Last time we discussed how it was possible to use YouTube in order to syphon free traffic into your webpages and offers. It’s time now to jump into the second social media titan, Instagram to generate even more qualified traffic for absolutely free.
You’re probably going to hear a lot of opinions on getting free traffic from Instagram, might even stumble across plenty of folks who just don’t think it’s possible, lucky for us they don’t know what you’re about to learn so don’t worry about them, they can keep shaking their heads in disapproving fashion while we’re busy earning those affiliate profits.
First thing’s 1st!
Set yourself up with an Instagram account… obviously.
We’re not going to walk you through the most basic of details in this guide as you can find all of that with a simple Google or better yet, YouTube search! Once you have your account set up it’s time to get the show on the road and this is how it’s done.
Your Account Name
Change it so it’s better suited for SEO directly on the platform. This is not the URL of the account which is what you created your Instagram account under but instead the title of your account… see the image below for a visual example if you don’t understand what we mean.
Right in that header section on your page there will be a blurb about what your feed is about, think of is as a mission statement of sorts. Here is where your title or ‘name’ will also appear as is circled in red. This can help you to be discovered by folks who are searching Instagram for whatever they might be looking for. Take advantage of this opportunity by placing a very relevant keyword here for either brand recognition or niche association.
Aside from the mission statement and your accounts name you will also have a small space to insert an active hyperlink. Instagram does not allow you to use links directly inside of your posts so you will have to get clever with your calls to action in the future. Lucky for us however, the culture of this social platform is already well aware of this shortcoming and instinctively know to look for links in this area on each account.
Discoverability And You
This is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to people actually finding you on Instagram or not. Hashtags are a huge part of Instagram culture and if you aren’t using them properly then you’re putting a severe handicap on your performance. You need to make yourself as easy to find as possible while you’re building your following otherwise growth will be slow and painful.
Just above is what a typical search for keywords and hashtags looks like on Instagram, notice that the number of posts associated with each tag is also listed in lighter gray just below the search term. The goal is to land within these searches on at least a handful of hashtags that way people will click through and check your posts out. It’s a two-step process which looks something like this.
First a keyword (or hashtag) will be searched just like has been depicted above and then the user will pick the one they want to expand upon. Once that’s done they’re going to see a new page which looks something like the picture just above, notice how the hashtag and the number of posts are circled in red.
What you’re looking at is the feed for that particular hashtag and it’s where you want to show up when certain searches are performed. It’s not a guarantee that your posts will be viewed even when they do show up in this list of related posts but it’s a fair shot at getting discovered by your target audience.
What Should You Post?
The idea in many cases is to treat your account as a micro blog, keeping things inspirational and direct. Instagram is all about pictures and short video clips, but you also get a small space to write some kind of description and that is where you can really shine.
Make your images fall into one of 3 main categories:
- Interesting / Weird
Now, these main categories are very broad but they’re also very different in the types of emotion and action you provoke in those viewing them. The best way to see what works is to start searching hashtags which are closely related to your niche and see what others are doing. You don’t want to copy them exactly but the popular accounts have it right which means you do want to emulate the mood of that account’s feed. The feed is just the pages and pages of posts made on that account, much like how Facebook has a feed you can scroll through, Instagram has a similar thing.
Using Hashtags Appropriately
This is a bit tricky in the beginning but you will find as time goes on it becomes easier and much quicker. You need to take the time to seek out useful hashtags for your market, make a list of them and use them for your own needs often.
Fortunately the platform gives you a powerful insights tool right on the search box itself in the form of post counts. You get to see how many posts are listed under a given tag so you don’t bother wasting time on those tags which will bury you under a sea of other related posts… more often than not by accounts which are probably far more popular than yours.
Use different sizes of hashtags to maximize your exposure. Think of it like a keyword which people can search and then browse a list of related Instagram feeds. If you are using only very broad and popular hashtags then you will be buried under the mountain of other accounts also using those same exact hashtags. Instead, you want to mix and match from small, medium and large hashtags.
Focus primarily on tiny, small and medium tags as that’s where your posts stand the best chance of sticking around longer as well as having a better chance of reaching people who are more interested in the type of things you are sharing. The best way to find hashtags is directly on Instagram by following influencers in your niche, seeing what tags they use and manually testing them out to compile a list of tags which fall under the guidelines listed below.
Yes, it takes work but over time you will build a long list of hashtags you can recycle over & over again thus speeding up the process gradually while maintaining high quality hashtags for your posts. A word of caution about using the same hashtags over and over again… switch up your tags between posts, don’t spam the same tags too often as Instagram may detect this as spam activity and decrease your reach to the general audience.
The reason why Instagram is still viable for free traffic is do to the fact it’s yet to reduce it’s organic reach in the way of Facebook’s pages and groups, you can still post something and have it go out to a very large population of people without having to pay for ads. Here is a quick list of the hashtag sizes to aim for, remember that using tags with smaller posts counts means you have a greater chance of sticking to those searches for longer.
- Tiny = Under 50k posts
- Small = 100k or fewer posts
- Medium = 500k or fewer posts
- Large = Over 500k posts
A Call To Action
Keep it simple and slightly ambiguous and do not be afraid to skip a direct call to action every now and again. Instagram is all about entertainment value through pretty pictures, fancy “feel good” quotes and short videos. If you’re not following that trend then you’re going to be left behind as the crowd won’t see you as part of the community.
Since we’re not able to use links in the captions of an Instagram post we have to rely on sparking intrigue in those looking at us. As mentioned before, you are allowed one single link on the entirety of your account and it’s at the top of the page… people who use Instagram already know this and will seek that link out if you inspire them well enough.
Again, look at what others are doing within your market-space and follow the good ideas from popular and successful accounts, it really can be just that easy.
If your interested in using Instagram to generate free traffic then chances are good you’re not looking to spark up conversations with your viewers. Consider this however, especially if you’re into something which involves high ticket sales or building a downline of sorts.
Engaging in chats with those who take the time to message you could lead to really strong positive prospects. These are folks who have taken a genuine interest in you or your offer and want to know more so why not take the time to give them a little one-on-one conversation and see where that goes? You’re going to want to manage your time and keep it professional but it’s a fine way to tune your skills as a sales person while building a list of potential leads.
It’s simple really. The idea is to build a real account which is followed by real people who you can inspire to take action, whatever that action might be. In this case we’re talking about driving traffic to other websites but the power of building a following on Instagram can extend well beyond that. You have the ‘stories’ feature which lets you upload videos direct to your followers letting them know just about anything you want. Use this to promote new offers, tease them with something new and intriguing or just check in to say a quick hello and share something fun or entertaining.
There are tools that let you post to your account in a semi-automated fashion and though these can be really helpful you’re going to want to build your accounts manually in the beginning so you become familiar with how it all works. Who knows, maybe you’ll give it a try and decide that Instagram just isn’t for you, that’s fine. There are so many other options that you don’t need to feel stuck, just move on to the next and try that out instead.
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