Instagram Marketing in 2018: How to Convert Followers Into Customers

Of all the social media platforms, Instagram might be the most fun. It’s highly visual, like Pinterest, but it also allows you to add context to your images through text.

Not only that, but it’s an insanely beneficial tool for Knowledge Commerce professionals.

Building your Instagram list and growing your brand on the Instagram platform can help you reach your goals faster and connect with your audience in a more intimate way. Best of all, you get to decide how and when you use the platform for personal or business purposes.

We’ve written about getting more Instagram followers before, but today, we’d like to help you get started on the platform if you haven’t already. Plus, this guide will help you convert more of your followers into customers — which means more revenue.

Why Should You Use Instagram for Your Knowledge Commerce Business? 

You might argue that Facebook or Twitter would make a better choice for Knowledge Commerce business promotion. And you’re right — both of those platforms (plus others) can be beneficial when you’re promoting your knowledge-based products.

Don’t discount Instagram, however, just because lots of people use it to share fashion tips and photographs of beautifully plated restaurant dishes. It offers far more than that.

For one thing, Instagram is devoted heavily to photography, video, live video, and mobile devices. This combination makes it an ideal platform for communicating with your audience with urgency and color.

You can use this as an excuse to improve your social media photography, to better understand hashtags, and to get more involved in social media as a whole. The more active you are on Instagram, the more followers and engagement you’ll attract.

But why should you devote time to Instagram as well as to other social platforms?

For one thing, your audience probably uses it. As of September 2017, Instagram has more than 800 million users. That’s nearly triple the population of the United States.

Furthermore, Instagram is set up to reward people who spread beautiful, educational, or share-worthy content. If you focus on one or more of those qualities, you can trust that you’ll gain traction with fellow Instagram users.

What Is Instagram Marketing?

Instagram marketing is the process of converting Instagram followers into customers. In other words, you’re introducing your products to your fans and showing them why they should buy those products.

It’s not as simple, of course, as taking photographs related to your products and asking people to buy. You need a more subtle strategy so your followers don’t get irritated by posts that sound more like advertisements.

On Instagram, the name of the game is connection. The more connections you make, the more popular and respected you become. If you break your followers’ trust, you start at square one again — or worse.

So how do you market your products without sounding like a marketer?

As a Knowledge Commerce professional, you have a powerful asset at your disposal. Your knowledge offers the ideal solution.

If you offer knowledge for free to people who are interested in your niche or industry, they will come to respect you. They’ll turn to your brand when they crave information, inspiration, or answers to questions.

How Can You Create Your Instagram for Business Account

Getting your Instagram business account set up is as easy as downloading the app on your mobile device. When it’s been installed, double-tap on the app and create an account. Use your business email account if possible.

You can then set up your profile, including your profile image, username, profile details, and other basics. When you’re finished, go to the Edit Profile section and tap “Try Instagram Business Tools.” The app will prompt you to connect your Facebook Business page to your Instagram page.

That’s it. Once you’re connected, you’ll appear in Instagram as a business. You can make your profile name the name of your business or keep your personal name — that’s up to you.

Other than the business tools, the only difference between a personal Instagram page and a business Instagram page is that you’re using your brand on Instagram. In other words, everything you post will link back to your brand on other social channels as well as your Kajabi website.

What Are the Instagram Post Types

Using Instagram isn’t difficult, but you should familiarize yourself with the Instagram post types so you understand the depth and breadth of content you can publish there. It’s true that Instagram began primarily as a vehicle for publishing photography, but it’s grown well beyond that.

There are four basic Instagram post types:

  1. Photos
  2. Videos
  3. Stories
  4. Instagram Live

Each of these post types can be viewed by your followers as well as anyone else to whom you grant access. As a business, you probably don’t want to make your profile private because you’ll lose opportunities to connect with potential customers.

Let’s explore each of these post types in detail.

Photos

As you can probably glean from the Instagram logo, the platform began as a way for people to share photographs they took with their smartphones and tablets. While you can also share photos you take with other cameras, it’s primarily a medium for smartphone images.

Remember how we mentioned urgency in relationship to Instagram before? It’s because people often take photos and immediately push them live on Instagram. They want to share what’s going on with them right now.

That’s powerful because it makes followers feel as though they’re part of the person’s (or business’s) daily life. That’s why influencers have become so abundant and found such lucrative opportunities on Instagram.

As a business, you want your followers to see behind the scenes of your business. Make them part of your story.

You could post photographs of you as you create your next online course or observe your morning ritual before you get to work. Focus on bringing a personal and intimate atmosphere to your feed.

Videos

Now, let’s take it a step further. Instagram allows users to post short videos. Originally, Instagram only permitted videos that lasted 15 seconds or fewer, but it raised the limit to 60 seconds in 2016.

One minute doesn’t sound like very long, but you have to consider the platform. People cruise through their connections’ feeds at lightning speed, so they don’t want to get bogged down in a five-minute video.

They want quick,engaging, and entertaining videos.

Let’s say that you run a Knowledge Commerce business in the fitness industry. You teach interval training through video courses.

On Instagram, you might post 30- or 60-second videos of you performing specific exercises. Model each exercise perfectly so your followers can replicate your movements.

That’s an easy way to not only educate your audience, but also to convince them that your digital products offer significant value. After all, if you’re willing to post exercise instructions for free, you must get into lots more detail for your paid products.

Stories

Instagram Stories are a unique feature that can help you curate content for your followers. They’re series of images or videos that help tell a longer story.

When you create an Instagram Story, it appears at the top of your feed for 24 hours, after which it disappears entirely. It’s still archived for your use, but others can’t view your stories after a day has passed.

Why should you use a feature that causes your content to disappear? Because it creates urgency and immediacy.

If you post compelling content, your followers will check your feed daily to find out if you’ve posted a new Story. They’ll wait for that moment so they can consume your content.

You can add drawings, stickers, and other features to your Instagram Stories to make them even more captivating. Plus, you can add as many photos or videos to your Stories as you want. Just keep tapping the “+” icon to create more content.

Instagram Live

You might have used Periscope, Facebook Live, or YouTube Live before. Instagram Live works in a similar way.

You broadcast video content on your Instagram account at a specified time. Users can tune in to watch at any time during the broadcast, but they can’t watch it after the fact.

Think of it as a news segment. Instead of a CNN correspondent, though, people can watch you.

Instagram Live works well for Knowledge Commerce professionals who like to have an immediate connection to their followers. If you’re broadcasting on Instagram Live, your followers can ask you questions and communicate with you.

It’s a great way to solidify your brand and to offer your followers another way to interact with you.

How Do You Create an Instagram Marketing Strategy?

Now that you know about the different Instagram post types, what should you do about them? What kind of content should you post? And how can you attract more followers — especially those who will eventually become customers?

It’s not easy. Millions of people use Instagram, so you have a lot of competition. However, if you go into it with a strategy, you might be surprised by the speed with which you pick up followers and develop a brand there.

An Instagram marketing strategy should include as many details as possible about the types of content you’ll post, when you’ll post, and what brand image you want to portray. As much as possible, your Instagram marketing strategy should align with your strategies on other social media platforms.

Let’s look at a few steps you can take to devise the ideal Instagram marketing strategy so you’re not confused or frustrated after you launch your first post.

Identify Your Ideal Instagram Audience

It’s easy to cast a wide net when it comes to Instagram. After all, with 800 million users, shouldn’t you go after everyone as a potential customer?

That’s a dangerous way to pursue any social media marketing plan. Instead, you want to identify your ideal audience and target them specifically with your posts.

How do you find your ideal audience? Look at your existing customers.

  • How old are they?
  • Where do they live?
  • How much money do they earn?
  • Do they have spouses or children?
  • How much education do they have?
  • What hobbies do they enjoy?

Questions like these can help you identify the people in your target Instagram audience.

Remember that Instagram marketing shouldn’t take a “spray and pray” approach. Instead, you want to tailor each post to the people you want to attract.

Do most of your customers have one or more children? You might want to post images that include kids or things kids like.

Conduct a Competitive Analysis for Instagram

No matter how unique your business is, you have competitors. Other people sell products similar to your own, and you want to know what they’re doing.

Make a list of your top 10 to 20 competitors, then find their Instagram accounts. Scroll through their feeds and take notes about the types of content they post, the hashtags they use, and their follower counts.

You don’t want to copy your competitors. In fact, that could get you in hot water. Rather, you want to post better content, use more appropriate hashtags, and gather more followers.

First, you need to know the people and businesses with whom you’re competing.

You can also pay attention to engagement levels. Maybe, for instance, you notice that most of your competitors get more comments or likes on posts that include video. You’ll know, then, that you’ll get more engagement yourself if you post video content of your own.

Set Up an Editorial Calendar

Consistency is essential for Instagram marketing. If your followers don’t know what to expect from you, they won’t check your account to see what you’ve posted lately.

An editorial calendar doesn’t just create consistency. It also eliminates that panicky moment when you realize you don’t have anything compelling to share.

Use Google Calendar or some other program to schedule your Instagram posts in advance. A short description is all you need, such as “image of [x] exercise.”

Of course, you might decide to publish other content between your scheduled posts. That’s fine. Feel free to take a serendipitous approach to casual Instagram shares. However, you should share regular posts on a consistent schedule.

Build a Consistent Brand on Instagram

Speaking of consistency, you don’t want to shock your followers or post anything that feels disingenuous to your brand. That’s a great way to encourage people to stop following you.

A consistent brand typically consists of several qualities:

  • Similar image tone and style
  • A branded hashtag
  • Consistent captions and quotes

For instance, maybe you like cool, soothing colors. You could publish images with lots of greens, blues, and purples. That way, when people look at your feed, they get a consistent vibe.

A branded hashtag could be the name of your business or a phrase you’ve coined. It’s a great way to spread your brand on Instagram and to show that you’re dedicated to building a following.

Finally, keep your quotes and captions consistent. Don’t publish a 10-line caption on one image, then a two-word caption on another. Use similar numbers of hashtags, as well.

Convert Instagram Followers Into Customers

As we discussed above, your Instagram followers aren’t there to buy from you — at least, not at first. They don’t sign into their accounts on Instagram and think, “What can I spend my money on today?”

And for the most part, they don’t like brands that consistently promote and sell their products.

So how do you convert followers into customers? You make them into brand advocates. You show them that you know what you’re talking about and that you’re willing to share your knowledge generously.

Responding to comments is a great way to start. If someone asks how they can learn something, feel free to point them toward a sales page on your Kajabi website.

You can also hold contests, promotions, and other events (we’ll get into that in more detail later), but in general, you want to establish credibility with your following.

Create Teasers

Teasers are a great way to create excitement and urgency on Instagram. They can also get shared quickly after they’re posted.

A teaser reveals a small part of a current or upcoming product. It whets your followers’ appetites for the real deal.

Your teaser could be a clip from your latest online course, for example. Include a link in your profile to the sales page while you’re at it.

Think of a teaser as a movie trailer. It’s designed to convince people that they want to see the full thing.

Launch a Product Live

Live product launches can also garner plenty of interest on Instagram. You’re excited about your next project, so why not share your excitement with your followers?

It’s a little different to launch a digital product on Instagram than to launch a physical product. After all, you can’t unbox or display an online course.

However, you can talk about the product, explain the creation process, and answer questions you think prospective customers might have. In other words, anticipate what others might want to know about your product so you can share that information right off the bat.

Use the Instagram Live feature for this purpose. Just make sure to publicize the launch well in advance so people know when to tune in.

Hold Contests

We all love contests. Human beings are, as a rule, competitive creatures.

If you offer a prize, such as free access to your online course or one free month of access to your membership site, you can get lots of people to participate.

The contest could be anything. You decide the rules.

For instance, you could invite your followers to submit photographs of themselves doing something funny, entertaining, or instructive. Ask them to tag you in their post or to use your branded hashtag.

You’ll choose your favorite from among the contributions.

Run Promotions

A promotion is similar to the contest. The difference is that the winner is random rather than chosen.

For instance, you could give away one unit of your online course after you choose a commenter at random from your latest Instagram post. That’s an easy way to get people to engage with your brand.

The important thing is to give people ample time to participate. For instance, you could set a deadline 24 hours from the time your Instagram post goes live.

3 Tips to Help Increase Your Growth and Engagement

We’ve give you the tools you need to set up your Instagram profile and to begin a strategic Instagram marketing program. But what about the meteoric growth many Instagrammers see? How can you harness that for your own business?

Encourage User-Generated Content

Coca-Cola uses the #ShareACoke hashtag on Instagram and its other social media profiles. And it often shares images that other users create — usually when they’re enjoying an ice-cold Coca-Cola beverage.

That’s user-generated content. Anyone can take a picture of him or herself drinking a can of Diet Coke. When Coca-Cola shares it with its audience, it gets more loyalty from the original creator. Plus, other people see that consumers enjoy Coca-Cola products on their own.

It’s the exact opposite of a branded, posed shot you might share after a professional photo shoot.

Using contests and promotions to encourage user-generated content is a great way to grow your Instagram profile faster.

Share Your Instagram Posts on Facebook 

Cross-posting your content serves two important purposes. It:

  1. Reduces the amount of effort you have to put forth to share content with your audience; and
  2. Helps you reach a broader audience consistently.

Some people who use Instagram don’t use Facebook — and vice-versa. But the two platforms are owned by the same company, so it’s easy to post your Instagram content on Facebook, too.

You might want to make a few adjustments to the title and caption of each post. Making them unique can help you avoid irritating your followers on both platforms.

However, you do want your content to run double duty. Why create two separate pieces of content when one will suffice?

Run Instagram Ads 

Advertising isn’t always in the budget, but when it is, Instagram is a great choice.

Facebook Advertising has become less attractive to many brands because it’s more expensive and because reach is greatly shortened by competition. You can easily reach more people for less money on Instagram.

Plus, if your ads are more appropriate for your Instagram audience, why waste the opportunity?

You can set up ads on Facebook to run on Instagram. Narrow down your audience as far as possible, run A/B tests with different landing pages, and make adjustments to your ad strategy as needed.

You don’t have to keep advertising if you don’t get good ROI. Remember: You should always generate more revenue from ads than you spend on them. Otherwise, you’re wasting your money.

Start with a low budget and work your way up. If the conversions pile up, increase your budget accordingly.

Use Kajabi to Turn Your Knowledge and Content Into Products You Can Sell

Whether you decide that your brand belongs on Instagram or not, we want you to succeed at selling Knowledge Commerce products. That is, after all, why we created Kajabi in the first place.

We’re dedicating to helping people like you spread their knowledge, build their brands, and gain positive reputations in their communities. Instagram marketing can give you a serious boost.

If you haven’t tried Kajabi yet, now’s the time. We offer competitive pricing as well as a 14-day, no-risk free trial so you can try out our features and get to know the platform.

Best of all, you can start building your first online course or other digital product from the moment you sign up.

Once you’ve build digital products for your audience, spread your message through Instagram marketing, email marketing, and other strategies. You’ll thank yourself for taking the time.

Conclusion

Instagram marketing is one of the easiest ways to get your brand the attention it deserves. It’s all about turning fans of your content and your brand into paying customers.

It’s easy to create an Instagram account for your business. After you sign up, you can start publishing content right away.

Instagram allows you to publish four different types of content: photos, videos, Stories, and Instagram Live sessions. Each post type gives you a new way to connect with your audience.

Before you start posting, though, create an Instagram marketing strategy. Identify your ideal Instagram audience and conduct a thorough competitive analysis. In other words, figure out what you should be posting and what your competitors are doing.

Create an editorial calendar, build a consistent brand, and encourage followers to convert into  customers. You can increase your chances of converting followers through teasers, live product launches, contests, and promotions.

Don’t forget about user-generated content, cross-promoted content, and Instagram advertising. They can also help you grow faster.

Do you use Instagram? What’s your favorite way to engage with your audience there?

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