How to Generate Leads on Instagram

Instagram is a powerful lead generation tool. This has to do primarily with the many features of the platform that allow for engagement. Instagram has a like and share button that can help you promote your content. Speaking of content, you have many formats to choose from, too. From Instagram Reels to Stories, the possibilities are endless.

The result of all these? Massive lead-generation opportunities on Instagram. The question is, are you effectively positioned to capture them?

This guide will walk you through eight proven Instagram lead generation tactics. Let’s get to it!  

1. Optimize Your Profile

You know how when you meet someone with a striking feature and their face just sticks? Your Instagram bio can have the same effect when it’s well-optimized. It’s usually the first customer touchpoint. If you create a memorable Instagram profile, you can generate leads.

So, as part of your lead Instagram lead generation strategy, optimize your profile by including these four important elements:

Profile Image

Your profile photo is your business identity. So, your business logo should ideally be your profile photo regardless of whether you’re a small or large business. It creates a memorable first impression on users and makes your business easy to spot among a bazillion other competitors on the Instagram landscape.

If you’re an influencer, or the face of your brand, you might consider using a personal photo or a photo that reflects what your content is about.

Your Business Proposition 

Highlighting your business proposition on your bio allows you to sell your business with gusto. Treat it as a business card. It must contain compelling, concise, and well-written content that describes you and your business, and why a new visitor should care enough to follow or patronize you.

See this example. 

Highlighting your business proposition on your bio example

Right off the bat, you can tell what the page is about from its snappy bio that includes its business proposition. With this, any food enthusiast can choose to follow this creator for solely food content.

An Instagram business account isn’t complete without a link-in-bio. Apart from directing traffic to your website, it can be your primary source for collecting leads on Instagram. 

Ensure your bio includes a call-to-action (CTA) encouraging the visitor to click the link in your bio. The link should point to your business landing page where you’ll have a lead capture form to collect detailed information tailored to your Instagram campaign. 

Instagram Highlights 

Think of Instagram Highlights as groups of stories you can feature on your profile permanently. They appear as circular links and sit right below your bio.

Instagram Highlights example

Regular stories disappear after 24 hours, but Instagram Highlights can live permanently on your profile. This allows you to showcase important tidbits about your business like product features, reviews and testimonials to new visitors. 

You can customize each highlight with a captivating cover image or icon that represents the topic of the stories saved inside. To further optimize this section of your profile, give each highlight a snappy caption to serve as an indicator of your profile content. 

2. Use Hashtags Strategically

Hashtags are Instagram’s way of categorizing content so it’s easily searchable. Hence, when used strategically, hashtags give your business account free organic promotion. According to Hubspot, having a documented hashtag strategy increases marketing effectiveness by up to 23 percent

To generate leads using hashtags, ensure they match your content theme, industry and the campaign. The more specific, the better.

For instance, if you are in the transport, supply chain and logistics industry, a “#trucking” hashtag might be a strategic hashtag, depending on the context. So are #cargomanagement and #freightmanagement; they’re all specific terms related to the industry. 

This example uses industry related hashtags to trucking and transportation. 

instagram hashtags Strategically use example

However, using a #Ship hashtag may take your hashtag strategy off-course. It’s a broader term, and may reduce the chances of you attracting the right audience to your page. 

You can also create a branded hashtag. You can use it every time you post content on your Instagram account. Share it with your audience as well so they can use it when giving an online review or testimonial of your product or services. We’ll talk more about user-generated content later.

Note, though, that some related hashtags might be ineffective in expanding your reach for lead generation if they’re too popular. For example, if you’re a small food business, do not use #foodstagram. There are already over 121 million posts using that hashtag, which means your content might just get drowned out.

pastry chef niche variations or keyword combinations instagram hashtags

Instead of using very popular hashtags, go for niche variations or keyword combinations like the pastry chef did above. 

3. Run Contests and Giveaways 

Contests and giveaways are a creative Instagram lead generation technique. Participants can enter the contest by leaving their email address or other contact information through the link in your bio.

Often, contests involve performing a specific task after which the winner wins a “giveaway” prize. The task might be for followers to complete a survey, leave a comment and tag a friend to like their comment or the post itself. This strategy doesn’t just help you get more eyes on your post. It can help boost your Instagram followers as well.

Tiny Treasures by Me, a miniature dollhouse maker, is an example of a brand that runs contests to generate leads.

instagram giveaway example

That said, you don’t necessarily need to run an Instagram contest to do a giveaway for lead generation. 

You can also do a free product sampling giveaway directly or offer exclusive discounts or early access to new products or services. Just have participants provide their email addresses which you can use for lead nurturing. 

Lastly, don’t fall into the vicious cycle of giveaway addiction. Giveaway campaigns are an effective way to generate leads, but without a proper retention strategy, you will lose them just as quickly.  

So, if you run a bistro, you should still tweak your restaurant marketing plan to include a solid loyalty program for your business.

4. Utilize Instagram Stories 

Instagram Stories offer a unique opportunity to connect with your audience in a more immediate and interactive manner. 

An effective way to utilize Instagram Stories for Instagram lead generation is to embed a CTA link in the post. If you have over 10,000 followers or a verified account, you can include swipe-up links in your Stories, driving potential leads to your website or landing page

Take it a step further by serializing your Stories content and making it interactive to drum up anticipation from followers. You may announce minor product updates, make quick surveys, and showcase product teasers. 

Feature your business behind-the-scenes and start a trend for your followers. Also, consider offering a small reward to your viewers for sharing your Stories content.

5. Collaborate with Influencers

When executed properly, influencer marketing has the potential to generate leads for your business. But the results will depend on the influencer you partner with. 

Influencer celebrities with a huge following may look good by the numbers, but there’s proof that micro-influencers are efficient and bring more profit for the least amount of money.

Micro-influencers are relatable, devoted, and are seen like regular folks by their followers. As such, your potential leads easily trust their recommendations more than they do the recommendations of a celebrity with a non-relatable lifestyle. 

Go for influencer brands whose audiences are similar to your target demographic. In the example below, Allbirds partners with ZZdesign to promote a limited design for their product. This makes it easier for them to promote new products and services to potential customers who are followers of the influencer.

Allbirds partners with ZZdesign to promote a limited design for their product

Once you’ve the right influencer for your Instagram lead generation campaign, draft a mutually beneficial agreement. If you’re a small business, you may offer a significant discount on products or services or send them a free package bundle as payment, if you can’t offer monetary payments.  

6. Run Instagram Ads

Gone are the days of choppy ads that look like, well, ads. 

Though regular Instagram ads are available, you must get creative to generate and collect leads on Instagram effectively. 

Take your influencer marketing deals a notch higher by running an influencer whitelisting campaign. Influencer whitelisting allows you to run ads on the Instagram platform using content displayed on an influencer’s account. 

You get all the bells and whistles of common ads (i.e CTA, captions, copy and ads insights) to reach a wider audience. But with these types of ads, you also get to leverage an influencer’s credibility for generating leads for your business.

Here’s what a whitelisted ad campaign looks like. This Instagram ad campaign is run by Athletic Greens:

instagram whitelisted ad campaign

If you don’t have the budget for a whitelisting campaign, you can run Instagram lead ads on your own. Instagram lead generation ads allow you to collect customer details such as email addresses, phone numbers, and other necessary information for your campaign.

AWS is an example of a brand that uses lead ads.

AWS is a brand that uses lead ads

To run these types of ads on Instagram, you’ll need a Facebook Ads Manager, with your marketing objective set to Lead Generation. 

Facebook Ads Manager with marketing objective set to Lead Generation

You’ll also need to adhere to Instagram ad specifications and edit placement opportunities to reach your target audience and achieve your business goals. This will ensure your ads reach those most likely to be interested in your offerings, and convert.

Your visuals are another aspect of Instagram ads optimization that you need to pay attention to. Make sure that your ad sets convey your messaging in a visually appealing, attention-grabbing manner.

You can take advantage of generative AI tools like Writer to create your ad copy. These tools can help you create compelling and targeted ads that can lead to increased leads and conversions.

7. Share User-Generated Content

Compelling copy and great visuals get page visitors hooked, but an authentic user review or product testimonial is what truly moves the needle. 

Ask existing customers to share their experiences and testimonials in video or text, to obtain UGC. You can ask them to use your branded hashtag, which we already discussed in a previous section. Then feature the collated UGC content on your Instagram business page as regular posts. You can also repurpose snippets of this UGC as Stories and Highlights.

User-Generated Content example

To promote their new product line — Easy Bake — Huda Beauty, for instance, collated UGC from customers and used them as Stories and Highlights. 

Huda Beauty collated UGC from customers and used them as Stories and Highlights

So when visitors come to their profile and see this social proof, they’re motivated to click through the link in bio or follow their Instagram account. Whichever way, the shared UGC social proof will attract highly qualified leads as well as boost business authenticity.

8. Leverage Instagram Shopping

Instagram is a great hub for discovery. With over 130 million users tapping product tags each month, the Instagram shopping feature increases the likelihood of shoppers turning into valuable leads even if they don’t purchase right away.

This information will help you know what products interest visitors and target ads to them accordingly.

You’ll need a Facebook catalogue to create shoppable Instagram posts. You can create one using Catalogue Manager, or with a Facebook Partner. However, before you can add product tags to your posts and stories, you must link your Instagram Shopping account to your catalogue. Once connected, you can begin adding tags.

Instagram Shopping example using tags

In Instagram Insights, you can track product views (how many times someone clicks on a tag) and button clicks (how many times people click purchase).

Your shoppable posts may also show up in the Explore feed, increasing your reach..

Wrapping Up

Instagram is a powerful tool for generating leads. But you need to use it the right way. You learned how to do this with this article. From optimizing your profile to sharing user-generated content and collaborating with influencers, you have many lead generation strategies to choose from.

But, even if you generate tons of leads, remember that a poorly designed landing page will make it hard for people to sign up and convert into paying customers.

Since Instagram is largely a mobile-based platform, ensure your landing page is mobile-friendly as well. That way, you’ll be able to nudge prospects from Instagram and successfully drive them through the sales process.

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