There are compelling reasons why Instagram should now be at the centre of your marketing strategy. It’s far from being just another social network where people share pictures of what they ate that afternoon.
Instagram actually sees higher user growth compared to other networks. Users also spend more time on average browsing through posts, feeds and stories. For a lot of users, Instagram is the primary source of discovering new products that they’d want to purchase.
The stats speak for themselves. More than 1 billion people use Instagram every month with 51% of them being female. 30 minutes is the average amount of time users spend per day on Instagram. 81% of people use Instagram to research products and services with 130 million interacting with shopping posts every month.
Businesses with a savvy social media marketing department understand the value that they can derive from Instagram. They focus their energies on creating communities around their brand by using the power of visual content.
Given Instagram’s highly interactive nature, this also means that businesses engage more with the reactions that they get on their posts. That’s particularly useful when you’re trying to use Instagram for sales prospecting.
Why you should use Instagram for sales prospecting
Gaining leads is difficult enough and qualified leads even more so. Instagram’s biggest benefit is that it seems to have been tailor made for certain industries. Auto, beauty, fashion and travel are among the few industries that are a perfect fit for the network. Thus the target audience is already sorted for those looking for leads in these industries.
Some of the best internet marketers consider Instagram’s Direct Message (DM) feature to be the biggest network development opportunity available online now. It’s prime real estate because the DM inbox is rarely used for casual conversations that users have on Facebook Messenger or any of the many cross-platform messaging apps.
So if you drop a line for a prospect, there’s a higher chance of them actually seeing it and interacting with it. There are also a variety of ways that you can show up in a lead’s inbox, by tagging them in your Story posts, for example, and all of this can be leveraged for maximum visibility.
Strategies for Sales Prospecting on Instagram
Use Instagram’s powerful discovery tools to find leads
Content discovery is what Instagram is all about. That’s why it provides users with powerful tools through which they can discover new content and creators that post exactly what they’re looking for.
These features are very useful for sales prospecting. Use the Explore tab, type in a relevant hashtag or filter by location to find what you’re looking for. Then see the top and most recent posts for every result to shortlist potential leads that have the right audience size and enough engagement to make your efforts worthwhile.
Look beyond the follower count
It’s very easy to get distracted by the follower count. An account with 100,000 followers won’t necessarily be a better lead than an account with half that amount. Due diligence is required at this stage to understand the target’s activity, likes and dislikes.
Use this information to tailor your message. Having an understanding of the prospect will allow you to be more genuine and personalized when you reach out. That just might be what gets you a reply.
Provide value first
This is something that can’t be stressed enough. Don’t bombard leads with messages before providing them with some value first. If you’re reaching out to them, chances are that other marketers are too. If they see a dozen mostly similar messages hoping to win a sale every single day, chances are that they won’t even bother responding.
The idea behind prospecting on Instagram shouldn’t be what you can get out of it, at least not initially. It should either be to amplify their message, by sharing their posts on your Story, for example. Or to provide them with a solution to a problem that they’re facing or haven’t anticipated.
Don’t be too aggressive
Nobody likes overly salesy behaviour. Just as you wouldn’t like a salesperson to be all up in your personal space at a store, the lead won’t appreciate being bombarded with DMs even before they’ve had a chance to think over what you’re offering.
The best way to approach this is to treat them as you’d like to be treated. Try to get your message across to them in a balanced and natural manner. The idea is to get them to understand the potential of your offer, not for them to feel hounded.
Being patient will definitely pay off in the long run. It’s entirely possible that you properly approach 100 leads and only a couple of them respond. That’s just part of the game. Don’t be disappointed and don’t lose hope.
Patience at this stage will result in highly qualified leads. Those that do respond will likely see the value in your proposition. Therefore, you’d have a greater chance of converting that lead into a paying customer.
Don’t fail to deliver what you’ve promised
Sales prospecting on Instagram can work wonders for your business. Once it helps you win the lead, the rest all depends on how you deliver what you’ve promised. That is the real benchmark upon which the reputation of your business will be judged.