Instagram is a powerful tool for getting clients online, but it requires a different approach from other platforms because of its unique features and culture. In this article I'm going to give you the top 7 "what's working now" strategies for getting clients on Instagram in 2020.
I don't have a huge Instagram following (come see). In fact, I've never paid too much attention to growing my social channels because I prefer to drive traffic and attention in other ways, yet I've still managed to get a ton of clients on Instagram.
If you don't have a huge following then that's great news for you. If you do have a big following, it's outstanding news for you because your results should be that much better.
The "Aha Moment" of Getting Clients on Instagram
I see a lot of people complaining that Instagram isn't working to drive traffic to their sites. I think this is the fundamental misconception about Instagram.
Where Facebook was and still is effective for generating traffic to a site, Instagram isn't. It's not built that way.
Sure, there's a bio link and people will click it and go to any site you'd like them to go to, but that's the least interesting part of Instagram when it comes to getting clients.
The "aha moment" is this: don't focus on getting people from Instagram to your website (or an email list, etc.) and then converting them to clients. Just get the clients directly on Instagram.
You do that by shifting your strategy from earning conversions, to earning conversations. On the internet, conversations equal money and Instagram is one of the best tools available for generating conversations.
Here are some strategies you can try...
How to Get Clients & Customers with Instagram Stories
Stories are 24-hour posts that show in chronological order at the very top of the Instagram app, like this...
When you post to your Stories, you'll show up in your followers' feeds and they can flip through your Stories posts.
They also might see your Stories posts after watching someone else's Stories since Instagram shows you person after person without having to leave the Stories experience.
Stories aren't just temporary posts, though. They're much more powerful than that because they offer unique engagement tools.
For one, anyone can direct message (DM) you right from a Story they're seeing...
If you include a compelling call to action in your story – asking them to message you about it – people will (imagine that).
Stories also have a feature called "Stickers," namely the Poll, Questions, Emoji Slider, Quiz, and Chat stickers...
These stickers allow you to collect special types of engagement on your stories, see who engaged on the back end, and then direct message those people to start conversations about their engagement.
Instagram Stories Poll Sticker – This sticker allows you to conduct a poll of your audience where they can decide between two different choices or answer a simple yes/no question. On the back end, you can see everyone who voted and what their choice was.
Instagram Stories Question Sticker – This sticker allows you to ask an open ended question where people can respond within the sticker itself instead of messaging you. On the back end, you can see all responses to the question and who responded.
Instagram Stories Emoji Slider Sticker – This sticker allows people to rate something using a slider decorated with an emoji icon. The emoji can be changed and you can see who participated and what their vote amounted to on the back end.
Instagram Stories Quiz Sticker – This sticker allows you to poll or quiz people with up to four options to choose from. You can see who participated and what their vote was on the back end.
Instagram Stories Chat Sticker – This sticker allows you to create a group chat with anyone who wants to participate.
Once you've used stickers in your stories, you can access all the interactions with those stickers through the Insights tab in your profile settings...
Click the hamburger menu at the top right when viewing your profile, choose "Insights" and under Stories, choose "See All."
Tap the story you want to see results for and then swipe up on the screen to reveal the results.
Pro Tip: If you're a local business, you can also make great use of the Location sticker, which people can use to find your business in a local market.
How to Get Clients & Customers on Instagram With FEATURED Stories
I'm not going to go into the intricacies of Power Content when it comes to content marketing and content funnels (learn it in my community), so let's discuss a practical strategy that everyone can use without learning anything new...
Let's say you do a Stories series that knocks it out of the park in terms of engagement and conversions. After 24 hours, that series is going to disappear.
But wait. What if there was a way to preserve that series and keep it front and center so it can continue generating engagement and conversions day after day?
That's possible with Featured Stories, which show up in your Instagram Bio area...
All you have to do is head over to your bio and click the "+" icon. Choose the stories you want to add to that featured area and then give the featured area a name.
You can create more than one Featured Stories group, so consider doing this with any series that generates strong results.
The content you're posting makes or breaks all of these strategies. If you don't understand how to plan, create, and distribute Power Content (versus the random, disjointed content strategy most people are using) then your results are going to be lackluster.
If you need want guidance and tips on creating effective Power Content, join my free mastermind community.
How to Get Clients & Customers on Instagram With Hashtag & Location Farming
It's no secret that hashtags on social media are important for discoverability. While we all know that, most people only use them to half their advantage.
If you're creating posts and Stories and using hashtags hoping to get people to find your stuff, that's great, but it's not the full use of hashtags.
Instead of waiting for people to find you, why not go out and find other people by searching hashtags? That's where the Hashtag Farming strategy comes in...
How Hashtag & Location Farming Work
Searching hashtags and locations on Instagram gives you direct access to your target market.
For example, let's say I'm marketing a dog treats business in Alpharetta, Georgia. I can search "Places" in Instagram and choose Alpharetta, GA as the location.
The "Top" tab shows me the top posts in this area and the "Recent" tab shows me the most recent.
All I have to do is scroll through and find photos of people with dogs. Here's two side-by-side...
Using a branded business account, I could follow her, like her photo, and leave a comment telling her how awesome her dog is and inviting her to come in for a free treat.
Not only will she see it, but all her friends are likely to see it as well (she has 123 likes and many comments). She may follow my account back, getting me a new follower, and may actually come in for the free treat as well (introducing her to the business and create a potential future customer).
To make this work consistently, I'd have my employees commenting on 10 posts right after clocking in for each shift.
What if I don't have a local business?
If you don't have a local business, you can use a similar tactic with hashtags. So instead of finding all the people who live in an area, you would try to find all the people with a specific interest that matches your target market.
Let's say my business handles audio editing for podcasters. I could search a hashtag such as #podcastmovement (a hashtag associated with a popular podcasting conference), to find a ton of podcasters to connect with...
By liking, following, and commenting I can get dozens of podcasters coming to checkout my profile, following back, and potentially even clicking the bio link in my profile (which can take them to my website or even to a freebie).
Staying consistent with this strategy day-in and day-out (which is why it's called farming) will bring your brand valuable attention and a steady trickle of leads and clients over time.
How to Get Clients & Customers With Instagram TV (IGTV)
IGTV is Instagram's long-form video area. Where normal Instagram videos are limited to 1 minute, IGTV allows for videos up to 10 minutes in length.
Aside from engaging in regular content marketing to get customers and clients through IGTV, there are a few unique features you can take advantage of...
IGTV Description Links
Where normal Instagram posts don't allow links in descriptions, content, or comments, IGTV *does* allow links in descriptions.
If you post an IGTV video with a call to action, people can click the link in your description to follow up with your CTA. With the right strategy, this can create direct conversions from Instagram.
Linking to IGTV Videos in Stories
You might be wondering what good IGTV description links are if people don't know you've posted an IGTV video. Well, no worries because you can link to your IGTV videos from your Stories...
When creating a new Instagram story, just click the link icon at the top. Choose IGTV and then choose the IGTV video you want to include in your story.
People will be able to click directly from your story to your IGTV and begin watching. They can then click any link you've included in your IGTV description.
Have you posted an IGTV video yet? If not, post your first one today! The easiest way is to download the IGTV app (separate from the main Instagram app). Don't overthink it, just get something posted and then practice linking to the new IGTV video from your Stories.
If you need help figuring out the specifics of this strategy, join our free mastermind community.
How to Get Clients & Customers With Your Instagram Bio
Your Instagram Bio is one of the most important aspects of getting clients on Instagram. This is why a well optimized bio is sometimes referred to as a "Profile Funnel."
Here's the psychology behind how this works...
Whenever a new person is introduced to your brand, they're likely to checkout your bio to learn more. A well-optimized bio should create curiosity and then your bio link should create a conversion.
For a refresher, here's how people might find you or see you on Instagram BEFORE ever seeing your bio/profile...
- You comment on someone's post
- You like someone's photo
- You show up in a hashtag search
- You show up in a location search
- Someone tags you
- Someone links to your content on another platform
- Someone re-posts your content
- Someone shares your content
- Someone embeds your content
- Someone mentions you verbally in Stories or Live video
See, there are a ton of ways that people can discover you on Instagram without ever interacting your profile directly. The most interested of these people will then click through to your profile to learn more about you.
When people want to learn more about me, this is the bio they'll see (as of this post)...
It's a mix of personal ("Father of 3"), what I do ("Founder of DigitalAmbition.co • Online Biz & Marketing Coach") a mention of my podcast ("Host of the Digital Ambition Podcast"), and a strong call to action ("Join my strategy community").
I've also used emojis to spice things up and make it a little more interesting with a use of the pointing down emoji to visually point to the bio link I want people to click.
Anyone who is interesting in online marketing and business is highly likely to at least check out the community and will most likely click to follow me as well.
As you can see, this funnels people from the bio area deeper into my ecosystem. The more exposure you get on Instagram (from any strategy you'd like), the more people you'll funnel and convert.
Pull up your Instagram bio and take a look at it with fresh eyes. How optimized is it? What's your call to action? What can you add or subtract to make it better?
Pro Tip: If you're just sending people to your home page, you're missing out on a valuable link click. Try linking to a freebie, group, strategy call calendar, or some other higher impact area.
If you still need help figuring out how to get customers on Instagram from this strategy, join my free mastermind community.
How to Get Clients & Customers with Ad Retargeting
Everyone knows you can run ads on Instagram, but not everyone knows that you can create Custom Audiences based on people who interact with you on Instagram.
Yep, it's true. Log into your Facebook Ads dashboard, go to Audiences, click the button to create a new audience, and choose "Instagram Business Profile."
Facebook allows you to create a Custom Audience for each of the following:
- People who engaged with your business (on Instagram)
- Anyone who visited your business profile (your bio)
- People who engaged with any post or ad
- People who sent a message to your business profile
- People who saved any post or ad
On Instagram, you have two options for trying to re-reach people who have already interacted with you: you can try to reach them organically or you can try to reach them with paid ads.
Reaching them organically is troublesome for two reasons: the algorithm and the fact that not everyone who likes you and interacts with has clicked the button to follow you.
Running ads allows you to re-engage people far more consistently and fairly inexpensively. Ads can show up in both the Instagram feed as well as Instagram Stories and ads in Stories feature the ability to Swipe Up even if you don't have the minimum 10,000 followers.
You don't have to run ads right now to take action on this step. Even if you're not quite ready to run ads, you want to at least get the Custom Audiences setup so that when you *are* ready, you don't have to wait for them to populate.
Go login to your Facebook Ads dashboard and navigate to the Audiences section. Create some basic custom audiences based on your Instagram engagement.
If you need help figuring out exactly how to do this, join our free mastermind community.
Key Takeways for Getting Clients on Instagram
Okay, let's wrap up...
- You don't need a ton of followers to get clients or customers on Instagram.
- Don't worry about driving a lot of traffic to your website from Instagram – worry instead about getting clients on the Instagram platform itself.
- Instagram success is about aiming for conversations more than conversions.
- Instagram Stories are one of the most powerful ways to create engagement and conversations, especially with the use of stickers and direct messaging people who participate in polls, questions, etc.
- Featured Stories are perfect for any Stories that have performed well – pin them to your featured section so they can keep producing results week after week.
- Hashtag Farming and Location Farming work wonders for increasing discoverability, gaining new followers, and creating micro-conversions.
- Instagram TV (IGTV) posts are unique in that they can contain outbound links in the description. You can call attention to them by linking to them in your Stories.
- Your Instagram Bio is one of the most important pieces of real estate on Instagram. It should act as a Profile Funnel for your business.
- The Facebook Ads dashboard allows you to retarget people who have interacted with you specifically on Instagram (not just Facebook) and in specific ways on the Instagram platform. Use this to re-engage people strategically.
That's what's working now for getting clients and customers on Instagram. If you want more help with online marketing and business, make sure you join our free mastermind community (not a Facebook Group).