How Can Instagram Support Direct Response Marketing?

You might think of Instagram as a platform for people to connect, primarily through beautiful images and videos, with their friends, family, and favorite celebrities. It is, but there’s so much more.

According to Instagram, over 200 million Instagrammers visit at least one business profile daily. Why are they visiting business profiles? To engage with their favorite brands, to learn about new brands, and to take advantage of direct response offers they see in posts.

Instagram: A Mighty Social Channel
If you really think about these stats compiled by Hootsuite, it’s clear that Instagram is an important channel for marketers—even B2B marketers who may not have thought of using the trendy social media network.

• 90% of the top 100 brands are on Instagram
• 71% of US businesses use Instagram—more than Twitter!
• 80% of users follow at least one business
• 72% of users have bought a product they saw on Instagram

If your brand is already on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, it’s probably time to extend your social footprint to Instagram—and start using it as part of your multi-channel strategy to drive traffic to your website! Instagram is tied to Facebook, anyway, so the process is easier than you might think. Follow these best practices as you begin using the platform as part of your direct response marketing campaigns:

Display Your Most Compelling Artwork
Instagram is a primarily visual social channel—filled with image after image after image to delight and inspire users. Your posts, whether they’re organic or paid, need to look great, while following your brand standards. Instagram, on defining good creative, says, “good creative is just good creative.” They recommend:

• Stopping users’ scroll by creating a single focal point in your ad
• Connecting with people when they look at your ad by incorporating branding elements, like a logo
• Inspire action by explaining “what’s in it for them”

Exactly. For our insights, don’t miss How to Evaluate Direct Marketing Creative: Our 5-Point Checklist. And to get more Instagram-specific 4 Steps to Create a Curated Instagram Feed provides some tips for giving your posts a certain “flow” or aesthetic when viewed as part of a group.

Include Compelling Copy, Too
Yes, your image-based Instagram posts have space for copy—copy that’s short and sweet. It shows up under your post in users’ feeds or when your post is clicked from a search page. This is where your CTA and hashtags are placed, and also populates any comments. Use this space wisely, and make sure it clearly states and reinforces the offer promoted in the image. Why not remind your followers to “share” the post, too?

Use Hashtags To Reach Customers
Your posts should contain hashtags that put your content in front of the right audience. Their purpose is to help users find content they’re likely to be interested in. Here are just a few examples:

• #FlashSale or #LivingGreen – Instagram users (in this example, bargain hunters and environmental enthusiasts) follow hashtags they’re interested in so relevant posts show up in their feeds or when they search.

• #TWO – You can add branded hashtags to company’s profile bio, which users can use when they share your content.

• #ChicagoLife or #FloridaSun – Location-based hashtags add geographic relevancy.

You can use up to 30 hashtags—but that might be too many for your brand! Do some research on the platform to find popular hashtags in your industry, among your target audience, and for similar products and offers. Look at some direct and indirect competitors’ profiles and posts for inspiration. You may notice some patterns or trends, which, even though they change over time, can point you in the right direction.

Advertise to Enable Click-Throughs
One challenge with organic Instagram posts is that they aren’t “clickable,” meaning a fan or follower has to visit your bio to find a URL. That’s why Instagram posts always say something along the lines of, “click the link in our bio.” You can include your website address in your post’s image, but users still need to key that into a browser window.

Paid advertising offers an alternative, however. You can set up highly targeted ads through Facebook’s flexible and self-service advertising platform. Setting up your ads with a Lead Generation objective enables you to collect information like email addresses from interested users, and a Conversions objective is ideal if you’re aiming for e-commerce sales.

Find out more in How to Generate Leads With Facebook Ad Campaigns, and check out a wide range of excellent (and some not so good) ad examples with good commentary.

Contact us for more insights on what it takes to set your direct response marketing campaigns up for multi-channel success that includes Instagram.