While many social media marketers think of Instagram app as little more than a photo-sharing site, it’s actually a rich source of leads but only if you know how to harness its potential. Think about it: Instagram is considered as one of the Big Five of social media platforms in the United States – the other four being Facebook (now a parent company of Instagram), Twitter, SnapChat, and TikTok – and it’s proven by surveys and statistics. Nearly 80% of people with social media accounts follow an Instagram account and 80% of Facebook users report that they use Instagram in their buying-related decisions.
The bottom line: If you aren’t already using Instagram as a lead generation platform, then you’re missing out on golden opportunities to increase your customer base and sales! Fortunately, there are numerous ways to harness Instagram’s potential in terms of lead generation, and here’s a few of them to get you started on the right path.
1. Use Lead Ads
As on most social media platforms, the use of lead ads in lead generation is the most obvious – and most effective, if you can make attractive lead ads – method. The best Instagram lead ads aid businesses in the collection of relevant customer information including full name and job titles, contact information (e.g., phone numbers and/or email addresses), and even birth dates. The customer information is, in turn, useful in creating more effective and efficient direct marketing campaigns, among others.
Examples include Greenpeace Brasil collecting signatures as part of a lead ad campaign using Instagram Stories and Homesnap using lead ads in gathering information about prospective clients.
You have to create an Instagram business profile and a Facebook page in order to use Instagram’s lead generation ads. When you have both of these accounts, you can go to Facebook’s Ads Manager to start the ad-building process. You will find the process easy enough, thanks to Facebook’s user-friendly steps, as summarized below:
- Select your marketing objective (e.g., lead generation)
- Define your target audience
- Choose your placement (i.e., we recommend Automatic Placements for optimized cost/lead)
- Set your bid (i.e., be sure to optimize for link clicks or leads)
- Select an ad format
- Make your lead form
Be sure, too, that your creative should comply with ad specifications set by Instagram so that your ads will run on the social media platform. Explore all options before deciding on one.
2. Create a Distinctive Instagram Content Strategy
While Instagram post appears to be a photo-heavy, selfie platform, keep in mind that it’s also where distinctive content will not only put your brand above everybody else’s in your niche but it will also keep your target audience’s interest. Your Instagram business profile should be created in such a way that defines your brand and makes it more attractive to your audience.
There are three steps that we can recommend in this regard.
Determine your core topics or subjects.
What do you want your audience to know about you? What are the aspects of your brand that you want to highlight in a photo-centric platform? These are just a few of the questions you have to ask yourself when choosing your core topics. Basically, you have to find visually appealing ways of showing off your brand and its products and services; examples include user-generated content, customer stories, company culture, and behind-the-scenes content.
Post attractive photos and schedule their posting.
The ideal is to post professional-level photos several times every day, usually with evocative captions. But doing so can take up most of your day and take away your time for other matters. The realistic goal then just schedules one photoshoot in a week, about an hour or so, and then schedule their posting.
Use tools to schedule your posts.
Gone are the days of push notifications, thankfully, since there are numerous tools that schedule your posts in advance; Hootsuite and Buffer are great examples.
Of course, you will likely adopt a trial-and-error method before you can come up with distinctive content – or your own brand – but that’s okay. Just continue creating content and posting it while also seeing what sticks with your audience, as well as getting more followers. You will be able to create your distinctive Instagram voice over time but it requires constant practice.
3. Add Action Buttons
The beauty of Instagram also lies in its fully interactive features and these should be optimized for lead generation. Instagram has plenty of action buttons that allow your target audience (i.e. followers) to take action – your preferred action, of course – like clicking a link to your contact information (e.g., phone number, email address, and business address). You should also consider adding action buttons like getting Tickets, Reserve, and Book depending on your type of business.
These action buttons redirect Instagram users to forms provided by the likes of Eventbrite, Appointy, and OpenTable, to name a few. You have to obviously select one that your business also use.
4. Use Your Bio Link to the Fullest
Keep in mind that Instagram offers limited link space and, as such, it’s important to optimize every available opportunity to boost clicks on your links. The obvious start here is your bio, a crucial link that should point potential leads to your objectives, whether it’s selling products or completing surveys, perhaps subscribing to an email list or a newsletter subscription. Plus, you can change your bio link as many times as you deem it necessary to attract leads.
A few tips to do so:
- Use your brand name and keep it short and simple
- Add “Link in bio” to promote the link
- Make the link easy to track by including UTM parameters
- Add a call-to-action
- Add hashtags
5. Actively Engage With Your Audience
Instagram is a social media platform and, as such, there’s a social part to it – a huge part, for that matter, if you’re using it for lead generation. You don’t have to engage in lengthy discussions or debates for as long as you can respond to the comments and other engagements; never use canned responses because these will turn off your audience – instead, use thoughtful, albeit short, responses that show your attention.
A few more tips to amp your audience engagement on Instagram and generate solid leads:
- Keep your responses human, so to speak, instead of bots. Examples include using emojis, stickers, replying with GIFs, asking follow-up questions, and even sharing related images.
- Engage the audiences of Instagram influencers, particularly brands similar to yours – yes, your competitors – because it will widen your reach across the social network.
- Make your brand more accessible and engaging to your target Instagram users. This way, new followers will come by way of your present followers bringing along their friends and followers.
- Have a call of action, a method that will surely bring in more leads. Aside from the action buttons mentioned above, you can also use other approaches, such as “tag a friend you’d like to share this with” or “double tap if you agree”. Again, your content should not only be as unique as possible to your brand but
- Conduct contests, which are Instagrammer catnip. You will find contests are easy to conduct, too, since you have control over the rules, even on the outcome – unless, it’s a raffle-style contest. You can post about the contest – what’s it about, what its rules are, and what the prizes are –ask followers to enter it and tag their friends, and choose the winner at a set date.
- Use lead magnets, usually by offering something of value (e.g., freebies) in exchange for, say, contact information or shares or comments.
Indeed, being an Instagram influencer in your own right and getting more viable leads means increasing your sociability factor – and the great thing about is that you don’t have to travel long distances to do so! Everything’s in the tips of your fingers, not to mention that you have control over the type and extent of your engagement.
6. Share User-Generated Content
Keep in mind that there’s nearly nothing like user-generated content, especially ones that mention your brand in favorable terms, as social proof. Your brand will become more believable and reliable because people trust what their trusted family and friends, even perceived influencers and endorsers, tell them about brands including their products and services. This is true even if these other people don’t know them or are digital personalities – the perception of reliability extends to the brand.
Not only does user-generated content act as effective social proof but, more importantly, it also boosts audience engagement. A good example is ASOS – the fashion brand asked its Instagram followers to tag themselves wearing their OOTDs with ASOS products, thus, it increased its customer base while also establishing itself as a brand for stylish, on-trend people.
7. Use Instagram Live
Instagrammers like to interact in real-time with each other, a fact that makes Instagram Live a great way of generating leads. When you’re live on Instagram, your video becomes part of your Instagram stories while your followers/viewers can engage in real-time interactions with you and/or your guests.
There’s a sense of urgency, a watch it now or lose it approach, with Instagram Live that makes it more appealing to audiences. After all, once the video’s gone, it’s gone so audiences are more inclined to watch it lest they miss out on something important.
But don’t use it for anything other than in-the-moment content that you believe your followers must-see. Otherwise, you will lose the sense of urgency that comes with it and discourage your audience from seeing future posts – and that’s lost opportunity right there. For this reason, it is best reserved for big announcements, sneak peeks, teasers for new products, social contests, and live Q&A sessions.
Again, be sure to add a call to action to increase social engagement and get the desired action from your audience.
8. Tap Into Instagram Stories
If your brand is new to the niche, you should consider partnerships with influencers – and it’s a must for using Instagram stories for lead generation purposes, too. Basically, your chosen influencer/partner takes over your Instagram account albeit for a limited period only.
During this period, the influencer can post whatever content he/she deems relevant to your brand. In exchange, your brand will get increased exposure to the influencer’s followers.
But you shouldn’t rely solely on influencers despite their effectiveness. You should also make your own organic stories – again, content is the king among digital businesses – that appeal to your audience and encourages a sense of urgency (i.e., “you have to watch this!”). Keep in mind that Instagram stories are short-lived in the sense that these will disappear after 24 hours.
But there’s a catch: You won’t be able to add links – Instagram only allows it for users with at least 10,000 followers – so you still have to use the “link to bio” method. You can, nonetheless, add links if you’re running ads on Instagram stories.
9. Pay Attention to Your Landing Page
Now let’s assume that Instagram users actually clicked on your link. What then? Well, for starters, your landing page should catch and sustain their attention, and more importantly encourage them to do your desired action. You want them to actually like making the decision and invite their followers to do the same.
A few tips on making your landing page effective for lead generation:
- Ensure that it’s actually scannable so that visitors will have an easy time reading the content and navigating between sections
- Check that it provides a seamless experience, visual-wise since it contributes to smooth transitions
- Offer relevant and engaging content, particularly the type of content that the audience expected to find in it
Tip: Your landing page should match the expectations set in your call to action. Otherwise, you’re setting people up for disappointment and that’s no way to generate solid leads.
10. Make Facebook Lookalike Audiences
Facebook allows its users to target users on Instagram through so-called lookalike audiences. If you already have 1,000 users, you should seriously consider Facebook lookalike audiences because it’s akin to killing two birds with one stone.
You can do so based on a number of bases, such as:
- Everybody who visited your Instagram profile or who performed other actions based on it
- People who engaged with your ads or content
- People who messaged your business account
- People who saved or shared your content or ads
Basically, lookalike audiences aid in the generation of good leads by identifying and targeting users with a possibly higher interest in your brands. The more interested they are, the more likely you’re going to get new customers.
You will observe that these tactics are interrelated so much so that the application of one will likely increase the effectiveness of the others. Furthermore, it’s crucial to just keep going while also learning from your mistakes. In the end, lead generation is about perseverance as much as it’s about knowing Instagram’s ins and outs.