Instagram for Business

There are 25 million businesses on Instagram and 200 million users visit one business profile at least once a day. There's no question that having a presence on this social network is great for interacting with your fanbase, but can you effectively market your business on Instagram and actually convert your fans into customers? 

The answer is YES! However, growing your audience on Instagram through stunning visual content and engaging Stories, don’t necessarily equate to conversions. You need to have a specific plan to turn followers into viable leads and paying customers.

Luckily, we have the plan to do just that. This 4-step plan on how to use Instagram to market your business will help guide you through the entire process. Let's get started:

1. Attract Leads with an Exclusive Offer

When you market your business on Instagram, you need to make sure it blends well into your followers’ feeds. Hard sell on any social media platform and people will just scroll right through your posts, so you need to make sure your posts don’t look like you're advertising.

In our article, How to Boost Online Sales on Social Media, we mentioned that it’s important to make it easy for customers to buy on your social channels. The same rules apply here. You must make sure that any action you want your audience to take is clear and easy for them. In the example below, Cellucor, a fitness supplement company, provides clear information about what the offer is and what steps their followers needed to take to get the benefits:

It's no secret that Instagram only allows you to post one link, and you can only post it on your profile. Traditionally, businesses use this one-link allowance for their website where customers can make a purchase.

However, not everyone will jump on your offer and make a purchase. Instead, you can utilize this link to get leads that you can nurture into buyers in the future. You can use this link to drive people to a page where they can provide their email address, phone number, or more.

Take note that you will need to run your lead generation "ads" multiple times to make sure your constantly attracting leads. For this, we recommend using Social Report's social scheduling tool, so you can schedule posts in advance and run your ads and continue generating leads without much effort.

2. Reward People for Sharing their Info

After attracting your followers with your offer, you must convince them to provide their contact information. Again, you must do this without "forcing" anything.

One way to do this is to award people who click on your landing page with an additional discount or a chance to enter a giveaway by simply providing their email addresses. Similarly, you can reward people with more "entries" for the giveaway by sharing the link to the landing page to their friends on other social accounts. This way you can increase the reach of your lead generation campaign without any additional effort on your end.

Asking people to tag their friends to increase "engagement" can get you a few new followers, but they don't really get you viable leads. You still won’t be able to market and convert them directly. It’s better to focus on rewarding people who share their email addresses instead.

Here's an example of a simple landing page to generate leads from Instapage:

Microsoft Lead Generation

3. Engage with Personalized Messages

After step two, you should now have an e-mail list of viable leads who are familiar with your brand and are interested in your products. This is based on their willingness to click on your offer and provide you with their contact details.

Now it's time to nurture these leads. Nurturing means developing a relationship with your customers by answering their needs or providing services that cater specifically to them. According to a survey conducted by Ascend 2, 51% of marketers agree that email lists are the most effective way to nurture leads.

Unlike your Instagram posts, which provides broad information about your products, you must send personalized messages to your email list. It is important to give them relevant offers that grab their attention and will entice them to make a purchase. Relevant offers can improve conversion rate by more than 70%. These personalized messages can be anywhere from a sneak peak for an upcoming sale or a new discount code. 

Here’s a great example of sending a personalized email message from Birchbox:

Birchbox Personalized Message

Source: Campaign Monitor

Keep in mind that not everyone is ready to make a purchase at this point. That's alright; What’s important is you have an avenue to send personalized messages to your customers. Keep sending personalized emails and ask them to join contests, vote, provide feedback, and more.

4. Close the Sale

At this point, you might have a few conversions based on the first three steps. However, don't worry if you're still behind on your sales goals. You can just be one nudge or offer away from a conversion. You have to stay persistent and try different calls-to-action or closing statement.

In an article published on The Balance, Thomas Phelps, says asking for a sale is the best closing technique. So how do you do it?

This article from TeamGate provides insight from 8 marketing gurus to help close the deal. A great advice from one marketer is to bring a sense of urgency and scarcity to your offers. Here’s an example of how you can these to ask for a sale:

  1. "Take advantage of this limited time offer…click the link now!"
  2. "3 Days Left! Get [product / service] today"
  3. "Don’t miss this rare opportunity. Sign-up for [a class, a webinar] today!"
  4. "Be the first to own [our new product]. Pre-order today"

Utilizing the scarcity or urgency is only one strategy to close the sale. Whatever strategy you choose, always remember to ask for the sale!

Club Red Sale

Source: Campaign Monitor

Conclusion

Instagram is fast growing, and businesses are beginning to utilize its power and reach of over 800 million active users to market their business. However, growing your audience isn't the same as creating paying customers. It is important to use the strategies above to not just grow your audience on the social platform but to use it to grow your business.

Now that Instagram allows businesses to schedule posts for 2018, you can attract leads daily without having to constantly be in front of the screen. When you get these leads, be sure to reward and nurture them, and never forget to ask for the sale!