Instagram used to be known for its artsy filters and #FoodPorn pictures, but today, with more than 700 million members (and growing fast), the social network has matured into a multi-purpose platform, and one which can help drive leads (and sales) for companies in both the B2B and B2C industries.
If you're curious about how to generate high quality leads from Instagram, here are some easy to replicate strategies and tips.
1. Take The Link in Bio Approach
Instagram does one major thing differently than Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest: the social network doesn't allow you to link back to your site with each post (unless you're running an Instagram ad campaign, which we'll talk about in the next tip). As such, there's no way to drive direct traffic to a specific web page.
With one exception.
When setting up your Instagram profile there is a space in your bio to include a link.
When you publish an update with the intent to drive traffic back to your site in order to generate leads, sales or registrations, you can refer people back to your profile link by using the common "link in bio" reference.
While this approach isn't as streamlined as enabling your followers to simply click the post, like they can on Facebook, it's the best option that Instagram provides free of charge (at least for now).
If you really want to make driving traffic back to your site easy, keep reading to learn about Instagram ads.
2. Boost Your Results With Instagram Ads
One of the fastest and easiest ways to begin generating leads with Instagram is by launching an Instagram ad campaign.
This is a great option if you don't have a lot of Instagram followers but want to start generating leads quickly. It's also perfect for brands who do have a lot of followers and want to make it easy for those users to get to their site, since each ad is clickable.
With an Instagram ad campaign you can precisely target the type of user that would make for an ideal lead. Some popular targeting options include: job title, industry, interests/hobbies and geo location.
If you're already familiar with running Facebook ad campaigns, then launching an Instagram ad campaign will be second nature. Facebook owns Instagram and the two social networks share the same ad building dashboard.
You can easily use the same target audiences you've built for your Facebook ads on Instagram . If you don't yet have Facebook ads running, once you've launched your Instagram ad campaign, Facebook would make sense as the next logical site on which to run your ad content.
Both Facebook and Instagram require no minimum budget so you can literally get started with $5.
3. "Tag a Friend in Comments" Can Work Wonders
One of the best ways to generate new leads through Instagram is by asking your existing target audience to "refer a friend."
In the "old days" the best way to refer a friend was through email, but today you can refer a friend by tagging them in the comments of an Instagram post.
When one of your followers tags a friend in your Instagram comments it immediately notifies the friend, who's then linked back to your post. From there the friend can learn more about your company and what you stand for.
As long as you've linked back to your site in your profile, that friend can then make their way over to your site and become a lead. Even if they don't visit your site right away, if your content is compelling they'll probably follow your Instagram account, which gives you the opportunity to market to them in the future.
This is one of the tactics we used at Foundr Mag to grow our Instagram account from 0 to 500,000 followers in just six months. We now have over 1 million Instagram followers.
4. Run a contest with a super cool prize
Another exciting way to generate leads quickly is by running a high value contest with a super cool prize.
For example, Sally Hansen ran a contest for their Instagram followers in which the winner received a trip to NYC and a photo shoot with Teen Vogue magazine.
To enter the contest their followers had to click the link in Sally Hansen's bio which directed users to a specific page with contest details. Once on the web page, followers could enter the contest, shop for their favorite nail polishes and sign up for the newsletter.
You don't need to offer a prize on the same grandiose level as a trip to NYC and a magazine photoshoot, however your prize should be something that gets people excited. Perhaps it's a $1,000 prize pack, or gift card for your site, or similar.
The idea is that it should be something that really compels people to enter. As you can imagine, if Sally Hansen offered one free nail polish to the winner, the contest would have generated way fewer entries and leads.
Now that you know some simple-to-execute strategies for generating leads from Instagram, it's time to put these ideas to work.
While you may need some time to put together the creative for your Instagram ad campaign or a truly cool contest, you can begin generating leads today with the "link in bio" or "tag a friend" strategies. Good luck and have fun.