3 Ways to Drive Sales & Traffic with Instagram

Instagram continues to be one of the biggest tools available to marketers. It’s a lightweight, low-to-no cost way to have an authentic (and seemingly effortless) conversation with your customers. For those of you seeking to move beyond audience building and who are ready to start driving both traffic and sales from Instagram, here are three tips for you.

Tip #1 – Make it Easy for Your Customers to Make a Purchase

Instagram currently allows users (and businesses) to promote one URL as part of their profile. This is an incredible resource, and one that most businesses squander. The majority of business currently use this precious real estate to promote their website homepage. Although this is better than nothing, this is the lowest hanging fruit for most companies to address to instantly see a change in both traffic and sales from Instagram.

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes for a second:

1. They see a photo you post on Instagram, and are intrigued by your style
2. Wanting to see more, they click on your username
3. They scroll around all your great photos and spot one of your products they’d love to buy, so they click in the link in your profile
4. They are brought smack-dab to the middle of your website homepage. Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore. They’re on their phone – maybe in line at a coffee -and need to dig through your website to find that product they loved
5. It takes more than a few seconds, and their next in line for their frappuccino, so they think “I’ll just do this later” and we all know where that goes – nowhere.

Consider, instead, that there was a way where they could see a product on your Instagram feed, and instead be taken right to that product. They wouldn’t have to search around, they wouldn’t have to do anything besides that item to their cart, and be on their way. Wouldn’t that be a much better experience?

Well, fortunately, there are a variety of tools that make this really simple. Reward Style’s product, Like2Know.it allows you to tag posts with a Like2Know.it links. People can join Like2Know.it and receive the product name and URL by email. My company – StoryBox – has a product called Stylepick that will actually recreate your Instagram feed and make it shoppable. That way anyone on Instagram can purchase the products you’re featuring on Instagram in two simple clicks.

Whatever product you use, converting your Instagram feed into a shoppable experience is the easiest way to instantly drive more traffic and sales from your content.

Tip #2 – Feature Your Best Instagram Photos on Your Website

Don’t get me wrong, your company’s Instagram photos are incredible… but they’re still just photos from your company. Even better yet are the photos that your customers are posting on Instagram. Your customers will surprise you with their creativity and originality. More importantly, people trust other customers far more than they’ll ever trust a company selling the product. This “earned marketing” is an absolute goldmine, and an easy resource to tap into today to make a difference in your website conversion rates.

Snapwidget is one tool that makes this really easy (and inexpensive). Their pricing is affordable and their tool is dead simple. In under thirty minutes you can integrate some of your favorite photos from Instagram onto your website.

One downside, however, with products like Snapwidget is that they drive traffic away from your website. Yes, you’ll spruce up your website instantly with great photos from your customers. However, when a user clicks on any image, they’re brought back to Instagram.

If you’re wanting to keep customers on your website (or, better yet, make it easier for them to purchase the items they like), I’d recommend taking this to the next level. StoryBox makes it easy to not only add customer photos to your website, but we also help you manage the Digital Rights to use the photos on your website. You can also tag the product shown in each customer’s photo, so that customers can purchase the items they like in each photo. There are a host of companies that do this as well – Curalate and Olapic just to name a few. Whatever company you choose to work with, it’s a worthwhile investment that will help you monetize and better utilize your best Instagram content.

Tip #3 – Promote Customer Content in Newsletters, Product Inserts, and More

Adding customer photos and videos to your website is just the tip of the iceberg. Because “earned media” is such an incredible asset to every marketing team, the application of this resource is only limited by your imagination. Here’s just a few ways in which we’ve seen some of our clients at StoryBox take their user generated content to the next level. One thing to note is to ensure that you’re covering your bases with Digital Rights Management – you want to make sure you have a customer’s permission to use their photo or video far and wide.

Product Inserts: many of our clients will add a small, postcard-sized insert into their product packaging. The insert features half a dozen customer photos, as well as a simple call to action (eg. “Share your photo #COMPANY”). This shows your customers that you value their feedback, and are willing to shine a spotlight on their creativity. It also captures the customer at the moment of their peak satisfaction – right when they’ve received their newest item from your company.
Newsletters: Newsletters are a simple way to put this content to work each week. Whether you have a brand ambassador program, or just want to do a simple customer spotlight, you can feature a new customer photo in each newsletter to your customers. Be sure to complement this with a simple call to action; never underestimate how valuable each customer’s “ten seconds of fame” is – when you spotlight a customer, show other customers how they can get their fame too!
Produced Videos: If you have the time and resources to take this one step further, nothing is more powerful than a well made commercial. We’ve had many of our clients – Levi’s, Post Cereal, and UNICEF to name a few – who have actually take customer photos and videos and placed them as part of a produced video. The impact is huge, and a powerful way to let your customers do the selling for you.

As customers have more and more ability to quickly share about the products and services they love, this provides marketers with more and more opportunities to engage with their community. While using this as a springboard to have conversations with your customers is important, don’t miss out on one of your most powerful resources available. With a few simple additions to your marketing tools, you can turn this conversation and content into your most valuable resource.