How to push Instagram traffic to your website
When you think of marketing and social media channels for your publishing empire — or simple blog — Facebook’s in the top slot, followed by Twitter and maybe Pinterest or LinkedIn (depending on your property). It’s fair to wonder where Instagram fits into this equation for publishers (we’ve talked about how to maximize these other channels here).
What many fail to consider is the marketing power of Instagram that many B2C businesses are leveraging. There is a lot to learn from these practices and publishers are missing them.
It’s understandable, though, because as a mobile-centric social network, Instagram doesn’t have that one key feature that most everyone seeks: clickable (or tappable) links. Post something to Instagram and add a URL to the description and whether it’s prefaced by “http://“ or simply a “www.” format, it’s a dead link. Tapping on it just won’t accomplish anything. So what’s the point…
Can you generate web traffic through Instagram?
Savvy marketers recognize opportunity, and while it’s true that you can’t tap and jump to a Web page, people can see the link and if it’s shared in context, they can certainly type it in later or Copy/Paste it.
Which brings us to a bigger topic: How visual is your site marketing? Consultants place a lot of emphasis on words, whether it’s your mission statement, Web site, Facebook post or landing page, but you can capture attention a lot more easily with images, not words.
The trick is to remember that one of the cornerstones of smart marketing is to focus on the promise of the outcome, not the object itself. Black and Decker doesn’t sell a device that accurately cuts grass blades to 2/3-inch, for example, but instead a device that products lush, beautiful lawns that happy families, children, and animals can enjoy.
Visual storytelling can engage an audience and drive them to your site
The easiest way to study how visuals can convey the message of your business is to go onto YouTube and watch Super Bowl TV spots. Ask yourself if they’re showcasing the product or the outcome. For example, a beer ad doesn’t show the can and mystery ingredients, it shows happy, attractive people having a great time (and probably a frisson of sexual tension resolved too).
Taking this back to social media, Instagram is a great venue for experimenting with outcome-based visual marketing. Black and Decker might have a sequence of the most beautiful lawns in America, with an inoffensive “Get your lawn looking this beautiful too. Learn how at www.BlackAndDecker.com”.
Consider my GoFatherhood dad blog as a more specific example. I wouldn’t post photos that have long, complex URLs to specific articles on my site – that’d be daft since they’re not clickable – but a teaser photo for a car review makes a lot of sense.
How to get started on Instagram as a publisher or site owner
This is exactly what I suggest you try: share striking and interesting visual images (and learn how to use Instagram filters, they can make a dull photo really pop and become quite interesting) and in the description tease more information at your Web site or other (short!) URL.
Use the Google Tracking URL builder to create a source tracking link, then shrink it into an easily copied or memorized URL for users. This will allow you to see the success of these efforts without using long complex URL’s, or worse, just hope it’s making a difference.
If you don’t have a teen in the house, as someone with two teens, I can assure you that the 14-20 demographic is well-nigh obsessed with Instagram and they’re checking it all the time. If that’s your target audience, it can be a huge boost.
One more thing: some marketers suggest that if you make sure your profile URL in Instagram has your Web page or landing page, that’s sufficient, but my experience is that few Instagrammers take that extra step of going from post -> profile -> somewhere else. Your experience may vary and it’s definitely worth testing out.
Now, think visual! Take great photos! And post up a storm!
Tip: I invite you to follow me on Instagram so you can see how I use it as a marketing tool: @d1taylor.