For the vast majority of business owners, Instagram is a core channel for growing their audience, generating leads and converting new clients. We’ve known for years now how important it is to leverage, and now more than 200 million businesses use Instagram every day.
If you’re already seeing success with Instagram, you might be measuring your engagement. Likes, shares and comments are great indicators that you’re engaging your audience and sharing relevant content. But Instagram’s power also lies in how it can influence behavior off of your profile.
To see the best results from your Instagram, start focusing on your strategy for converting your audience and turning them into clients. With these 5 tips, you can learn how to increase your bookings with Instagram.
Making Sure the Basics are Covered
Before you dive into a strategy around content creation, consider the Instagram basics. Like a simple checklist, these include the areas of your Instagram that provide a foundation for increasing conversions–your posting consistency, profile bio and your highlights.
You might be eager to jump straight into your content strategy, but it won’t be worthwhile if these features aren’t covered first. If not, you’ll have missed opportunities on your Instagram, and your content won’t be nearly as effective.
Creating a Consistent, Branded Instagram Feed
Think of your Instagram as a portfolio for your brand and projects. Your content needs to speak to your current followers, but it should also provide a representation of who you are for anyone who lands on your profile.
Make sure you’re using consistent fonts, colors and photography styles that are cohesive with your website and other platforms. Cohesive content will not only increase your brand recognition, but also your brand equity – how people think of your brand when they see your posts.
Keep in mind that people like to buy from people, not necessarily the company itself. If you’re a small business owner, take advantage of your unique offering. Show off your personality and how it’s connected to your brand through live streams, behind-the-scenes content and posts that allow your followers to get to know you.
Once you have your brand in place on your Instagram, you should also be posting consistently so your followers stay engaged. Using a tool like Sked Social, you can schedule your content calendar ahead of time to stay organized and make consistent posting something that can run in the background. In between your scheduled posts, be sure to post real-time content to keep it fresh.
Showcase Your Projects
Since your Instagram can function as a portfolio, one of the basic functions is showing off your past projects. People who land on your portfolio may investigate the type of content you post, but they’ll likely also wonder who you are and what you do.
Use your stories to share information about your projects and services. You can include photos from events you managed, samples of graphic design work, testimonials or anything else that’s relevant to your business.
Once you’ve shared a story, you can save it as a highlight on your profile so it serves as a visual case study. Title each highlight with the particular service you’re featuring to make it easy for followers to browse examples of your work.
Include a Call to Action in Your Bio
Since you’re hoping to increase bookings from your Instagram, one of the tasks to check off immediately on your list is to include a call to action in your profile bio.
Many small business owners use a link in bio tool that lets you include multiple links relevant to your business and your latest posts. You can either use a page like that or choose one high-priority link to feature on your bio (Instagram only allows one link on your bio).
If you choose one link, we recommend using your meeting scheduler or a contact form. Rather than just linking to your website homepage, it’s important to use an actionable link that can move your followers closer to becoming clients. Especially if your contact form or scheduling tool syncs with a CRM for small businesses, you can easily start nurturing all your Instagram leads.
If you use a link in bio tool, we still recommend including an actionable link as the first option. But, depending on your Instagram activity, you can also link to specific service pages, blog posts and more.
Create Content Focused on Your Ideal Client
Now that the basics are covered, it’s time for the content strategy. If you want to increase your bookings on Instagram, you need to think about the clients you want to book. Though your content might speak to a broader audience, consider your ideal client first and foremost.
Are your ideal clients tech-savvy? Do they prefer things done quickly? Perhaps they would resonate most with a time-lapse tutorial showing off some of some advanced tech setup. On the other hand, perhaps your ideal clients like to work slowly and receive your step-by-step tips. In this case, a carousel post with infographics might be best. Whoever they are, you want them to think “Yep, this is absolutely for me” when they view your content.
If you haven’t already, you should conduct customer and market research that will help you learn more about the customers you’re targeting and your market as a whole. With your research, you can create research-based personas that will make it easier to communicate effectively. Instead of guessing, researching your ideal customers will ensure your content is highly targeted.
Next, consider the topics your clients will connect with best. Even if it isn’t directly related to your services, you should still create content that you know your ideal clients will enjoy. This way, you can keep them engaged and further solidify your brand authority.
For example, a business coach could publish an infographic about onboarding new clients even if they don’t necessarily help their clients do that. As long as the content is still aligned with your overall services, you’re displaying your knowledge within the industry.
Leverage UGC From Clients and Followers
One easy way to create highly targeted content for your ideal clients is to leverage UGC (user-generated content). Not only is UGC highly relatable, but it also helps increase conversion. At least 79% of people say that UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions, making it a must to help increase your Instagram bookings.
With UGC, you can even repurpose content from your ideal clients. Some great examples are testimonials about your business, but you can also leverage any education that they’re posting. If your business is local, re-sharing posts about other local businesses is another great way to build your community and relate with your target audience.
Especially when you’re posting testimonials, it helps create a type of domino effect for your Instagram profile. As you tag people, their followers will be more likely to explore your other content and even re-share. By using UGC, you can reach much more than your immediate audience.
User-generated testimonials also offer social proof just like reviews. When clients are in the research phase, they want to know what it was like for others to work with you. Beyond knowing that you offer a great service, they want to know that they’ll have a great experience as well. Your audience will be more likely to trust you and click on that CTA in your bio to schedule a call!
Use Instagram as a Two-Way Communication Tool
Our Instagram strategies are usually hyper-focused on what we’re posting, but we also need to think about how we’re responding. Thinking of Instagram as a two-way communication tool can help you increase bookings by building better relationships with your audience and leads.
You never know who’s going to turn into a client, but you won’t find out if you ignore them. Try to make a point to answer your comments and DMs, even if it means developing generic text you can send easily as soon as you get a message. Answering right away will show them that you care, even if you have to promise to get back to them with a more specific answer.
Remember how people love to buy from other people? Responding to your audience shows that there really is a human behind the business, and it also helps show that your brand is about listening and helping.
Answering questions publicly is also a great way to offer more information to potential clients. If people are exploring your Instagram but they still have questions, they probably have the same questions as others. The more you answer, the more information you’ll be displaying on your posts, and you can even save your answers as story highlights to make sure they’re more visible.
You don’t have to think of your Instagam as a highly polished platform where every post is perfect. If you think of it as a communication tool instead, you can build a better experience for your followers. People asking questions about your individual posts and business doesn’t mean you’ve failed, it means you’re sparking interest!
Decrease Friction to Book From Instagram
Lastly, always keep in mind that your followers are other people just like you, and we can all be a bit lazy at heart. No one wants to spend 20 minutes trying to figure out how to reach you or book with you. If it’s a difficult process, they’re more likely to just spend that time finding a different business that’s easier to book with.
Be sure to decrease the amount of friction in your booking process. This means limiting the number of clicks it takes to book with you. That might look like including your lead-generating contact form in your bio, and also using the full URL so your followers can see what they’re clicking on (not a shortened URL).
Once they schedule a call or inquire through your contact form, the next steps in your process need to be seamless. Use a CRM to send out automated thank you or confirmation emails – this lets your Instagram leads know that you’ll be responding to them soon. If they don’t receive a quick response, they might think their message didn’t go through and decide to look for another business.
Optimizing to Build Your Clientele on Instagram
Increasing conversions is all about optimizing your process, both on Instagram and off. Once you’re using our five tips for increasing your bookings, be sure to monitor your Instagram analytics to continually improve your work. Pay attention to any changes in your engagement as well as changes in your leads and conversions to determine what’s working and what isn’t. As you move forward, you can count on a robust clientele that’s interested in engaging with you beyond social media.
Claire Bough is a content marketer at HoneyBook with a passion for writing about anything and everything. She especially loves helping small business owners learn how to market themselves through understanding how to use powerful resources, industry trends and best practices.