How to Use Instagram for Business to Generate More Leads

For an online business, your mailing list is your most prized asset. Though building one may look easy, when you start to actually do it, it can get challenging. Even reaching a small number of 5,000 targeted email subscribers may seem like a distant dream. Which is why marketers look for all possible ways to grow their email list. One of them is social media.

Social media is no longer just about increasing your brand presence, but also for generating leads with the favoured platforms being Facebook and LinkedIn. The new kid on the block in the marketing ecosystem is Instagram. Organizations and individuals are using Instagram for business to grow their influence and audience. Not just for exposure but more leads as well.

(Here are some more experts on how to generate leads with social media)

This post will teach you how to supercharge your lead generation process by using Instagram for business and how to make money on Instagram. To make this article more relatable, I am going to take the example of a case study to back my claims: Foundr Magazine. Foundr’s strategy of using Instagram for business has resulted in hundreds of new customers and thousands of dollars of profits for them.

Why Using Instagram for Business Should Be a Part of Your Marketing Strategy?

Instagram has fast become one of the most prominent social media platforms. A major chunk of the active subscribers belong to the generation we term as millennials.

using instagram for business - infographic

With this kind of solid facts, it is hard to ignore the platform, and you need to start using Instagram for business build a following on it as well. It’s time to include the platform into your marketing strategy.

How Foundr did it:

Foundr has a huge email list (more than 100,000 subscribers), and using Instagram for business was a big driver for them to reach this milestone.

Foundr was able to grow their Instagram following from 0-400,000 in just 11 months  

Yes, you read that right in just 11 months! How did they accomplish this through Instagram?

The Image:

To create a successful lead generating funnel you need to drive your audience to take the action that you desire. Over here, we want them to subscribe to our email list. Foundr crafted a great strategy for this. They knew they needed to create content that actually converts. They focused on “Images with Quotes.” Why? You might think. Simply because it provides instant value. People read the quotes, and they relate to them as it makes them feel good. Also, since Foundr is in a niche, their quotes were a reflection of that, and hence the brand became easier to identify with.

They also focused on the design aspect. Instead of creating normal looking images, they used psychological hacks. Images which grabs attention while providing the desired value in return. Such images make people stop while scrolling and actually engage with the pictures.

using instagram for business - foundr

Protip: No need to be daunted about creating similar images and worrying about hiring a designer. There are many free tools available online. I recommend Canva, WordswagTyporama, and Pablo by Buffer.

Now you might be thinking of replicating the same process for yourself right. Don’t do that. You need to first understand and decide on what kind of images will be most accepted by your audience.

The CTA:

You might now think that you just need to create a bunch of images and you are followers will keep increasing. However, that would count for too much wishful thinking. It may work to a certain extent, but to truly utilize and maximize the effect of your Instagram marketing you need to be smarter than that. Without a “Call to Action”, you will just be increasing your follower base, now your customers.

In the case of Foundr, a CTA did not make sense, so they decided to use the caption field. As Instagram only allows 2-3 line of content in the caption, you need to make the caption catchy enough to make the user click on the ‘Read more’ button. Foundr did exactly that to great effect. One of the things that worked for them is to use the line “Double tap if you agree” or “Tag a friend” in their caption. Now if you don’t give this choice to your audience they will just scroll to the other picture, but when you give them a choice, there will be a percentage of people who will take that action.

The Bio:

The challenge, however, is getting people into your sales funnel. Unfortunately, Instagram does not allow you to add links in the caption or comments. The only place you can add links is in the bio. So your audience needs to go all the way to your profile and click the link in your bio. Now, why would anyone take the trouble of doing multiple actions?

Well, this is the tough part. You need to sell your idea, and you need to be an amazing salesman for this.

In your caption create the curiosity and urgency for people to check out your bio and hence click on the link and enter your sales funnel. See how Foundr is doing this.

using instagram for business - bio

Now your Bio is crucial, and what you write there is insanely important. Here are few tips that will help you.

  1. Be concise – Don’t write a story rather only what describes your brands in few words
  2. Use Emojis – Yes they do help. Using a Hand emoji to drive people to click on your bio link helps
  3. Use shorter a good looking URLs – For this, you can use Bit.ly or PrettyLink plugin if you are on WordPress
  4. A call to action giving people a reason to click on your Bio. A Free Guide or Free trial etc

Here are some more examples for inspiration.

using instagram for business - sumome

using instagram for business- green

The landing page:

What is sales funnel without a landing page, right? Till now you have created and optimized your Instagram account, you have an amazing bio and people are even clicking on the same. Now you need to create an amazing Landing page to go with it.

Now if I go into the semantics of how to create a high-converting landing page then I will have to write one more post. So I will mention the best tips that you can use.

  1. Lesser the actions, better the conversion
  2. Optimized for mobile – Remember it is Instagram so people will be coming from mobile phones, so if your page is not optimized for mobile then forget conversions.
  3. Simple and minimal design
  4. An outcome-driven headline- The headline is very important so make sure the bait you were offering in your bio aligns with the headline of the landing page. If there is a variation in this you will see a drop in your conversion rate.

This is how Foundr is doing an amazing job with their landing pages.

using instagram for business - landing page

This is a landing page for a course that they are selling in partnership with another brand (the one that was active while I was writing the article).

The lesson you can take from here is that by offering something that is insanely valuable with actionable advice, you can drive your opt-in rate really high. Foundr has got a conversion rate of a whopping 70% (I know! I’m still in shock too).

Now that you have set up a funnel for your visitors, the next step is to increase traffic to your posts.

Ways to increase your Instagram followers:

Here are some best practices that you can follow:

Connecting already established influencers:

Try leaving high-quality comments in the posts of influencers in your industry. Instead of cliche comments like “Nice” or “Good post”, try to respond with something long and meaningful that adds more value. This will get attention and makes you stand out. Provide value before you expect it in return.

Use popular hashtags:

Studies reveal that Instagram posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than those without. So research on the most popular and relevant hashtags in your audience group and try to use those along with your posts.

Try running contests:

Contests are a good way to engage people on Instagram. You can always cross promote your contests on your other platforms and cajole them to follow you on Instagram.

Shout for shout (S4S):

An increasingly popular strategy on Instagram for business, it means that two people will give a shout out to each other on their Instagram accounts by sharing the others posts or videos. Even if one big influencer gives you a shout out, this could mean a lot for your follower count.

Now, there are a few things to keep in mind before using this strategy. You can either use KIK or Instagram messages to look for S4S. If the other account has a similar number of followers, then you can do one S4S each. But if the account is much larger you can offer to do 3-4 shout outs in exchange for one. You can also pay for shout outs if you are willing to.

I hope this was helpful to you in terms of using Instagram for business to generate leads. Do you have any ideas I may have missed out on? Please let me know in the comments below!

(Learn more about how to generate leads for your business)

Also, here are Top 10 Examples of B2B Companies on Instagram in 2017.

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