Sharing photos is now one of the most utilized functions for brands and consumers on social media. Few social media sites have been able to capitalize on this trend as well as Instagram.
The photo sharing app has already grown to 40 million users that generate 3.5 billion likes every single day. What’s even more impressive is that the app has only been around for 5 years.
Instagram as a site traffic driver
Smart brands understand they need to be where consumers are and Instagram provides a platform that grants access to millions of consumers everyday. It’s clearly important to any marketers’ engagement plans. Yet if it’s so important, why do so few brands understand how to use Instagram to increase website traffic?
For instance, if you Google “How to increase web traffic through Facebook” or Twitter, you’ll be overwhelmed with almost 200 million search results. If you do the same for Instagram, Google yields a mere 9 million results. Why is there such a discrepancy? Why is nobody talking about Instagram?
The app competes with the amount of users, but it seems that businesses are unsure about its benefits. Or perhaps some business owners just don’t understand how to use it correctly to increase web traffic. If you fall into either category here’s an inside look at how to leverage Instagram to grow your site traffic.
1. Provide compelling content.
It goes without saying, but only post great content to win over followers and engage them enough to click over to your website. There’s a tradeoff to this, though, and its much easier said than done. Images need to be realistic and relevant. If you post a photo that’s too professional it can create a disconnect, but just a random iPhone shot may not be attractive enough to win them over. The key is to post professional looking photos that are relatable to your audience. Tap into what’s going on inside the minds of your visitors. Strive to solve a problem in a single post.
To relate more, humanize your business on Instagram. Businesses have difficulty connecting with consumers because people forget that they are comprised of people. Instagram enables businesses to bridge this gap. Take a look below at how Bonobos’s accomplishes this. During a blizzard in New York City, many people were likely dreaming of a tropical paradise. Bonobos wanted to show that they’re just like their customers and wished for the same thing.
The image doesn’t look like it was taken in a studio with a professional photographer. There’s no clothing in the image and no sales pitch. It’s simply an effort to empathize with consumers. What’s great about this image, too, is that the 450 likes is one of the most liked images on Bonobos’s profile. What’s this all for? When you begin to post relatable content, you audience becomes loyal to you. They’ll enjoy seeing your posts and will check out your profile, follow you, and click to your site to learn more.
2. Focus on video.
These days, almost everyone has a high quality camera that fits into a back pocket or purse. It’s incredibly easy to pull out a mobile phone – I mean, camera – snap a picture and upload. What’s the problem with this? Too many people are doing it.
TechCrunch reports that users upload 40 million pictures every single day. As easy as it is to post a video on Instagram, few brands and businesses focus their Instagram efforts around the latter. In 2014, Nike began posting awesome videos that were exclusive to their Instagram followers. The result? A 200% increase in followers.
The greatest story ever worn. #airmaxday A video posted by nike (@nike) on
Nike had 4 million followers on the social platform in April 2014, but now boasts 34.4 million. Although their conversion rates are unknown, many followers became website visitors and customers.
Just think about scrolling down your Instagram feed. You see dozens of pictures that take less than a second to admire. You’ll decide to like, comment, or keep scrolling. When you come across an occasional video post, you actually wait for a longer period of time to watch the video.
Instagram videos are only 15 seconds long, but this is 15x longer than the average time you spend looking at a picture post. If you want users to click to your website, the key is to keep them engaged longer. Videos take more effort to view and may be more expensive to produce, but it’s definitely worth it. The results speak for themselves.
3. Regularly update your profile link.
When you’re using Instagram it’s tougher to provide a call to action (CTA) than doing so on Facebook and Twitter. Instagram doesn’t allow you to post a clickable link on your post caption. Rather, the only link you can provide is in your bio. Where businesses go wrong a link to just their website homepage. How boring.
Although it’s inconvenient that you can’t easily share a link with your followers, there is some beauty to this. Human attention spans are shorter than that of a goldfish so a user that takes the time to click on your profile and your link will be a valuable visitor. You captured their interest and now they’re looking for more interesting content from you.
The problem with posting just a link to your homepage is this: it wastes the time of the visitor. Instead of guiding them to somewhere in your website where you want them to go, you are leaving it up to them to decide. And rather than focusing on making a decision, they will likely just go back to looking at funny cat videos. Opportunity wasted.
Instead, the link in your bio should reflect your personal goals for your website. For instance, if you just posted a new article and want people to read it, then post the link in your bio. Did you just launch a new product that you want people to buy? Post the link in your bio. Want to collect more email addresses through a landing page? Post the link in your bio.
4. Aim to get discovered.
Be sure to use Instagram hashtags. But definitely don’t overdo it. Buffer reports that the highest interaction through hashtags occurs on posts with over 11 hashtags. While interaction is great, you don’t want to annoy existing followers with a post that looks like click-bait. If you desperately need more interaction, go for the 11 hashtags. You’ll definitely gain more web traffic. But once you’re more of a veteran on the platform, shoot for no more than five.
5. Leverage influencers.
Instagram is now famous (or infamous) for creating a wave of online influencers. Thousands of individuals have built large followings by posting about specific niches. There’s an influencer for every topic.
Look who came to work with me today 👶🏻👶🏻👶🏻 all I have to say is SNAPCHAT. You can NOT miss today’s story 😭😂( 👻: @chrisellelim ) #chloeandchriselle #chloevictoriachen A photo posted by Chriselle Lim 🌟 크리셀 림 (@chrisellelim) on
The easiest way to get more followers, likes, and web traffic is to use the audiences these influencers have. Contact them via direct message or email, and ask them if they’d be willing to promote you on their profile. Many will charge for this service and will post your content for only a few hours.
Although this may not seem ideal, they’re just preventing their profile from becoming too promotional. It actually works out better for you, since post impressions sharply drop after 6 hours. If you have many followers and reach out to an influencer in your niche, you can cross-promote each other’s content for no cost.
Finally, if all else fails, consider paying for advertising on Instagram. Instagram just opened its advertising solutions to all businesses and websites, so it may be wise to jump on this opportunity.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Michael Mackay is a recent MBA graduate from Manhattan College. He is the founder of The American Idealist. Michael is working towards becoming a full-time blogger and solopreneur. Connect with @AmrcnIdealist on Twitter.
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