Instagram is a great influencer marketing tool allowing you to increase your reach through (sponsored) updates from micro-celebrities.
But can it be used to drive traffic to your site?
In other words, can Instagram be turned into a brand-owned traffic and sales generation asset which will allow you to diversify your marketing channels without constantly relying on third-party collaboration?
Turn Instagram Into a Sales Funnel
With some work, it is possible, even without paying for ads. Here’s how:
1. Set up your bio
This is a fundamental step you may have already made if you have an Instagram account. If you are still planning to set up your business account, this is pretty quick: All you need is an email address, a phone number (for verification purposes), your profile picture (which is more often than not your logo or founder’s headshot) and a one-sentence description.
Try to make your bio sound entertaining. Instead of listing your products or services, use your slogan, include words like “award-winning” or “innovative”, etc.
It is a good idea to check your competitors’ Instagram accounts to see what they did with their bios. Businesses often get very creative with their profile bylines, and they often change their bios to reflect current milestones, upcoming events and seasonal offers.
So when doing your competitive research, set up monitoring of your most creative competitors by using Visualping which can be used to monitor both public and password protected Instagram profiles:
Going forward, the tool will alert you of your competitors’ bio changes and prompt you to go ahead and diversify yours.
Finally, include your landing page link. This is your basic traffic-driving channel. Adding a link to your site home page is ok in the beginning but it is not ideal. You want your link to match your Instagram content and target Instagram users who are likely to like something visual, entertaining and easy to commit to.
This brings us to the next step: Creating your Instagram-friendly landing page:
2. Set up your landing page
Depending on the nature of your business, there’s a lot you can do here:
- Feature your special and seasonal offers
- Give exclusive deals to your Instagram followers
- Engage your Instagram clicks with free offers and freebies
You will have to experiment with different ways to make the most of those clicks before you find what works for you. Here are a few examples for you to get inspired:
- If you are a retail or ecommerce brand, consider using Instagram to grow your list instead of generating immediate sales. Friskies uses its bio link to drive traffic to their “Sign up for special offers” page versus a direct link.
- If you are a digital publication, create a curated daily list of headlines which would immediately grab a reader’s attention. This is what NYtimes did: You can access all the major news with one click of a mouse. Later can be used to create Instagram-friendly pages like that.
- If you are selling a digital product, like a course or an ebook, consider setting up a separate site to be able to analyze your on-site interactions and set up a sales funnel that works. Namify is the tool which will help you find a cheap, yet easily brandable domain name for that.
- If you are promoting your personal brand, and there’s a lot that you do, set up your Linktree or a self-hosted WordPress alternative This is what @theoatmeal did.
3. Always link your stories
Instagram has recently enabled clickable stories for all users, regardless of their (verified) status or following. This is great news for businesses but it also means you need to create stories daily.
Creating a story that is both relevant to your business and interesting to a social media crowd is challenging. But with time you’ll get a better understanding of what your following likes and what engages them better.
To create a clickable story, choose your files (or record your video) and then click an emoji icon in the top-right corner to select “Link”:
You will be able to preview your link and link text in the next window.
Here are a few creative story ideas you can start from:
- Answer your customers’ questions in a story;
- Create a beautiful product showcase;
- Let your customers share a testimonial or product unpacking video;
- Show your team at work;
- Run a poll: Instagram stories allow close-ended yes/no polls which easily engage people.
Don’t forget to curate your stories through Highlights: Those links will remain clickable there!
Building up a following on Instagram will take time and effort. You cannot set up your account, sit back and count your clicks. You need an engaged audience that will be interested in your brand enough to click your links. This is why running Instagram ads to build up some following and get a better feel of what engages your target customers best is still a good idea. Good luck!