Instagram is not just for images of coffee, fluffy dogs, and your breakfast.
Though it is awesome for all of those, it has the highest user/brand interaction rate, 1.53% of the 150 million users in 2013 to be precise, significantly higher than Facebook’s measly 0.10%, as shown by Neil Patel’s infographic here.
I think it is safe to say that if your business is not leveraging the world fastest growing social media platform for lead generation, then you are leaving money on the table.
Though do not fear, in this ultimate guide to Instagram lead generation, I am going to share ALL of the best tactics that some of Instagram’s most powerful accounts are leveraging right now.
However, before we get stuck into specific strategies, I must first introduce a fundamental concept: the difference between owned and non-owned marketing lists.
You do not own the communication channel used to market to your Instagram/Twitter followers, Facebook Likers or LinkedIn Connections, if any of those respective platforms close down, you lose your list.
Therefore, any online marketer worth their salt should spend a significant amount of time attempting to move his audience from their non-owned, social lists onto their owned lists, in this case: email list.
Thus, the rest of this post is focussed on generating leads on your owned, email list through Instagram.
Before embarking on any lead generation campaign, you must answer, in my opinion, the most important question in marketing.
Who is your Ideal Lead?
And more specifically:
- What do they do in their spare time?
- What are their goals and values?
- What do they read/watch/listen to?
- Where do they go on holiday?
It is crucial that you have a very clear picture of whom you will be targeting with your Instagram campaign for two reasons:
- It will make it MUCH easier to find these people on the platform
- You will make sales when the reach the bottom of your funnel
Only when a comprehensive profile of your Ideal Lead is created, can we move on to the next stage of the process.
When your Ideal Lead lands on your Instagram profile they MUST immediately be able to tell:
- That it is you
- What they stand to gain by looking at your profile
We can achieve this through consistent branding, a benefit driven description and a compelling call to action.
Your Instagram handle, photo and feel of content must speak directly to your Ideal Lead, admittedly, your handle (company name) and photo (logo/headshot) are have most probably already been defined (Aside: I would ensure these are consistent across all of your social media profiles).
Which leaves your content, we will discuss in the promotion section below.
However an Instagram post would not be complete without mention of what is in my opinion the best example of social media marketing at this current time:
Can you see the congruence between profile name, image, and content?
BENEFIT DRIVEN DESCRIPTION & COMPELLING CALL TO ACTION
Your Ideal Lead does not care about you and your business, they care about themselves and the outcomes you have them achieve and/or problems you can help them solve.
And that is exactly what we are going to do.
The majority of business social media profile descriptions abide by the following formula:
“Hello, we are X, and we do Y.”
As discussed above, your Ideal Lead does not care about you or what you do, they care about what you can do for them.
I would propose we combine the vital information about your business with a benefit driven description and compelling call to action, just as Foundrmag do:
Now, I do not want to go into detail on your customer journey but to craft a benefit driven description and compelling call to action you need to understand exactly what problem your are solving/outcome you are achieving for your customer. Then you must take a small yet high-value part of the solution and offer it in exchange for an email address on a SPECIFIC landing page (more on this in the Tracking section later).
This landing page is then linked below your description, in an easy to remember fashion, note how Foundrmag use the URL extension “free” as a reminder for their Ideal Lead and the pointing fingers that I have found to increase click through rate.
Your description must clearly outline the benefit that your Ideal Lead will experience from a click on the link and subsequently obtaining access to your solution in exchange for their email address.
We have our Ideal Lead profiled; we have our profile optimized for lead generation, now all we need is traffic…
What types images/videos does your Ideal Customer want to consume?
Do they have aspirations related to business, travel, relationships, money or nature?
This is what you need to be posting, at least once per day. Though regardless of your posting schedule, consistency is crucial, as your audience will start to expect your content in a certain schedule, you do not want to disappoint.
And as for the filter argument, let’s keep it simple; here are the top 10 most popular, according to Populargram:
- Normal (No Filter)
- X-Pro II
Wordswag and Canva can be used for editing images, adding text and Instagram’s Layout app to create multi-images.
Hyperlapse can be used to create time-lapse videos, see examples of how business can use these effectively here.
Protein World is a great example of an account with strong, consistent branding and regular high-quality content:
Once your content type has been decided, it is time to research hashtags.
Search Instagram for keywords relating to the solution you provide for your Ideal Lead and note and hashtags that have over 1,000 images and record.
The TagsForLikes app can store custom hashtag lists and also provide hashtag inspiration. Built up a list of 25-30 core hashtags (this is the Instagram hashtag limit per image) and save in the TagsForLikes app (this can also provide hashtag inspiration) for easy access.
When posting an image, include any other account in your image (more on this later), a short description and 2-3 image specific hashtags then add the rest of your more solution specific hashtags in the first comment below the image.
It is also important to track the time of each post and measure the number of likes/comments it receives and then optimizing your posting times to maximize engagement.
And finally, like every blog post.
Every Instagram image must have a call to action whether it be:
- “Double tap if you agree.”
- “(Question relevant to image and Ideal Lead)?”
- “Tag a friend who needs to see this.”
All three of these will lead to more engagement and potential exposure for your Instagram account and offer.
USER GENERATED CONTENT
Getting your users/Ideal Leads/existing customers is an excellent method to increase lead generation on Instagram. Depending on your brand, your customers may volunteer to send in content to your account for no cost and then go on to share it with their friends, who also fit the profile of your Ideal Lead.
The growth of sTitch Leggings Instagram profile has mainly been driven by user generated content (FULL DISCLOSURE – I am a co-founder of sTitch):
SHARE FOR SHARE
The Share For Share strategy for gaining Instagram traffic will see your account agree with another account that has a similar audience, and you take it in turns to mention each other, thus increasing your exposure to new potential Ideal Leads.
Though at the start of your profiles life cycle it may not be possible to obtain Share For Share partners, in which case some account may mention you in exchange for your product/service or cold hard cash. Pixlee is a great tool for finding influencers of your Ideal Lead.
The cheapest and most widely used strategy for growing Instagram traffic is through liking, commenting and following your potential Ideal Leads.
Remember the hashtags you determined for your content above?
These are exactly the same hashtags that can be searched to find your Ideal Leads.
I would recommend that for 20-30 minutes each day you/someone in your team, searching those hashtags most relevant to your Ideal Lead and like the majority of those images/videos and commenting on those that you have something genuine to say. For those people that you comment on, I would also recommend following and liking their top three pictures. You will find that some these individuals will follow/like you back.
Tools such as Crowdfire can be used to identify influencers or your Ideal Lead and even competitors followers to target.
While following your Ideal Leads, it is important to take your follower/following ratio into account, you don’t want this getting out of control. Ideally you can keep your ratio at least 1:0.5 and if you find your following count raising too high, I would recommend unfollowing to return the balance.
When out and about with people that have an Instagram, I would highly encourage to take pictures and share while mentioning the person that you are with.
The more you do this, the more people will reciprocate and mention you back, leading to more exposure.
Giving away stuff on social media is nothing new.
But it still works, so you could consider investing in some prizes that your Ideal Lead would potentially wish to claim and then either request people to tag a friend in the image to enter or even pay other Instagram accounts to run the competition with potential Ideal Leads following your account to enter.
Neil Patel utilized this technique and discussed in more detail here.
You now understand your Ideal Lead, have optimized your profile and have now started to drive traffic to your profile and should be experiencing clicks on your profile link leading to your landing page.
Expanding effort upon any marketing strategy is futile if you are not able to track results and compare to the resources (time and money) invested to calculate an ROI, here are the key metrics that MUST be tracked and optimized over time:
Landing Page Clicks: How many clicks does your profile experience?
Landing Page Conversion: What is the conversion rate on your landing page?
Lifetime Customer Value (From Instagram): What is the lifetime value of a customer obtained through Instagram?
Customer Acquisition Cost (From Instagram): How much does it cost to acquire a customer through Instagram?
There we have it, the ultimate guide to Instagram lead generation.
The next to you reach for your phone to snap your croissant and latte, remember that your Ideal Lead is out there searching for you, it’s now up to you to find them.
Tom Hunt is the founder of SaaS Marketer and bCast (B2B podcast hosting for high growth businesses). He lives and works in Hackney, London with his delightful partner Rebecca and little dog called Bear.