The Best Instagram Strategy to Increase Followers and Boost Sales

This article discusses the importance of increasing Instagram followers for business owners and provides tips on how to do so effectively.

By Jessica Miller-McNatt ・4 min read
Best Practices
Business & Marketing Strategy
Social Media

Which part of this article’s headline convinced you to click on it? Was it the “Instagram followers” part? The “more sales” part? Or, both parts equally? For most business owners, increasing sales is their ultimate goal, but by including the term “Instagram Followers” to this article’s headline, we’ll have increased its SEO and open rate by a good margin. Unless Instagram followers are some new form of currency I’m unaware of, why is everyone clammering to grow their Instagram following?Getting more Instagram followers is important, especially if you find your business’s target market includes the Instagram savvy types.

Having a presence on the photo-centric platform is a great way to increase brand awareness, discoverability, and to keep current customers engaged.

However, there’s a common misconception around the idea that getting more Instagram followers will automatically lead to more sales. For a select few businesses, this may be the case. But for most businesses, trying to boost sales by simply acquiring more followers is like trying to water your grass by overflowing your swimming pool. You would have to spend a LOT of effort and time building your following before reaching the level of “influencer.” Wouldn’t that effort be better spent cultivating your existing audience directly (for example, through email marketing)?In this post, as promised, we’ll talk about a few ways to beef up your following on Instagram. Then, we’ll talk about a few ways that you can bridge the gap between getting more Instagram followers and getting those followers to become customers of your business.

Ways to get more Instagram followers:

Make the Follow button really accessible. Add a link to your Instagram profile from anywhere you get a significant amount of traffic. Your website and online store are obvious places, but another strategy would be to build a traffic-driving contest and include “Follow Us on Instagram” as a step to participate.

Photo Vote + Instagram Follow Template

Photo Vote + Instagram Follow TemplateOffer exclusive deals on your Instagram profile. People love getting a great deal. If Instagram is where you offer exclusive coupon codes, promotions and giveaways, clicking your profile’s Follow button will feel like a much sweeter deal.Keep the content fresh and fun. You already offer a great product or service. Instagram’s display of pictures and video allow you to creatively showcase your offerings.As an example of great content, one company that has nailed the Instagram “look” is Letterfolk - a small business selling felt boards with letters. How do you market something that sounds so… simple? Letterfolk posts the fun, funny ways their product has been put to use:

Partner with other complementary businesses. Bars and restaurants, hotels and spas, or even gyms and juice bars are just a few examples of businesses that can partner up and cross promote. Loyal customers are more likely to trust a recommendation for a complementary brand. For example, in this giveaway, loyal followers of the cosmetics retailer L.A. Girl Cosmetics will likely be willing to try products from Sexy Hair. This partnered giveaway helps to bridge the gap between the different audiences.

How to get more sales from your Instagram following:

The growth of Instagram usage has left other popular social media networks in its dust - Twitter and SnapChat usage both pale in comparison to Instagram’s one billion users. A quick scroll through an Instagram feed will reveal the secret of its success - it’s like flipping through a glossy magazine. But instead of pages adorned with made-up glamzillas, its content is curated from your very own friends and family. What a treat!The structure and simplicity of Instagram has made the app great for users, but for businesses, the options for promotions are much more limited. In the profile of your Instagram account, there’s one small, barely noticeable place to add a link to your website or online store. You can run ads on Instagram, but they’re camouflaged as regular posts. So what do you do to get noticed?One smart tactic many businesses use to capture the attention of their followers is to offer a contest or giveaway. Normally, this is in the form of a post with instructions to “tag 2 friends to enter” or something along those lines. There’re a couple problems with this sort of giveaway:

  1. It’s plain spammy. Despite the fact that so many businesses do this, it’s not a best practice and runs the risk of annoying people.
  2. For the business, a giveaway like this may result in a more followers but not much else. You can do better!

The key to get more sales with your Instagram following is to capture an actual email address from those who enter your giveaway.Using contest software like ShortStack, build a giveaway with an entry form. Once published, link to your contest from your Instagram bio. Then, create posts announcing your giveaway and say “To enter, click the link in our bio.”

Make sure you’re collecting a name and email address within the entry form on your giveaway page at the very least, but you can include fields to collect whatever you think will help you convert customers. You can even include an opt-in checkbox so visitors can subscribe to your mailing list.There’s a good reason why you’ll need to capture an email address in your entry form. In fact, there are a number of them. Using email (vs. social media) to market to customers is more effective. Statistics show that consumers open their email daily, and spend more when receiving an offer through email.

More importantly, email is still the only medium where an algorithm won’t get in the way of reaching your customers.

It’s completely understandable that businesses are excited about the growth in popularity of Instagram as a marketing tool. And, as mentioned, it is a great tool for discoverability, engagement, and brand awareness. But be weary of the notion that more Instagram followers will be the secret to your success. By putting effort into the tried-and-tested strategies that work best for your business, you’ll boost your sales, and watch your Instagram following grow organically.

See how easy it is to create your first Instagram contest or promotion.

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About the author

By Jessica Miller-McNatt ・4 min read

Jessica Miller-McNatt has been with ShortStack for over a decade and has served in every role from Marketing Team Lead to Customer Success. Her journey in martech continues to fuel her fascination for what drives growth. Jessica's favorite weekends are spent in the North Georgia mountains, chasing waterfalls and exploring with her family.

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