Lead generation is the life source of an e-commerce business, yet for most companies, it remains a mystifying hurdle against expansion.
Over the years, business thinkers have generated hundreds of different lead generation strategies, each with its own acronyms and unique jargon.
In today’s highly competitive online world, businesses need to think holistically about lead generation, utilizing all possible avenues to earn and keep customers.
With about one billion monthly active users, Instagram represents a fertile ground for raising brand awareness and generating leads.
Why You Should Use Instagram For Lead Generation
In some ways, Instagram is a brand’s best friend when it comes to lead generation. As the platform is overwhelmingly visual, the static images that are a brand’s bread and butter (logo and all) fit perfectly on this social platform.
What’s more, as a social medium, Instagram allows a brand to interact directly with consumers, converting those interactions into leads and, eventually, conversions.
“According to Demand Metric, content marketing strategies cost 62% less than traditional marketing tactics.”
Additionally, more than a quarter of Americans use ad-blocking software, which of course doesn’t impact the posts on Instagram’s infinite scroll.
It makes sense, then, to use Instagram to generate leads.
Where To Begin?
The first thing we need to consider is why leads matter in the first place.
More leads increase the likelihood of purchases, which increases profit. The profit gained from lead generation allows a business to expand, reaching more users and generating more profit.
In content marketing, then, we generally discuss lead generation concerning a company’s goals. These goals can be either long-term or short-term.
A popular lead generation strategy (typically attributed to Peter Drucker’s groundbreaking Management by Objectives) will be of interest to us here.
To generate leads, you have to have SMART goals.
- Specific. As the word implies, vague goals represent ambition but are not actionable. Rather than, for example, “we want to increase sales,” you might have a goal along the lines of, “we want to have $100,000 of sales from customers outside of urban centers.”
- Measurable. If the goal is not measurable, there’s no quantitative way to assess whether your content marketing strategy was successful. Sales are a very common metric by which we may assess a goal’s success.
- Attainable. Big-picture thinking is essential for expanding a business, but SMART goals need to be attainable. A bird in hand beats two in the bush, as the saying goes. This doesn’t mean, however, that the goals should be easy. You might fail in your goal, but there needs to be a real sense that achievement is possible.
- Realistic. Sometimes stated as relevant, reasonable, or results-based, this goal is about grounding your goal in the facts of your business. A SMART goal must be relevant to your company’s long-term goals and realistic in terms of your current market impact.
- ƒ. A goal that doesn’t have a deadline often becomes mired in eventualities and loses its power to motivate a strong content marketing strategy. An immediate deadline is essential to setting and achieving your business’s goals.
Lead Generation Goals
After determining your sales goals, it is crucial to be specific about lead generation goals.
If Instagram is a platform that your brand’s target audience actively uses, Instagram might be a central piece of your brand’s lead-generating funnel.
“Setting a specific number of leads you wish to generate each month or quarter via Instagram is a helpful way to monitor your progress on your goals.”
If, on the other hand, your target audience uses Instagram only minimally, you will expect much less lead generation from even the highest-quality brand campaign.
Whatever your situation, using social media is an excellent way to generate leads or leverage positive reviews to generate leads on other platforms.
Instagram: The Social Advantage To Lead Generation
According to Awario, companies that engage in social selling get 119% better return on investment (ROI), and it isn’t hard to see why.
When customers engage with brands via social media, they feel closer to brands and are more likely to buy their products.
In addition, influencer marketing has created a culture in which social media users regularly look to their favorite social platforms for advice on what to buy.
“As a brand, you can use Instagram to get closer to your customers and leverage authentic customer interactions into broader lead generation campaigns.”
When a customer tells you something they like about your product on an Instagram comment, for example, you can use that information to expand your brand offerings in that area or to cater your social presence more to the kinds of buyers these positive reviewers represent.
When a customer interacts with your business via social media, then, it’s important to respond and interact.
By having an interactive presence, you can give your customers the feeling of a personal experience with real people, rather than sterile profiteers.
In addition to nurturing your leads, interacting with users in real-time via social media can increase conversions and grow your audience.
A recent study found that marketers that followed up with customers within minutes are nine times more likely to convert them.
Outside of the traditional post-and-comment method, there are plenty of unique ways that Instagram can help with lead generation.
Hashtags (regular, branded, and movement-based), Instagram landing pages, bio links, and stories can all help you to bring your leads straight to your brand and begin converting.
It’s Important To Deeply Understand How Stories Work
The first stop on our tour of Instagram’s many useful features for brands is the stories. At the top of an Instagram user’s profile, just below the search bar, a series of circles appear.
Each of these has within it the profile pictures of various people the user follows. When the Instagram user clicks on one of these bubbles, that user’s story appears.
An Instagram story is a video or picture that, when clicked on, appears for a maximum of 15 seconds before a story from another account the user is following appears automatically.
“Stories are an extremely valuable way for brands to generate leads.”
Since Instagram first launched stories, user engagement with stories has risen dramatically. Half of Instagram’s daily active users use stories every day, and this is becoming an increasingly popular way to engage with the platform.
How does the story fit into your lead generation strategy?
According to a Facebook survey, 81% of users use the Instagram feed (regular posts) to help them research products or services.
This means that posting on your Instagram feed can be extremely helpful to gaining new leads and helping consumers inform themselves about what products to buy.
At the same time, however, video adapts itself more naturally to the story, and video marketing is an extremely successful tactic for gaining leads. In video marketing, you use video and snippets of video to inform and guide the purchases of your followers.
“According to an Eyeview study, video can increase conversion rates by up to 86%. “
What these statistics tell us about Instagram is that the feed is excellent for attracting new leads, while the story works to convert them. Both, however, are excellent ways to build social trust with your customers.
Using Instagram To Build Trust
According to the Facebook survey mentioned earlier, the very fact of having an Instagram helps a business build trust with their customers.
72% of users interviewed on this survey claimed that they were likely to perceive a brand as “committed to building community” if they had an Instagram presence.
By regularly posting things that matter to your customers (informative, high-quality content), you can build the kind of trust that is more likely to lead to conversion. Building trust is an essential aspect of value-based marketing or improving customer value.
Value-based marketing is an aspect of content marketing in which the content you share is manufactured to resonate with your target audience.
The result of a successful post and story strategy on Instagram is synonymous with a successful value-based marketing strategy.
Instagram helps your leads to think, “they think like me, they value what I value.”
Lead Ads On Instagram
Beyond the feed and the story, many brands use lead ads on Instagram to attract and convert leads.
To get more leads on Instagram, the first and most obvious tactic is to use lead ads. Lead ads are targeted to social media leads (potential customers who express interest on social media) to achieve conversions.
Lead ads provide marketers with demographic data about leads to allow them to further develop their lead generation strategy.
“These ads help businesses collect email addresses, phone numbers, birthdates, job titles, and more.”
Lead ads are so successful because they also provide a service to users; they allow users to easily sign up for newsletters, collect discount codes, or get on an email list for subscriptions.
What Can Users Click On?
In its basic conception, using an Instagram profile for business is not just about generating leads, it’s about converting them.
This means that while your content should be interesting and informative to your target audience, you should also make it as easy as possible to help connect them to your website and brand offerings.
An Instagram Action button is a button that appears at the top of a business profile that allows Instagram users to instantly engage with the business in question.
Common action button actions include:
- Visit Store
- Book Now
- Order Food
These buttons can bring people to forms by Instagram providers, including Appointy, Eventbrite, OpenTable, Resy, and others.
Action buttons allow users to take action directly from your profile and a great way to visually communicate something to your audience.
Extra Profile Clicks
Outside of action buttons and your own story and feed posting, how can you get more clicks?
“You should encourage your customers to use branded hashtags and share their real-life stories of using your products via your Instagram.”
By having your customers post about their experience of your product, you will dramatically increase the frequency with which your company appears on Instagram feeds, all at the cost of $0.
One way to encourage more user-posted content, extremely common across all social media platforms, is having a contest of some kind. To qualify for the contest, users (for example) have to use one of your branded hashtags on their stories.
These contests, usually fun and light-hearted, increase the leads’ feeling of closeness with your brand AND raise brand awareness, all at the same time.
Calls To Action
The call to action (CTA), a central part of your landing page, should be present on your Instagram as well. The most common call to action of any social media is “please like and follow,” and this is how you should encourage users to interact with your brand.
Everything on your Instagram account, from your bio to post captions to the images you post should be crafted to gain followers and have them engage with your content.
By liking and following, users are more likely to go to your website (via a bio link/caption link) to see the profit-generating CTA (“buy today!”, “act now!”, etc.).
The CTA is slightly different from an App Store Landing Page Link. App Page Landing Page Links make it easier for users to download the app without visiting your website or finding a download link in your bio.
This is different from a call to action, which is generally about sales.
You can place an App Store link on your site’s landing page, or even link it in your stories or posts. This can be a way to increase convenience for leads.
How The Instagram Bio Link Can Generate Leads
The Instagram bio link is an introduction to your company and what it stands for. The bio link can help convert your leads into paying customers.
A good bio is usually short and sweet, with a call-to-action and a bio link.
The call to action is a great way to improve your Instagram bio. For example, Abercrombie & Fitch’s Instagram bio reads: “The A&F essentials collection — the name says it all” followed by a link to the collection.
This small bit of text gives A&F’s followers a feel for the style and attitude of the company’s social media presence and — essentially — promotes user action.
As far as the link goes, you need to ask yourself, what is your link objective?
Your bio link should directly link users to a page that will help you accomplish your objective. This objective should in turn be related to your SMART goal as discussed above.
To link to the Instagram bio effectively, the link needs to be short and sweet, preferably with your brand link. Promote the link in your Instagram posts with something like, “Link in bio.”
Use UTM parameters in the URL to make your link trackable.
Use Analytics To Understand The Value of Your Leads
In addition to action buttons, Instagram for business allows you to utilize Instagram Insights to understand the value of your leads.
You can use Instagram Insights to analyze what type of content drives higher engagement and more followers for your brand.
You can also use Instagram Insights and other third-party tools to track the effectiveness of your lead generation efforts. These tools will allow you to see things like clicks, mentions, hashtags, and purchases.
Using Instagram analytics, you can also track the effectiveness of your goal. You can calculate the return on investment (ROI) of your Instagram campaigns by measuring:
- Number of visits to your landing pages
- Conversion rates of your landing pages
- Customers’ lifetime value
- Customer acquisition cost
All of this can be done with Instagram insights.
Instantly Improve Your Business
If your business is not already on Instagram, it’s time to join. At least 90% of Instagram users follow at least one brand on Instagram, a fertile ground for brands that helps people decide what to buy and who to buy it from.
Utilizing action buttons, branded hashtags, the bio link, the story, and the feed, you can use Instagram as a powerful tool to generate leads and increase your return of investment on marketing.
Author Bio –
Yash Chawlani is a Freelance Content Marketing Strategist who is known by his personal brand Merlin. He specializes in SEO and Social Media and helps B2B and SaaS companies out there with his top-notch content strategies. In his spare time, you can either find him in the gym or on the football field. Feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn.