Multiple Ways to Drive Traffic To Your Website With Instagram
Advertising is one of the most important components of any marketing strategy and also the most expensive.
Advertising constitutes sending the message across the public about your company, product or services.
It also constitutes behind the scenes work like the process involving formation of various strategies and coming up with a right one to target the viewers.
Instagram presents a massive traffic opportunity for marketers. It is huge.
How big is Instagram?
Well, in June 2018, which is roughly a year prior to this training, Instagram reached the 1 billion user milestone.
Think about that for a second. A lot of other platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat are suffering from lagging growth rates.
Instagram, on the other hand, continues to grow and shows no signs of slowing down.
In fact, when it comes to actual daily usage, Instagram leaves other larger platforms in the dust. These other platforms may have a lot more users, but in terms of daily use, Instagram can boast of over 500 million users.
That’s right, 500 million Instagram app users access Instagram every single day. That’s a lot of content consumption.
That’s a lot of likes, comments, hashtags, and what have you. In fact, when measured in terms of per user engagement, it is easy to see that Instagram user behavior is more habitual.
For example, with Facebook, many people have a love-hate relationship with the platform. They would use it habitually for some time until they read some rough updates. They don’t feel too good, and they swear off Facebook for a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months.
Not so with Instagram. People not only use it every single day, but they keep coming back. In fact, a lot of people check their Instagram feed every few hours. They don’t feel like they’re going out of their way when they use Instagram.
It’s very easy to understand this dynamic because Instagram was programmed from the ground up as a mobile experience. This is a far cry from Facebook which, of course, was built primarily for the desktop.
Since Instagram is a mobile-focused platform, it’s very easy for people to have some sort of seamless perception of it. It just becomes part of their daily routine. They treat Instagram the way many people used to read the newspaper first thing in the morning.
It shows no signs of saturation because there are so many niches that can be promoted on Instagram.
The bottom line is, as long as a niche is photo or video-friendly or graphically intensive, there is an audience on Instagram for that niche.
This is extremely important if you have an e-commerce website to promote.
If you are selling any kind of merchandise, Instagram should be part of your marketing strategy. There are no two ways about it. You are leaving a lot of money on the table if you skip Instagram.
Sounds awesome so far, right? Well, here’s the problem. Most people who try Instagram flat out fail. They really do.
It’s easy to get excited about Instagram’s reach, user consumption patterns, and overall traffic volume. It’s very easy to get pumped up when it comes to those facts. But the problem is, most people who try marketing on Instagram fail to get the results they are looking for.
Here are just 10 of the most common reasons. I’m not going to pretend that this is the most comprehensive list you will ever come across.
Instead, this list sums up the most common ways people slip up on Instagram.
There are other ways, but chances are, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you have screwed up because of one of the following:
Reason #1: “One-time big time” paid marketing campaign
A lot of people who have access to marketing budgets are very impatient to promote their online store on Instagram. They just jump in with both feet. They’re clueless as to what they’re doing. All they know is that they have a lot of money to spend, so they pump out ad after ad after ad.
After all the money has been burned through, they have very little to show for it. The reason for this is because they believe that they can just throw money at the problem.
Well, the bottom line here is return on investment. Sure, you’re more than welcome to spend a tremendous amount of cash on a massive Instagram ad marketing campaign, but it’s anybody’s guess whether you will be able to meet ROI targets.
You can’t just rely on the fact that you have a lot of money to spend.
Believe it or not, even if you have a very modest or even small budget, you can still walk away with better results than a better financed marketing campaign.
It all boils down to how systematic and methodical you are in running your Instagram ad campaign.
Reason #2: Promoting direct conversion links
A lot of people think that Instagram is just a traffic source. You can tell from their marketing campaigns because they would create a profile with a home page link that doesn’t go to their home page. It goes directly to a sales page or an email recruitment page or squeeze page.
What do you think happens?
That’s right, a whole lot of nothing.
It doesn’t really matter how engaging your content is. If you are not qualifying people or helping them overcome some serious structural questions regarding whatever it is you’re trying to promote, you’re probably not going to achieve much with the traffic.
I’m not disputing the fact that people do pull a lot of traffic from Instagram. But anybody who has ever tried online marketing knows that just because you get traffic, it doesn’t mean you get conversions. Traffic, click-through, and conversions are totally different things.
By promoting directly to your conversion page, which is your sales page or squeeze page, you may not have qualified the traffic well enough for you to convert those people into paying customers. Your ROI tanks and you end up wasting a tremendous amount of time, effort and money on your Instagram campaign.
Reason #3: Unreasonable suspicion of influencers
Influence marketing is really big on Instagram. Basically, you find people who are already influential in your niche and you pay them to mention your product or give shout outs to your profile. Whatever method you use, you leverage their existing popularity and credibility with their community.
The problem is, there are many fake influencers out there. I am not going to deny this. Nobody can.
There are lots of accounts on Instagram that are flat out fake. Not only are their accounts fake, but the “people” following them are fake too.
It’s all a software illusion. It is no surprise that a lot of marketers have gotten burned by these influencers.
Maybe they are charging $20 a shout out, or maybe they are charging $5 per product mention. But regardless of how cheap the influencer rates may be, it’s wasted money because they don’t really have any influence. They just have high follower numbers. These followers are not real.
Not surprisingly, a lot of people have been turned off by influencers.
They don’t even want to deal with influencers at all.
This is a serious mistake. It’s one thing to be suspicious of fake influencers, it’s another to completely close your mind to working out a mutually advantageous deal with real influencers. There is a difference.
Believe it or not, reaching out and closing deals with the right influencers can mean the difference between your online store making tens of thousands of dollars a month or your company continuing to struggle.
Reason #4: Choosing to be antisocial
There’s a reason why social media is called social media. It’s supposed to allow people to be social. It’s supposed to enable outreach, engagement, sharing of ideas, and forming genuine communities regarding certain interests and topics.
Unfortunately, a lot of marketers just create pages and blast out content. They don’t care if people react to their materials. They don’t care if people even see their materials. They’re just going through the motions.
Well, let me tell you, if that’s how you run your Instagram campaign, you are being antisocial. You’re not reaching out to influencers, nor are you engaging with the fans of your content. This leads to you failing to create a community around your content.
Believe it or not, it is your community that will add dollars to your bank account. That’s how it works. By choosing to be antisocial, you kill your online community before it even forms.
Reason #5: Relying on substandard photos or videos
This should be self-explanatory. Instagram is primarily a photo platform. Accordingly, accounts that feature the highest quality photos tend to get a lot more followers.
Keep it at that level. Post only high-quality photos. Post videos with high production quality. This way, you would stand out from your competitors.
Reason #6: Build it and they will come content “strategy”
Have you ever had an amazing idea regarding a hot photo that people in your niche simply cannot refuse?
Chances are, you’ve had such ideas. Well, what would happen if you spend your precious cash on such content ideas?
Let me tell you, nine times out of ten, you probably will fall flat on your face. You did not do any consumer intelligence. You did not do any research work ahead of time establishing that your audience would actually be interested in whatever content you are putting up.
You can’t just build this content and expect people to show up and come out of the woodwork. It doesn’t work that way. A lot of businesses fail because of this. Your content must be based on existing demand and existing interest, not based on what you think is hot.
Reason #7: Failure to repost other’s niche-specific content
Believe it or not, you can build a tremendous amount of credibility on social media by simply reposting somebody’s tried and proven content.
In other words, if somebody posted content that got a lot of likes, engagement, comments and what have you, you can repost that and recreate some of that engagement on your account.
This is perfectly okay because you end up promoting that third-party account. You create a win-win situation. You build up your own credibility within your niche, and you drive attention to that brand.
If you fail to do this because you are hell bent on promoting only your own stuff, your Instagram account is probably not going to grow all that quickly. You need to leverage other people’s successful content. Focus on the win-win, don’t just focus on monopolizing the traffic results of your efforts.
Reason #8: Failing to call Instagram feed viewers to action
Once you’ve developed a following, you have to make sure that those people interested in your content actually do something for you.
Obviously, you’re not engaging in Instagram marketing because you have nothing else better to do. You’re not doing this for your health.
You’re doing this because you want to make money. There’s no shame in that game.
Step up and actually call people to action. If you post pictures of nice T-shirts, tell people, “If you like this shirt, click on my profile and click on the link to get a 50% discount.”
Regardless of how you do it, call people to action. Otherwise, they’re just going to view your account as a place where they can check out cool new things without much obligation or commitment on their part.
You end up training your community members to be passive.
That kind of audience is worthless to you. If you want to make money from your account, call people to action.
Reason #9: Failure to use hashtags or using the wrong ones
Hashtags establish the niche of your content. People who are interested in a certain type of content would use a certain type of hashtag.
Use this habitually. It may seem like people aren’t using the hashtags that you use, but eventually, you will get the hang of it. Eventually, you will identify the hashtags that pull in the most traffic.
Regardless, you need to make it a habit from Day One.
Reason #10: Posting off-niche content
I know you’re excited about having an Instagram account, but don’t let that excitement spill over into you just posting random personal interest posts. Your account, if you’re using it for business purposes, is not about you. Instead, it’s about your target audience members.
Understand that they have a narrow range of interests. Stick within that narrow range. Otherwise, you won’t be training your community to put money in your pockets because they will view your account as essentially entertainment.
They won’t find it credible as far as niche-specific products. They just think you’re fun to follow, but you really don’t have much pull with them because you post about everything.
If you focus only on one thing and one thing alone, like for example, luxury watches, you can bet that a lot of the people following you will think that you’re some sort of expert and they are more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt when you start calling them to action to buy stuff from you.
That’s how it works.
Stick to your target niche. Focus on the big picture. Understand that you’re doing this for a reason. You’re not just doing this to screw around
In this section, I want to get your mind right. You have to understand that if you are going to be promoting on Instagram, you’re going to be engaged in a big deal. It’s going to take quite a bit of your time, focus and energy. I don’t want you to fail.
Unfortunately, a lot of people go into this in a very casual way. They think that it’s all about following some sort of recipe or checklist. They think that it’s all about taking actions in a certain sequence, and things will pretty much fall into place.
Boy, are they in for a nasty surprise. Things don’t work out that way.
You have to approach this with the right mindset, otherwise, your chances of failure are going to be quite high.
Follow the tips below so you can properly prepare. Again, you do not have to fail. You don’t have to follow the pattern most of your competitors go through. You can succeed, but you have to get your mind right.
Have the Right Mindset
The first thing that you need to understand is that you have to believe that this is going to work. I can’t even begin to tell you how many otherwise seasoned veteran entrepreneurs I coach who constantly sabotage themselves.
They come across a hot new money-making idea on the internet, and they automatically tell themselves that “this is a scam,” “this works for other people but not me,” “this is too good to be true,” and on and on it goes.
They’re excited about it, they read book after book about it, but they never ever give it their 100% because in the back of their minds, they think that it won’t work.
I’m telling you, you have to believe that whatever it is that you’re doing will succeed or can succeed. If you doubt it in any way, that doubt will continue to grow and eat into your focus and resolve. Eventually, you find yourself unable to put in the amount of time and focus your project needs to succeed.
You need to believe in three things. First, you need to believe that this business model will work. Second, you need to believe that you can make it work. I’m not talking about other people, I’m not talking about outsourcing the work, I’m talking about you, yourself, can make it work.
And third, you have to believe that this is worth committing to. It’s one thing to focus on a project on a one-shot big shot kind of basis. You basically throw a lot of energy to it on Day One and hope that you put in so much work that that work will carry you through the rest of the journey. It doesn’t work that way.
Real businesses are like marriages. They require you to commit, day after day, week after week, month after month. It’s a long-term thing. It is a marathon, it is not a sprint.
If you adopt these three mindsets, you increase your chances of success dramatically.
Set Aside the Right Amount of Time
Logistically speaking, you have to schedule a fixed amount of time for your Instagram marketing efforts. The good news is that it doesn’t have to eat up half your day. In fact, it doesn’t even have to eat up a whole hour. As long as you stick to schedule, you will start to see results.
Well, you know that you only have, let’s say, 15 minutes to focus on marketing. You keep trying it on a daily basis because you have chosen to be consistent. Eventually, things start to click, and you are able to pack more activities within that 15-minute block. This leads to better results for you.
Choose to Be Consistent
The bottom line is simple: you have to be consistent. Even if you can only afford to invest 15 minutes of your time every single day to your Instagram marketing efforts, that is plenty.
The key here is the fact that you will always come back. The key here is that there is a sense of confidence in the fact that you will always step up to put in 15 minutes every single day.
This can lead to amazing results because even though, on the surface, it doesn’t seem like much time, the consistency makes you more disciplined. You’re able to pack in a lot more focus and a lot more work within a fairly small-time window. This leads to greater results.
Also, your results tend to scale over time because you tend to do a better job. You are able to make better decisions.
Document Your Efforts
I can’t even begin to tell you how many good ideas most entrepreneurs think of in the span of a day. But the problem is, if you do not write down these ideas as you work on your Instagram marketing campaigns, you will forget about them. You won’t be able to test them.
And one of the most annoying things that could happen to you is when the idea that you thought of before keeps coming back, and then you forget it, and then when you’re doing other stuff, it distracts you.
You then focus your attention on it, then you forget it again, and on and on this ordeal goes. The end result is that you waste a tremendous amount of time, focus and energy.
Document your ideas. Pick out the best and try them out. If they don’t work, that’s fine. Move on. If they work, incorporate them in your daily activities.
Measure Success Based on Where You are In the Development Process
What if I told you that many people who fail in online marketing did not have to fail?
Seriously. They gave up too quickly.
You have to understand that quitting is the only way you can fail. The game is still not over if you’re still in the game. If you’re still throwing punches, you’re still in the ring. But the moment you throw in the towel and you leave the ring, the game is over. You failed.
The problem is, when people work on a particularly big project, and believe me, online marketing is one of those projects, they measure themselves using the wrong standards. They just got started, and they start counting how much money they’re making. Obviously, they’re not making any money.
So, what happens when you do this? Well, you discourage yourself. You keep repeating to yourself, “You’re putting all this time, focus and energy, you have very little to show for it. You’re not making any money.”
Eventually, your resolve gives way. You sabotage your passion when you do this.
Instead of immediately thinking about how much money you have made when you just started your online business, focus instead on where you are. Measure your success based on the stage of development you’re in.
This way, if I just put up a website, my measure of success would be how many pieces of content do I have up?
Are all the links working?
Do I have a nice graphic?
Is my website easy to find?
Did I set up SEO correctly?
Are all my products imported properly?
And once I have successfully answered yes to all those questions, then I move on to the next stage of the development, which is promotions.
Do you see how this works?
If you start an online project and you just jump straight ahead to the part where you’re collecting all the big money, you are going to depress yourself. That’s really what you’re going to be doing.
You’re going to discourage yourself because obviously, the big money doesn’t appear then. It appears at the end of the process when everything else has been built up.
Resolve to Fail Quickly
I know this sounds like a crazy piece of advice, but it is actually one of the most powerful pieces of money-making advice anybody can give you. Seriously.
Like I said earlier, in the span of a day, entrepreneurs come up with all sorts of crazy ideas on how to make more money with their business. A lot of these ideas, sadly, are half-baked.
A lot of them make all sorts of faulty assumptions and they really are failures from the beginning.
Now, instead of allowing yourself to get sucked in by all these ideas to the point where your focus and mental and emotional resources are drained, choose to explore the most powerful of them.
Maybe if you have like a hundred ideas in a week, pick three that you think have the highest chance of succeeding. Implement them in the next week. Put in all the right amount of time, focus and energy.
See if they actually work. If they don’t, move on. Keep doing this until you find something that works and then scale it up. This is how you fail quickly.
In this context, failure helps you because you keep throwing spaghetti at the wall. You keep experimenting until eventually, you come up with something that works. When you find something that works, you scale it up, and this produces even more results. That’s how you can turn quick failure into big time success.
Stay Focused on Conversions
It’s easy to get hung up on “success metrics” that don’t really matter.
The amount of traffic that you get ultimately doesn’t matter. The amount of times people talk about your brand, by itself, ultimately doesn’t matter.
You know what matters?
Money in your bank account.
How do you get there?
Sell more products. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. That’s the bottom line.
This is why you have to focus on conversions. All your ad optimization, all your content marketing on Instagram, all your brand information, all of them must lead to conversions. Otherwise, you’re doing something wrong.
If you keep the ideas above in mind and you follow the tips that I’ve shared with you, you increase your likelihood of success.
Again, you don’t have to fail. You just have to have a game plan in front of you and you have to choose to be consistent.
This is a commitment.
This is not something that you choose to do because it feels good. Step aside from your feelings and focus instead on your ability to commit.
Make no mistake, if you want your marketing campaign on Instagram to be successful, you have to build a persona for your brand. This is non-negotiable.
It doesn’t matter whether you are trying to get free traffic from that platform or you are paying for ad views. You have to build a persona.
Why is a personal touch or a personal brand so important?
Can’t you just create an account, post pictures, and somehow, some way, people would follow you?
Well, here’s the truth: people on Instagram do not follow hashtag poachers en masse.
They really don’t.
Sure, you can attract a few people here and there, but if it’s obvious that your persona really has nothing to do with the hashtags you constantly target, not enough people will follow you.
And the ones that do, probably are not going to take you all that seriously. They look at you just as a source of the kind of content that they’re looking for and nothing more. Believe me, that’s the wrong kind of relationship to build.
You want to be viewed as a credible and authoritative persona, so people will give you the benefit of the doubt when you recommend a product to them. That’s the bottom line. That’s how you make money.
Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen if you do not have a persona.
Please understand that these people are not just following marketers.
It’s not like they’re searching for marketers because they have nothing else better to do. They’re looking to develop some sort of relationship.
Think of it as building a fan base.
There’s a reason why Kim Kardashian and other celebrities on Instagram can get away with charging thousands of dollars per shout out. People are devoted to them.
People follow them very closely because of the persona they have built.
You have to do the same.
The Challenge of Commercial Persona Building on Instagram
It would be easy if your persona is all about you. For example, if you’re big into marathon running or you love going from country to country to shop at different malls, you can create a personal non-commercial persona.
In that case, people follow you because of your personality and your truly unique way of looking at the world.
To a certain degree, people would want to check out the products you endorse. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that a high percentage of people who follow you would take your recommendations. To make that happen, you have to create a niche-specific persona.
If you have an online store that you’re promoting, your persona must be specific to the product niche of your store. This is the first step: create a niche-specific persona.
Second, make sure that it can attract a real following. This is the second part of the puzzle and the steps below (and the rest of this training) teach you how to create that following and make money from it.
In a nutshell, here are the 6 steps that you would need to follow to build a solid Instagram brand persona. You need to follow these 6 key steps.
Now, I’m not saying that these are one-size-fits-all type of suggestions.
I’m not saying that you must follow these to the letter. You obviously have to tweak and customize them to fit your set of circumstances. Still, you need to follow these 6 steps for you to succeed in building a real following on Instagram.
This is just an overview. I’m going to devote one section to each of these steps.
Step #1: Find your competitors on Instagram and reverse engineer them
Step #2: Curate top notch content and mix in your reverse engineered content
Step #3: Adopt a content-first sales funnel
Step #4: Use Facebook’s ad retargeting system to pull Instagram users deeper into your funnel
Step #5: Pay and interact with niche-specific Instagram influencers
Step #6: Continuously optimize all parts of your funnel
Now that you have an overview of what you need to do, let’s dive in starting with 4.
Again, the strategy here is to build a credible niche-specific persona and create a following for that persona. This is how you will get traffic.
This is how you will get visitors to your target site, which you can then optimize for maximum conversions. At the end of the day, all the traffic in the world is not going to make you wealthier.
You know what will?
There are tons of websites out there, in particular imgur.com, that get a lot of traffic, but they make very little money compared to the huge volume of traffic they get. If you own an online store, you need to focus on conversions because that is what will put food on your table, and nothing else.
The first thing that you need to do is to list out all your competitors. If you don’t know who your competitors are, go on Google and type in keywords related to your online store.
Find all your competitors on Google and use the similar site research on Google to find online stores that are related to your competitors. Come up with a massive list.
Search for Them on Instagram
Once you have a great list of competitors, the next step is to look for them on Instagram. Do they have Instagram accounts? If they do, come up with a big list of competitors there as well.
Study Your Competitors’ Instagram Accounts
Once you have the massive list of direct URLs on Instagram of your competitors, study them very closely. Take note of the quality of their Instagram profile. Pay attention to their content strategy.
What kind of content do they keep publishing over and over again? I’m not saying that they’re publishing the same exact content, but you can tell that they publish content using the same theme or topics. Take note of these. Most importantly, pay attention to the hashtags they’re using.
Reverse Engineer Your Competitors’ Success
At this point, you should be aware that some of your competitors’ content gets a lot more love from Instagram than others. This should be your top priority.
Figure out which of their content gets the most traction. I am, of course, talking about the number of likes, comments, and other indicators of popularity. Forget about everything else.
Once you have listed your competitors’ most successful content, spend enough time figuring them out. What should you look for? Pay attention to the hashtags they use. Take note of the kinds of pictures or videos that are most popular.
Also, pay attention to the description text for these items. Do you see any similarities? Can you connect the dots? Is there some bigger pattern emerging?
After you have studied these elements, pay attention to the profile page of your competitor and also the text embedded in the pictures or the call to action mentioned in the videos. These relate to their sales funnel.
Basically, they are mentioning discount codes so people viewing this content can get a discount. They’re also promoting the profile page of their website.
Look at their sales funnel strategy. How do they use their popular content to get traffic to their site?
Next, how do they convert that traffic to their site into paying customers? Do they use discount codes? Do they just dump them directly to the sales page? Is there some sort of special promotion they are holding?
Do they dump people into a squeeze page, so people can sign up to a mailing list that will notify them of special sales? Be clear on the sales funnel strategy that is most common among your competitors.
Please understand that they will not use this model if it doesn’t work.
The fact that you keep seeing this model in many different forms again
and again pretty much tells you everything you need to know about that sales funnel. They wouldn’t be promoting it if it didn’t work.
Learn to Connect the Dots
At this level, you need to write down extensive notes regarding the three key factors for your success. Your goal is to understand your competitors’ content, so you can beat them at their own game.
You’re going to copy their themes. These themes are content themes.
These are the things that they talk about consistently which get a lot of love from their followers.
Next, you’re going to copy their sales funnel. There’s a reason why the vast majority of your competitors have adopted pretty much the same sales funnel. There’s no need for you to be a hero. There’s no need for you to come up with something completely new.
You just need to identify what works and build something similar. You need to build something that will improve on what your competitors have done.
Next, you’re going to pay attention to their content because you’re going to come up with something better, so you get a competitive advantage.
These are the three strands that you need to put together for you to come out ahead of the competition on Instagram. Otherwise, you’re just going to be sharing the same general stuff that they are sharing, and this is not going to help you. Seriously.
Well, you’re not building a distinctive persona. You’re just playing the game to be just another face in the crowd.
At the back of their minds, your target audience members are saying to themselves, “Well, I can get the exact content from this brand’s competitors. Why am I here? I’m not getting anything spectacularly different.”
The key here is to copy the same themes and the same sales funnels but also to improve on them. In other words, you build on the strength, you leverage the strengths of your competitors, but end up doing better than them because you address their weaknesses as well.
You’re going to be able to do this when you figure out their winning content themes, and then come up with your own higher quality content. Second, you figure out their most popular hashtags and you use those hashtags for your own content.
Finally, you take note of their most common sales funnels and you optimize your own version, so you can get better results.
The bottom line here is pretty straightforward: there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Some of your competitors are already successful.
Build on their success.
Use reverse engineering to let your competitors do your homework for you.
There’s absolutely no need for you to start from scratch because believe me, the trial and error that you have to go through that burns up a tremendous amount of your time, effort and energy is just simply too expensive.
Now that you have a clear idea of the themes of your competitors’ most successful content, look for third party content that non-competitors or lower level competitors produce that meet these themes.
When you do this, you are saving a lot of money. You obviously don’t have to create this content. Instead, you’re just simply sharing it.
However, you’re doing yourself a big favor because you are giving your target audience the kind of content they are looking for. You’re giving them something to engage with that you know, based on your research of your competitors, they already like.
When you feature this content, you tend to attract the same type of audience as your competitors.
Now, curation can only take you so far. You shouldn’t build and maintain your Instagram account solely on curated content. You’re being lazy when you do that. Instead, you use this content to draw and engage with your audience members.
Next, you then come up with a shortlist of your competitors’ very best content and you come up with your own version. This version has to be so much better that it’s obvious. This is the key. This is what will put you over.
Because remember, you’re trying to build a persona. Up to this point, when you curate, the only persona you’re building is that you’re just part of the niche. Your brand is just another face in the crowd. You want to get over. You want to come up head and shoulders from the rest.
How do you do this? You improve the best existing niche content you find on Instagram and you publish this as your own.
By paying attention to 4 and figuring out what is the hottest content in your niche, you then come up with your own version and then use this on your own feed. You rotate these along with the curated content that you are already publishing.
How Exactly Do You Improve on Other’s Content?
There are several ways you can improve the quality of content that you reverse engineer.
Again, you’re not copying and pasting here. You’re not taking somebody’s work and passing it off as your own. No. You’re taking ideas, so you can create your own original content, but you end up creating better content because you used one, or a few, or all of the following strategies. To improve content, you should do the following:
Offer an updated version of the content. If the hottest pictures your competitors are showing are grainy and obviously old, come up with an updated picture.
You’d be surprised as to how viral your content can be. How come? Well, you are publishing something that is obviously up to date.
Higher Production Quality
When you’re publishing content, make sure that the quality values of the content are high. This means high resolution, crisp imagery, the colors are top notch, also the composition has to be really good.
You have to produce content that is so obviously superior to your competitors that your brand stands out. That is the standard you should aim for.
Include More Details
I can’t even begin to tell you how many Instagram accounts out there just post a picture and a hashtag, if that. That’s all they do. I’m telling you, big, small or medium-sized brands on Instagram that do this are leaving a lot of money on the table.
You have to give more details because when you do this, you complete information gaps in the minds of your viewers. There’s less mystery.
This makes your brand more trustworthy.
Eventually, if you keep this up, they start looking at your brand as some sort of reference site or some sort of resource. Don’t be lazy.
Now, there is such a thing as overkill. But you have to find that happy medium ground between too much information and not enough.
Use Better Hashtags
When you do your reverse engineering, you will notice that some tags get used a lot more. But unfortunately, they may be too general, or they may be too broad. You might end up attracting the wrong kind of crowd.
You have to play around with your hashtag selection until you reach a point where you can be sure that a more specific tag is pulling more traffic from Instagram or helping you gain more followers.
Unfortunately, there is no black and white answer to this. This is one of those things that you just have to try out on a purely trial and error basis until you get it right.
Come Up with a Better Picture Series
Believe it or not, when people like a picture on Instagram, a lot of them want to see more. They’re not talking about pictures of the same subject or similar types of pictures. They’re talking about pictures from the same series.
It’s not unusual for people to see a picture of a beautiful vacation location, and somebody just posted two pictures. People who see that vacation destination would love to see its surrounding areas.
They would love to see what it looks like at night, low tide, high tide, you name it. The more angles your pictures present, the more engaged your community can become.
Use a Better Influencer Distribution Network
After you’ve done Instagram marketing for a couple of weeks, you would quickly notice that some accounts on Instagram tend to get a lot more attention in your niche than others. You should not automatically run away from these people.
You might be thinking that they are competitors. You might be thinking that they’re out to get your slice of the pie. Stop thinking that way.
Instead, start looking at them as allies.
Obviously, they already did the heavy lifting of attracting the same audience that you’re trying to attract. Engage with them and get them to pay attention to your feed and they may possibly share some of your content.
Now, you may be thinking to yourself that a lot of these accounts are in it for the money. That well may be true, but there are also a lot of hobbyist accounts out there. These are people who would voluntarily share content as long as they think it’s good.
Call Your Viewer to Action
To get better results than your competitors, always include a call to action.
With everything else being equal, if you have a competitor that just posts really gorgeous pictures but doesn’t bother to call the viewer to action, you probably would get better results if you posted superior pictures with a call to action.
Remember, the name of the game here is to figure out your competitors’ strengths and build on them while at the same time taking advantage of their weaknesses.
Profile Link Call to Action Must Address Content
Everything you do on Instagram must integrate with content. Like I mentioned earlier, if you’re just going to get shout outs and you’re just going to post a lot of stuff on Instagram to get people to click on your home page link, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.
You really are.
You want to qualify that traffic so that that traffic eventually converts into sales.
How do you do that? Well, one of the most basic ways to do this is to link your profile link to an internal page.
That’s right. You don’t link it to your home page. People landing on your own page might not know what to do. They’re more likely to click the back button.
Instead, when you feature a consumer guide or some sort of list article that clues people in on the common questions regarding your niche, you can build credibility. You are also answering questions. You are also answering needs.
This increases the likelihood that the person that you get to click onto that page will keep clicking internal links because they think that you are an authority. Eventually, you get them to click on a link that will take them to your email list.
This is how I prefer to convert Instagram traffic. I don’t just dump them into an article, which then dumps them into a sales page. It would be great if they are in a mood to buy, but chances are, they are not.
The better approach is to get them on your mailing list and let your mailing list, by sending content and other information, do the heavy lifting of eventually converting your list members into paying customers.
That’s how the game is played.
If you don’t follow the tips above, chances are, your content is just going to remain flat. It’s not going to register with your target audience members.
By “content-first,” what I mean is that your sales strategy must turn on content. In other words, you use quality content to qualify the traffic you get from Instagram, so they are more likely to become paying customers.
This is crucial because a lot of marketers on Instagram use it as a traffic pump. That’s all it is to them. It’s just a place where they can get clicks.
And if those clicks do not turn into buyers, no big deal. There’s more where that came from. That’s their attitude.
Well, the problem with that strategy is that you burn through a tremendous amount of traffic before you can get a sale. What if I told you that you can pull less traffic, but actually make more money with a lower volume of traffic? This happens all the time.
This is not theory. This is not speculation. This happens all the time.
How? Using content to qualify your traffic.
Make no mistake, Instagram and successful social media marketing turn on content marketing. You can’t just pull traffic from all these places and expect that traffic to convert. That traffic must trust you. Those are real people. They must be made to feel that they know and like your brand enough for them to trust it.
Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen instantly. It has to go through a sequence of content.
Make no mistake, raw traffic doesn’t convert at a high enough return on investment. It simply doesn’t. Because if this was the case, then everybody would stop wasting their time on content. They wouldn’t bother. They would just buy raw traffic.
But this isn’t the case. Experienced marketers on Facebook and Instagram use a content-based sales funnel strategy. In other words, they use content marketing.
The truth is, content marketing is more compatible with social media traffic, regardless of whether you buy ads, or you drum up free organic traffic from Instagram and other social media platforms.
The KLT Process
Let me ask you, when was the last time you bought something from a complete and total stranger?
That’s right, this person just came up to you on the street and tried to sell you stuff.
I’m willing to guess that this happens once in a blue moon. If you’re like most people, this probably has never happened.
Well, you’re absolutely normal if that’s your mindset. Why? Most people buy from people they think they know and trust. That’s the bottom line.
That is the bedrock of any kind of sales.
I don’t care whether it’s done online or offline. It doesn’t matter whether a small company or a big company is doing it. It’s all about trust. When you use a content-based sales funnel strategy for Instagram, you build trust. This requires multiple pages.
I wish I could tell you that you just need two pages to pull this off. I wish I could tell you that you just need to get people to a general consumer guide and then they would reliably click through to the sales page and they would buy stuff. That’s wishful thinking.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this happens from time to time. I know, it happens to me quite a bit. But I cannot bank on that. What I can bank on is trust. How? When people from Instagram find their way to my website, they land on a consumer page that addresses their needs.
They’re looking for answers. They’re looking for solutions. So, they get all this information and then they can click through for more finely tuned, more efficient, or better value solutions.
When you do this, you build credibility and authority. You also control the conversation. You then offer them a freebie to join your mailing list.
Once they join your mailing list, that’s when the real selling begins. You already have them in the palm of your hand.
You then drip-feed them content to open their mind to their needs and get them excited about premium solutions. The more of these premium solutions you sell them, the more money you make.
The best part of having a mailing list is that this asset grows in value over time. When you send an update, you may not be able to convert them right then and there, but you get another chance to convert them when you send out another update.
Fast forward this to many months or even years, and you can see why every single person on your list can potentially turn into dollars later on.
None of this is possible without the KLT process. You have to walk the visitor to the point where they trust you.
Working a Multipage Strategy
Once you pull traffic from Instagram to a page on your site, you have to have links in that initial content that would take them to a page that would further build their trust.
For example, if people are just looking for basic information, the first page they would land on lets them know of certain options out there.
Once they are excited about a particular option, they can click another link that would take them to a page that talks about a specific type of option, which they obviously already like. This page then gives enough details that they build trust.
At this point, you can then recruit them to your squeeze page and let your mailing list do the selling. You can also give them the answer in the form of a freebie in exchange for them signing up for your email list.
Whatever the case may be, you walk the visitor through the trust stage.
This can be very quick with some people. Others require a longer time span. Whatever the case may be, when you have a mailing list at the end of the sales funnel, you have greater control over your messaging.
You also control the pace of the messaging.
This higher level of control translates to greater conversion control later on.
This is my secret weapon when it comes to Instagram. Make no mistake, if you followed all the steps above and you used a multipage strategy to build up your mailing list, you will achieve some level of success.
However, if you want to turbocharge your results, you need to deploy Facebook’s ad retargeting system.
How Does Ad Retargeting Work?
When you retarget ads using Facebook, you first install Facebook’s Pixel on your website. You then go about promoting on Facebook and Instagram. And when people find themselves on your site after clicking on a profile link, the Pixel keeps track of where they landed.
Now that the system knows which Instagram or Facebook users ended up on your site, you can take out a retargeting ad. This ad can promote a deeper page, or it can promote your mailing list directly. Whatever the case may be, when people who have visited your site go back to Facebook or Instagram, they start seeing your ads.
This is like shooting fish in a barrel. You’re essentially reminding them to come back. When they click, they can go to a deeper page so you can build more credibility, or you can even direct them to buy a product.
That’s right, they go to a sales page.
Regardless of how you do it, retargeting works. In fact, according to some estimates, it can boost conversions by 40%.
The bottom line is that you use content to draw truly interested people.
They wouldn’t be clicking that content if they were not interested. But you have to set up your retargeting in such a way that only people who go past the initial page of your website are retargeted.
For example, you run a free Instagram marketing campaign. You post reverse engineered content on your account to build up a following.
Enough people like your content so they click on your profile page and they see a link to a really useful article.
They click through and they end up on an article, and Facebook Pixel is paying attention to them.
However, you’re not going to be retargeting those people. That’s still too shallow.
When they click through because they liked your particular solution and they want to know more about that solution, they end up on a solutions page. This may be a sales page, or this can also be another consumer guide page.
Whatever the case may be, they have gotten deeper into the guts of your website. These are the people you should retarget because these are the people who have demonstrated real interest.
People who are just curiosity-seekers would just end up on a shallow page. They would begin there, and they would end there. People who are really looking for a solution would click page after page on your website. Those are the people who are more likely to convert.
Please understand that persona is the name of the game in Instagram.
People follow personas. They’re not following just because somebody has nice pictures. Most people can do that. Most people can manage to post nice pictures every once in a while.
Instead, they’re following personas because they have a distinct spin on whatever niche they’re in. They have a distinct personality. They have a distinct point of view. Whatever the case may be, it has elements of some sort of cult.
By “cult,” I’m not using that phrase in a negative way. Instead, people are looking for just a specialized knowledge from people who specialize in that type of information. There’s a little bit of a cult dynamic going on here.
When you have that kind of relationship with your following, they are more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt. They’re more likely to click on the profile links of people you’re giving a shout out to. That’s real influence. And that’s how a lot of products are sold on Instagram.
For example, if you follow somebody who you can count on to publish the very best pictures on luxury watches that he or she actually wears, chances are, you would sit up and pay attention when this person posts a picture of a really nice looking, big brand watch with the message “40% Off” on it. That would get your attention.
You would then click on the link of the account that the person is shouting out to or you can even type in the domain name or URL they mention and type in your discount code.
That’s how influence works. It’s all about this cult of personality.
Beware of Fake Influencers
Unfortunately, when word came out that online stores were paying good money to Instagram influencers for product placements and shout outs, a lot of shady marketers started building fake accounts.
Just how fake are these accounts?
Well, first of all, they target certain niches. Next, they draw followers.
The problem here is that the account itself is fake, and the followers are fake.
This is a serious problem because if you paid the person behind these accounts real money to post shout outs, your shout outs are going to fall on deaf ears. Nobody’s going to pay attention. Why? Most of their followers are fake.
They’re driven by software. They don’t exist. They definitely don’t have credit cards. Do you see how much of a headache this could be?
It is no surprise that a lot of big global brands are now stepping away from Instagram influencers because they’re getting tired of being faked out.
Real Influence Means Real Engagement
So how do you make sure that you pay and interact only with real niche-specific Instagram influencers?
Well, it’s actually not all that hard. You only need to look at the public statistics of these accounts. You can see the amount of engagement their content gets. You can also see how many followers they have.
You need to measure the total amount of engagements they get by dividing that number by the number of followers they have. Look for a ratio. This is how you would know if there is enough engagement with that account. This is a way of seeing who’s fake and who’s not.
You can also look at the content that they post. If they keep posting the same stuff over and over again, that may be a red flag. Also, look at the comments. Is there actual care taken in sharing?
The 4 Key Signs of Fake Influence
So how do you know that you’re dealing with a real influencer? After all, real influence means actual conversions. There are 4 telltale signs of fake Instagram influence.
Sign #1: Equal following and follower ratio
If you notice that an account follows a lot of other accounts while enjoying a large following, this should be a red flag. Chances are, they just followed a lot of accounts so these other accounts would follow them back.
Those people may be real, but they’re not interested in what this account is posting because they’re just following back out of courtesy.
That’s fake influence.
Sign #2: Low engagement ratio
If you notice that this account posts a lot of content, but the engagement ratio is low, this is a red flag. If your account has real followers, there should be a certain level of engagement. It’s not like all your posts are going to suck. If you notice that this account doesn’t really get that much engagement, that should be a red flag.
Sign #3: They obviously ask for money
If it’s obvious from the profile description of the niche-specific account you’re trying to buy shout outs from that they take payments, you might want to pay attention.
Look at how they describe themselves. If they make a big deal of the fact that they’re selling shout outs or that they want you to get in touch with them so you can take out an ad, be very suspicious.
The very best influencers on Instagram are those who are hobbyists.
These are people who are just very passionate about a particular topic.
They don’t really care about getting paid. They just eat, sleep, and live the topic.
Maybe it’s travel, maybe it’s women’s fashion, maybe it’s luxury watches, maybe it’s sports cars – whatever the case may be, they are hobbyists. They are passionate about that topic, so they post picture after picture of that topic. Those are the people you should gun for.
Be very suspicious of people who are all about the dollars because there’s a strong chance that they put up their account just so they can get shout out and other influencer ad revenue.
I’m not saying that this should completely disqualify them, but there’s a higher incentive for them to fake stuff because there’s money on the line.
Sign #4: No niche specialization
If it turns out that this influencer account tends to rotate among different niches, this should be a red flag to you.
What this person is doing is that he or she is trying to get the attention of advertisers from different product niches that they know advertisers normally target. This person doesn’t really have a focus.
Even in the off chance that this account is real, I can bet you that the traffic that this person gets is probably close to worthless.
Start With a Slow and Low Buy
The first thing that you need to do is to get a massive list of influencers out there, and then contact them. Now, I’m assuming that you have filtered out fake accounts. Contact them. The name of the game here is volume.
Try to get as many different influencers as you can and contact them.
Ask them, “Can I buy for $5?” or whatever low rate you can come up with. The name of the game here is to get as many shout outs and picture ad placements for as little money as possible.
The next step is to track these campaigns and see which, if any, of those influencers can deliver real results. You should be able to come up with a top three. If you, for example, have 100 influencers running your ads and doing shout outs, you should be able to identify the top three in terms of conversions.
You own your online store, so you know whether you sold or not. You know whether you moved a product or not. You should also use specialized discount codes so you can track who is actually selling.
Pick the top three and pay them more for exposure. This is how you maximize your results.
So, you start out low and slow, and then you scale up the campaigns that actually produce the desired result.
Up to this point, you already know how to build a following on Instagram. You also already know how to create content that would not only build up your following but can also draw attention to your profile page. Your profile page, of course, is where your target link is.
When people click your target link, they go outside of Instagram and they go to a page you specify. This is the page where the action takes place. This page can be a consumer guide which qualifies your traffic.
People can then click through to a page that’s deeper inside your website. Ultimately, they can click on a link to go to the squeeze page for your mailing list. This is the page that recruits people to join your mailing list. You can also promote a sales page using these internal pages.
There are just so many ways you can go with this. But regardless of how you plan to convert free or paid traffic on Instagram into paying customers, you need to optimize all parts of this funnel.
The funnel starts with your content on Instagram. It gets narrower when people click through to your profile page. From there, it goes to a page on your website. From there, it can either go to an internal page or to a sales page or a squeeze page.
Whatever the case may be, you need a very broad “top” for your funnel and each smaller part of your funnel needs to be as broad as possible.
The more people you have coming in, the higher the total number of people you can convert if you set up your funnel right.
Here Comes the Bad News
It’s one thing to say that you’re going to have to optimize all parts of your sales funnel, it’s another to actually succeed doing them.
You see, the biggest challenge here is random optimization. When people get the idea that they need to optimize their sales funnel, they basically would come up with a completely new funnel. They would come up with completely new ads. They would mix and match.
And sometimes they succeed, but most of the time, they don’t really come up with much of an improvement. Why? They’re doing it in a random way.
Make no mistake, random optimization is usually a waste of time. It really is.
Even on the off chance that you were able to make certain random changes and all of a sudden your funnel converts at a high rate, you’re still in the dark.
You don’t know which part of your funnel accounts for the improvement.
And even if you are able to see which part accounts for the difference, you don’t know which segment of that part improved your results. Do you see how this works? Do you see why this is so confusing and so frustrating?
Use Elemental Optimization
Thankfully, there is a better way to do optimization. You can use elemental optimization.
Instead of just taking random guesses as to what would turbocharge the results of your sales funnel, you break up each part of the sales funnel process into elements and you make changes on an element to element basis.
This way, you will only move on to the next element once you have improved the results of the previous element to a certain degree. Once you’re happy with those improvements, then you move on to the next element, and then the next element after that.
Please understand that the sales funnel is made up of many different parts. Each of these have different elements, but they can all be broken down into some common elements.
The sales funnel, of course, involves the photos that you use on Instagram, your profile page, your consumer article or landing page article, and then your internal pages. Each of these have to be optimized, and each of these have separate elements within them.
For this , I’m just going to focus on the elements that can be found on Instagram. You can use the same element by element analysis to optimize your squeeze page, your consumer guide page, and other elements on your own website.
But as far as this training is concerned, we’re just going to focus on the elements found on Instagram.
Key Elements to Keep in Mind
When optimizing, here are the elements that you should focus on:
This is the profile page that you have on Instagram. You can change the picture, you can change the description, but just make sure that when you make changes, you go element by element.
This means you can swap out pictures until you get a nice improvement. Once the improvement is sustainable, you then change the text. See if it improves your click through rate. Once you are able to do that, then you can change the landing page URL.
Photos and Videos
This should be obvious. These are the photos and videos that you post.
Pay attention to engagement levels. Pay attention to click through. If you notice that certain photos tend to get a lot more clicks, then post more of those photos. Keep posting similar photos until you can reach a sustainable high level of click-throughs.
Keep switching around hashtags to see if there is any marked improvement in your click-through and your conversions.
After you’ve reverse engineered your competitors, you should have a starting point. But don’t end there. Keep playing around with the hashtags, customize the hashtags, and research related hashtags to see if you can get better results.
This is the text that you post along with your photos or videos.
Post the same picture but play around with different descriptions. See if these different calls to action lead to greater click-throughs, and eventually greater conversions.
If you’re using software to post on Instagram, take note of when your content is posted. Pay attention to when most of your engagement takes place. Try to line up your posting time with engagement levels to optimize the effectiveness of your content.
What to Look For
When optimizing, you should look for the following. These indicate success. Look for increased click-through rate, increased dwell time, deeper clicks inside your website, and better conversion rates.
Of course, we all know that, at the end of the day, conversion is what matters the most. In fact, it’s the only thing that matters.
Conversions puts dollars in your pockets and nothing else.
However, to get there, you have to increase click-through rates. You also have to see if the page that you are presenting to people you draw from Instagram holds their attention for a longer time. You can keep optimizing that page to maximize dwell time.
Also, pay attention to your initial content on your own website to see if you can optimize it so you can get deeper clicks. The more internal pages, the more the person views, the more interested that person is in whatever it is you have to offer. Ultimately, if you take care of these in an element by element basis, you can increase conversion rates.
Adopt the following best practices to make sure you get the most bang for your buck from Instagram.
Document Your Efforts
Make sure you write down what you’re doing. This way, you can have a written record. You can also conduct more experiments. You’d be surprised as to how many awesome ideas you come up with.
Unfortunately, if you keep coming back to the same failed idea over and over again, you’re basically just chasing your tail.
Document your effort so you can run experiments and then fail quickly.
This way, you can weed out bad ideas as soon as possible so you can focus on the ones that actually produce success.
Focus on Numbers
Don’t go with your gut feeling. Focus on what the actual statistics of your results are. Focus on numbers because numbers do not lie.
Start with Influencers Using a Slow and Low Strategy
I know I’ve said this before in the section about influencers. However, this is so important that it is worth repeating.
Contact as many influencers as possible but pay them a low rate. The ones who take you up on your offer and run your ads will then weed themselves out.
Well, each ad you run has a custom code or discount code or redemption code. You will be able to see which ones actually produce results.
You then come back to those people, pay them more, so they can scale up your campaign. They obviously are real and they’re credible enough with their followers for them to drive actual sales.
Optimize Using an Elemental Approach
I’ve already discussed this in 9, but you have to understand that you have to optimize going from element to element. This increases the chances that you won’t be chasing your tail. This reduces the chance of repeating the same mistake over and over again.
Use an elemental approach so you can increase your ad campaign’s overall effectiveness.
Instagram is a traffic goldmine. It really is. There’s really no other way to describe it.
However, you need to follow the tips I mentioned here and customize them to fit your particular set of circumstances. If you were to do that, you can turbocharge your results with Instagram.
The best part?
You don’t have to pay all that much money to get a lot of results.
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Modern Instagram Marketing Video Course