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The goal for your Instagram business account should be to connect and engage with people who want to buy your products. With 1 billion active monthly users spending an average of 28 minutes daily on the platform (from Hootsuite), there is a serious opportunity to grow your following.

Click on any of these tips to learn more, or keep reading for the full list on how to organically get new customers from Instagram.

5 Ways to Get New Customers from Instagram:

  1. Break it down
  2. Tell your product story
  3. Use hashtags and geotags strategically
  4. Include calls-to-action
  5. Optimize your bio

1. Break it down

Showcase behind-the-scenes and allow followers to see your process behind the photos you’re currently sharing.

Breaking it down communicates all of the hard work that goes into what you’re selling and the expertise you have on this particular product. Most importantly, it indirectly communicates your price! It helps potential buyers physically see and understand the intricate, time-consuming details that justify what you’re charging.

For example, if you’d typically share a photo of a completed meal using your own grown products, you could actually create 12 different behind-the-scenes posts from that image. Here’s how:

  1. Planting
  2. Product growth stages
  3. Harvest
  4. Tools used to harvest
  5. Final product
  6. Packaging
  7. Any other applicable phases of your product development

Great behind-the-scenes post by The Season’s Harvest (@theseasonsharvest) in Kelowna, BC:

The Seasons Harvest Instagram

Photos like these help customers to envision themselves as part of your process. Breaking it down also builds suspense as followers wait for the final product!

With all those new photos, you’re going to need awesome captions. Without further ado:

2. Tell your product story

Stories are engaging and memorable. Crafting a compelling picture of your brand and using a story to share the history and people behind your business is a key way to differentiate yourself from the crowd.

However, though sharing your brand story is important, it’s equally as important to share the stories behind your products.

If you lean only on your brand stories—your successes, challenges, etc.—you’re mainly attracting people who are like you. You may not necessarily be attracting the customers who are actually going to buy from you.

Share things like: 

  • How current customers currently use (or could use) your products
  • Why you choose to grow, raise or produce the products that you do
  • How customers buy using your online store, or what they can expect to find at your retail location

It helps potential buyers picture themselves as your customer. It’s the difference between, “This farmer likes to listen to Thomas Rhett while they work? Me, too!” and “This is what it’s actually like to work with him/her.”

Here’s a descriptive caption from Michelle and Troy of Fresh Roots Farm (@freshrootsfarmmb) in Cartwright, Manitoba:

Fresh Roots Farm Instagram

Infuse pieces of your own life, but tell it from a perspective that your customers can envision themselves in!

3. Use hashtags and geotags strategically

Bluntly put: if you’re not using hashtags, the only people seeing your content are those who already follow you. While that’s fantastic (they follow you for a reason!) using Instagram for your business means expanding your audience to those who would also benefit from buying from you.

Use hashtags and geotags to reach others who are also searching for what you’re posting, in the geographic areas you’re tagging. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags, so to really optimize your hashtags, use between 25 and 30.

A helpful formula for hashtags is to group them into three categories:

  1. General (10)
    Focus on general topics, like “farming” or “farm.” 
    These hashtags will get more eyes, but they won’t be as specific to what is in your photo and may have lower engagement.

  2. Image-specific and applications (10–15)
    Tags describing  what’s in your post, or application ideas for your product. 
    Because these are more focused, they’ll have less eyes, but those looking for exactly what you are posting are more likely to click on your photo. 

  3. Location-based (5–10)
    Identifying your location or tagging the location of the photo. Where is this product being sold or used?

Here’s what those hashtag categories might look like for this sample Instagram post:

Local Line Blog_Grow Your Customers on Instagram 1

  1. #farming #farmer #producefarmer #farming #farmtotable #ontariofarmer #farm
  2. #carrots #harvest #carrotharvest #fall #localdish #localcarrots #menuitems #restaurantsides #glazedcarrots #roastedcarrots
  3. #ontariocarrots #localontariofood #ontariofarmer #ontariofarmers #ontariofarm #ontariofarms #localontariorestaurants #localontariorestaurant

Another tip? Use plurals! Someone will search for #greenapple and someone else will use #greenapples, but the same person won’t be following both. Capture both audiences by simply having both versions in your hashtag group.

4. Include calls-to-action

Always, always, always include a call-to-action. Because you can’t sell directly on Instagram like you can with other social media platforms like Facebook or Pinterest, it is crucial that you have calls-to-action in your captions that encourage followers and potential buyers to take that extra step like visiting your website or retail location and placing an order.

Include a CTA on 75% of your posts. It doesn’t always have to be the same one (“Buy”), but it should be a combination of different levels of engagement. There are many different things you can ask people to do. Some examples include:

  • Comment below
  • Like this photo
  • Sign up for my email list
  • Direct message me
  • Click the link in bio
  • Responding to a question on Instagram Stories
  • Instagram Stories poll

Here’s another sample Instagram post with nine calls-to-action that could be used within your caption:

Local Line Blog_Grow Your Customers on Instagram 2

  1. Click the link in our bio to place your order today
  2. Tag a friend who you’d share an apple pie with
  3. Comment below with your favourite type of pie
  4. Comment below with your favourite way to make apple pie
  5. Reach out to us via DM to find out which seasonal pie we’re featuring next week
  6. Give our apple pies a try! Sample a piece this weekend at [physical location]

Soft CTAs won’t immediately translate to sales, but when you later include posts with CTAs like, “Click the link in our bio and place your order today,” you’ll gain new customers from the audience you’re growing today.

Calls-to-action might feel a little sales-y and awkward at first, but it’s important to be clear with what you want people to know and the actions you’d like them to take. 

5. Optimize your bio

Speaking of CTAs, your Instagram bio is one giant call-to-action. People glance at it for a few seconds and they’ll either take action or move on. 

Make it extremely obvious who you are, what you sell, and where you want visitors to your page to go to buy. (If you want to include personalized things like “Mom,” or your dog’s name, be sure to also make it obvious what your business is selling! Don’t leave key details out.) 

You also want to share where you are located if you’re looking for local customers.

Closed Loop Farms (@closedloopfarms) in Chicago, Illinois uses their Instagram bio to describe who they are, what they do, and include two CTAs:

Closed Loop Farms Instagram

Conclusion

Posting the right content with optimized captions and strategic hashtags are the simple but effective ways to organically grow your Instagram followers. As a result, your targeted audience means increased brand awareness, more opportunities for lead generation, and—most importantly—more sales.

To summarize the five ways to grow your customer base using Instagram, use these mentioned tips:

  1. Break it down
  2. Tell your product story
  3. Use hashtags and geotags strategically
  4. Include calls-to-action
  5. Optimize your bio

Happy Instagramming!


 

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