In June 2018, Instagram hit 1 billion users, with 500 million people logging in daily. That’s a lot of selfies, Thursday Throwbacks, #ootd, and photos of morning lattes!
What’s more impressive is Instagram became one of the largest social networks with a minimal number of clickable links, so using Instagram for business requires a unique approach; however, there are more and more ways to maximize the links that are available so you can drive traffic to your site and convert visitors into web design and development clients.
In this post, I’m going to share some Instagram for business tips. We’re going to go over how you can get the most from the link in your profile by creating a custom landing page made just for the ‘gram. We’re also going to cover Instagram Shopping and how to set up Instagram for business.
All of these tools will allow you to build a sales pipeline for Instagram so you can influence the influencers. With so many Instagrammers switching over to blogging, there is definitely an increased demand for personal lifestyle sites, so let’s turn those double taps into dollars.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Likes
Images capture ideas and emotions in a way that is perfectly suited to our modern global society. Photos transcend language and don’t require a long attention span to process so we can consume them more easily.
Since the images take center stage, clickable links are almost an afterthought and there are only a few places where they exist on Instagram, although this is starting to change.
The most important link on Instagram is the website link on your profile page, so whatever you do, don’t leave this one blank. I’m sure you’ve heard Instagrammers say “link in profile” or “link in bio” in a video or mention it in their photo captions. This is the link they’re referring to.
Instagrammers tend to swap out this link when they have a new call-to-action to make it easier for their followers to get to that page. The downside to this is that you can only direct traffic to one page at a time, #bummer.
Instagram users who have more than 10,000 followers or have a verified account like a celeb, also have the much-coveted ability to add links in their stories. If their follower swipes up, they’ll be taken directly to the page that corresponds with the post, no swapping profile links necessary. Obviously, this is the goal you should be aiming for, but until you appear on a reality TV show or get 10,000 followers, you’re out of luck.
Shopping on Instagram
Shopping on Instagram, allows Instagrammers with business accounts to link to products directly. This new feature may not be the right fit if you’re selling services or digital products, but if you’re selling physical products such as good old-fashioned books or prints, this is a great way to feature your products and drive traffic to them.
Here’s a step-by-step guide directly from Instagram on how to can set up Shopping on Instagram. You’ll need to meet the following requirements to get started:
- You must to have physical goods
- Your business must be in a country where Shopping on Instagram is available
- You must have a business profile
- You must have a Facebook business page without country or age restrictions
- Your Instagram account must be associated with a Facebook catalog
WordPress users who are using WooCommerce can use this guide to get started.
The Missing Link
As I mentioned, if you offer services or digital goods and you don’t have 10,000 followers, you’re limited to the link in your profile. In response to the limited link problem, several tools have sprung up to fill allow people to create a page that acts as a directory where they can squeeze in additional links. Linktree, Lnk.bio and Linkinprofile all create a hub that contains links to other important pages.
Lnk.bio and Linktree both have free options, but in order to get access to additional features, such as the ability to customize your link or remove branding, you’ll have to upgrade. Linktree charges $6 a month, just for one landing page!
There’s also a history of Instagram blocking access to some of these tools. Linktree was periodically blocked due to a “technical error” or maybe they were punished, who knows. The point is, these tools may not be the best option, especially if you’re using WordPress.
The Analytics Issue to Keep in Mind
Ultimately, when you’re looking at where the traffic to your site is coming from, Instagram won’t appear as a referral source. Linktree offers analytics on free accounts so you can see how well your links perform, but this data will be contained within Linktree. Linkinprofile and lnk.bio require you to upgrade in order to access analytics.
Keep this in mind when you’re evaluating whether or not Instagram is driving traffic to your site. Using redirect tools or including links in captions, even though they aren’t clickable, might cause you to underestimate the traffic your Instagram efforts are creating.
Instagram Meet WordPress
For WordPress users, redirect tools are not necessary since you can create your own custom and branded landing page and save yourself on the additional monthly fees. By creating your own page, you’ll also have better analytics data that won’t be stuck on a separate platform.
Might I also add, that including an Instagram landing page to your themes that are designed to appeal to lifestyle bloggers and Instagram influencers is a great way to get their attention and sell more themes. Hipsters will be all over it.
Niche Pro on the Genesis Framework is an excellent example of a theme designed specifically with Instagram influencers in mind.
Not only are the bloggers’s Instagram photos showcased prominently at the very top of the page with the WP Instagram Widget plugin, but there is a page just for Insta. The Instagram landing page is easily customized because it is configured with widgets.
Here’s some additional Instagram plugins worth installing.
Another theme that has a clean and simple Instagram landing page built right in is Uptown by 17th Avenue Designs. Uptown also has a page dedicated to Instagram and has an opt in right on the page, near the bottom.
You’ll notice big buttons on both pages to make the links more touch-friendly.
What to Include on Your Instagram Landing Page
Now that you’ve seen a few examples of Instagram pages, here’s some things you need to include and keep in mind when you create your own.
To create an Instagram landing page on your WordPress site, you need to prioritize mobile-optimization. This can’t be an afterthought because most of your visitors will arrive to your page after scrolling through Instagram on their phone or tablet.
As for specific elements to include, you want to create a page header that has your Instagram profile picture or logo, and maybe your username. The page should feel like an extension of your Instagram and having your photo and username will help people remember how they arrived to your site.
If you’d really like to make your Instagram match your site, you can also use CSS to adjust all your images to match your favorite Instagram filter.
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An introduction to your site or a brief welcome message also makes a good impression and don’t forget to include icons or links to your other social media profiles.
After the header, you want to create a space for your latest opt-in. Have an email list that you’d like them to join? Display it prominently on your landing page. WPMU DEV’s Hustle plugin is made for this.
This is especially important because a user may not always see all your Instagram posts. The Instagram algorithm prioritizes posts from the friends and family of the user, so capturing their email is the best way to open a better communication channel.
Having a collection of branded Instagram story backgrounds or story highlight covers that people can download in exchange for their email is a great way to build a closer relationship with your followers, especially if you have a signature style. Here’s a great example of a blogger doing just that.
Whether you sell courses, downloads, physical products or services on your own domain, you need a section dedicated to your latest offerings on your Instagram landing page.
A recent blog posts section or most popular blog posts section is also a great way to introduce your followers to more of your content.
How to Set Up Instagram for Business
Now that you’ve decided to step up your Instagram game, the next step is to convert your personal profile into a business profile, if you haven’t already.
Doing so will allow you to do the following:
- Create Instagram Ads
- Access to page analytics
- Sign up for Instagram Shopping
- Publish content from a Desktop Computer through select 3rd party apps
- Add your phone number, email and address to make your business easier to reach
Switching to a business profile is easy. In your profile settings under account, select “Switch to Business Account” to initiate the process.
There’s just a couple pieces of information to need to fill in to convert your account. Instagram walks you through these steps, starting with choosing a category for your business.
Instagram will prompt you to update your contact information so it can create buttons on your profile page. You can also add the address to your office.
The next step is to link your page to a Facebook business page. Instagram will create a page if you don’t have one that you can claim later.
While you’re on Facebook, here’s some Facebook Messenger tips to help you get more business.
Okay so you’re on Instagram, Now What?
If you just started your account you’re going to feel a lot like the new kid at school during lunchtime, awkward and maybe a little lonely. The best way to start making some friends in both scenarios is also somewhat cliche, be friendly and be yourself.
On Instagram, the best way to do this is by following some people who you are genuinely interested in and then start engaging with them by leaving thoughtful comments. By thoughtful, you don’t need to tell them your life story or be a know-it-all, but writing something more than a basic one word comment or smiley emoji goes a long way.
Don’t hesitate to ask the people you follow questions or share what they’re promoting (if it will be relevant to your followers) on your own Instagram and tagging them to subtly let them know you’re helping them out.
You know what also makes someone’s day and leaves a lasting impression? If the person you want to connect with something has a product or project that you think is truly awesome, give them a shoutout. This has be to be genuine though because people can tell when you’re trying to butter them up just because you want something.
While it may be tempting to sign up for an app that leaves spammy generic comments to speed up the process, it ultimately will not help you build relationships with people who could help you grow your book of business. Now that these apps are available to everyone, taking the time to do things the right way will help you stand out. You are, after all, a person, not a bot and so is the person you’re following.
Have conversations that are genuine and authentic. You’ll be able to add value and be a respected person in the community. Also, don’t be afraid to let your freak flag fly. I mean, within reason 😉 Share your oddball interests and weird sense of humor and find your unique voice that is an extension of who you are in person.
Here’s some WordPress people and hashtags that you can follow on Instagram
When you’re courageous enough share your story, you’ll find that it will help you connect with other people. And one more thing, take care of yourself and each other. Don’t be a troll or a bully.
That’s a Wrap
There you have it. Now all you need is to get started on some awesome Insta content. Here’s some great Instagram for business ideas to get you started. The accounts above are also excellent examples of how to post quality content on Instagram.
Once you start building authentic relationships and being valuable, natural opportunities will arise for your to refer your followers to the link in your profile page. Then it’s only a matter of time before your landing page starts converting.
Don’t forget to follow WPMU DEV on Instagram, we need to get to 10,000 followers since we can’t exactly go on the Bachelor, or can we? I’m sure Hustle would at least get a hometown date since he’s so smooth.