How to Boost Brand Conversion on Instagram

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Trying to get a conversion can sometimes feel like a bad fishing trip. You see lots of activity in the water around you, but nothing seems to be biting.

If that’s the case, you should consider setting sail for Instagram.

Compared to other social networks, Instagram has the highest engagement rates when it comes to brands. No other platform comes close. It even gets 4 times more engagement than its parent company, Facebook.

Surveys have found that 50% of Instagram users follow a business account, and 75% take action in response to the posts they see.

So, if turning viewers into customers is your aim, then Instagram is your best shot at making it happen.

Just follow these tips, and you’ll boost your sales in no time:

Know your audience

If you want to use Instagram as a platform to drive sales, then you need to know the audience you’ll be convincing to buy your products.

First, form a clear picture of your target demographic. Don’t be vague about this step. Basic knowledge like their age, gender and location are only the tip of the iceberg. Fill out your sketch with as much detail as possible.

What are their hobbies and interests? Which movies and TV shows do they watch? What types of music do they listen to? What’s their sense of humor?

Once you have a solid customer profile, ask yourself whether you can find the group on Instagram.

Search around for a while. If you can’t find the customers you want, then Instagram might not be the right platform for you.

But if you find them, it’s time to work on catering your brand to their tastes.

Define your identity

Every brand should have a voice. By this, I mean a clearly defined personality. It’s the part that speaks to your customer on a personal level.

Some brands opt to be humorous and irreverent, while others have an aura of professionalism and integrity.

Which attitude is right for you? It depends on whom you want to attract. For example, younger people tend to enjoy brands that are laid back and don’t take themselves too seriously. Older audiences, however, might prefer a brand that seems earnest, reliable and dedicated to serving their customers.

Remember that everything you do is an extension of your identity, from the design of your content to the language you use. Always be careful and deliberate in your decisions.

Have a strategy

A good campaign usually begins by developing a strategy. Going in blind is not recommended.

The most important part of a plan is the end goal. In this case, your objective is to convert viewers into potential customers.

To do this, you must first inform your viewers about your brand. They need to know what you sell and why they should be interested. You have to convince them that your products are desirable.

How do you do that?

Photos and videos are the primary form of content on Instagram. This means that you will have to convey your personality through your visual style. Take a look at the aesthetics that appeal to your target audience, and decide on an approach that meshes with your brand’s image.

You must also consider the social aspect of the platform. You will need to connect with customers by interacting and communicating with them directly. Think of this as participating in the community you are trying to reach. Participation could include following other users, liking their posts and leaving them comments.

Finally, you should form a regular posting schedule. Figure out what content to post, what times to post it and what captions and hashtags to include with it. You want to be somewhat predictable, as it gives your followers something to look forward to.

Showcase your products

Never lose sight of your product.

With some brands, it might be hard to tell what exactly they produce or sell by looking at their Instagram. Red Bull, for instance, seldom shows anybody guzzling down their energy drinks. This subtle approach can work if the brand’s name is widely recognized. People already know what to expect from them.

However, it’s not always the best approach, particularly for a company still finding its footing.

Integrate your products into your content. Do you make designer sunglasses? Then feature people wearing them in your posts. As long as it’s creative and visually compelling, Instagram users will dig it.

Partner for shoutouts

There are numerous reasons why working with influencers can be beneficial. One of these is that you can negotiate with them for shoutouts.

A shoutout is when a user makes a post to promote another user. Many influencers are open to paid shoutouts, and can be contacted through websites like Shoutcart and BuySellShoutouts.

Be sure that the influencer aligns with your brand and target audience. After reaching out to them, you can work together on a plan. Then you can decide on the time of day for the shoutout, and the exact content of the posts. Each influencer will typically offer a variety of packages that you can choose from.

The most effective shoutouts are the ones where the influencer focuses solely on your brand for a 24-hour period. Any longer than that and you might wear out your welcome.

A shoutout can be a great way to spread awareness of a new campaign or a specific product you’re launching.

Trade shares for shares

A lot of Instagram users participate in share-for-share (s4s) exchanges. It’s essentially a free way to get shoutouts. The only thing you need to do is give them a shoutout in return.

Look around on the #s4s hashtag for anybody you think might be interested in sharing your brand. Send them a DM with your proposal. If they accept, you can move forward with agreeing upon what the two of you will post.

Don’t forget to instruct your audience to follow the other account in the captions. It’s a common courtesy when it comes to shares. The central purpose of s4s is to expand both parties’ audiences through crossover appeal.

Keep an eye on the competition

Instagram is packed with brands pursuing the same niche you are. The best way to stay ahead of them is be aware of what they’re doing.

Pay attention to their successes and failures. Take note of what seems to be working and how you can improve upon it. The key to beating your competition is offering a better deal.

If you want to get notifications whenever they post, here’s a handy trick. Just go to their profile and click on the options icon in the upper right. Then select Turn On Notifications from the list that pops up. Now you’ll get alerts in real time.

Don’t get too fixated on the competition, though. Constantly trying to keep up with your rivals can stifle your creativity. You don’t want to mimic; you want to excel.

Invest in ads

Because Facebook is its parent company, Instagram has some of the most precise ad targeting around. You’d be foolish not to take advantage of it.

Instagram offers a variety of ad types. Your ads can come in the form of sponsored photo and video posts. You can also do a carousel of multiple images that the viewer can swipe through. Lastly, you could do an ad on Instagram Stories, which is Instagram’s equivalent to Snapchat.

All you have to do is connect your Instagram account to your Facebook Business Manager account to get started.

Put links in your bio

There’s only only place where Instagram allows clickable links: your bio. You should use this space wisely.

Many brands use this opportunity to include the direct URL to their store page. This is a perfectly fine and reasonable choice.

Another thing you could do is update this link for each new campaign. Then, in any relevant posts, you can tell the viewer to check out the link in your bio for more information.

Include a Call to Action

The power of a call to action is often overlooked. Sometimes all you have to do is tell the viewer what they should do next.

This can be a simple phrase in the caption of your post. For example, you might write “Tag your friend if they’d like this” or “Like if you agree.” Alternatively, you can pose a question and invite them to answer it in the comments.

As long as you aren’t overly forceful or begging in an obnoxious way, most Instagram users will appreciate being addressed and acknowledged.

Give out promo codes

Potential customers always seem hesitant about that initial leap. An incentive could help push them forward.

Feel free to toss out some promo codes every once in a while. You could put the codes in the image itself, or tuck them away in the captions.

If the discount is good enough, it might sweeten the deal and drive a conversion.

Feature User-Generated Content

There are over 800 million active users on Instagram each month. Most of them are not just there to consume content; they also want to be seen and recognized.

A lot of them are talented photographers in their own right. Why not share the spotlight?

For example, you could ask your followers to post themselves interacting with your products. Encourage them to get imaginative and put their own twist on your brand. Then reward the best submissions by posting them on your feed.

Just remember to get their permission first, of course.

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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