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Instagram for Businesses – How To Generate Sales

Instagram for Businesses – How To Generate Sales using your Instagram account

Many companies that I talk to on a daily basis know that using Instagram and social media in their marketing strategy is a great way to increase sales, but not many know how to do it.

In this post, I will lay down some easy strategies that you can apply to your Instagram account to increase sales.

The first step might also be the most important one, as this will lay out the first vital brick in your strategy moving forward. 

  • Targeting

Choosing your niche and knowing who your audience is is the first step in order for you to generate any sales.

The more specific you are about who the buyer is and what problem you can solve for them, the easier you will find choosing the right content to share on your channels.

If you are a local business like a cafe or hairdresser, targeting a specific area or city where your clients are located is key with using the right hashtags and location tags.

To get an idea of ho your wanted follower is, there are a few questions that you need to answer in order to find them.

  • What gender and age group are they?
  • What problem do they have that you can solve?
  • Do they know that they have this problem?
  • How are they thinking about this problem on a daily basis?
  • What is the solution to this problem?
  • How can your business solve the problem in an easy way?
  • Why should someone choose your company before any other in the same niche as you?

For example, as a barbershop in Los Angeles, you might answer these questions as follows:

Target audience: Men from the age of 25-55 who don’t know how to take care of their beard. They have low self-esteem because they don’t feel handsome and sexy, and think about this when getting ready in the morning to go to work.

This person is not aware that there are products that can make the beard feel, smell and look good and trimmed at all times, and it only takes 5! minutes every morning to get it done. The reason they should choose you is that you have experienced staff who knows how to educate as well as trim there beard to a competitive price in only 15 minutes in the center of Los Angeles.

Once you have this statement clear to you, it’s way easier to know what to post about, what to write in your bio and captions and how to use the app in general.

Now, let’s go through some things you should do in order to increase your conversions on Instagram

1.Create your profile.

Turn your account into a business account so that you can have the option to create ads, add email, phone number and location as buttons on the bottom of the profile and see stats of how well your posts are performing.

Note that the direct buttons to your phone number, email, location or website can only be seen on a mobile device, not on a computer.

In the description of your profile, the bio, make sure to add the following points:

  • What your business is about
  • A call to action
  • 1-2 targeted keywords
  • 1-2 branded hashtags
  • If you’re selling products – their benefits
  • If you’re “selling yourself” – your skills 
  • Contact information

Using branded hashtags
This is a really nice way to improve engagement on your account. The idea is to get other people to post with your branded hashtag so they create more buzz about you. Unfortunately, this won’t work for all types of accounts, however, if it can be applied to yours, use it.

One thing you should know here, the hashtags used in your bio are clickable on the web version of Instagram but not on the phone version of it.

Here’s a nice usage of a branded hashtag:

Using targeted keywords in your bio

Using keywords in your bio won’t improve your searchability on Instagram as it’s not taken into account, however, it will help your followers connect with you easier. It will also help define your business better.

You shouldn’t go overboard with the keywords though, no one wants to read a list of keywords. Pick one or two and use them wisely. There are two ways you can go about with this.

  1. Pick keywords that best describe your businesses core values
  2. Pick keywords that best describe your target audience

There are pros and cons for each of the two, I would suggest you go with the second one. You will have to put a little more work into it and this where knowing as much as possible about your target audience will help a lot.  Choose keywords that will resonate with them the most.

Here’s a nice example of using keywords to target your audience:

A call to action
If you want your visitors to do something, then ask them to do it! Adding a call to action (CTA) will ensure you’re taking full advantage of your traffic.

What you want your CTA to be is entirely up to you. You can increase engagements on your posts by asking them to follow or post with a branded hashtag, drive traffic to a sales funnel, landing page or directly to your site, make them sign up to your newsletter, or like your page on Facebook. Just figure out which will be more effective for your marketing and do it.

A very powerful tactic here is to combine your CTA with a free gift, like an e-book or a taste of your product. This is not suitable for every business though so do it only if you can. Here’s a good example of a CTA combined with a free gift:

Final advice on putting everything together
If you can squeeze all of the above in a nicely looking bio for your Instagram profile you’ll make a killing. If not, add as many as you can. Here are a few ideas on how to make them look good.

  1. Add line breaks or bullet points – this is a great way to make your bio easier to read and understand. To do this just add a new line on the web version of Instagram. If you want to do it on the phone app, you’ll have to write the whole text in a text editor and copy-paste it to make the line breaks remain intact.
  2. Use emojis to space out your text– you can use them to make your bio easier to read and if you pick the right ones they can transmit a lot more in the small space they occupy. You can either use them combined with bullet points like I said above or simple in between the text. Here’s a good resource to find your perfect emoji.
  3. Changing the font in your bio – yes, this can be done and it used to be more popular a few years ago, not so much now. In order to do this, you’ll have to use a 3rd party app like Textizer.

Tools to add more links to your bio
In order to add more links to your bio, there are two options, either you create a landing page on a site you control and add the links there. Visitors will see them and pick the one they are interested in. Or use a 3rd party app that does that for you. Be advised that most of these 3rd party apps will require you to log in with your Instagram account through them.

Here’s a list of the main tools that will allow you to add more links to your bio:

  • Linktree – they have a free option where they keep their branding and a paid one with a few extra features
  • LnkBio – they have a free plan which gives you a random link to use, and several paid ones with custom URL creation and more goodies
  • Link in profile – they have a 30 days free trial, also pick up content from your Instagram feed and make it easy to add the link to it.
  • Leadpages – you can create a landing page easily here by using their templates, you will have to do the work yourself though.

2. Use the right features.

Using the right features on Instagram for promoting your posts or products is important to attract new followers to your page, and communicate with your current followers and turn them into paying clients.
Simply posting single pictures on your profile is not the best way since the risk of not being shown to your followers is big. Therefore, you should actually use all of the features that Instagram offers.
Instagram Stories
Use Instagram stories on a regular basis as these end up at the top of the app when opened, and it’s being viewed by more people than the rest of the feed. If someone watches your story, the pictures you post will show up in their feed. When you have 10.000 followers or more, you can add the swipe- up effect and link directly to a product or promotion. Remember to have a strong CTA when posting a link in your story.

Asking your followers a question for them to answer will help you see how many people are interested to know more about a certain product. This is a perfect way to start communicating with your audience and learn who is interested in actually buying your products. 

Spark the curiosity of your followers and give them a reason to buy your product as soon as possible to not miss out on a great offer.

You can also save your stories as highlights that will end up in the bottom of your profile page and available for your followers to watch at any time, as long as you choose to have them up:

You can use IG TV to make longer videos (more than 1-minute) and share them on a separate IG TV page on your profile. This is a great tool to use to communicate on a more personal level and perhaps show your followers what it’s like to work behind the scenes of your event or product launch.

Direct Messages (DMs)
Use direct messages to your new followers with a strong call to action telling them what the benefit of following you is. Imagine getting a warm welcome from your favorite brand saying thank you for following them, and giving you a special gift. It really helps with relationship building.

Did you know that with our Instagram Growth plans, you can get an automatic DM sent out to all of your new followers automatically?

Check it out here!

3. High-Quality Content

The reason anyone follows you is the content that you produce and the value you can provide for your followers. That’s why it’s key to post high-quality content that stands out on a small phone screen. When you choose what to post remember what your offer is and how you are better than your competitors.

Write compelling captions reminding your followers of the benefits of your product or service.

Choose a few hashtags that have no more than 1 million posts to increase the change of being shown on the explore page and when people searching for that post.

Try to use location tags as often as possible since this is another place you where you will be able to be found for people searching or following that specific tag.

4. Split-test to see which variation of a post works best, and keep doing it.

Split-testing or A/B testing is one of the most common marketing strategies to see what content works the best for your specific goal of that campaign or post. You don’t have to do this at every picture that you post but knowing about it and learning from it can help massively when getting to know your audience and building your sales funnel.

Here is the basic outline of how to perform an A/B test:

  1. Choose what to test (image, caption, hashtags, posting time etc.)
  2. Create 2 similar versions of the same post with the element you want to test different from each other.
  3. Check the stats on each of the 2 posts and analyze the results.
  4. Choose the version that has gotten the highest engagement, clicks or interactions.
  5. Keep making small changes and test until you have found a version that you know will generate the results that you are looking for.
  6. Keep this as a template for future posts

5. Spread your content on other channels.

Once you have found your voice on Instagram and gotten comfortable with all the features you can start sharing your content on other platforms as well to grow your audience. Connecting a facebook page to your Instagram account and post automatically on both platforms is the most simple thing you can do.

You can also spread your posts and handle (username) on forums, in Facebook groups and in with your email-list as a signature or embed it in your copy.

Remember to be clear about what the benefit of following you on Instagram is when spreading your name around.

You can also put your account name on your business cards, on merchandise and other promotional products.

6. Grow your followers and boost your engagement.

To grow your account with followers that are also potential clients, the most effective way is to engage (follow/unfollow, like, comment) on the followers of your competitors to attract them back to your page. Do some research on your competitors and see what they are doing and what their followers are doing to get an idea on which type of accounts to engage with.

You can read the full blueprint on how to grow your account in this post.

7. Work with influencers

A great way to get noticed for your product or service is to work with influencers in the right niche for your business. To give away a free product in exchange for them sharing it on their profiles or stories can have a huge positive impact on your reach.

Make sure that you work with influencers who have a high engagement rate and that their followers are matching with your target audience.

Set your requirements as clear as possible to avoid any misunderstanding about what you are expecting from the influencers that you are working with. You can also use tools such as Brandbassador to find the right influencers to work with.

8. Use your email list to promote successful posts.

You can share your successful posts embedded in your emails to your current and potential clients using Postie tool to share successful posts directly in your email marketing with a call to action about a  discount or special offer.

This is an example of how my own posts would look if I used to Postie Tool to embed them directly in my emails with a direct link:

9. Promote with Instagram Ads.

The final step in your Instagram marketing plan could be to do Instagram and/or Facebook ads to find the buyers that are not already following you on Instagram. Having a successful ad campaign can be difficult if you don’t know what you are doing since you need to target very specifically and know how to set the settings right to generate sales. Therefore, I recommend that when first starting with your ad campaigns to either hire someone to do it for you or take time to do a lot of testing.

You can read more on how to set up your first ad campaign here.

Why don’t you let us handle your Instagram Campaigns to generate more sales, and you can focus on creating awesome content instead?

Now you have some tips on how you can use your Instagram to generate more sales for your business that I hope you will apply to your account to see the sales starting to come in!

/Tess @vanlifertess