Learning how to drive more traffic with Instagram to your online store starts with proper profile creation including the bio, implementing the right campaigns, and having consistent content targeted to the right consumers via hashtags. As an e-commerce business, understanding how to utilize and leverage where your buyers are is imperative to sales and growth. Instagram is where many buyers hang out and fortunately, driving traffic doesn’t need to be a big budget item to start with.
Make sure to convert your Instagram account to a business account if you haven’t already configured that. It will open more options for boosting posts and adding links, ultimately providing more ways on how to drive traffic to your online store.
Here are 11 ways to build your Instagram following and drive traffic to your website:
1. Use Professional and Attractive Images
In order to learn how to drive traffic from Instagram to your e-commerce or drop ship business, you must learn to master images. Instagram is a visual social media platform requiring images or videos with your posts. It takes more than just scheduling posts and waiting for people to flock through the website doors. Understand what catches the attention of your audience, what is trending with followers, and then how to create content that hooks them in.
Your online store should already have professional images for products, but it isn’t enough to create Instagram posts with just product images. Followers see this as a constant sales pitch and will get bored with your posts. Head over to Canva and create images and memes that are fun and make people want to leave a comment. Instagram traffic increases when you can generate comments, hit trends, and engage followers on a daily basis.
2. Understand How to Use Links on Instagram
Instagram isn’t all that link friendly when it comes to giving your followers an easy way to click through to your online store. Only the most popular Instagram pages out there are allowed to add links to stories. This makes it difficult for e-commerce stores that may want to direct traffic to different pages on a website. Since Instagram makes it difficult to put your desired links into your post or Instagram story, you’ll need to be creative.
Write a good bio that includes a link to the best landing page for your online store. In posts or stories, direct followers where to go to find more information. An online store driving traffic to a particular product needs to make sure to list the name of the product in posts so followers can find it in the website search bar. For example, if you want them to go to a particular pair of shoes, say “White Nike Airs” or give the item a promotion name in the post and list that on the product page.
Pro Tip: Add a link to your photo caption on Instagram as a workaround to not being able to add links directly in the post text. While this requires some extra looking for your followers, it keeps specific links attached to relevant images.
Keep in mind that there are few paid options allowing you to include website links for targeted traffic analytics. Apps that do a good job include Campsite, TapBio, and Metricool to help highlight specific pages of your online store. The other way is to sponsor posts that have a clickable button. Of course, paid options are not the best options for those on tight budgets but worth considering if you really want to drive traffic from Instagram to your online store.
3. Find the Right Hashtags and Use Them
It seems as if hashtags are the new language of the digital age yet there are a lot of people who don’t effectively use them on Instagram. A quick review: a hashtag is a word or phrase that starts with the pound sign (#) affectionately called a hashtag. The word of phrase following the hashtag makes it easy for followers and Instagram users to search for topics of interest. For example, #printedhoodie might be a hashtag for people looking for a print on demand (POD) hoodie or sweatshirt.
You are allowed to have up to 30 hashtags on a post. Any more than 30 will prevent posts from publishing, thus not generating any traffic because they never hit the newsfeed. Best practices on hashtags say to use anywhere from five to 10 per post.
Tag your posts so you can easily search through comments and look for trends. Double check to make sure you are a public profile because a tag on a private profile doesn’t register in public searches. This adversely affects your ability to drive more traffic to your post, gain new followers, and ultimately convert more sales.
4. Produce Video Content
If you aren’t doing video content you are missing the boat to more followers, better engagement, and how to drive traffic to your e-commerce store. Instagram has three different video stream categories: live video, Instagram profile, and Instagram story. A live video has a maximum length of one hour. Instagram profiles max out at 60 seconds while Instagram stories max out at 15 seconds.
Knowing this creates a lot of motivation to do Instagram live videos where you can maximize your time to your followers, but remember that the live video only stays up on your feed for 24 hours. Be sure to add it as a highlight and save videos on photos from your store to later share them in your feed again.
5. Develop Exclusive Branded Content
There is a ton of content on everyone’s feed in all social media channels. If you want to drive more traffic to your e-commerce website, you’ll need to cut through the noise. Sharing 50 posts of puppies isn’t going to help you stand out. Brand your content and share unique things including memes, branded infographics, and images that help followers realize that you are different.
In addition to branding your content, provide specials that are only available to your Instagram followers. This creates a sense of urgency and exclusivity that consumers can’t get unless they find you on Instagram. It’s a great way to get people to take action quickly, comment, and subscribe to your offerings.
6. Consistently Post
There is no room to start posting and then suddenly disappear. The social media mindset is fast and with a short attention span. Once you start grabbing followers, you need to continue to get comments, likes, and clicks. While there are some different schools of thought about how often to post, consider a targeted traffic campaign publishing at least once a week.
While more often does help to reach more followers throughout the week, be careful not to post too often. You don’t want to seem spammy with sales pitches desperate to get traffic. You want to drive traffic to your store with people excited about your products. Test posts at different times of the day to see when you get the best engagement. Sometimes it isn’t a matter of posting more often, it’s a matter of posting at the right time when your followers and prospects are scrolling through their feed. Always reply to comments, even the negative ones to show your followers that you are there to help.
7. Engage with Followers
Being on social media requires you to be social. There are no two ways about that so set some time aside every day to review your posts, see who is commenting, and respond. Find influencers and friends you want to follow, though be careful to not follow too many people (but also don’t follow all of 25 people). Engage as a follower to their posts and become the person they recognize as a connection, not just a handle with a picture.
At the end of the day, it is about the quality of posts and engagement with other humans and not the total number of followers that you have. There are those with huge followings who have a very small ratio of converting likes and followers to buying customers; the correlation of followers to traffic isn’t linear. The quality of your posts and call to action will always be the factor directing your conversion results. The goal is to drive traffic to your online store in order to convert sales with hot trends and topics, not the total number of followers.
8. Track Metrics
Tracking metrics is critical to better understanding of what is working with your Instagram campaigns and what isn’t. Look at the total number of followers you have and get a baseline for engagement in general. The average Instagram account has an engagement rate of 3%, which is higher than Facebook and Twitter averages. If you get a bigger engagement rate with a large following, you are considered an influencer.
But it is more than just engagement that you need to track. Use trackable links to see how many visitors are going to your site after seeing an Instagram post. This is known as the click through rate (CTR). From the CTR, you will want to monitor the conversion rate, which is the number of purchases made from those clicks. If you are getting a high CTR but not enough conversions, there is something wrong with your offer either in price or perceived value.
9. Make Instagram a Marketing Strategy (Not Just Something to Do)
If you are on Instagram for more than just cute kitten pictures and want to really drive traffic and sales to your e-commerce site, you will need a marketing strategy. A marketing strategy has a sales goal and builds a campaign to achieve that goal.
Marketing strategies start with understanding the demographics of your target audience. This is more than just age and gender; build a profile of your ideal customer, called an avatar. You may actually have several avatars that target specific people in your market. Think about how they speak, what attracts them to a brand, and what problems they have that you solve.
Once you know how your drop ship or e-commerce products solve a problem, develop the right images to stop mindless scrolling from followers who are intrigued by the right text. That’s right, you are becoming a copywriter because the right words combined with the right images sells billions of dollars of products every year. A marketing campaign is more than one ad or one post; it’s a series of posts or stories designed to drive traffic for a specific purpose. As you monitor results, test slightly different versions of the same ad or try posting at different times to see if you get a better response.
The best marketing strategies continually get tested for success looking for ways to drive more traffic to your site and convert just a few more sales each and every time.
10. Cross Promote
If you are in business, you want to leverage every resource you have. Use your other social media and website content to cross-promote your Instagram. Sure, you may promote the same things on other social media channels but you will want to continue to build an audience on Instagram to maintain engagement. Develop a branded hashtag that allows people to find you easily on Instagram, something that you can say easily when doing a YouTube video or as a guest on a podcast.
As your followers grow, you will get rewarded by Instagram with more exposure. That means it doesn’t matter if your existing customers are already following you and buying from you elsewhere; give them a reason to jump on your Instagram feed with special news and promotions.
11. Get Your Tribe to Share
Ask your friends and family to share your Instagram feed and get them to engage. Remember that you want real followers with real engagement. Your friends and family love you and support what you are doing. Getting them to help comment and share will increase your visibility. Don’t have them make things up; it’s okay if mom says, “I’m so proud of you.” It’s authentic and real and keeps building your Instagram’s relevance.
People can spot a fake review or comment a mile away. Don’t fall into the trap thinking you need 100 people to pretend that they like your product. This will come back to haunt you in the end. Take the time to use your resources wisely and you will see your following grow.
Are Ads Worth It To Drive Traffic
As already discussed, Instagram doesn’t make it easy to drive traffic with links and call to action buttons in the same way that other social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook do. For those willing to put a little skin in the game, Instagram is a great platform to do just that. Instagram ads have seen a drop in cost per click (CPC) while Facebook continues to rise. Click through rates (CTR) are also up, giving Instagram advertisers strong returns on ad investments.
However, remember to attack ads with very diligent marketing strategies in order to be successful. Pay attention to the numbers and adjust things as needed. Some campaigns are best suited for seasonal periods while others may be more evergreen.
The End Game
If you want to drive more traffic to your website with Instagram, you need to put time and energy into your social media. You can’t just post stories about going to the beach and eating at a cool restaurant. You have to create posts that people see in their feed and want to stop and comment on. It’s a marketing strategy that doesn’t take a lot of money but does take thought.
Think about what your customers love, what they need, and how you provide deliver what they want and need. People enjoy being on Instagram because it is a picture-perfect world so be sure to use images that capture people’s attention and gives them pause to stop and see what you are doing. Remain consistent with your strategies to see the best results with growing your following and converting sales.