5 Ways to Convert Your Instagram Audience Into Customers

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The ultimate goal of any brand on a social network is to convince their viewers into buying their products. It’s the bottom line when it comes to any type of marketing. All of the effort that gets put into running a social media account is done with the hope that it will result in higher sales.

Getting conversions isn’t an easy process, though.

Each platform requires a different approach when it comes to driving sales. Instagram certainly has its own unique challenges in this regard.

This article presents five methods that will help boost your ability to convert your Instagram audience into loyal customers.

1. Have an appealing, recognizable visual style.

The key to success on Instagram has always been great visual content. If Instagram was its own country, then that would be its currency. This is what accounts are valued for above all.

Put as much craft and care into your aesthetics as possible. Develop a style that is unique and identifiable. When people view your photos or videos, they should be able to immediately associate it with the brand.

Consistency is a vital element here. While your style might change and evolve over time, the pathway to where you are now should be easy to follow. This means constantly delivering high-quality content and sticking with what works.

So, what can you do to make your visuals compelling?

Tell stories with your images. This is what separates a pretty picture and something that actually has meaning. Stories are emotional and informative. They give the viewer something to connect to on a deeper level.

Pay attention to trends. Sometimes certain types of imagery resonate the most with your audience. However, you shouldn’t just copy others blindly. Try to put your own twist on what’s popular right now.

Focus on faces. The human eye is innately prone to gravitating towards other people’s faces and reading their expressions. Faces can influence how we feel and react. For instance, seeing a smile can make you feel happier. Studies have shown that Instagram images with faces receive 38% more likes than those without.

2. Cultivate an active community.

A common mistake that brands make is that they don’t treat Instagram like a social network. They simply send posts out into the void and expect them to attract followers. This is not enough.

You need to put effort into socializing. Talk to other users. Like their posts and respond to their comments. Follow everybody who think might be interested in your brand. Interact whenever you get the opportunity.

Try to build a community around you. Create a space that feels tight-knit, yet also welcoming to anybody who wants to join.

Here are some ways that you can do this:

Research your target demographics. Take some time to learn about the people you want in your community. Look into their hobbies, taste in music, favorite television shows, and anything else you can find. Pay attention to the language that they use to describe things. Stay current with the events and pop culture that impacts them.

Moderate your comments sections. Don’t let them be overrun by trolls and hateful people. A toxic comments section will turn many people away from your community. If you need to, delete any messages that are offensive and go against the morals of your brand.

Celebrate user-generated content. There’s nothing that shows a community is thriving than a steady flow of UGC from dedicated fans. Do whatever you can to encourage it. Base entire hashtag campaigns around followers making and submitting content. Just remember to ask for permission if you want to feature any stand-out submissions on your Instagram feed.

3. Offer exclusive opportunities to followers.

In order to convert followers into customers, sometimes you need to go the extra mile to entice them. This can involve rewarding them with exclusive deals and chances that others miss out on.

Treat your Instagram audience like an inner-circle. Give them the impression that following you is filled with benefits that others don’t get.

There are a variety of ways in which you can do that.

Hold contests and giveaways. Never underestimate the allure of winning free stuff. You can bring in lots of potential customers by occasionally giving out your products. Though, you should require any entries to follow you and use a branded hashtag in order to qualify. The main goal here should be spreading brand awareness and boosting your image.

Incentivize with sales and promo codes. Running limited-time promotions and discounts can be enough to drive sales. For added exclusivity, you can let your Instagram followers be the first to know about it. You can also work with influencers to give out promo codes, in order to extend your reach.

Utilize Instagram Stories. Much like its rival Snapchat, Instagram Stories only last for a 24-hour period. This makes it ideal for “blink and you miss it” type opportunities. Putting discounts in your Stories will make followers monitor them closely. Managing to snag a promo code here before it disappears will make them feel lucky and special. Furthermore, those who miss out will become more alert and attentive in the future.

Additionally, Instagram Stories is a great place is unveil new products and announce upcoming events in order to generate hype.

4. Be subtle, not salesy.

There’s a delicate art to getting conversions on Instagram. Being too aggressive in your advertising can have the opposite effect than desired and turn many people away from your brand.

Most Instagram users aren’t there for the blatant marketing. In fact, it’s often considered an intrusive element during their usual content browsing.

The best approach is often an understated one. You want each of your posts to have value outside of their commercial intent. Think of it as a Trojan horse tactic, with your marketing ambitions embedded within a captivating surface.

Feature your brand in less obvious ways. Some brands like to put their products front and center in their posts. This can pay off, but it’s not always the most effective method. Many brands have found more success by being inconspicuous. You can do this by including your logo or products, but not focusing directly on them, in organic and visually pleasing ways.

Carefully incorporate your call-to-action. While CTAs should be direct and unambiguous, they should also be handled with caution. Your captions shouldn’t be filled with only demands on your viewers. For example, in a “tag your friends” post, you can put the CTA after a positive or humorous message first.

Gently guide viewers to your bio link. In the same vein as the tip above, you don’t want to be too pushy about directing people to your store page or website. Just add a CTA at the end of a caption that says “to learn more, check out the link in our bio.” Keep it relaxed and casual. Messages like “Buy it here” or “Go to this page now” might come across as a little too desperate.

5. Take risks and try new things.

There are a lot of other brands on Instagram right now. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to be willing to take chances. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” as they say.

Don’t be afraid to do things outside of your comfort zone. Even if it doesn’t work as well as you had hoped, you can still learn from the experience and grow. A fear of failure will keep you from discovering magic and doing some genuinely innovative things with the platform.

Be the first to adopt new features. Instagram often rolls out updates that introduce new features to the platform. It’d be a mistake not to dive into them immediately. When Instagram extended to maximum video length from 15 seconds to 60 seconds, brands were rewarded for taking advantage of it. The same goes for those who adopted Instagram Stories early, or made the first Carousel posts.

It’s exciting for your viewers to see things on Instagram they haven’t seen before. It’ll make them think more highly of you.

Experiment and change strategies. Don’t get too stuck on the familiar. Eventually using the same tactics over and over again will give you diminishing returns. Have you never tried doing an influencer takeover? Then give it a spin and see how it works out for you.

Make strong, possibly controversial statements. Brands can be notoriously wishy-washy when it comes to tackling contentious topics. It’s understandable, as you don’t want to alienate any potential customers. But there are some moments where taking a stance is not only necessary, but also beneficial.

Consider Airbnb’s “We Accept” campaign. It came during a time in which debates were raging about refugees and immigration in the United States. Their choice to make such a strong statement could’ve backfired. Yet still they pushed forward with it, and were praised for their message about diversity and inclusiveness.

If you feel that a stance aligns with your brand’s ethics and morals, then speak up about it. There will be some that disagree with you. There will also be many more who are grateful that you took the risk, and as a result take interest in your brand for doing so.

About the author

Neal Hallenbeck

Neal Hallenbeck is a graduate of Adrian College. He is a freelance writer, media critic and computer game designer.

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