With 400 million active users, Instagram is one of the most popular social networks. Unfortunately, some marketers have yet to see it as a way to increase conversions for their businesses.
However, Instagram is much more than quotes, selfies, and landscape photography. Instagram can not only bring a high amount of traffic to your website or blog, but it can also bring increased conversions if you optimize it for your marketing.
If you haven’t yet focused your attention on Instagram for marketing, or are simply having little luck converting your Instagram audience to paying customers, follow these easy five steps to create a successful Instagram marketing strategy that wins over your audience and gains new customers.
- Link to Your Blog or Website & Track Traffic
It’s such a simple step, but linking to your blog or website in your Instagram profile can significantly increase traffic to your website. If you have 1,000 followers, that’s potentially 1,000 people who will visit your website just by viewing your Instagram profile. Think of all the traffic you could miss out on just by skipping this easy step!
You can change your link as often as you want, too. This is helpful when you want to direct your audience to a current promotion or a specific product page.
But, make sure your link is trackable. Unfortunately, Google Analytics does not track traffic specifically from Instagram. To correctly analyze Instagram traffic, you’ll have to use a trackable link service, like Bitly, when you place your link in your Instagram profile.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your competitors’ audiences. In fact, doing so can significantly increase your Instagram reach and, in turn, can lead to more website visits through the link in your profile.
Check out your competitors’ Instagram accounts. Then, engage with their followers through likes, comments, and mentions. Some of them will become intrigued with your engagement and could become potential customers when they view your profile and visit your link.
- Use Winning Hashtags
Some Instagrammers think that using the most popular hashtags on their photos is what will lead to new followers and conversions. However, the opposite is true. The most popular hashtags may get your posts seen more frequently by a huge Instagram audience, but it doesn’t mean you’ll gain more customers or sales.
The key to using hashtags correctly on Instagram is to use the right hashtags for your niche. There are plenty of helpful tools on the web to pinpoint the best hashtags for you.
HashtagifyMe is a good place to start. Here, you can search for the most popular hashtags based on one hashtag you type in. For example, if you sell lawncare products, you might type in “#lawncare” into the search feature. HashtagifyMe will bring up a web of other popular hashtags based on #lawncare, like #gardening, #pestcontrol, and #landscape. I use Hashtagify me, though I will also recommend ritetag (ritetag.com), which paid version I use at the moment and it is quite good.
Start using some of the suggestions in your Instagram posts for the next week or so. Then, sign up for Webstagram, a free service that provides analytics for your Instagram account and its hashtags.
With Webstagram, you can see how well each of your hashtags is performing based on how many comments and likes you received from Instagrammers who found your posts by viewing those hashtags. By using the best-converting, relevant hashtags on your posts, you’ll target people interested in your niche, giving you the best chance at gaining new, engaged followers and potential customers.
- Create Specific Call-to-Actions
Every Instagram post you create should have a specific call-to-action for your audience, much like successful blog posts do. Essentially, you should treat your Instagram posts as mini-blog posts with a beautiful photo, helpful information, engaging content, and a call-to-action.
Your Instagram post caption is potentially the most important part of your post. This caption is always viewable by your audience because it remains right under your photo. Leaving this caption blank is leaving you with a missed opportunity for engagement and conversions.
Provide helpful information that adds to your photo, rather than explains it directly. Keep your wording around 200 to 300 words long. Less is usually not enough to get your point across, but too many words can lose the interest of your audience.
Then, create a specific call-to-action letting your audience know what you want them to do. If your post is focused on a product or service, link to that product or service page in the caption and offer a special discount. Or, offer an Instagram contest urging followers to “like” your photo and tag a friend for a chance to win the prize.
- Enhance Images to Showcase Products
If you’re selling products or services, your Instagram account is the perfect place to showcase them. Since it’s photo-centric, your photos need to be the center of attention of your account. To intrigue your audience, they need to be beautiful.
What if you’re not in the business of selling anything beautiful? Don’t worry – you can make a photo of an old tire beautiful with the right techniques.
Your photos need to sell your business and brand, so you must find a method of photo optimization that works for you. Using filters and text overlays are both popular ways to enhance your Instagram photos for increased engagement.
With 60 million new photos added to Instagram each day, you must find ways to make your photos stand out. Consider using photo editing apps or the built-in Instagram filters to highlight certain colors or help clarify your photos. A slight change from a filter can make a big difference with a photo.
Or, create a text overlay using an app like Font Candy from Easy Tiger Apps. Add a discount or catchy product description with an overlay on your product photo, and you can instantly upscale your photo.
- Create an Instagram Engagement Community
To accelerate your Instagram following, it’s important to engage with other audiences within your niche. Follow other influencer accounts and engage with them and their top audience members.
Frequently search for hashtags within your niche and find the top Instagram influencers within those hashtags. Consider contacting them to form an engagement group within Instagram. You can create your own two or three unique hashtags to commit to using on each of your posts and encourage your group members to do the same.
Mention each other frequently in your posts, too. If there’s an excellent promotion one of your community members currently offers, promote it in a new post, or as a small blurb on one of your posts.
Come to an agreement with your community regarding reciprocation of likes and comments daily or weekly. Pick some numbers that work for everyone and commit to engaging with your community as agreed. Your competitors can also be some of your biggest converters when it comes to cross-promotion and engagement.
And then, there are Instagram Stories, the quite new feature on Instagram, which can be used to share pictures and videos with your followers. Learn more about this on Christian Hoiberg’s blog post about Instagram Stories.
With Instagram usage doubling between 2014 and 2016, businesses are simply missing out on an amazing opportunity to grow their potential customer base through optimized photos and captions.
Your Instagram marketing strategy should include placing your trackable link in your profile and analyzing its traffic, using the right hashtags for your niche, optimizing your captions to include specific call-to-actions, beautifying your photos for optimal engagement, and utilizing Instagram’s features to create a beneficial Instagram engagement community.