We’ve all heard of Facebook Marketplace and how brands use the platform to expand their sales campaigns. But did you know you can also use Instagram to boost your sales?
An Instagram sales funnel is one of the most effective eCommerce tactics for increasing revenue and rapidly scaling an online store. Using Instagram, you can reach a large audience of users & persuade them to make a purchase. It’s an ideal advertising medium for eCommerce businesses!
Instagram now boasts over 800 million monthly users and is still rapidly expanding. While Instagram may have started as a platform for trailblazers to share their favorite images, it has since grown to become one of the world’s most profitable online marketplaces.
Why Promote on Instagram
It’s easy to use Instagram to promote your products. Just take a photo, add a catchy caption, then post it. Promoting your posts will help them get into more users’ Instagram feeds.
Promoted posts are like regular posts, but you pay for them to be seen by a specific audience. A “Sponsored” tag appears on all advertisements and promoted posts to inform IG users that the author has paid to show them this material.
Using the Instagram app to promote a post is as simple as tapping a few icons:
- Go to your business profile in the Instagram app.
- You’ll find a “Promote” button under the post you wish to promote.
- Fill in the details.
- Tap “Create Promotion.” If your post meets Instagram policies, your promotion will be up and running soon.
But why should you promote Instagram posts? Here are some reasons:
Reach Broader Audiences
Promoting a post is one way to introduce yourself to new people.
You can either customize your audience or allow Instagram to create one for you based on the information you provide. The audience Instagram creates is based on your current IG followers, which can produce good results if your follower list already reflects your target audience. It also takes less time, analysis, and effort than if you use Ads Manager.
Call to Action Drives Traffic to Your Website
You cannot connect your traditional Instagram posts to your website.
On the other hand, a promoted message gives you the option of including a call-to-action (CTA) button. The CTA appears under the image or video itself, which means the user can easily see and click on it:
You have several options for your CTA during the setup stage. You can give your new audience the potential to visit your website, profile or ask for additional messages. You’ll want to choose the CTA that best suits your marketing goals.
Sales Funnel Defined
Now, let’s go back to the main topic of this article: the sales funnel. To turn your social media platform visitors into customers, you need to create that sales funnel.
A sales funnel visual represents the journey prospective buyers take to make a purchase.
The most popular sales funnel structure consists of five phases:
- Awareness: Attracting new potential customers who are currently unaware of your brand.
- Consideration: Making your brand stand out from the competitors, so you entice new leads.
- Action: Convincing your audience to take action and make a purchase.
- Engagement: Keeping your audience engaged using social media even after they have made a purchase.
- Advocacy: Building trust with your audience so that they want to recommend and promote your brand.
On Instagram, the boundaries between the stages of the funnel tend to be blurred. That fluidity gives you the ability to convert a visitor into a customer in just a matter of minutes! It has the potential to increase traffic to your site, too.
How to Create an Instagram Sales Funnel
That said, how do you create an Instagram sales funnel that works? In this section, let’s look at seven different ways you can customize your Instagram sales funnel for the various stages we discussed:
1. Target Buyer Personas with Instagram Ads
A buyer persona is a comprehensive profile of a fictitious individual who represents your target market.
It can give you an understanding of your audience’s priorities, pressure points, and purchasing preferences. That enables you to design customized marketing campaigns and make money with Instagram.
When you create a buyer persona, you can achieve the following:
- Put yourself in your customer’s shoes: Creating a persona will force you to look at your brand from the eyes of your audience. It will make you realize what you can do differently to increase engagement.
- Improve the effectiveness of your social media advertising.
Promoted posts are less effective if you have no idea about the audience you want to reach. Creating a buyer persona will allow you to distill your target audience into data points you can easily input into your promotional setting.
2. Add a CTA to Your Bio
The bio section of your profile is where you need to put your best foot forward. (check out these Instagram bio examples for inspiration). So, add a call-to-action button. Since the app’s interface doesn’t have much room for text or links, you’ll have to get creative.
The text in your bio should support the CTA.
If your account has less than 10,000 followers, adding a CTA is a rare chance to promote your site. If your aim is to increase your click-throughs and improve your conversion rate, a visible CTA is the way to go.
3. Collaborate with Influencers
Collaborating with influencers can help broaden your audience and help you generate more leads and sales. The influencer’s posts about your brand, after all, will be seen as genuine by their followers. Why? Because, well, they trust the influencer.
Instagram influencer marketing generates around $1 billion a year. Big brands pay thousands of dollars for influencers to promote their products. However, your business doesn’t have to be a multimillion-dollar brand to get into influencer marketing. Micro-influencers, or those with a few thousand followers, don’t charge as much. The average supported cost, for example, is around $300 per post.
When you engage with an influencer, micro or otherwise, you need to ensure that both the influencer and your brand have the same target market. If you’re trying to tap into a new market, the influencer you’re about to engage should have a good grasp of your industry.
View this post on Instagram
Sean Webster (@sugsean) is a good example of a micro-influencer who works mostly with small and niche brands. While he is known more for his fashion posts, he has also worked with a variety of non-fashion brands, including Vitabiotics and Estrella Damm. In one of his recent posts, Sean promoted local whiskey brand Aberlour to his follower base of 55,000 Instagram users.
However, he wasn’t the only micro-influencer who was working with Aberlour around that time. Aberlour also partnered with two other micro-influencers, Jack Guinness (@jackguinness) and Oliver Hooson (@olvh), to promote a contest where the grand prize is a trip to the Aberlour distillery:
View this post on Instagram
With a combined reach of over 179,000 Instagram users, the three micro-influencers were able to expand Aberlour’s audience significantly. In return, they also got exposure to Aberlour’s 54,000-strong follower base.
4. Include a Link in Your Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories allow users to share content for only 24 hours. That content caters to customers at the top of the sales funnel. It’s great for creating urgency.
Since your audience is given a deadline to determine whether to act on your CTA, it will give them a thrill when they click through to the destination. You can direct your followers to your product page. Then, use Wishpond’s Payments Product so they can make instant purchases from there.
The example from Mejuri above gives you an idea of what you can do with links in Stories. It’s easier now for users to access your site from Stories as Instagram has replaced the Swipe Up feature with stickers. Stickers on Stories give you a way around Instagram’s suppression of links in posts and allow you to redirect your followers to your online store.
Aside from relying on your current followers, you can also reach out to new audiences through branded hashtags. Adding hashtags to your Instagram story lets new users find your account and navigate to your eCommerce store through the CTA feature. Although niche hashtags may not have a broad search volume, they’re more likely to contribute to conversion as they have a more focused audience.
5. Leverage User-Generated Content
User-generated content is content produced by users. It can take a variety of formats, including text and videos.
On Instagram, UGC will help other potential customers see themselves using your products and join your sales funnel. It will help develop brand trust and, eventually, boost your bottom line.
Here are ways to gather UGC:
- Start a hashtag trend: Encourage your followers to share their work by using a custom hashtag you made.
- Ask a question: Do this and invite your followers to tag you in an article they share. People love being the focus of attention!
- Sponsor a contest: Maybe a photography contest?
With UGC, you can promote brand discovery and build an online community. UGC allows your brand to engage with your followers—and turn them into brand advocates!
Check out this example from a fan of Serrano Wine, who publishes an Instagram Story about her visit to their tasting room.
Loryn gushes about how friendly the owners were. Mind you, she wasn’t paid to promote the winery at all!
6. Sell from Your Instagram Account
You need to provide quick solutions for your buyer’s problems, and giving them immediate access to buy your products is one way to increase your sales through Instagram.
While Instagram is still in the initial stages of being an eCommerce platform, brands are already putting as much work into their Instagram accounts as they are putting into their eCommerce sites.
Look at LoveCrafts Crochet’s account below.
You may notice that they don’t have an Instagram Shopping account right now. However, they are still able to sell from their account using the link in their bio. Here’s an instructional video in their Story Highlights that tells customers how they can make purchases:
Clicking on the link takes the user to a page where they can see sale posts from the Instagram account. Clicking on a post redirects the user to an online store where they can purchase their selected product.
Since your Instagram business profile is a customer’s first point of communication with your company, you need to make an excellent first impression and entice the user to follow you. Transform potential customers into loyal customers by building a cohesive brand narrative and style.
You’ll be selling directly on Instagram in no time if you follow these four steps:
7. Convert Your Personal Profile into a Business Account
It’s easy to convert your account to a business account. First, you need to click on your account settings, then look for “Switch to Business Profile.” Once you’ve converted your Instagram account into a business profile, you have the option of connecting it to a Facebook page.
Why should you convert your Instagram account into a business account? Business accounts have the following features:
- Instagram Insights: Metrics including profile views, page clicks, scope, and impressions can be found under the Activity tab.
- CTA button: This appears under your bio at the top of your profile and allows people to call, email, or get directions to your company.
- Story links: Having the ability to include links in your Instagram stories allows you to guide your followers to different items and landing pages on your website.
- Alignment on Facebook: You can now use Business Manager or Advertising Manager to link to your Facebook business page and start running ads.
There is so much you can do for your business once you switch to a business profile.
Bolster Organic Campaigns with Hashtag Analysis
Switching to a business profile allows you to see how many views come from hashtags and how many of the accounts you hit weren’t following you.
Hashtag research can help you discover trends your brand can capitalize on. The procedure is straightforward. Check for words specific to your niche by going to Discover > Search >Tags. You’ll see how many posts have used that hashtag.
When you do hashtag marketing, use a mix of hashtags with high and low posting volumes. The “relatively less” variety can sometimes be just as, if not more, appropriate, and using them increases your chances of being seen by a high-intent audience.
Use Instagram Shopping
Instagram shopping allows you to tag your products’ details on your images. Clicking on the details will take users to a product page and a CTA button that links to a checkout page on your eCommerce website.
For example, Kate Spade’s Instagram account uses product tags to redirect users to its product pages. Instagram Shopping helps you drive traffic to your site by offering you a way around Instagram’s linking restrictions. While it’s only available in the US, Instagram is planning to make it available in more locations soon.
Use an Analytics Tool
Measure your performance to determine the direction your Instagram business will take. Without analytics, you won’t know if you should be doing more to engage your audience.
While you do get analytics tools with Instagram, the functionality is limited. You can only view insights for Stories for 24 hours and access the last two years’ worth of data. In addition, you can only view analytics for content you’ve published after you’ve switched to a business profile.
Because of these limitations, many Instagram marketers use other tools to access more advanced analytics. For instance, Instagram Reports from HypeAuditor allow you to analyze influencers’ profiles.
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Instagram is gradually transforming itself into a sales and marketing platform where you can implement a sales funnel.
The content you post will have to cater to users in different stages of the buyer journey. Partnering with influencers, for example, will help you attract new customers. Using UGC turns your followers into your brand advocates. Instagram Shopping has the potential to be a gamechanger in facilitating sales in the future.
The key to successful Instagram sales is to measure and adjust your sales funnel marketing strategy continually. Be open to trying different methods of brand promotion. Of course, put your customers first all the time.
Written by our guest writer Baidhurya Mani, founder of SellCoursesOnline.com
He regularly shares tips, tools, and strategies to help creators build a successful online course business.