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How to Drive Sign-ups and Conversions from Instagram


Instagram, for a long time, was regarded as a repository for selfies and vacation photos and not much else. But today? It’s the fastest growing social media platform by a mile, inching towards a billion users. It beat Snapchat at its own game. And it’s become a powerful tool for businesses.

And for businesses, success on the platform in 2018 is all about how you use it.

For all its growth and changes, Instagram is still a visual-first platform, emphasizing photo and video sharing. As such, it’s a remarkably powerful tool for improving your brand reach and recognition, getting your messaging and branding in front of audiences. But what about referral traffic and conversions? Can this visual platform actually be used to drive warm leads directly to you?

While it may not be the easiest social media goal, it is certainly possible to use Instagram to drive traffic, form-fills, and conversions. All it takes is a plan - and a bit of digital marketing savvy.

Here are six ideas to help you turn your Instagram presence into a traffic-driving, conversion-generating machine:

1.) Use Visuals to Stand Out from the Crowd

As we mentioned already, Instagram is a powerful visual tool - and using it this way can help you build the consistency and loyalty necessary to help funnel new audience members from “curious” to converted.

In short? Statistics show that the more recognizable and likeable your brand is, the more likely consumers are to do business with you. And Instagram is a great way to introduce yourself to new audiences, leaving the sort of lasting impression that could result in further business.

What does it take? For starters, it’s important to make sure that your Instagram is instantly recognizable as yours. Who you are, what you do, and how users should think about your brand… All of these things should be instantly recognizable, for newcomers and longtime fans alike.

Incorporate your brand colors and imagery throughout your Instagram posts, and be consistent. Use the same filter, colors, or aesthetics throughout all of your Insta content. Have an identity, a voice, and be recognizable. When it comes to conversions, consistency counts!

And don’t forget to make all that visual content as gorgeous as possible. Investing in a professional photographer - or at least some high quality photo equipment - could go a long way toward stepping up your game. Don’t forget to look into visual tools that can make your individual posts stand out (Canva is a Geek favorite). And, finally, remember to experiment with all of the unique visual tools that Instagram makes available: Live streaming videos, Stories, GIFs, and Boomerangs can all help your brand stand out in a user’s crowded feed.

2.) Engage With Your Audience

Social media - even visual-first social media platforms like Instagram - is the new public square. It’s where people go to meet, discover new things, and interact - not only with their friends, but with the businesses that they come across.

As such, people have come to have certain expectations when it comes to interacting with brands on social media. For instance, did you know that a huge majority of consumers who interact with a brand - such as posting a complaint - expect a response within just an hour or two?

Bottom line? You can’t just use Instagram to talk, and expect people to listen. Instead, you have to use all of your social platforms to truly engage with your audience. When it comes to driving in leads and referrals, this can come in many forms!

For one thing, studies show that social users react extremely positively to user-generated content. So, to help drive in conversions, consider resharing or reposting content from users who interact with your business. Pictures of happy customers, satisfied testimonials, or user-submitted demos can all really help entice your next customers to convert.

Another strategy to keep in mind? Beyond posting regularly, take care to be active. Respond to questions and comments, “like” content, and generally do what it takes to show that you’re listening and engaged with consumers on the platform.

3.) Reach the Right People at the Right Time

When it comes to building your Insta audience - or reaching that warm lead who is most likely to convert with your business - it’s important to always think about amplification. In other words, ask yourself what you can do to get your message out to as many people as possible. More specifically? How can you get your content out to the right audience, the one most primed to turn to your business to fill their needs?

Fortunately, Instagram has all sorts of built-in tools to help you reach that audience. For one thing, hashtags are still a massively useful way to connect your posts with eager searchers. Affixing a few (but not too many) hashtags below your post - or in a comment - can help connect it with the right people. For instance, if you’re a gardening company, your go-to hashtags might include: #gardening, #flowers, #outdoors, #greenliving, or so on. Make sure that you’re using hashtags that people are actually seeking out and engaging with. A “branded” hashtag that’s totally unique to you might look nice, but it may not actually help you reach audiences, if no one else is actively looking for that term.

Instagram also allows users to affix location tags to their Stories, or on posts. Like hashtags, these allow you to reach the right audience - in this case, one that is local to your business, and thus more likely to need your services specifically.

4.) Crush Your Call-to-Action

Now that you’re reaching the right audience with your consistent, visually distinct content, it’s time to turn those visitors into leads! One of the most effective ways to do that is to reconsider one aspect of Instagram that many of us take for granted - the call to action, or CTA.

There are a few different ways that you can use Instagram to deliver a CTA that really helps convert. To begin with, take a look at the link included with your bio (a vital part of setting up your business Instagram page). Does it lead to a link that is actually valuable for you - either in terms of delivering content that can help drive conversions, or because it leads directly to a landing page with a form-fill or sign up? Make sure your link is functional and useful, for your audience and for you. And don’t forget to genuinely offer a reason for people to click! A simple message like “For more on how to elevate your marketing game, follow this link:” could do wonders for actually driving traffic through to your site.

For ecommerce brands, there are other options! For instance, if you’re in direct sales, you can make your Instagram “shoppable,” making it easy for consumers to make purchases directly through the platform. There are also third-party tools you can use to turn each of your Insta posts into a link, driving users through to a landing page that you control.

And, finally, for brands that have 10K followers or more, you can use Stories to drive traffic directly to the landing page of your site. Just include a link in your Story, and users will get the option to “swipe up” to visit your chosen page.

5.) Run Contests

What could be more effective at driving in leads than a contest? If you’re looking to increase your number of form fills, conversions, or referrals in a hurry, launching a competition through Instagram is a great way to go about it.

There are all sorts of methods you could use, depending on your goal - share contests, like contests, and tag a friend contests are all a great way to amplify your brand’s reach in a short amount of time, for instance. Or, you could use Insta as a launch pad to get people to sign up on landing page - as long as you provide an incentive. For instance, you could say that a person will be chosen at random from your email list by a certain date to receive a prize. Or you could reward customers who post a selfie in your store, or with one of your products. The possiblities are limitless!

6.) Offer Exclusive Promotions and Deals

Like a contest, an Instagram promotion is a great way to build an air of exclusivity around your brand - and to motivate people to convert quickly, before the chance is gone!

There are all sorts of ways you can offer promotions through Instagram. For instance, you could use your Story to reveal a promo code or offer that you don’t divulge through other channels. Or you could initiate a “flash sale” using Instagram, encouraging consumers to flock to your site quickly, before the deal is up!

7.) Tap Into the Power of Paid Promotions

Finally, it’s important to remember that there are two sides to every social media marketing strategy. On the one side are the organic tactics; these are all methods we’ve discussed already. On the flip side, there are paid tactics. Using social media to reach audiences used to be all about organic reach; now, it’s shifting toward a paid advertising channel.

On Instagram, a mix of both methods tends to generate the best results overall. So, with this in mind, it’s key to remember that just a few dollars and a little bit of targeting on the platform could go a long way towards allowing you to reach the right audience and drive in more conversions. For instance, with Instagram ads, you can narrowly target your ideal audience - and even use the platform to retarget and remarket to people who have already expressed an interest in your brand. At the same time, paid promotion on Instagram offers opportunities that organic posting doesn’t. For instance, you have ad options above and beyond branded Stories or posts, and can easily unify your Facebook and Instagram marketing into one cohesive campaign.

By and large, Instagram ads are sophisticated yet easy to manage - and are often less expensive to start with than many business owners think!

Looking for Instagram Inspiration?

Ready to take your social media marketing efforts to the next level? Looking for digital marketing pros to bounce your ideas off of? In need of fresh written or visual content? Ready to build a landing page worth landing on?

For all these things and more, Geek Chicago can help! Drop us a line when you’re ready to get the conversation started.

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Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).