Because of the numerous visual intrigues it has, Instagram has become a major favorite of many people from around the world. As a marketer, it holds immense potential as well, thanks to its ever-increasing user base (currently at one billion, with active users at almost 900 million). When the visual content being shared is at its best, it is always emotionally provocative, and makes a lasting impression on the people who see it.

Here is another fact you may have missed – engagement on the platform is huge. In fact, it is much more than other platforms like Twitter and Facebook. The average growth rate of an average account stands at a staggering 237 percent, for instance.

Why should you optimize your account?

There is a catch though. If you are not careful, you can quickly fall into the trap of getting followers that do not engage with your content. As a brand, you need to ensure the quality of followers you have is high – meaning they are highly engaged with you, and can purchase any products or services you put out because they trust your brand.

Follower counts on their own are simply ‘vanity metrics’, because they may not translate into actual engagement levels – similar to subscribing to a new service for auto followers on Instagram.

There is good news though, because almost 50 percent of Instagram users follow brands on the platform, while 75 percent always take action, such as purchasing something they saw and liked or telling their friends. Here are some tips to help you maximize that opportunity.

Always make the posts ‘shoppable’

For many businesses, the addition of this feature came as a great answer because it optimizes your sales figures directly. When a user visits your profile or sees your post and decides to click the trackable link on the bio, it directs them to an interface that looks like your Instagram feed, then each image leads to your website. This allows them to shop for products directly.

The good news is that there are third-party tools that allow you to do this action. They also collect all customer reviews of your products to give you a better idea on how your product actually is within the market. The easier the purchase is, the happier the customer is, and your sales increase.

Never ignore or underestimate CTAs

Even though Instagram is a visual platform, it still allows you to add some CTAs (call to action) in your individual post captions. The customer wants to know what steps they should take after seeing your post, so make sure to include great ones as much as possible to entice them to buy.

Note that it does not need to be a complex statement. Just like YouTube creators always tell new viewers to comment, like the video and subscribe, use the same approach when marketing your brand to new users. Always ensure the URL in your bio section is active and leads to the correct page, then sit back and observe people buy your products.

If you are not sure, you can always go for a third-party tool, which will optimize your customer’s experience, although manual linking also works.

Reward your customers with promo codes

Getting a new customer to buy their first product with you is a hassle, and it may not always work out the way you expect. However, you can ease their uncertainty by offering a discount and encourage them to open their wallets. This is a very good way of adding value to your followers and prompts them to trust your brand for future purchases.

When you combine this with the best hashtag, it is very likely that it will spark conversations even among those that do not follow you, and get high shares (remember that Instagram has sharing features for other social media platforms as well). In fact, the effectiveness of this tactic is in spades, because it always turns these followers into loyal customers.

Host contests

If there is anything Instagram users enjoy participating in, it is contests. They can stand a chance to win great prices that you are currently selling, and they also tell their friends about your brand, resulting in an influx of new customers. In fact, you can even use such opportunities to get them to visit your physical store if you have one, as long as they promote your product to those they know.

This is a quick and easy method of increasing high-quality engagement and boosting sales numbers. In addition, there are certain apps that help in verifying the validity of the people that enter your competitions and those that win – all at an affordable price.

Show off the individuals that love your brand

One of the underrated marketing strategies is promotion of user generated content, or UGC in short. This always helps customers and general visitors to connect with your business quickly, and it gives a sense of authenticity that immediately makes you stand out. It is difficult to use on many social media platforms, but Instagram is different in many ways.

The high appeal and speed of Instagram means it is very easy to seek great content and share it to your followers. When people are enjoying using your product and you share videos or images of them using it, it encourages other users to try your products for themselves.

You can use many ways to harness this tactic. For instance, linking it to a giveaway, promoting a certain hashtag that gives the users a special discount, offering a discount or special deal for the first 200 people that show off your product, or getting an Instagram influencer to promote the product on their own channel.

Tell a story

Images are more powerful than words, in many ways. Instagram is a perfect platform to test the power of a picture – even a single photo can tell a story. Instagram stories and videos can also help you tell your brand story, as long as you use them well.

Final thoughts

Creating a loyal customer base from your followers on Instagram is not an easy task, but it can be done using these skills and more.