How to Turn Your Instagram Followers Into Paying Customers

If you want your Instagram profile to help you increase sales and grow your business, you have to treat your Instagram followers as if they are all prospects and make them want to buy your products.

1. Offer Value

To grab prospect’s attention and increase your chances of converting them to a paying (and loyal) customer, you need to offer value in two key places in your Instagram profile – in your bio and on your feed. Tell the prospective qualified audience why they should follow your content and the benefit it will offer them.

Give them a lead magnet with the link in your bio. (You can change the link as needed to go along with any offer you’re currently running.) This way, they know immediately, what’s in it for them if they decide to follow you and will boost your conversions in turn.

The posts you share on Instagram should also be filled with value. You achieve this by focusing on your unique selling proposition, or the biggest thing that makes you different from the competition and post valuable content based on that.

Another way you can offer value is to create Instagram exclusive content – that is content you don’t share on your other social media channels. Use it to reveal new products, so your followers feel special.

Use it to create an offer, such as a discount code, that you don’t release anywhere else. Launch your product or event live on Instagram, and then post the replay later on your other networks, to encourage people who follow you on other channels to follow you on Instagram, too.

2. Make Your Account About Your Audience – Not You

If the account is about you and the sales you need or want to make, your audience will feel it. If you’re lucky enough to keep the followers in the first place, chances are most of them will ignore you. Otherwise, many of them will just unfollow your account.

This means taking time to focus on what your audience needs from you, and what you can do to meet those needs. Be different from most brands that focus on their products and services. Focus on your target market instead, and you’ll be giving them value while also standing apart from what the competition is doing.

3. Engage With Your Followers

Engaging with your followers is critical for your success on social media because it shows them you’re building a two-way relationship with them. You’re listening, and you care. There are several ways you can do this.

First, make sure you’re taking the time to reply to any comments people leave on your posts. It takes a few seconds to like a photo, but taking the time to leave a comment is important because everyone’s time is valuable. If you don’t respond, your audience knows you’re not paying attention, and doesn’t have much motivation to continue reaching out to you with comments.

Take the time to ask questions. Have a conversation around your big idea. This builds trust and lets your followers know you’re looking to build relationships – not just make sales. When you ask questions, they’ll be much more likely to engage – especially if you’ve set a precedent by replying to the comments they make.

4. Make it Easy for Them to Buy Your Products

Most of the time, if people have to go through multiple steps to be able to buy your products, they’re just not going to do it. That’s why you should take advantage of the fact that you can now tag your products in Instagram photos, and people can click to buy from you without ever having to leave the Instagram platform. Super easy for them means more likely sales for you.

Your account must first be approved for shopping on Instagram, which means you must sell physical, tangible products. (If you sell services, you can change out the link in your bio as often as you need to, changing your landing pages based on the current specials and deals you’re running and direct people to the link in your bio in your caption.)

You must connect your Instagram business profile to a Facebook catalog. You can either connect to an existing Facebook catalog or use a catalog on Business Manager account that owns the Facebook Page linked to your Instagram business account.

From there, you’ll either need to create a new catalog with products or connect to the existing catalog you want to use for shopping on Instagram.

From there, you’ll be able to tag any products in the catalog in the photos they appear in, so people can click and buy. You can tag up to five products per single image post, or 20 products in a multi-image post – and use one product sticker per story. You can use the sticker with highlights, videos, and swipe up.

Ultimately, all it takes to be successful and build an engaged audience of followers who are willing to become customers is to be authentic and meet their needs. The second you make your social activity about your company and not about your audience, that’s the second you fail.

When you act from a place of concern for your audience and a desire to help them meet their needs, that’s when you will be able to earn trust and build the necessary relationships to earn revenue from Instagram.

8 Tips for Writing the Perfect Instagram Bio

Building a presence on Instagram takes a lot of time and dedication. It also requires a great deal of strategy. Everything from the types of photos you create to the time of day you post them makes a difference.

There are ways to get a jumpstart on developing a successful account, but knowing and implementing proven strategies will help you reach your online marketing goals.

1. Visually Identify Yourself

Consistent branding is important across social media. Branding is the way in which your followers identify you. It’s comprised of a number of components that portray your message and who you are.

Visual branding is achieved through numerous design strategies, from your logo to the stylistic theme of your photos. Try to incorporate visual elements into your bio so that it is instantly recognizable. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to use your company logo as your profile picture.

A logo is a visual representation of your brand and can be used in many ways to create consistency throughout your marketing.

2. Use a Strategic Link

Instagram only allows you to post one link in your bio, so it’s imperative that you use it wisely. Consider your marketing goals and the best ways to implement them.

It may make sense to link to the homepage of your website so that your Instagram followers can get a get a general sense of what you have to offer. However, that’s not the only option, nor is it the one that may be right for your needs. Perhaps you want to link to a particular landing page that gives more in-depth information about one aspect of your company or that shares a current promotion.

Another option is to link to a specific product page or giveaway URL. The beautiful thing about your bio link is that it can change as needed. A popular strategy is to direct followers through your post to follow a specific link in your bio.

3. Add a Call to Action

Speaking of giving your followers direction, you should do so throughout your content, as well as in your bio. A simple call to action (CTA) will let your audience know what action you’d like them to take. It can also encourage engagement. People generally take well to such gentle suggestions.

It doesn’t have to be salesy or over-the-top. Simply add a statement suggesting folks visit a particular page and link it in your bio. You’ll probably see a favorable response.

4. Each Word Counts

Another aspect of branding involves the tone you use in your copy. The words you use matter, especially in a limited space such as your Instagram bio. Therefore, be sure to think carefully about how you want to portray your business.

Use a tone that reflects your brand, such as trendy, upbeat, serious, educational or fun. Take time to reflect on your choices to be sure you’ve written a bio description that fits your brand and tells visitors what they need to know.

5. Include the Most Important Information

Your bio truly is the place where people are likely to go first in order to learn about your business. These days, they often head to Instagram before even Googling a company. Therefore, you absolutely must include the most important information in this space.

There’s no room or time for fluff. Visitors will scan this area and get the information they need in an instant. Ask yourself what your most important message is. What’s your purpose, and where do you excel? How can you alleviate your customer’s pain point? What makes you stand out?

6. Make Your Bio Searchable

Keywords are important even in your Instagram bio. SEO, or search engine optimization,  helps search engine visitors to find you. You never know who may come across your profile when searching for what it is you do best.

Including SEO-friendly terms that precisely describe your product or service will get you in front of more eyes, increasing your chances of gaining loyal followers and making sales.

7. Don’t Forget the Hashtags

Hashtags are essential to Instagram use. They help users find you, and now you can incorporate them into your bio. That’s great news because it sets a precedent the minute a user stumbles upon your account.

You can use popular hashtags that are most relevant to your business to help folks find you, but it’s also a good idea to create a custom hashtag just for your business as a means of visible branding.

Placing this custom tag in your bio allows new followers to associate this visual with your brand.

8. Use Whitespace to Your Advantage

As with any copy such as advertising and blog posts, formatting is important in your Instagram bio. People have gotten quite used to scanning online content. They’re busy and in a hurry. That’s why you want to make it as easy as possible for them to discover your message when viewing your bio.

They should be able to take a quick glimpse at your copy and come away with a general idea of what you’re all about. This isn’t possible if you try to squeeze your total allotted word count into one long paragraph. Instead, make it gentle on the eyes by breaking things up.

You can whitespace simply by adding extra actual spaces between lines. Asterisks or emojis are also fun ways to give your words a little breathing room, as long as these fit with your brand style. Bulleted lists are always good, as well.

Hopefully, these tips will have you feeling confident and ready to write your own stellar Instagram bio. Taking some extra time, planning and strategy in this area will pay off big in the long run.

The 12 Funniest Brands on Instagram You Should Be Following

Social media can be a fickle place. It’s tough to know what’s going to be a hit with your audience or what will attract new followers. One thing that seems to be quite popular and shared frequently is humor.

If you can use it strategically and tastefully, there’s a good chance these types of posts can really take you far. People love to share funny stuff, and humorous posts are often quick to go viral and helps brands boost their conversions.

To get some pointers, check out these 12 funny brands on Instagram.

1. The Honest Company

The Honest Company is a baby product brand that prides itself on, well, its honesty. Their products are good for the environment and ethically manufactured. Their approach to humor is simple.

Among adorable images of babies and their own products, The Honest Company Instagram feed is sprinkled with inspirational, funny and relatable sayings about parenthood and family. They even throw some inspirational quotes in for good measure. People identify with these sayings and respond favorably to the brand.

2. Taco Bell

Taco Bell takes a novel approach to their Instagram use, and it’s proven to work quite well. Their images are colorful and eye-catching, but may not strike you as humorous at first. It’s when you take a closer look and read the captions that you’re in for a belly laugh.

These one-liners are pithy and succinct, yet usually strike with humor that’s relevant to their audience. They go all out with creativity, even soliciting the participation of their followers at times. We can all learn a lot by examining Taco Bell’s clever use of captions.

3. Old Spice

Old Spice has sprinted its way to Instagram stardom and social media popularity in general with its hysterical new image. They’ve rebranded themselves in recent years with wildly beloved television commercials featuring Terry Crews and Isaiah Mustafa.

The brand has springboarded that popularity into their social media campaigns and is quite well-followed on Instagram. Their corny, yet quirky, edge is one that users have come to recognize and to  seek in droves.

Old Spice uses video, along with several of Instagram’s newest features, to prove they’re not afraid of innovation. Don’t be afraid to show your true, weird personality if it fits your brand image and audience.

4. Denny’s

Denny’s is the iconic family restaurant chain that’s been around for since the 1950’s. If their use of social media is any indication, they’re proving to be able to remain current through the decades. Check out their Instagram profile, and you’ll see innovative use of the platform’s reliance on sharp visuals. They use photoshop to create unusual imagery that makes you do a double-take.

The humor is usually an interplay between the clever graphic and witty caption to provide an experience their followers seem to love. Denny’s shows you can push the envelope just enough to remain relevant and tasteful, yet humorous to a wide audience.

5. Arby’s

Arby’s, the roast beef joint we all know and love, has had a social media turnaround of sorts. They’re showing how a brand can truly find and cater to its niche.

Check out their Instagram feed, and you’ll see image after image of unique art crafted out of paper to represent pop culture figures. Arby’s uses these creations to speak to a very specific audience in ways only they might understand, it’s proving to be incredibly well-received. They’re going for the “geek” crowd, those who are into anime, science fiction, video games and more.

And it’s working! These crowds eat it up, no pun intended, and they seem to love the inside jokes the brand is able to deliver. This just goes to show the ways in which brands must be ready to evolve to meet the needs of their audience.

6. Totino’s

You can see Totino’s humor before even viewing their content. Just check out their bio, where they list their name as “Pete Zaroll.” Get it? Pizza roll! That’s funny.

Totino’s claim to social media fame is actually their meme game. They pay attention to what’s trending with regard to the latest meme and then incorporate their own version of the trends. The results are hilarious and loved by many.

7. Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club is the afford, quality razor club that everyone seems to be raving about lately. Not only do they offer a popular service, their social media presence is pretty likable, too. They stick to their brand and have developed a voice that’s easily identifiable. Much of their humor is corny or revolves around puns.

They stick with a comic theme related to grooming, with an acceptable smidge of bathroom humor thrown in for good measure. Sometimes you should just go with what you know, rather than trying to be hip and trendy.

8. JetBlue

JetBlue has developed a consistent Instagram following with their tried and true clever approach to humor. Their signature move is to use simple graphics and infographics infused with subtle humor to hook their audience, while delivering consistent and useful sales information.

It’s quite genius, really. You might also enjoy the beautiful travel photography they feature.

9. MTV

MTV is a classic when it comes to pioneering visual spaces. It should come as no surprise that they’d be great on social media. Their visual branding is young and vibrant, with funny memes thrown in for good measure.

The brand definitely gears its humor toward a specific, modern audience. They speak to their core demographic, which is a golden rule of digital marketing.

10. Pabst Blue Ribbon

Pabst Blue Ribbon is a beer brand that’s long been loved for its affordability. The brand knows its strength and embraces it. You can definitely see this in their approach to humor, and it’s fabulous.

Pabst embraces their followers, which these days seem to be hipsters who love cheap beer. They cater to this group with the images they choose of concerts, nightlife and young people, along with some goofy gags showcasing cans of their beer.

11. Skittles

Skittles definitely shows their personality with their Instagram presence. The candy brand’s approach to humor is zany and silly, totally appropriate for its youthful demographic.

Most of their content features actual photos of their candy being used in some dramatic or unique way. So it’s not all about the middle school humor. There is some real thought and ingenuity throw in, as well.

12. Oreo

Oreo has gained a reputation of being on top of current events and addressing them head on. Sometimes they do this with a serious or inspirational perspective, when the occasion calls for such.

But there are other circumstances where you can count on the cookie giant to come through with something hilarious. In addition to current events, Oreo is up on their pop culture. Look for graphics featuring the most relevant trends, with their iconic cookies displayed in prominent, unexpected ways.

There you have it. These are a dozen brands that each have a unique approach to humor that their Instagram fans flock to. See which of their lessons you can incorporate into your brand’s identity.

10 Proven Methods for Boosting Conversions on Instagram

Instagram is one of the most widely used social media platforms, and as such, is one of the best marketing channels for brands. Many large brands are using the platform everyday to connect with their customers and make sales.

The unique photo-sharing platform gives businesses the chance to create one-of-a-kind opportunities to engage with their customers and increase brand awareness and visibility.

While it’s likely you’re doing everything you can to strengthen your presence on Instagram, but here are a few tips to help you increase your conversions and boost sales from the social channel.

1. Connect with Influencers

Influencers are the people on Instagram who have an established audience – and the audience is similar to the one you’re going after.

Their followers look to them for, and trust their product and service recommendations. Spend time cultivating relationships with influencers in your niche that have high engagement rates – not necessarily large audience sizes.

2. Invest in Ads

Advertising on Instagram is one of the best ways to reach a new, yet targeted audience. The investment is worth it, but can make an especially large difference if your brand or business is still in its infancy.

You can plan your ads in such a manner that you reach customers who are most likely to be interested in your products. You can include a Shop Now button that takes users to a category or a product page.

3. Use Retargeting Campaigns

To make your Instagram ads even more effective, you can use retargeting to engage people who’ve already been to your website.

These people have already expressed interest in whatever your brand provides, so retargeting them helps keep your brand at the front of their mind. You can set the retargeting campaigns to advertise to people who’ve left your website without making a purchase.

4. Show Products in Action

High quality images can do a certain bit to show off your products, but they generally aren’t enough to drive sales. Use video posts, too, of course, but beyond that, showcase the experience of using your products.

Tell a story with the photos and videos, and make the most of your caption space. Describe the textures of the material if you sell clothes. Include recipes if you sell ingredients, and so on.

5. Make Your Instagram Shoppable

This makes it easier for people to buy the products they see in your images, which will of course boost conversions. There are several ways to do this – the easiest one creating a Facebook product catalog and linking Facebook to Instagram.

6. Vary the Link in Your Bio

As you run different campaigns on Instagram, you should change the link in your bio to the appropriate landing page. This, aside from Stories, is the only place you can put a link.

You can also use space in your bio to provide a call to action. Tell people where to go and what to do next, and you’ll likely see an increase in your conversion rate.

7. Go Live on Instagram

Rather than just showing your products in photos, you can use the Instagram Live video feature to show your products in action. Sephora, for example, uses the platform to do product demonstrations so their fans can see exactly what they’re getting before they buy it, which makes it easier for them to shop when they’re ready.

This is meant as an expansion of tip number 4 – because you don’t want all of your live videos and other content to be about your products. You should also use the platform to show your company culture.

8. Share User-Generated Content

User-generated content comes from reposting people who use your products and services taking photos or video and sharing it across social media. It’s another form of word-of-mouth advertising that can help grow your business. Your existing customers are creating content that shows your product, which you then share with your audience.

Some people may not share images of your product without you encouraging them to do so. One of the best ways to do this is to offer an incentive for their content, such as a chance to win a prize if they post photos that feature your product or hashtag.

Whenever you share any kind of user-generated content, make sure you give appropriate credit to the person who created the original photos, as they will appreciate the shout out.

This fosters a deeper connection with the people who are already your customers, while serving as social proof for the people who may still have doubts.

9. Use Hashtags

Instagram hashtags are a great tool for discovery. They help you expand your audience, but they can also be used to boost conversions. Do some hashtag research to find popular hashtags that are relevant to your niche and create a branded hashtag for each of your promotions.

You can use up to 30 hashtags per post, but you shouldn’t try too hard to max them out with every post.

10. Host Giveaways

Running a contest is a great way to build buzz about your brand, and get your products in the hands of people who will use them and talk about it. But before you decide to post about a give away, do some planning. This way, you’ll be able to track the buzz you generate, and determine how well your efforts pay off.

Using all of these tips as part of your Instagram strategy will most definitely increase your conversion rates. If you don’t notice a boost over time, take a look at your analytics to see if there are adjustments you can make to the time and frequency of your posts.

If it still doesn’t work the way you want, study your competition a bit more and work on boosting your overall engagement rates.

5 Rules to Follow When Reposting on Instagram

Instagram is a great network for connecting with your audience, and if your business is just getting started, it can be a bit overwhelming to learn the ropes. Sometimes, it can be difficult to have your own original content when you’re a brand new account, so that’s why it’s a good idea to learn the etiquette associated with regramming.

One of the most common reasons to regram a photo on Instagram is because an influencer or customer has created and shared content about your brand.

Whether it’s because of a collaboration you started, a sponsored post you paid for, or an organic mention, there aren’t too many issues with using someone else’s image, as long as you remember to follow these rules, and consider that you don’t own the content – even in cases when you brand is mentioned or featured.

1. Always Give Credit

There’s a fine line between sharing someone else’s content and stealing it. Instagram doesn’t have a native sharing feature like you see on Facebook and Twitter. It’s not because they don’t want you to do it – but it’s because they want everything to be shared in “this instant” and re-sharing others content takes away from that.

That said, there are a few different ways you can do it, but you should always give credit back to the original poster, because it is their content – not yours.

You can do this by tagging the original account in the caption of your regram. It can be as simple as “Credit: @username” or, you can work into a sentence like, “We love this photo by @username.”

2. Ask for Permission

While most people won’t mind that you regrammed their content with credit back to them, it’s still a good idea to ask them for permission. This way, you’re completely covered legally.

When you come across a photo you want to regram on your own account, comment and simply ask. All you have to say is, “We love this photo! Can we repost it?” or, “Thanks for sharing our brand/product/service. Can we regram your photo?” Ask however you want, as long as you remain kind.

Wait for the account to respond with yes before you add the photo to your queue for regramming. If the person says no, respect that and move on.

3. Make it Clear It’s a Regram

Attribution should be enough to let your audience know your photo is a regram of someone else’s, but it’s always best to make sure your followers know this content did not originate with you. Use hashtags like #regram and #repost, too.

That way it is very clear you are not stealing other people’s work. When they see that you’re crediting another person with their work, they will be more apt to submit user-generated content for you to share.

You can even use it as a chance to invite people to submit content to you for that purpose. You can say something like, “Want your photo featured on our Instagram? Tag it with #brandhashtag for a chance to be included.” Then, monitor the hashtag for photos, and reach out to ask permission for the ones you want to use. You could make it a weekly feature if you get enough interest.

4. Don’t Edit from the Original

If possible, avoid making any edits to the original, because it’s not your work and you don’t want to change it in anyway. You can make minor edits like cropping the photo slightly, but too much and it becomes a different work – one that you’re stealing, since it’s not really something you can give credit back to the original poster for because it’s so different from the original.

If you feel the need to edit something before you regram it, then you probably should just skip regramming it in the first place.

5. Don’t Only Regram Other People’s Content

While it’s okay to regram other people’s content from time to time, it’s not acceptable to create your entire Instagram feed with curated content from other people. In fact, the time it takes you to ask and get permission from other people could mean that you’re left with nothing to post anyway, so you may as well spend time creating original content to share on your own.

You never know when someone might find something you share worth regramming. It’s always a good way to get exposure to other audiences’ and increase your overall following.

How to Save an Instagram Photo to Regram

Because there’s no built-in sharing option, you’ll have to go through some extra steps to get photos ready to regram to your account. You’ll need to save the photo to your phone and add it from your camera roll, or use a third-party Instagram tool like Repost for Instagram or Iconosquare. These will make it easy for you to give credit to the original poster, too.

Regramming quality photos that are related to your company or brand, or feature your company or brand, is a great way to engage your audience without having to constantly come up with your own unique and original content. But if you rely on it too much, or don’t take the right steps to get permission, you could land your brand in a lot of trouble.

8 Tips for Writing Better Instagram Captions

Instagram is a social media platform that’s driven by images. You know how important it is to craft professional and interesting photos. What some online marketers neglect to give as much attention to is their words. What you say matters just as much as the visuals you produce.

The captions that go along with your images matter a great deal. They tell who you are and convey your brand’s voice. Getting into a groove of crafting captions that resonate with your followers can be a bit of a process. It will likely take some trial and error, but these eight tips for writing better Instagram captions should get you started on the right foot.

1. Use Your Brand’s Voice

First and foremost, be sure to write your captions in the tone you wish your brand to convey. You want everything you say to reflect who you are, so think about your tone when writing each and every caption. Use wording that sets a mood and shows the personality you want to be known for.

2. Put the Important Information First

Depending on the device being used, captions usually are cut off after only a few lines. Users can view more, they just have to click through.

That’s why you should add the most important stuff first to be sure your message is seen. Writing longer captions is fine and is often necessary. Just keep in mind that the point of your post should be clear at the beginning.

3. Cross Promote

Cross promotion is when you share your social media profiles across platforms. It’s okay to mention your Twitter or Facebook accounts on Instagram.

You can invite users to follow you in those places, as well. This is an easy and efficient way to increase your social media engagement across your various social media properties.

4. Add Some Hashtags

Strategic hashtag use is important to driving audience engagement, so be sure you’re adding them to your captions. Incorporating hashtags that are relevant and specific to your brand and your post helps people with interest in your niche find you. You can do some easy hashtag research simply by looking for your subject matter in the search box or by checking out what your competition is using.

Try to seek out hashtags that specifically hone in on your niche, rather than more broad topical ones. This will allow users with interests that align with yours to find you. When you go too general, you’re more likely to get lost in an overcrowded sea of hashtags. You can even come up with your own branded hashtags. People can use them as a way to get your attention, participate in a contest or share your products with others.

5. Mix Up the Length

Sometimes people use captions as an afterthought, which is a mistake. This small area is a marketing goldmine. It allows you to impart the information you think is most relevant in a way that will resonate with your target demographic.

People may also underestimate the power of captions. You can truly tell a story that resonates with people within the caption. This is a very effective strategy when you have a post that lends itself well to emotion or when your goal is to truly show who you are. Longer story captions should be used sparingly, though. Mix it up with shorter captions that are to the point, as well. Sometimes a longer explanation isn’t necessary, and your photos can stand alone.

6. Give a Shout Out

Your Instagram captions are the perfect place to add tags. Tagging other users is a great way to engage followers or those you would like to follow you. You can give a shout out to anyone you’d like to recognize or show your appreciation for. You can even ask users to tag a friend on occasion. These types of posts are fun, and they introduce new people to your brand.

Don’t go overboard, though, as this could be seen as a blatant way to gain attention. Be genuine and sincere in your shout outs. Only tag users whose content you truly love or whose content is relevant to yours.

7. Be Strategic

You should always plan your caption. A hastily written caption typed out at the last minute wastes valuable social media real estate. Remember, your caption is an extension of your marketing goals.

Take time to write them with strategy in mind. If you want to increase engagement, ask users to tag a friend or give a shout out, as was mentioned above. When you want to drive sales conversions, focus on the benefits of your products. Emphasizing your specific knowledge is a way to portray you as a knowledge influencer. Be sure your messaging matches your intent.

8. Give a Call to Action

Finally, don’t forget to tell your followers what you’d like from them. When done in a non-pushy way, this approach can be quite effective. A quick call to action is a great way to accomplish your marketing objectives.

A simple one sentence CTA is all you need. You can ask people to follow you, sign up for your newsletter, enter your contest or visit your latest sale. Just be intentional and not too salesy, and you may be surprised just how effective this tactic can be.

Writing Instagram captions doesn’t have to be tricky or intimidating. Use these tips to create a strategy that works for your brand, and you’ll soon see increased engagement and more followers come your way.