Picking the right lead gen tool nowadays can be tricky.
With incredibly comprehensive lists exploding from every crevice of Google’s search labyrinth on what seems like a daily basis (like this one from Marcus Taylor at Venture Harbour), lead gen tools are alerting you to needs that you didn’t even you had in the first place.
While detailed lists are handy for businesses that know exactly what they want in a lead gen tool, they can also bog you down in a tidal wave of details and considerations.
To save you the paralysis by analysis, read on to see how a simple tool like Instagram can serve as an incredibly effective lead gen tool for any business.
Incredibly Large Audience Pool
Second only to Facebook’s 2 billion users, Instagram now boasts over 800 million users. That means that nearly 1/7th of the world’s entire population is using the platform.
If you’re unable to find your customer base in an audience of 800 million people, you may have more significant issues than finding an effective lead gen tool.
Visible Connections to Brands
If the sheer audience size isn’t enough evidence in itself, the potential for Instagram to be used as a lead gen tool is reinforced by the fact that 50% of Instagrammers follow at least one brand.
This is incredibly useful for businesses looking to generate leads because it provides an easy answer to the question, “would this person be interested in our product?”
For example, suppose you are a natural skincare company selling all-natural body scrubs, and you see that someone on Instagram is following the natural skincare company Lush. In that case, you can assume with a fair degree of certainty that that person might also be interested in your products as well and that they would be worth reaching out to.
While you can certainly reach out to these people one-by-one through Direct Message or, if provided, email, this can be highly time-consuming. To speed things up, you can use tools like DMPro to send automated, customizable DMs to your competitors’ followers. See the video below for a quick how-to.
You can also use tools like Hootsuite to stay updated on what people are saying about your competitors. If a common issue is being discussed among a competitor’s customers, you can explain how your business provides a solution to this problem when initially reaching out.
Access to Basic Demographic Information
Instagram bios are where people include the most necessary information about themselves as briefly as possible. Among this information is typically main interests, locations, and favorite inspirational quotes. Minus the third one, these are all very relevant information to businesses looking to connect with their target audience.
While Instagram search alone only allows you to search by hashtag and username, there are several ways to search for people by keywords included in their bios.
One method is using Google. Have a look at the command below:
“natural skincare” site:instagram.com -site:instagram.com/p/ -site:instagram.com/explore/
Here we are telling Google to look for Instagram pages containing the key phrase “natural skincare” and exclude any individual posts or posts from the Explore page in the results. This way, we are more likely to return with actual user profiles containing our crucial phrase in the bio.
Another method is to use a tool like AiGrow, which, unlike Instagram search, allows you to target and engage with users based on both hashtag and location.
Hashtags are one of the most powerful arguments for using Instagram as a lead gen tool.
Why do people use hashtags? People use hashtags to describe the contents of their posts, but people also use hashtags to express their interests (and, in some cases, their location).
For example, if you’re a skincare company looking to target people with an interest in natural skincare, a simple search of #naturalskincare returns with 1,463,695 posts.
From here you can record user channel names and any kind of contact information (email in bio, for example).
If in your research you come across an ideal lead, a simple way to find similar users is by using Instagram’s “Suggested” option. When one person’s “Suggested” users run out, you can simply repeat the process with another, and so on.
Similar to above, a simple way to automate this process and save time is by using a tool like AiGrow. Simply specify any hashtags you think a member of your target audience might use, turn on the tool, and AiGrow will begin automatically connecting you with users of your specified hashtags.
If you’re not sure what hashtags your target audience is using, AiGrow can even help you discover the most popular hashtags being used in and around your industry. Learn how in the video below.
Paid Instagram Advertising
Yes, it costs money… But the information that a simple Instagram advertising campaign can provide is second-to-none.
Even if you begin your campaign using general parameters like “Female”, “18-64”, “United States”, the longer your campaigns runs, the more it will become apparent who is actually responding to your ads.”18-64″ becomes “20-36”, “United States” becomes “California”, and so on.
Plus, you can run A/B tests to begin to understand what types of interests and hobbies your paying customers possess. After a month, you might notice that your campaign advertising to females interested in “Cosmetics” is performing better than your campaign advertising to females interested in “Makeup”. You can then double down on whichever campaign is performing best.
You can even go so far as to create an Engagement Custom Audience, wherein you can choose to show ads to people who have engaged (visit, like, comment, follow, etc.) with your Instagram business profile within a certain period of time (you can specify as far back as one year).
How about you? Have you used Instagram as a lead gen tool? Was it successful? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
In the meantime, there is no easier group of people to convert to paying customers than a loyal fan base already following your Instagram channel. That is exactly why we put together our guide 61 Proven Hacks to Grow Your Instagram Followers in 2019.
Combine the contents above with the practices described in our comprehensive guide to make 2018 your most successful business venture yet.