Can Instagram Function at the Top of Your Sales Funnel?
Instagram has broken into the mainstream, and while that may scare off the Millennials, it offers enormous marketing opportunities for local small businesses here in Gilbert, AZ, as well as Fortune 500 companies around the nation. With over 200 million active users, Instagram has evolved from a trendy new app to a multi-faceted business with massive potential. It's no wonder that Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion! On any given day, there are over 75 million users on Instagram, taking, filtering, editing and sharing 60 million photos. It hasn't taken long for brands to notice the shift in visual marketing and jump on the Instagram bandwagon. Everyone from Disney to Starbucks, Forever 21 and your local florist is on Instagram, benefiting from the age of visual marketing.
The Instagram Sales Funnel
The social media sales funnel usually includes a top-down approach where Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest balance at the top, increasing brand awareness and possibly driving traffic to landing pages or websites. It use to be that brands would use Facebook for strictly brand awareness - or to make their brand look cool and trendy. Over time brands have learned how to harness the power of Facebook, as well as Twitter and Pinterest, to turn customers into Fans and Fans into customers.
While Instagram does not offer the ability to create a custom landing page, it does allow brands to tap into the core of the audience, with emotional, awe-inspiring and motivational images.
Follow these simple tips to turn your Instagram account into a master of sales:
1. Be Authentic: In my work with Quaintise as the Social Media Director, authenticity is a word that gets used quite often, but for great reasons. If a brand is able to stay authentic throughout their lifetime, they will cultivate lasting relationships with customers.
2. Be Original: Use Instagram to share products that have yet to be shared publicly. Select images and filters that speak to your brand, but make you stand out from the crowd. What does your brand have, what does your location have, that no other brand has? Show that to your audience.
Disneyland uses this technique in nearly every post, because no one else has what Disneyland has, especially when it comes to first experiences.
3. Be Consistent: Across any social media platform, you must remain consistent with your brand message. That is a given. But on Instagram you must remain consistent with your theme and filters. You will lose credibility and professionalism if you step too far outside the bubble with your editing and filters.
4. Be Friendly: User-generated marketing works extremely well on Instagram, where users are still highly engaged and love taking and sharing photos. Invite your audience to share photos with your brand, tagging your brand in the comments. Once again, we turn to Disneyland's Instagram page, where they encourage Fans to share their photos with hashtags after obtaining an approval.
Notice in the Disneyland description the link to "approve your photos."
5. Be Creative: Hashtags are a wonderful way to integrate user-generated content with brand-generated content. Develop hashtags for contests, themes, and so much more.
6. Be Conversational: According to Adweek, Instagram is achieving three times the engagement per post when compared to Facebook. This means that you cannot simply upload an image and leave it out there, hanging. This is true for any social medium, but when Instagram is currently generating more engagement then any other medium, it's that much more important to be conversational, answer questions, join discussions and get involved.
7. Be Inspirational: Just as Facebook and Twitter can be used as tools for good, Instagram can be used as a tool to inspire action. Many brands, including Chobani and Nike, have created hashtags to encouraging community involvement. What does your brand stand for? 8. Be Beautiful: Beauty is all around us. One of the most profound aspects of Instagram is its capacity to turn us all into amateur photographers, searching for that hidden beauty, that perfect shot, that stunning moment in time.
Allow your brand to be beautiful, to find beauty within itself and it's customers and products. Everyone these days wants that perfect shot, but it's sometimes those things that you don't realize how beautiful they are until you've Instagrammed them. Walt Disney World does a great job making an ordinary patio chair look magical:
9. Understand Your Brand: Not every brand fits into the Instagram mold. If you are going to take on Instagram, be sure it's where your audience is and where it wouldn't mind seeing you.
10. Understand Your Audience: If I've said it once, I've said it a million times. Understanding your audience, where they are, what they care about, what touches them emotionally is the single most important aspect to social media marketing. If you know your audience, you will know exactly what to post in Instagram.
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