue the conversation!