Instagram stories are a popular content medium that brands and businesses can use to generate leads and drive sales. In this article, we’ll share how to use Instagram stories to drive sales for your business.
Building a Sales Funnel Using Instagram Stories
Using Instagram a sales channel can be a powerful strategy for many brands and businesses. However, to build the funnel you must first understand the different stakeholders within your Instagram funnel. Let’s address these groups in further detail below.
1. Engage Existing Leads
Use Instagram stories to keep those who are already following your brand interested. Instagram stories may turn those who are just followers into leads, if you are using content to draw your customers in.
2. Encourage the Fall to the Bottom
Offer those leads who are on the boundary of the bottom of the funnel an opportunity to engage deeper with your brand. Consider hosting a webinar, going live on Instagram to show off products, or use a landing page to take customers to when they swipe up.
3. Address New Followers Consistently
Be sure that you are reintroducing yourself to new followers consistently. This will help enroll them in your vision and help them feel like they are apart of your growing community.
4. Keep Existing Customers in the Loop
An existing customer is a treasure on Instagram. If you can manage to foster strong relationships with your existing customers it will likely result in social word of mouth, more user-generated content, and repeat sales.
5. Use Data to Make Key Decisions
It is important to analyze data to enhance viewer retention and engagement. Always search for opportunities to decipher what content attracts your ideal customers. Anomalies like content your audience “hate” vs. content they “love” will help you create better content over time.
Different Ways to Use Instagram Stories to Drive Sales
Now that you understand the different stakeholders your stories must support let’s walk through the different ways you can use Instagram stories to drive sales.
Use Instagram Stories as a Lead Magnet Pipeline
You can also use your story to generate lead magnets. Publicize information on free newsletters, samples, or free trial subscriptions to your services. Offer a swipe up feature to where potential leads can go to the form to receive free products. You can then follow through with your lead through this successful use of a lead magnet.
Incentivize Your Story Viewers to Share
You can develop more leads by asking your audience members to share your Instagram stories with their followers. This will encourage their followers to enter the information for a contest or giveaway as well, giving you more leads in the long run. Make a share of the story necessary to become the winner of the contest or the giveaway that is occurring.
Feature Success Stories to Build the Loop
Feature success stories throughout your Instagram stories, which will encourage customers to want their own success stories. Show what your business has done for other customers to encourage audience members that it can do the same for them. When you share that information, you will have more people interested in what your business can do for them. Offer a swipe-up feature to read more information on the success story and to sign up for your services or buy your products.
How to Share Your Links if You Do Not Have the Swipe-Up Feature
The swipe-up feature of Instagram stories has come up several times throughout this article. Some of you may not know what is being talked about though, especially if you do not have the swipe-up feature on your Instagram account. If this is the case, use the messaging feature to have individuals send you a certain emoji or word to get the link. You can also use a poll and have individuals receive the link who shows interest. Finally, utilize the chat feature by automatically sending the link when audience members choose to chat with you in your story. You can also use an IGTV video to send links directly.
Build Brand Awareness
One of the best ways to increase your brand awareness through an Instagram story is to use hashtags and geolocations. Individuals who share or view your story will begin to associate that specific hashtag and geolocation with your brand. From that point forward, a simple search of the hashtag will bring up your brand’s page or post. You should also be sure to use swipe-ups, IGTV, or another method to put links that will connect to your brand profile or website. Sponsored stories are another great investment on Instagram to allow non-followers to see your brand information.
Prove Product Market Fit
You can prove the product-market fit through your Instagram stories by asking customers to share their own experiences with your brand. You can also host giveaways and polls to ensure customers in your target market are signing up and interested. Any sponsor story made is specifically geared towards your target audience. If you are unable to generate leads based on these sponsored stories, you know that you have formed an incorrect target market and may need to reassess your plan. This will help you to narrow down your target market and find your niche of customers.
Engage Your Community in Product Decisions
Instagram stories, whether sponsored or traditional, are a great way to engage your community, no matter the types you are seeking. You can create polls in these stories to ask customers to rate your products, ask customers what products they may want to see next, and determine the designs of your products. You can also utilize the swipe-up feature to link back to a form in which individuals can write a review of your products, after sharing example reviews in a story. This is a great way to keep customers engaged and interested in your business, and it will make them truly feel as if they are part of the company and cared about.
Share Your Brand’s Culture or Personality
It is important to let your brand shine and to be yourself when posting to your Instagram stories. If you have a more classic atmosphere, for example, utilize classic fonts and make your stories appear more upscale. If you are looking for a more fun atmosphere, use bright colors, fun fonts, funny videos, and more to advertise your brand. This will help you in reaching the right target audience as well since your brand culture and personality will reflect that of the customer base that you want to create.
How Brands Use Instagram Stories to Drive Engagement and Sales
Instagram stories can increase your sales, with some businesses seeing as much as a 69% increase after starting to use stories. Stories allow you to create casual content including:
- behind-the-scenes stories
- polls and feedback
- customer testimonials
- user-generated stories
- and much more
This type of casual content helps community members feel more immersed with your brand. Here are a few examples of these story strategies in action.
Instead a stuffy old product mockup. Hint Water shares the product in a yoga session, showcasing an actual scenario their customers can relate to.
The Cheerios post is extremely personable, as the brand calls out specific customers and compliments them. It’s a great way to make huge brands more relatable.
Pacific Northwest Wonderland shows a more unique personalization. A giveaway will engage customers to receive free products.
Using Sponsored Instagram Stories
What are Sponsored Stories?
Sponsored stories, are targeted ads displayed audience’s story feed. They will show up as naturally as another story in the feed without the consumer having to click on another link. You can choose exactly what audience members your story will reach, and each sponsored story will provide the information necessary.
Why Should Brands Use Sponsored Stories to Drive Sales?
Sponsored stories will help target audience members find your brand who may not already follow you. You will be able to generate new leads and develop a new customer base just from a potential customer viewing your sponsored story. People who may have never heard of your brand before can click on your user name from your story, going directly to your brand page. This will help them to discover exactly what your brand is about by browsing your images, causing them to enter their contact information, follow you, or even message you about the products offered. This, in the long run, will help you in gaining a sense of outreach to a customer base that you would have never reached out to before.
Warming Your Cold Instagram Followers through Stories and Story Highlights
It is important to build trust with your Instagram followers to create a lead, as no one is going to buy from a company that audience members think only cares about a sale. It is important to build this trust through your stories and story highlights. Make them engaging, personalized, and do not be afraid to use user-driven content. This will truly help to drive the sale just as these companies did below.
Glossier uses user-driven content consistently in their Instagram stories to draw in other customers.
The images from Aritzia showcase specific products, with different types of fit. Each story is very simple with a button for the viewer to see the product themselves.
Converse offers fun and relatable stories. It showcases their shoes with bright lights in fun poses to catch a viewer’s eye
Converting Warm Instagram Leads Via Stories
Warm leads are those audience members and customers who are on the verge of converting to a lead and making a purchase. They are almost on the cusp of utilizing your brand, so it is important to get them over that cusp. That is why you can utilize the information below in your Instagram stories to help in this effort.
Build Product Awareness
Itis important to utilize Instagram stories to build awareness of the products you offer. Post pictures or videos of individuals utilizing your products. Include success stories of other customers who have used your customers. This will help these warm leads to see exactly what they will achieve through working with your brand and your company. In seeing other individuals using the products, a trust will build between you and the customer.
Promote Feature Awareness
You can also promote new features that are in your newest products or newest services. This will help your customers to understand how your brand is continually improving. You can also share the best features of your established products and services, which will help customers to understand the many benefits of them. A transparent outlook will help your customers in understanding.
Display Market Authority
By utilizing stories that showcase the features of your brand and your products, you can develop a sense of authority in your brand’s market. Customers will feel that you are the best in that market for them, which will lead them to secure a sale with your business. Customers are more likely to trust the brands that offer the best services and products.
Tips on Using Instagram Analytics to Optimize Your Stories for Greater Reach
It is important to ensure your analytics are reaching the correct target audience to convert the most leads and have the greatest reach. The following companies have utilized their analytics well to reach the exact target audience they need to reach.
Madewell makes clothes for women who are on the verge of a tomboy. Their posts showcase this specific fashion, and they often showcase user-driven material.
Swell is a brand that cares about the environment. They want their customers to care about the environment as well, which is shown in this story.
Urban Outfitters is a modern brand with a specific retro vibe. This is shown in the product image, with a specific link for the customers interested in this fashion.
So, What Now?
Instagram stories are a powerful way to market to new customers, cold customers and followers, warm followers, and even hot customers. You can utilize sponsored stories or traditional stories to boost sales and generate leads quickly. Keep each story engaging to make the customer feel as if you care about them, and be sure you utilize your analytics to reach the target audience you need. Follow these steps and you are sure to be successful in your Instagram marketing.