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In today’s world, not having an active presence on social media seems equivalent to not existing, and this is especially true for brands.
With how ubiquitous social networks are, and its full integration into the daily lives of individuals and businesses, your social media profile can be an effective means of turning millions of prospects into loyal customers.
Facebook’s fashionista little brother, Instagram, is continually growing, with over 500 million active users daily. In this article, we’ll outline the top 10 tips to boost sales for your brand through this often underrated platform. Learn to enhance your presence on Instagram and, consequently, gain a substantial increase in your sales.
1. Start with an attractive, eye-catching bio.
The biography, beyond informing users about what we do, is what links the brand’s profile on Instagram with your online store, website, landing page, or other social networks.
You must build trust with an appropriate biography that espouses your brand values.
- Allbirds does this well with a brand-fitting biography, hashtag, and a relevant site-link.
To optimise your bio, follow these quick tips:
- Include a short professional description of what you or your company do.
- Keep it simple. Use words that are familiar to the general public.
- Use a hashtag in your biography that is brand-specific.
- Use 1 to 3 of the keywords most used by your competition so that your profile appears in better positions in Google searches.
- Be objective; in the end, you have approximately 150 characters to present your company.
- Place a link to your official website or to a landing page. It is vital that your website is built well so as to enhance your brand credibility.
2. Run Instagram retargeting campaigns.
In contemporary e-commerce, very few shoppers actually buy on their first visit to your site or on their first contact with your brand. This is why it is vital for you to understand how retargeting ads work.
Multiple touchpoints are needed to convert customers, and this is the reason why website conversion rates rarely exceed 5%.
Retargeting campaigns allow you to reach people who have already visited your site at least once, and who have therefore shown some form of interest in your business and its products.
This is why retargeting is one of the most interesting (and effective) advertising techniques: you target people who are already engaged in the middle of your conversion funnel, and not complete strangers. These customers just need a few further nudges to eventually convert into customers.
Let us take an example:
- Mr. A visits your website, he visits a product page, adds a product to cart, but stops browsing your site without having purchased your product.
- You can “retarget” him by running specific product advertisements to him on his personal Facebook and Instagram.
Direct-to-consumer brands like Simba often run retargeting ads to users who have visited their site, but without making a purchase. They use “social proof” ads like the above to showcase past reviews and nudge customers towards the product purchase funnel.
Note that retargeting on Facebook can also be used for cross-selling or upselling, which allows you to offer your customers products that are complementary to their purchases or of a higher range.
Experiment with retargeting campaigns: If a customer has purchased a sweater from your store a week ago, experiment with running complementary trousers or shirts in your next retargeting ad sets. You can also provide specific discounts to loyal customers through retargeting ads.
3. Keep a regular, ideal post schedule.
Define a regular frequency of posts so that your profile does not run out of content, and to keep your engagement rate high.
It is recommended that you test, evaluate, and plan your posts, to make it easier to find the perfect frequency to post.
- Big brands post an average of 1 to 2 times a day.
- Avoid posting between 00:00 and 08:00, especially from Monday to Friday.
- The best times to post on Instagram are business days between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m, and on weekends and holidays between 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Everlane builds a frequent post schedule, adapting it regularly to current social events to keep their engagement rate high. This sends positive engagement signals to Instagram to show your posts on your prospects’ news feeds over time.
4. Build your following up organically and via cross-channel shoutouts.
Increasing your follower base remains, without exception, an important step to take if you are planning on improving your sales. After all, you can’t preach to the choir, if you have no one present to listen to you.
One way is good old-fashioned email marketing. This cross-channel shoutout – from email to Instagram – works extremely well If you already have a thriving database of subscribers to your newsletter, start there. Insert a carousel of your Instagram post on your newsletter, nudging customers to follow your profile on the social media platform.
This can be done by running events such as giveaways on Instagram, or building up more user-generated content by encouraging your customers to share and post your products on social media.
Likewise, you can also build up your email lists by directing customers from your Instagram account to your website. On your website, set up email popups for users to enter their email addresses, in exchange for a perk such as a discount code.
5. Create rich and differentiated content.
One of the best ways to find, engage, and build a following of people who are interested in your business will be by generating relevant content for them.
To understand what kind of content to produce, you first need to understand your consumer personas. Who are your customers, and what benefits do they derive from your product?
Once you have created your personas, you can then ideate content ideas, such as:
- Technical, “how-to” content that builds credibility. Particularly useful for consumer apps and SaaS platforms.
- Success stories build authority and inspiration. Particularly useful for aspirational brands.
- Daily, tongue-in-cheek content brings you closer to people.
- Motivational messages enable better engagement.
- Posts with human faces generate more interaction.
- Take advantage of the memes of the moment, especially if you have a younger target audience.
- Values-based content resonates strongly with brands dedicated to sustainability and ethics.
Artisan brands like these use stunning imagery of products and link it to the stories of its makers and its cultural origins.
Next, to create better copy, use the following mental triggers in your Instagram captions. Draw attention with these mental triggers:
- Curiosity: Leave your followers curious so that they want to follow you on other platforms and thus know your products or services.
- Scarcity: By creating a sense of urgency, you will be stimulating impulse purchases.
- Reciprocity: “You give what you receive”, this is the most important thing. Therefore, you have to be generous with your followers.
- Story: By knowing your audience well, you will be able to touch their emotions with good narratives.
6. Encourage user-generated content.
User-generated content (UGC) refers to content created by your users. This can come in the forms of images, videos and audio.
On Instagram, where it can be expensive to create a wide variety of high-quality visuals, UGC can have the dual benefits of boosting your engagement as well as keeping your costs lean.
Not only that, UGC also brings forth better brand awareness, as customers share about their purchases with their own communities on their individual profiles.
Here are a few ways you can spur your users to create UGC:
- Start an aspirational or brand-specific hashtag. You can then easily track the UGC by looking up your unique hashtag over time.
Allbirds’ brand-specific hashtag #weareallbirds encourages their customers to style, share, and post their Allbirds sneakers on Instagram.
- Feature your customers on your feed from time-to-time. Encourage customers to share by showcasing the best UGC on your profile.
Everlane often features its customers in its Instagram profile.
7. Run Instagram-only promotions.
Running Instagram-only promotions will give your followers more incentive to stay engaged with your brand, and greater impetus for your customers to find you on social media platforms.
You can then redirect followers from your Instagram into your sales funnel through your specialised landing pages.
A tried-and-tested way to build following and run successful Instagram awareness is to run hashtag campaigns. Choose a single hashtag, ask them to repost the image and tag more users. Offer a free product for a lucky few.
Another campaign idea is to run an Instagam giveaway. Love Island Star Molly-Mae recently ran an Instagram-only giveaway. The prize is a bundle of free products worth £8,000.
This campaign landed her hundreds of thousands of new followers from her other social media platforms, with 2.9m comments on just one Instagram post.
Source: Instagram (@mollymaehague)
8. Use Instagram Shopping.
One of Instagram’s best e-commerce features is Instagram Shopping.
This feature allows your business to build an immersive storefront for your followers to explore your best products.
You can then share featured products through your organic posts and Stories, or have people discover your products in Search & Explore.
To get started on Instagram Shopping, these are the steps involved:
- Get approved for Instagram Shopping
- Turn the feature on.
- You can now add Product Tags to your posts.
With this feature enabled, whenever a person taps on a product tag on your post or your story, they’ll be brought to a product description page.
This page provides an image of the product, the description, its cost, and a link to bring them to your website to purchase the item directly.
9. Engage micro-influencers.
Influencer marketing leverages the prescribing power of influential people to generate greater brand awareness.
Establishing a partnership with successful influencers can expose your brand to a wider audience and provide a good ROI. However, influencers with large followings often receive a lot of solicitations and require increasingly significant financial compensation.
It then becomes more interesting to turn to micro-influencers, who are more affordable to work with. This helps you keep advertising costs lean, as micro-influencers usually have a higher engagement rate with their followers, leading to lower CPM and thus potentially higher ROI.
Use the following tips when engaging micro-influencers (10k to 100k followers) and nano-influencers (1k to 10k followers):
- Verify authenticity by watching out for inflated likes: Fake engagement is rife in Instagram with “engagement pods”, which are chat groups of up to 20 users which share their photos. The pod then ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ on each shared post. Multiply these pods, and the result is a facade that the micro-influencer is popular. Before working with an influencer, check for red flags: are there lots of comments from the same few users, full of emojis, and you find that the influencer repays the favour?
- Re-use your influencer images for retargeting ads: Run Instagram retargeting ads for customers in your middle funnel, using high-quality images from your influencer engagements.
- Set established and clear influencer KPIs: Choosing very clearly who you decide to work with, and what metrics determine the success of an influencer marketing campaign.
10. Promote your brand through Instagram Stories.
Instagram story is another excellent way to boost your visibility and convert a simple subscriber into a real customer. With Instagram Stories, you can add in swipe-up links on your Instagram stories or tag products directly on your images through product stickers.
As said previously, Instagram allows few link distribution methods on its platform, and it is for this reason that stories are useful channels to promote your products.
Our advice: Display a particularly lovely photo of the product (s) you want to sell, and don’t hesitate to add a time-bound promotion to it.
Stories last 24 hours before disappearing, so promotions that appear during this short period creates a sense of urgency. This encourages visitors to make a buying decision quickly.
Stories have many advantages:
- Improves visibility: For each story published, the brand’s profile appears at the top of the page.
- Redirects to your landing page: Swiping up returns the user to the landing page of your choice. Add this landing page to your funnel.
- Creates engagement: Thanks to the many features (survey, location, hashtags), you can interact easily with your community by setting up polls, “this or that” questions, and soliciting customer feedback.
- Establishes trust: Stories often provide a candid space of freedom and creativity for your brand values to shine.