Behind the scenes at The Sales Evangelist, we’re working to increase organic engagement and interact with our audience, and we’ve discovered a powerful way to develop new leads through Instagram.
According to Jaeden Schafer, Instagram typically accounts for about 10 percent more organic engagement than Facebook, so it’s a great place to gain a new audience and develop new leads.
Who can benefit?
When Instagram initially launched, its goal was to share nice looking pictures. If you’re following that original idea, your company will likely benefit from it.
But what if you’re a refrigeration repair company? How do you post compelling pictures of refrigerators? Posting photos of refrigerators all day won’t really prompt much growth.
So if, for example, you own a refrigeration company in Miami, post pictures of the area you serve with information about the services you provide. Target people who are the customer persona you’re trying to attract.
It basically just needs to be pretty.
Mistakes on Instagram
Many people will offer the same tips for setting up an Instagram account:
- Choose good photos
- Find out what your customers want
Then they expect people to just show up.
If the engagement doesn’t happen, they just let the page die, which is the worst possible thing you can do on social media. Since social media is about social proof, outdated accounts are worthless.
When people want to buy something online, they often check online to make sure that the social media accounts are updated. If they aren’t, they might assume you’ll be unresponsive.
Plan to post at least once a week if you want to appear actively engaged. If you’re trying to grow, you should post every day.
If you find yourself thinking that you don’t have the team or the resources to post every single day, remember that there are tools available to help you.
Later.com is a scheduling tool that will let you schedule 30 posts for free. You can schedule a new post every day that will keep you active and growing.
Bulkly is a social media automation tool for marketers and entrepreneurs who want to save time scheduling updates. The folks at Bulkly have created an extensive guide to help you post more consistently, create engaging content that generates new followers, and schedule your Instagram posts to automate your process. If it seems like a good fit, Bulkly offers a 7-day free trial to get you started.
Though Instagram is a great place to find new leads, sellers will also want to move those leads from interested to purchasing.
Avoid letting your account just sit. Instead, use your account to find new leads. You can do that with targeted Instagram ads or automation. Better yet, use your account to like and comment on people’s posts that are in your target audience.
Consider the food truck business that launched an Instagram page and then shared images of the food it would serve. On launch day, the owners went to its main competitors’ page and they liked and followed 1,000 of their followers. They repeated that activity every two days for a different food truck.
It grabbed attention because those people would see the business name on their phone as someone who liked their photos and followed their accounts.
It’s a phenomenal strategy, especially for companies that are just starting.
For B2B companies, it’s important to understand how the transition will look after you follow new prospects on Instagram. How do you move them to your website or prompt them to download something?
When a user sees that you liked some of his photos and followed him, then he’ll likely click on your account name to check out your Instagram account. Your account bio will act a little like a splash page or a sales pitch.
Make sure your bio includes your website, and make sure it really clearly outlines what you do and what your call-to-action is. Direct them to your website or your podcast.
For sales reps who might be wondering what kind of content to post, let’s use an example of The Sales Evangelist to talk about what that might look like.
For a service-based business, people tend to limit their thinking about the kind of images to post. Choose high-quality images that look really good.
If you don’t have a high-quality camera, it’s ok.
Start with websites that offer free, copyright-free images, like unsplash.com. Type in your keyword and find hundreds of high-quality photos related to your niche. High-quality photos will make your account look very professional.
Include your own “flavor” that meshes with the way you pitch, but make sure that the people who follow your account feel like they are getting some kind of value out of it.
Some organizations use inspirational quotes or even tips such as how to care for your a/c unit. Choose information that will give something back to your audience.
You can use entire blog posts as an Instagram caption.
In short, be there, post information your customers want, and do it consistently.
Videos have a much higher likelihood of going viral. Jaeden reports that an account he manages might get 400-700 likes, while a video on the same account might get 1,000-14,000 views.
As a result, videos are a really good way to grow your business because videos are more engaging.
Also, though, if the video includes you talking and sharing information, it builds a relationship with your customers because they get to experience your personality in a way that they wouldn’t in a photo. It creates trust.
Many people go to Instagram just for the stories. If you can create a story that captures people’s attention, it’s a huge new piece of real estate.
When you have a new promotion or a new post, consider using your story to encourage followers to check out your new post. You can promote a podcast, a sale, a deal, or whatever you want people to know.
Once you have 10,000 followers on Instagram, you can put links in your story so people can just swipe up on the story to access your links. That’s when stories become super powerful because it’s a free ad that you can push to everyone who follows you.
Hashtags can be incredibly beneficial or they can be useless, depending on how you use them. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per photo, and users should take advantage of all 30 of them to be super specific about the content in the photo.
The platform’s artificial intelligence scans photos to see what are in them, and if you use a big list of random hashtags, your photo won’t perform well. The value of hashtags is that if someone clicks on one, they go to a hashtag page that shows all the images that used that hashtag.
For smaller businesses, use longer hashtags that have fewer people using them, ideally 20,000 to 100,000 uses. Be super specific in your hashtags and use those that fit the size of your business.
Jaeden had great success with a luxury travel company. He set up unique accounts for different geographic locations: one for Maldives resorts, Bora Bora resorts, Greek resorts, and so on.
Each bio directed users back to the main page.
He said it was an easy way to tap into a saturated market that is often expensive to advertise in. Within a month, they were getting about 20 percent of their traffic from Instagram.
If you don’t have time to go and follow 1,000 users on a single day, consider using tools like Ninjagram or Jarvee to automate your Instagram efforts. You put your account into it and then select your competitors, and the tool does the work for you.
“New Leads Through Instagram” episode resources
Connect with Jaeden at Fiund.com with any questions you may have or to get additional advice or tips.
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