Instagram presence isn’t an option for small businesses anymore. But attracting a great number of Instagram followers means nothing if they don’t convert to leads and sales from Instagram and into paying customers.
Here comes the ugly truth: Practically every business aims at growing revenue. And if you want to leads and sales from Instagram for your products, it’s important to give your Instagram visitors a solid reason to become followers, and then turn your followers into leads and paying customers.
As of June 2018, the Instagram community had reached one billion monthly active users. Today, 90% of users follow at least one business on Instagram and 83% of people use the platform for product discovery, so it is a perfect place for businesses to find customers on social media.
In this article, you can find insights on how to convert your Instagram followers into leads and customers with examples from various brands.
1. Optimize Instagram for Lead Generation
If you use Instagram for business promotion, it’s more likely you have switched your profile to a business account as it gives you access to business-specific features and Instagram Insights. However, it’s important to maximize your business account for lead generation.
Write a killer bio
No matter what your business niche is, you need to get Instagram followers if you want to turn them into leads and sales. And if you want to attract your target audience who is interested in your products and services, it’s important to create a killer bio that serves as a visit card and tells more about your brand.
When working on your Instagram bio, keep your potential customers in mind: who are they, what are they looking for, and how can you hook their attention. Here’s a good example from H&M:
Not only does H&M tell its Instagram visitors about the brand, but it also provides them with additional information by tagging multiple Instagram accounts, adding a brand hashtag, and including a call to action with the clickable link.
If you want to create a similar Instagram bio, do the following:
Tell visitors about your company
Add brand hashtags
Tag other relevant handles
Write a strong call to action
Include a website link
Link to a lead generation landing page
Instagram allows its users to add one clickable link in the bio section, so it’s important to make the most out of this opportunity and link to a lead generation landing page if you aim at getting leads and sales from Instagram leads and converting them into customers.
Creating landing pages for Instagram, think about your target audience’s needs and offer lead magnets in exchange for customers’ contacts (free tutorials, product demos, e-newsletters, etc.). To generate more leads, write a call to action in your bio to encourage your Instagram visitors and followers to tap on the link, like how Foundr did below:
Since users need to discover your brand on the platform, read about your company, and tap on the link in the bio, it takes time and effort to capture personal information on Instagram. However, people have to take many steps before sharing their contacts, so this means they are genuinely interested in your product or service. In other words, you generate high-quality leads that are more likely to convert.
Provide followers with contact options
The rise of social media marketing has changed consumer behavior. Today, customers want to connect with brands on social media. In fact, more than 55% of customers call out brands on social media to get a resolution or response.
If you have an Instagram business profile, be ready to meet customers' demands and make it easier for visitors and followers to contact you. Moreover, business profiles can add contact options such as email, phone number, and address.
Here’s what it looks like:
Providing contact options on Instagram, not only do you satisfy your target audience, but you also make it easier to collect customers’ information which means generating leads with ease.
Use Instagram lead ads
With the popularity of Instagram marketing, it’s no wonder that over 25 million businesses and 2 million advertisers promote their products and services on the platform. It’s getting more and more difficult for brands to reach out to their target audience and interact with them unless they run paid ad campaigns.
And if you want to generate leads and sales from Instagram and find customers, Instagram advertising is the right option for you as you can choose lead generation as your marketing objective and get wonderful business results without spending much time or effort.
Case in point:
To promote its mobile card reader and capture leads, SumUp ran an interactive ad in Instagram Stories that helped to reach a valuable audience of small and medium businesses on the platform and decrease leads costs by 18%.
To find potential customers who are interested in using your product or service, create Instagram ads that aim at lead generation. That’s the easiest and the fastest way to reach out to your target audience and convert Instagrammers into leads and customers.
Instagram shopping is flourishing and it’s important for companies to set up shopping and therefore turn more followers into paying customers on the platform. Here’s how a shoppable post can look like:
If you want to convert your followers into leads and sales from Instagram into customers, you need to set up Instagram shopping and improve customer experience on the platform. After all, the easier the shopping process is, the more customers you can get.
2. Spark Interest in Your Products
Building a solid Instagram following can be daunting for many businesses, but this also means nothing if your followers don’t buy from you. To turn your followers into leads and customers, you need to spark interest in your products and offer something that can solve their problems.
Showcase your products
Product discovery on Instagram is on the rise: Today, 130 million users tap on a shopping post to learn more about products every month. For brands, this means an opportunity to attract the right (paying) audience when showcasing their products.
When you publish product photos on Instagram, you allow your followers to find out new products that might fit their needs and wants. The more products you have, the more potential customers you can attract. Thus, it’s important to showcase your products if you want to generate leads and turn followers into customers.
For example, Adidas Originals always shares images and videos of its products to show off the variety of products the company offers:
Since 65% of people are visual learners, it’s no wonder that photography can influence consumer behavior and encourage people to buy your product. Whether you’re a small or big brand, you need to analyze your posts with Instagram Insights and understand what type of content works best for your audience as it’s a proven way to acquire more customers on Instagram.
Collaborate with niche influencers
If you want to spread the word about your product and find new customers find, rely on niche Instagram influencers who can promote your brand within their communities. Today, 92% of consumers trust influencers more than brands, so working with opinion leaders is a perfect way to find new leads and customers without being too salesy.
When working with niche influencers who match your brand identity, values, and style, not only do you enter an already-established community of loyal followers, but you also get user-generated content to publish on Instagram feed. Here’s how Hydro Flask works with influencers:
Depending on the following size, Instagram influencers come in four main categories: mega-, macro-, micro-, and nano-influencers. The larger the following is, the more potential customers you can reach, so it’s no wonder that mega- and macro-influencers will charge which can be daunting for small businesses on a budget. However, working with nano-influencers can help your business get results at a low cost.
To spread the word about your product and attract more customers, you can choose a brand ambassador who meets your needs and wants and offer a partnership. Having brand ambassadors is a great way to create the right depiction of your company when targeting new customers.
Share exclusive deals and offers
To encourage Instagram followers to buy from you, give them the possibility to save money with you. In fact, 56% of Internet users follow brands on social media to see promotions or get coupons. In other words, sharing deals and offers is what makes you any different from your competitors that hope for the attention of the same target audience.
Let’s take a look at an example from Old Row. In partnership with Coast Apparel, the company offered an additional 15% discount with a brand code.
When you share exclusive deals and offers, you make your followers feel special, so it helps to increase brand loyalty and trust. Over the long haul, it helps to become a number one option when it comes to making purchase decisions and you draw in new clients with ease.
3. Use Instagram Stories
To interact with more followers and turn them into leads and sales from Instagram into customers, consider using ephemeral content, known as Instagram Stories on the platform. Why? With a short lifespan of 24 hours, Instagram Stories create a sense of urgency which encourages users to watch ephemeral content before disappearing. According to Business Instagram, over 500 million users create or watch Instagram Stories daily and ⅓ of the most-viewed Instagram Stories come from businesses.
Include a swipe-up link
One of the best Instagram Stories features that helps brands generate leads and sales from Instagram and acquire customers is the swipe-up link. Not only can you drive more website traffic, but you can also make sure your followers visit the right website page.
Big brands have realized the power of swipe-up links, so companies like Calvin Klein often include a link in their Instagram Stories to promote their products, share offers, or tell more about their brand. Here's what it looks like:
However, you can get access to the clickable Instagram Story feature if you’re a verified Instagram account or you have over 10,000 followers. Although it’s important to get more followers, you can seek out niche influencers who have access to this feature if you’re a small business with a small following.
Use the countdown sticker
Another amazing feature is the countdown sticker that allows you to set a reminder for any day and time (up to 1 year later). Using this sticker is a great way to generate high-quality leads as it’s your follower who decides whether he or she wants to sign up for reminders.
Whether you want to attract an audience for your Livestream, announce a new product launch, or share time-limited discounts, the countdown sticker helps to find out who is interested in your offer and therefore work with these followers in the future.
If you want to understand how the countdown sticker works, check out this example from Tailwind App:
Create Instagram Story highlight albums
For most small businesses, using ephemeral content that disappears within 24 hours may seem to be a waste of time. However, the Instagram Story Highlight feature allows you to make your best Stories permanent and make it easier for your visitors and followers to discover relevant content.
Instagram Story Highlights appear below the bio section, so it doesn’t take much time or effort to find saved Stories. If you want to convert your followers into leads and customers, you can create separate albums to improve the customer journey. Here’s how Pull and Bear did it:
When visiting the profile, visitors can quickly get access to the album with new products as it helps to discover brand products without putting much effort. As a result, visitors have better customer experience, and they are more likely to make the purchase decision faster.
Once you’ve decided to create Highlight albums, put your target audience in mind and unleash your creativity to make up separate albums that might interest your followers.
4. Make Your Followers Feel Special
With the growing number of products and services, modern customers face the phenomenon of choice overload that makes it difficult for them to make purchase decisions. As a result, people buy from brands they trust, so when you make your followers feel special, you increase your trust factor and convince followers to buy from you.
Handle a Q&A session
No matter how good your product is, it’s more likely your potential customers have questions about it. Before making purchase decisions, most people do research and they are interested in learning more about your product and whether it can suit their needs and wants. Thus, it’s a good idea to handle a Q&A session.
For example, you can publish an Instagram Story with the Question sticker and invite your followers to ask questions about your brand or product. Then, you can reply to these questions and save answers to a separate Instagram Story Highlight album dedicated to FAQs, just like Ipsy did it:
Give away branded freebies
Since free stuff is irresistible, Instagram giveaways are popular among users. This type of content attracts more followers, increases organic reach, improves engagement, and helps to find new customers when done right.
The best way to turn your followers into leads and sales from Instagram into customers with contests is to give away branded freebies. Why? When you offer your products as prizes, not only do you attract the right audience who is interested in your brand, but you also give your potential customers to test out your product and fall in love with your brand.
And if you want to attract even more contest participants, you can make gift cards and give them away to allow your winners to choose the product of their choice.
Promote loyalty programs
People, have a great number of options today, right? This means you need to reward your customers for their loyalty, and offering a loyalty program is a great way to do it. Moreover, promoting loyalty programs on Instagram is a great way to show your followers that you take care of your customers and offer benefits they can get when choosing you over your competitors.
Here’s how APC uses Instagram to promote its loyalty program and tell more about its advantages:
Provide customer service
With the popularity of Instagram, it’s no wonder that people use this platform for customer service, too. Social media users spend a considerable amount of time on the platform, so it’s easier for them to reach out to brands to get their requests solved. Moreover, people share their customer feedback to help companies improve their products and potential customers make the right purchase decision.
Like all large companies, GAP receives a great number of comments from its customers, and some of them share their pain points to get a solution form the brand:
For brands of any size, it’s important to solve customer requests fast. Not only can it show you take care of customers, but it can also give your potential customers a solid reason to trust you.
All in all, if you want to turn your followers into leads and customers, be ready to meet your followers’ customer service demands and solve their inquiries in-app. The faster you do it, the better, so you may want to use social media management tools to keep track of brand mentions.
Over the last few years, Instagram has become a powerful marketing tool that allows businesses to attract the target audience and then turn followers into leads and customers. Here’s how to do it:
Optimize for lead generation
Spark interest in your products
Use Instagram Stories
Make your followers feel special
So, have you ever turned Instagram followers into leads and customers? What works best for you? Let us know in the comments below.
Meet the author
Hugh Beaulac Content strategist at MC2
Hugh Beaulac is a content strategist at MC2 who has over 7 years of digital marketing experience. Being fond of writing, Hugh contributes to various marketing blogs like WordStream, Hubspot, and SmartInsights to share his tips and tricks.