We’ve all seen those awe-inspiring accounts where it seems like Instagrammers are raking in serious cash just by posting selfies of themselves traveling.
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Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it looks to drive Instagram followers to buy.
The reality is that it’s a gradual process.
Don’t get me wrong – the platform is great for generating sales, lowering cost-per-purchase, and driving traffic.
It’s just that Instagram has its own quirks, and it takes a while for the money to flow in.
Selling to your followers can be a challenge, especially when the impact of the content you post is decreasing (along with organic reach.)
Most brands can resonate with this trend.
It is possible to use Instagram to drive sales – and that requires using Instagram strategically.
In this post, I’ll share several measures you can take to encourage your followers to buy from your brand on Instagram.
We know that selling is partially a numbers game. So obviously, your Instagram follower numbers will impact your sales numbers.
Followers, however, are not enough. When it comes to profitability, it’s all about the conversion power you generate.
So, how do you make your followers stop mid-scroll on their feeds and notice your product or service?
Establish a Personal Connection Using Instagram Direct Messages
Instagram direct messages, or DMs as it is popularly known, provides the opportunity to connect with consumers personally through private messaging.
You can access this feature by clicking the arrow icon in the top-right corner of your Instagram account. Here’s what it looks like:
It will then give you the option to send text and multimedia messages by displaying a message thread. You can send messages to 15 followers at a time.
You can also name a group of followers you’re sending the message to:
If you want to reference a specific follower’s name or shopping preferences, the DM needs to be sent to each follower individually.
There’s a good chance you’re already familiar with DM on Instagram. Maybe you haven’t thought about using them to drive sales, however. Here are a few ways to do just that:
Offer a Promo Code
Send a product image to your followers and share a promo code in your message. Instagram Direct doesn’t allow you to embed clickable links, so send any links as their own individual message.
You can also announce that this promo code is exclusive to your Instagram followers to encourage them to use it and make a purchase.
Another thing you can do is to add a time limit to the promo to incite a quicker response.
Host a Contest
If I offered you free tickets to watch Hamilton and all you had to do was comment on the photo, would you do it? I would’ve been all in.
I would’ve been all in.
That’s the allure of an Instagram contest.
A good idea is to host one right before putting your product or service on sale.
Use Instagram Direct to spice things up. For instance, you can post a contest photo and announce that the first 15 people to comment will receive a DM from you on how to participate.
The prize should be a product that you’re going to offer in the sale.
Here’s why: By offering the product in the contest, you’ve piqued the interest of those who participated. While they wanted it for free (who doesn’t?), the sale price might be an extra push of encouragement to buy.
That’s really good nurturing at work.
Leverage AI to Create Drip Campaigns
Rather than typing out a new message to each user, consider using a tool like Mobile Monkey to send engaging messages over time. For example, I use automated direct messaging to welcome new followers, thank them for mentioning me in stories, and to respond to direct messaging.
You can also use AI to send a series of posts, suggest several new products your followers might like, or tease a new product or launch.
Make Buying Easy with Shoppable Instagram
While creating an e-commerce-like experience on Instagram sounds like a pipedream, it’s possible with shoppable Instagram tools.
The right tools can transform your feed into an immersive shopping experience. Your followers can explore the unique features of your products and buy with a few easy clicks when they’re ready.
Since you’re only allowed to promote a single link in your bio, these tools are also super handy for avoiding that clumsy and distracting “visit link in bio” image caption that we’ve all seen.
So let’s harness the robust functionality of these tools to make your Instagram feed shoppable. Here are your options.
This tool allows turns your Instagram feed into a storefront by offering more features than Instagram Shopping alone.
By using a specific link in the bio section of your Instagram account, followers are able to open up a gallery of shoppable Instagram photos and click through to buy products on your website. It also helps you leverage data for retargeting and finding the most popular items on your page.
It also makes it easier to schedule posts, create new campaigns, and more.
However, BazzarVoiceis for larger businesses and certainly not the ideal option if you’re looking to start right away. You’ll have to shell out $1,000 – $2,000 a month to use it.
This tool enables you to create an embeddable feed and includes links that refer followers to relevant product pages.
You can also feature the images of your existing customers demonstrating how to use your product or service in the embeddable feed.
The user-generated feed works well on product pages by giving followers social proof and gently encouraging them to add products to their shopping carts.
Neckwear, a Swedish shirts and accessories company catering to men, uses Like2Have.it to display a shoppable gallery featuring photos from Neckwear’s Instagram account on its website.
Like2Have.it is more suitable for smaller brands. The price is $20 a month.
Apart from Like2Buy and Like2Have.it, you can look into Linkin.bio, a part of Later’s – an Instagram scheduling tool – premium plan.
Linkin.bio is a landing page that looks similar to your Instagram feed and shows your images as clickable pictures.
When any follower visits that page, they can click on your Instagram post to go to the product page that the image is about.
Paid plans start at $15 a month for one user and up to 60 posts a month.
Make shopping easy for your followers by choosing an appropriate shoppable Instagram tool to encourage more purchases.
Instagram’s Shoppable Posts
In addition to third-party tools, Instagram also has an internal tool called shoppable posts.
You can use this feature to add promotions to your images, add links to products in Instagram Reels, and tag videos. Using product tags, users can easily see and buy products from your store right on Instagram.
Learn more about how to create an Instagram Shop here. Elibiglity is limited to specific markets and types of products. If you aren’t eligible, try the third-party tools above.
Leverage Influencers to Inspire Followers to Shop
It’s no secret that influencer marketing works. According to Influencers Marketing Hub, the industry is valued at more than $13 billion.
Guess which platform along with Facebook is considered the most important for influencer endeavors? Instagram!
Instagram is the top platform for influencer marketing, with 67 percent of brands reporting its the most important platform for them.
So why not bring influencers into the mix to encourage your followers to purchase your product or service?
According to Social Media Examiner:
There are over 40,000 influencers on Instagram covering all verticals including fashion, beauty, health and wellness, home décor, food and more. With tens of thousands to millions of followers, influencers are trusted for their opinions and they can add credibility to the products they promote.
Influencers can do much more than just drive sales on your Instagram account. Because your followers will relate to them and value their opinion, they can establish brand equity.
So, with all that in consideration, let’s look at the tactics for using Instagram influencers effectively.
Step #1 Get Relevant Influencers On Board
It’s important to get as targeted as possible when it comes to choosing the influencers you’ll work with.
For instance, if you’re selling handbags, you’ll want to work with influencers who possess knowledge on the subject, such as personal style Instagrammers who talk about handbags and demonstrate different ways to carry them.
The hard part is finding targeted influencers. You’ll have to sift through hundreds of accounts to see who is relevant to your business and if they have influence over the type of people you have as your followers.
One way to cut the research hours is to discover the top hashtags in your particular niche and see what posts are trending.
Often, the top post section on Instagram will include posts from influencers.
For the hashtag #conversionrateoptimization, the top post in the “Most Liked” section for this hashtag is from Unbounce.
I recommend using IconoSquare to speed things up. The tool allows you to find hashtags based on popularity, growth, engagement and more.
Still, you’d have to spend time comparing different profiles when you take this approach.
Fortunately, there are a variety of tools out there that can automate the process of analyzing several profiles and detecting suitable influencers for you.
Called influencer marketing tools, they give you accurate results on each influencer’s reach, relevance, and authority. Here are some options:
Here are some options:
Tool 1: Ninja Outreach
The company has millions of influencers in its growing database.
Type in a keyword inside the Ninja Outreach dashboard to search thousands of relevant influencers based on the keywords you’re targeting in your niche.
The tool enables you to filter influencers by tags as well as follower count. In addition, it gives you additional data about each influencer such as their website address and contact information.
Tool 2: Ifluenz
Ifluenz is straightforward to use. Just create an account, select the campaign criteria, and wait for influencers to make your product or service popular on Instagram.
You can choose to run either a regular campaign or a personalized campaign using this tool. Here’s what each offers:
Zalando used this tool to announce the availability of a new pair of sneakers and drive traffic to its website using fashion influencers with an engaged following.
The result was increased sales, new followers on Zalando’s Instagram account, and new subscribers on the company’s email list.
The campaign reached 248,000 Instagram users that gave 20,200 likes and left 1,373 comments. 90 percent of the comments were positive.
Step #2: Work with Your Influencers to Encourage Purchases
After choosing the influencers you want to work with, how do you make them your brand’s catalyst in sales generation? Here are some ideas:
Tactic 1: Promote discounts or giveaways through Influencers
Influencers can motivate users to try a product. When you allow them to give a discount, they give followers a more compelling reason to check out your offer.
Sumo cited an example where the bone broth company Kettle and Fire did just that. The brand worked with Whole30 Approved to introduce their new Chicken Bone Broth through a giveaway and a discount.
The influencer-powered promotion resulted in 374 website visits and 21 sales with a $95 average order value.
Consumers were given the final push towards the purchase when the influencer shared the discount code. This gave a credible stamp of approval and drove home the value of the discount.
Tactic 2: Get Them to Demonstrate Unique Ways of Using Your Product
Placing products in an enticing setting can work great for sponsored content. But it’s more effective when influencers put the daily life use of your product or service into perspective.
Give influencers some freedom when you take this approach. You’d be surprised to see them come up with unique ways of using your product.
For instance, fashion Instagrammers often create new looks when showing clothing or accessories in action.
Also, influencers can provide tips on how Instagram followers can use the product in the same manner.
Ensure that you repost the content published by your hand-picked influencers. This can inspire your followers to try out your product.
ThinkGeek leveraged this strategy:
The company doesn’t shy away from reposting the content of other Instagram users showcasing ThinkGeek’s products in action.
Tactic 3: Host an Instagram Takeover
Pass over your Instagram content strategy to your influencers by inviting them to post directly to your account as well as engage with your followers in real time.
Even though there may not be a discount or any sort of perk, because the takeover is momentary, it sparks an instant reaction to the discussion at hand such as commenting or even buying products.
Typically, before the takeover, the brand and the content creator should hype their collaboration. Wendy Rowe did this before taking over Sephora’s Instagram account.
The monthly beauty and grooming subscription box company, Birchbox, does a great job at Instagram takeovers.
It presents a unique stream of content to its followers through the voice of influencers, who announce giveaways, new products, and more.
All that improves brand affinity and likely has a positive effect on Birchbox’s sales.
Frequently Asked Questions about Turning Instagram Followers into Sales
Why aren’t my Instagram followers buying?
Getting a bunch of Instagram followers is not enough to guarantee success. Make sure to leverage strategies like DM, influencers, and Instagram Shoppable posts to drive conversions.
What are Instagram shoappable posts?
Instagram shoppable posts are a feature that allows users to click on images and view more information about products and even complete a purchase. They can be used on images, videos, and reels.
How can influencers drive Instagram conversions?
Influencers build trust with their target audience, When they share products they love, users are much more likely to buy.
Turn Instagram Followers into Sales Conclusion
The revenue you generate from social commerce is just as important as the income you generate from your website, and Instagram can be an invaluable tool to boost your social media sales.
The three tactics I mentioned in the article will leave your followers with a positive sentiment about your product or service. They’ll also help you navigate the unique obstacles of the platform – especially the one-link limit for each account.
Soon, your followers will be moving through the buying process as you build a good relationship with them and make it easy to shop on Instagram.