Why Instagram is a Powerful Tool for Website Traffic
Instagram has worked its way up to become one of the most popular social media platforms. The trends show that it is getting more and more attraction, even compared to Facebook. The younger generation especially prefer the picture sharing app, with 60% of Instagrammers being between 18-34 years old.
In fact, 60% of Instagram users learn about a product or service on the platform, and of these, 75% take action after being inspired. As a result, it has been estimated that 68% of Instagrammers regularly engage with brands, compared to 32% of Facebook users. Instagram’s conversion rate is therefore significantly higher than that of any other sharing platform.
Building the Relationship between Instagram and Ecommerce
Instagram presents a massive opportunity for ecommerce stores to connect with their audience. And Instagram knows that. As a result, Instagram has decided to optimise their Shopping on Instagram features. That’s why the “Buy Now” button was recently added, and testing for a “Tap to View” option is well under way. In fact, Instagram has set up its very own Ecommerce team of over 50 staff in New York to expand their social selling potential.
Instagram’s focus on sharing visual content makes it the perfect tool for driving ecommerce traffic. The old saying “A picture is worth 1000 words” also holds true on social media platforms. That might explain the average Instagram order value of $65, a substantial amount given over 500 million people per month actively use Instagram.
And the best thing about Instagram? It is free to set up and post pictures. That makes Instagram one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website with zero budget. But with 70 million photos being posted every single day, how do you make sure that your audience finds you and then checks out your online shop?
How to Drive Traffic from Instagram to Your Ecommerce Store in 5 Steps
1. Set up a Business Account
The first thing to do is to set up a business Instagram account for your ecommerce store. As a serious and reputable brand, you want to avoid mixing your personal and brand accounts, as your customers aren’t interested in what you’re having for dinner Sunday night, but rather how your product or service can benefit them.
2. Optimise Your Page
Once you’ve created a business account, you need to optimise your page. Optimisation makes the difference between Instagrammers finding your profile, and Instagrammers finding your profile and taking action. Your profile should communicate your value proposition to your customers, in a way that is professional and engaging. Here are three ways you can optimise your Instagram profile page:
“Say Cheese” - A High-Quality Profile Image
An engaging Instagram profile must include a high-quality profile picture that shows who you are. This might be a product that represents your store - depending on how many products you sell - or your company logo.
Your photo, name and logo should be consistent across your online presence, so that customers can easily recognise you.
“This is me” - A Bio That’s Reflective of Your Brand
The bio is where you tell people what you’re all about, and why they should check out your store. It should be reflective of your brand, and communicated in a way that speaks directly to your target audience. If you are lost for words, the following formula might give you some inspiration:
Who are you + What do you do + A dash of personality
“Check me out” - A Link to Your Landing Page
Instagram gives you the option to include one link in your bio: one of the only ways to directly drive traffic to your online store. Most people pop in their homepage. Whilst this is not a terrible mistake, you’d be missing out on an opportunity to convert your Instagram visitors into paying customers. Rather than sharing an informational home page that requires multiple further clicks to get to the desired product page, link to a well-written landing page that makes it easy for Instagram click-throughs to find the products they are looking for.
Your link is also a great opportunity to drive special Instagram campaigns. If you, for example, are promoting a particular product or want to offer a special discount to your Instagram followers, you can use your ‘link in bio’ to do so.
3. Grow Your Following
Once you have set up and optimised your Instagram account, you want people to find and follow you. This is where most businesses and users underestimate the effort you have to put into your Instagram strategy. Growing a substantial and interactive following is not as easy as simply posting a few photos and using some hashtags.
Growing a strong following that clicks through to your ecommerce website and converts into paying customers requires a lot of time and effort. But there are a few tools and strategies that can make it easier and help you engage your target audience:
Organic Growth through Great Content
The best way to get started is by sharing quality content. Share pictures that are representative of your brand and show off your products in an appealing way. Think about your target audience and what they would like to see. Creating value is the highest priority when it comes to organic growth.
Find out what works
Finding out what works is a bit of a trial and error task. First look at what successful brands are doing on Instagram, and whose content you can identify yourself with. Then ‘reverse engineer’ and see what works for you. Test out different content, captions and filters and track which posts generate the highest engagement rates through likes and comments. The highest performing ones tell you what your audience wants to see.
As with every social media strategy, consistency is key. Posting once a week won’t give you the exposure you want. You need to be visible to your followers. Then, when they are ready to buy, they remember you and voila! Quality website traffic is created. In order to achieve this, you need to post regularly. Some say 3 times per day is the most efficient, but you also want to avoid spamming your follower's feed. Set yourself the minimum of posting once a day, and then work your way up from there.
Use Hashtags effectively
Hashtags are what made Instagram famous. They are searchable keywords that make sure your content doesn’t get lost in a sea of 70 million daily posts. In order to be found and become more visible, pick 5 hashtags - some industry-specific ones, some niche or product specific ones, and some campaign or brand specific ones. In general, hashtags should be popular enough to capture a good amount of traffic, but narrow enough to avoid your post getting lost in the sea of new posts.
Once you have gained a good amount of followers, you can start partnering with other brands. Cross-promotion is a win-win situation for both parties involved. Both companies can create a shoutout by posting an image and caption about the other brand on their Instagram. As a result, you get quality exposure to an audience that is very likely to be interested in what you have to offer. When searching for potential partners, look for companies with the following three criteria:
- They share the same target audience as you
- They aren’t competitors of yours
- Their Instagram is at a similar stage to yours
When picking possible partners, reach out to brands that share similar values to you. You want to make sure that your audience and their audience actually benefit from the cross-promotion. So pick brands and products that you think are interesting to your followers, and that you are happy and confident to promote on your channel.
This is where the real effort starts. Instagram is not a one-sided platform. Like any social media medium, Instagram is a conversation. Simply posting pictures won’t cut it. You need to be proactive by commenting and liking other images. That doesn’t mean you give a thumbs up to your best friend’s weekend post. Be intentional about your effort. Find accounts that serve the same target audience as yours, and start interacting with their followers. Here you can also include competitors.
Make sure your comments are personalised based on the content of the post, and convey a positive message. What you want to avoid is looking like you’re only commenting to tap into other people’s audiences.
Keep it real
In general, we recommend avoiding commenting or liking just any old image your competitors post. Only pick the content you actually like, and comment things that you would actually say. As a brand, it is important to be real and keep your integrity, especially when proactively engaging with new audiences.
If you want to start tapping into other people’s audiences, do it the right way. There is massive potential in finding Instagram influencers and partnering with them to promote your product or service. Find affiliates that engage with your target audience, and pay them a commission whenever one of their followers click through to your website and make a sale. Learn more about the benefits of Affiliate Marketing and how to get started here.
4. Create Engagement
There is a difference between followers, and active followers. Having a large follower number show up on your Instagram profile might be satisfying, but it doesn’t guarantee increased traffic to your ecommerce website. You want active followers. They are the ones that like and comment on your pictures, click on your links, and through their engagement, also encourage other people to do so.
Ideas and Inspiration
When thinking about a content strategy for Instagram, think about how your can create value for your followers. People will only engage with your content, check out your profile and click through to your ecommerce store if they feel like you have something to offer that they are looking for.
That means you have to think beyond the usual product shot. Publishing a photo of your product over and over again will get boring after some time. Instead, focus on showing the lifestyle aspect of your products. How are they used in action? How are other people using them?
Here are some more ideas for posts that engage your followers:
- Show them what is going on ‘behind the scenes’ of your brand - e.g. team celebrations
- Promote user-generated content: honour your customers when they show your product on Instagram by reposting their photo on your profile. These reposts work similar to testimonials and significantly increase your website traffic from Instagram
- Showcase your products in a creative way
- Educate your followers on how to use your product and its benefits
- Post pictures that show your company values
- Take advantage of the holidays and publish seasonal posts
- Once you have a solid level of engagement and followers, run competitions and contests
- Publish posts that are fun and entertaining.
Make Use of Instagram Stories
Instagram stories let you record short videos that are then able to be viewed for 24 hours. If a picture is worth a thousand words, videos are unrivalled in the impact they have. You can use Instagram Stories to make your quality content come alive and create better rapport with your followers. You can even include links in your Instagram stories, that can lead viewers to different web pages and thus drive more traffic to your ecommerce site. To learn how to leverage Instagram Stories more effectively for your ecommerce business, click here.
The text that accompanies a photo on Instagram is your opportunity to include an attractive call to action in your post. The best way to write engaging captions is by thinking of captions as ‘The Loop’: Instagrammers see your picture, read the caption and discover a new angle, go back and take a closer look, then finally decide to check out your profile and click on your link. With this in mind, you can write captions that engage your target audience. Make sure you also adhere to their language on Instagram.
Adhere to the Rules of Instagram Culture
As much as Instagram is introducing new features to make it easier for ecommerce businesses to leverage the platform, Instagram wasn’t set up as a shopping app. You should therefore avoid hard selling and pushing your products too much. As we have stressed before, Instagram for business is about quality content and value creation first, selling second.
So in order to increase traffic to your website via Instagram, you first need to build a relationship with your followers. Respect the fact that they haven’t come here to shop in the first place, but to look for beautiful photos and inspiration. Once you have built a connection and culture among your loyal ‘Grammers, the website traffic will start flowing by itself.
5. Measure Your Instagram Success
As with any other marketing strategy, you need to keep track of what works and what doesn’t. Only then can you understand which posts create engagement and incentivise people to click on the link in your bio. You need to make data-driven decisions to consistently increase website traffic from Instagram. Some of the metrics you want to look out for are:
- Reciprocity: Who are the followers that interact with your brand the most? They will tell you more about your target audience and their behaviour on Instagram
- Density: The specific days and time that your target audience most commonly engages on Instagram
- Most Liked Media: Which posts get the most engagement? Compare the results, and find similarities to create content that resonates with your audience.
Helpful Tools for Instagram
Crowdfire is a great tool to help you optimise your Instagram strategy when it comes to logistics. The app helps you determine what post types are the most popular, how long captions should be, and when the best time is to post to reach your specific target audience.
Later, Schedugram & Hootsuite
As an entrepreneuer you are busy working on all fronts of your ecommerce store. You don’t want to spend time every day taking pictures, optimising them, and posting them. It might be more time efficient to collect the content all at once and bulk schedule your posts. Later, Schedugram and Hootsuite are some of the most popular apps that let you do that.
You’re not sure which hashtags are used in your specific industry? Or you want to know what your target audience is searching for on Instagram? Iconosquare helps you discover the best hashtags for your product and audience.
And it doesn’t stop there. Iconosquare is also a great tool to keep track of your success. It gives you the option to track different metrics that tell you how successful you are at engaging your followers and driving traffic to your ecommerce website.
Once you have created your profile, grown your audience and optimised your content, your website traffic will increase. You then have to make sure that your website visitors from Instagram reach your ecommerce store and convert into buying customers.
Driving traffic to your website from your Instagram requires time and effort - but it can be one of the most effective - and free - ways to attract paying customers to your online store. To take advantage of Instagram and unlock its full power, contact Elkfox and we can help you drive more traffic to your Shopify store.