When compared to social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter, it's easy to look at Instagram like a newcomer. However, when you study the trends and look at the numbers, it's pretty clear that Instagram is a great place to invest your lead generation efforts. It has a wide reach and is exponentially more engaging than the aforementioned platforms.
According to data aggregated by WordStream, there are 600 million Instagram users worldwide, two-thirds of which are active every single day. Roughly 80 percent of the user base is located outside of the U.S. and the average user is a female between the ages of 18 and 29. There are more than 8 million registered businesses on Instagram and 1 million monthly advertisers.
When you study numbers like these, it's clear that Instagram is the future of online lead generation. And in any lead generation process, there are four basic steps: attract, convert, nurture, and close.
Here are a few tips that will help you accelerate this process:
There's no room for anything fake on Instagram. People come to Instagram expecting to see genuine content that hasn't been doctored. (Filters are fine, but content should never look like it's been sent through your marketing department for editing and approval.)
The best Instagram content is behind the scenes. If you're a furniture maker, your followers don't want a staged picture of the finished product - they want a messy image of the product being built. For a caterer, an image of you sourcing your ingredients from a local farmer's market is more appealing than a cliché picture of food on a plate.
You're probably wondering how much you should post each day. Well, there isn't a universal answer. Most agree that between one and two times per day is best. If you decide to post two images, wait at least a few hours between posts. The last thing you want to do is spam your followers with back-to-back posts.
As far as when to post, you're probably going to get more exposure if you post before or after standard work hours in your market. People are much more likely to see content when they're off the clock.
Instagram is highly conducive to contests. When the goal is to push leads through the conversion process, a simple contest that asks followers to share a post and tag a friend is highly effective. It increases your reach and provides the equivalent of free advertising.
Instagram also provides a good opportunity for running user-generated content contests. By asking followers to upload their own content for a chance to win a reward, you get access to content that can be used at a later date, while simultaneously encouraging a momentary boost in exposure.
You don't have to go from "attract" to "close" in one step. Sometimes Instagram is best used as a platform for nurturing leads. Try teasing blog or website content with a clever Instagram post and you may be able to drive traffic to specific landing pages or product pages.
Did you know that Instagram has live video capabilities on its platform? The urgency of live video makes it the perfect vehicle for attracting and converting potential leads. Use it strategically to bring people in and humanize your brand. Consider teasing new products, product demonstrations, time sensitive announcements, live event look-ins, and behind the scenes processes.
Most businesses still commit more time and resources to Facebook or Twitter than to Instagram, which is a shame. While those platforms do offer the potential for returns, Instagram is the future.