With over 1 billion active monthly users, Instagram has become a valuable place to capture attention for your business. Unlike other social media networks that have plateaued, Instagram is on the up.
Read on for tactics to increase your reach on the platform and how you can leverage Instagram to drive more traffic to your website.
Why should you be using Instagram?
If you’re unsure about whether Instagram is worth the time and effort, these statistics will quickly convince you that it’s the place to be:
- There are currently 1 billion monthly active users on Instagram
- Instagram users span all income brackets
- 60% of users (that’s 600+ million people) seek out and discover new products on Instagram
- 71% of U.S. businesses use Instagram
- 80% of users follow at least one business
- 75% of users take action like visiting a website after looking at a brand’s post
With that in mind, there are some factors you should take into consideration before you get started:
The good news is, you don’t need to post as frequently on Instagram as you do on other social media platforms. Instagram does not show posts chronologically, which means that even if you only post once a week, chances are that your followers will see most of your posts at some point in their timeline.
Photos & Videos
Instagram users have a much higher benchmark for quality than other social platforms, especially from business accounts. Images should be of high quality and aesthetically pleasing, so this is something you should consider before diving in. If you feel you can produce attractive photos and videos (which is not hard to do with a decent smartphone) – go for it!
The very first post on Instagram Jul 16 2010
Starting your Instagram account
So you’ve joined Instagram! Now what?
The first thing you should do is make sure your account is set up as a business account. This will enable you to see beneficial information on each of your posts, including:
- The reach from each post
- The click-through (to your profile) from each post
- How many people are clicking through to your website from your Instagram page
- View your top-performing posts in terms of reach and engagement
- Get some insight into your Instagram audience (age, location, gender, and when they are most active on the platform)
To switch to a business account on Instagram:
- Login to the account you have set up for your business.
- From your profile, click on the top right-hand corner symbol. Then click into “Settings”.
- From the list, click “Account”
- Scroll down to the bottom and click “Switch to Professional Account”
- You’ll see two options: Creator or Business. Choose the “Business” option.
- You will be asked to connect your Facebook business page (this is because Instagram is owned by Facebook) or you can select “Don’t connect to Facebook Now”. It’s best practice to connect the two accounts, especially if you plan to run paid advertising on Instagram.
- Then choose a category for your page (for example, Product/Service or Shopping & Retail)
- Review Your Contact Options: make sure the correct business email and business phone number is displayed
- Convert to Business Profile? Just hit “OK” and you’re good to go!
You’ll now notice that your company name and the type of business are displayed in your Bio section. When you post on Instagram, you’ll be able to see insights on your posts and profile going forward.
Your Instagram posting strategy
You could start posting all the photos you can think of, but it’s not a great strategy for getting the most out of Instagram for business.
Let’s go back to your Instagram page for a moment. There is one main driver for getting people to your website: your bio. This is the small space for text just under your profile photo. It’s the only place Instagram really allows you to place organic, unpaid links.
If you place a link in an organic post, it will appear as plain text and must be copied and pasted into a browser. This is why you’ll often see the term “link in bio” used on Instagram posts. Many companies change the link in their bio based on current promotions and to direct people to a specific area of their website.
Your bio should also give potential customers some information about what your company actually does. Take some of these top brands for example:
These are great examples of how your bio should reflect what you do, and show a bit of the personality behind your brand, making people more likely to click that link.
You may also want to design a social media logo so that your customers begin to recognise your brand. You want a logo which is eye catching and perfectly designed to suit your business. If you look at the above brands ‘Jimmy’s Coffee’ and ‘Innocent’ you can see that the branding is distinguishable and represents each brand perfectly.
Instagram posts that will drive traffic to your website…
So now you’ve established a bio, it’s time to think about what kind of content you want to post to your Instagram. Here are some ideas to get you started…
“Behind the scenes” style photos are good for putting a face to the name of your brand. The root of building great relationships with your customers is trust, and people like to know that there are real people behind the brands they shop with.
If you’re a retail or “in-person” product or service, it can also help to strengthen existing customer relationships.
This style of post is far more popular on platforms like Facebook. This is primarily because Facebook makes sharing posts much easier to do. It’s still possible to run competitions on Instagram, particularly if you wish to direct people to your website in order to enter.
Showing off your brand
Instagram started primarily as a photo-sharing app, with emphasis on high quality, aesthetically pleasing photos. Although this ethos has relaxed slightly with an influx of new users over the last couple of years, “good” imagery (and now video) is still a core component of finding Instagram success.
If you take a look at one of the larger brands’ Instagram profiles, you’ll notice most of them have a carefully curated look or feel to their photos. This is something you should aim for too.
The content of these high-quality photos can be:
- Your products (particularly successful in the food, clothing, and home decor categories)
- The location of your place of business (great for tourism companies, or businesses located in picturesque areas)
- Your customers enjoying your product/service (builds trust and familiarity with your brand)
If you have a sale or offer available, changing the link in your bio and using Instagram posts to promote the offer can be an effective way to drive traffic. This is especially useful for e-commerce companies or any business that operates a “shop/book/order online” function.
“Link in bio” posts
Perhaps one of the most successful ways of using Instagram to promote your website through promoting new blog posts:
- Create compelling artwork or use attractive stock imagery to go along with your blog post. Canva is a user-friendly tool for those without graphic design knowledge to create artwork.
- Write an engaging or thought-provoking caption for the Instagram post. Include the term “link in bio” as part of the caption.
- On your Instagram page, ensure there is a link directly to your main blog page that people can click to read your new post.
Buzzfeed has perfected the art of directing people to their website with new blog posts:
Let’s talk about hashtags
You’re probably familiar with the concept of hashtags, but if you’re not sure where to start, there are plenty of lists online showcasing the most successful hashtags on Instagram.
Another useful strategy is to simply type the hashtag symbol into the caption (“#”) followed by terms related to your business, industry, or the content of your post. Instagram will give you a helpful list of suggestions and will even show you how popular the hashtags are on the platform.
Hashtags can earn you more followers on the platform, and if you’ve created compelling posts, also drive traffic to your website.
Use Instagram Stories to drive traffic and reach
Instagram stories are temporary Instagram posts that run on a timer at the top of the page on a user’s Instagram feed. People tend to post stories a lot more frequently than traditional Instagram posts that appear permanently on their profiles. Stories are also seen as more casual, less about aesthetics, and more about day-to-day photos or videos. Influencers and businesses often use Instagram stories multiples times per day to stay top-of-mind with their followers.
Credit: Buffer https://bit.ly/2tYYvHT
Stories can be a positive way to connect with your Instagram audience. There are several features of Stories that increase reach including:
The “swipe-up” feature
Links to your website can be included as part of your Story. Including a caption on the image or a call-to-action instructing followers to swipe-up can be used to increase visits to your website.
Hashtags and Stamps
Using features such as hashtags and location stamps can help increase the reach of your Stories. This is because Instagram features certain Stories in their Explore section, making your posts, your page (and, therefore, your website) easier to find.
There’s no better way to increase your reach on Instagram than engaging in conversation. If it’s relevant, tag other brands in your story.
This tip doesn’t just apply to Stories, either. Tag people or other brands in your regular posts, too. It’s also a good idea to strategically follow other brands in your industry and comment on their posts if you have a similar target audience. Just make sure the comment is authentic and genuinely contributing to a conversation.
Whatever you choose to do with your Instagram account, the best tip is to stay true to your brand and have fun!