Instagram, that new image sharing app that all the cool kids seem to use to share pictures of their latest meals and travels.
It seems like it’s only used for sharing filter heavy pictures of food and models, but it can be used for so much more too.
However, Instagram is not your average social media website. It would benefit you to learn how to market on Instagram before you create an account in order to avoid wasting time and making mistakes that don’t convert or get your account banned.
In this article I’ll reveal some of the problems that I faced while tinkering with this new app and how I solved those problems, the result being more traffic to my website.
So continue reading if you want to learn how to drive traffic to your website with Instagram!
What You Will Learn In This Article:
In this article you will learn how to craft images for your website that encourage viewers to click on your profile and check out your website, thus bringing in more traffic, more subscribers, and more clients.
So if you were searching for a new social media platform to share your content, Instagram could be what you need, it has a lot of marketing potential if you follow the rules and take the appropriate steps.
It’s a little tricky to figure out how to use the application for website traffic.
First of all, why Instagram?
Why take your marketing to Instagram when there are plenty of other social media websites to market on?
It’s simple; Instagram is the new trend, it’s the future, everyone is gravitating towards it. Everyone who has a smartphone and likes to take pictures will, inevitably, create an Instagram account. It’s the number one photo sharing application on the planet, it makes sense to use it and take advantage of it before it’s too late!
Twitter was the cool social media platform a few years ago but now it has been replaced with Instagram, in fact, Instagram has already surpassed Twitter in terms of monthly active users (not to mention the fact that Twitter is operating on a profit loss).
Twitter marketing (though somewhat effective) is dying – I think most businesses, whether offline or online, should focus on Instagram!
(Of course, that does not mean you should ignore Twitter, in fact, I suggest that you read this article I wrote about marketing on Twitter)
Another reason you should take your company to Instagram is that the users tend to have a higher interaction rate than other social media companies; they’re simply more active.
For instance, the average user interaction rate with brand posts on Instagram is around 4% while on Twitter the interaction rate drops to is only 0.03% (it’s even lower on Facebook)!
The reason is simple; people are tired of seeing random links on Twitter and Facebook. There are many spam-bots and accounts that mass spam links on the above mentioned social media websites and people are tired of seeing those links, on Instagram, it’s a little safer.
Naturally, if you focus on your fans, the interaction rate will always be higher than normal unlike accounts like McDonald or other large franchises.
In fact, it’s much easier to maintain a solid fan base if you keep things on a small scale, interact with your followers, and provide as much value as possible.
In other words, people on Instagram are much more likely to interact with your company; like pictures, leave comments, click on links in bio, and much more. It only makes sense to try to market on Instagram!
Instagram also provides you with the opportunity to share images of your products and advertise new deals. The only problem is that you have to create the images for your marketing efforts (and we’ll discuss that soon)!
Don’t panic It’s easier than you might think!
How to Create Images to Market Your Website on Instagram:
Even if you’re not a Photoshop expert you can still create relatively decent images that you can use to market your business in just a few simple steps.
Alternatively, there are always people you can hire to create these images, it’s an idea you can test out. Once you have a basic template for images it’s not difficult to re-use the same template for future images.
Before we begin, there are a few things that you need to know about this app!
For starters, it’s completely image-based, think of Facebook but with only images, a news-feed that entirely consists of images from people whom you follow.
This means that you’ll have to either find or create images to share in order to expand your reach and collect more followers!
Remember, copyright laws still apply, and it’s not wise to use other company’s images without their permission because they’ll eventually catch on. Ideally you would want to create your own images from scratch as to avoid copyright issues. .
Since the idea is to create a clean social media image-based app; there are many anti-spam features in place.
In fact, to my displeasure, I discovered that the program does not allow you to include LIVE links in picture descriptions.
Remember that, it’s important. It’s one of the main problems I’ll show you how to overcome.
This discourages a lot of business owners from using the application to marketing their products and services. They tend to gravitate towards other social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, where sharing links is not discouraged.
On the other hand, it’s not a complete deal breaker, and I actually appreciate this feature because it eliminates a lot of spam bots, a problem that other social media companies have to deal with on a daily basis (and I can’t stand fake spam accounts).
It also motivates you to create images for your articles which you can use for Facebook and Twitter too, not to mention the aesthetic appeal of including images in your articles. Let’s also not forget that images can be used to bring in search engine traffic!
(Instagram embedded images don’t really have any search engine value but if you upload the image directly to your post and take the time to include keywords, it could boost your rank in search engine results)
You can still include a LIVE link on your profile page (also known as a bio) which is the perfect place to write a brief description of your business and include a link to your website.
So, if someone wants to find out more about your services, all they have to do is click on your profile link and find a link to your website. This is what you want to convince people to do with your images.
However, this does create a problem for people (such as myself) that want to promote individual articles from their websites.
Still, there is a solution.
How to Create Images for Instagram: Ideal Image Size
First, let’s talk about uploading images, ideal image dimensions, and image quality!
There’s another problem; Instagram is a mobile based app so it does not allow you to upload images for your computer, the images must be uploaded from your phone.
You can bypass this problem by downloading and installing an android emulator and installing Instagram on that but it’s a complicated process and one that I won’t discuss in this article because I took a different route.
So you’ll need to create the images on your computer and then transfer them to your phone where you will use the app to upload them to your account. I usually create the image and then send them to myself, download them to the phone, and upload them.
(I believe you could use Drop-Box or a similar file-sharing application too)
What are the ideal dimensions for each image?
The minimum image dimensions are 1080×1080.
Therefore, if you are using Photoshop, create a template that is at least 1080×1080.
If the image dimensions are 1080×1080 (the minimum) there will be no need to crop the image and you’ll be able to upload the full image to Instagram.
Any other size will need to be cropped and that could ruin the image.
Below is an image of what happens when you screw up the dimensions, taken from my ever expanding database of mistakes!
If your image does not fit in the image editor (like you can see above), then you’ll have to recreate it.
That means you have to edit it on your computer and send the updated version to your phone once again, and that can be quite time consuming (not to mention annoying!).
You’ll also want to make sure that the image is rendered to the high quality available!
Instagram has it’s own photo-editing features that allow you to add filters and other effects but you don’t have to edit the image; these steps can be skipped but cropping can’t be skipped.
I repeat, cropping can’t be skipped, so make sure you get the size right!
So, that’s the technical side of the image sharing application!
The next part is creating an image that points people to your business!
How to Create Images on Instagram That Drive Traffic to Your Website:
I admit I haven’t discovered the perfect formula for creating images that point people to your bio link. However, there are a few universal tips that you need to know to improve the effectiveness of your images.
We’ll talk about creating images for specific articles but there are many different types of images that you can create, like coupon codes, prizes, discounts, and much more.
It all depends on the type of business that you want to promote.
For articles, I like to use a picture of scenery or something I consider nice, and then include the title of the article in bold text with a slightly transparent frame around the text. I noticed a lot of popular brands on Instagram create similar images but you can feel free to test any style!
You can literally use a solid color background if you want, try different things and see what works.
I decided to make a simple design for this article!
A photo posted by Timothy Gagnon (@timothy_gagnon) on
I also tend to take the pictures myself, I don’t like using other people’s pictures, it helps avoid copyright issues. This also gives you a reason to head outside and practice your photography skills!
There are – of course – many stock images that you can find online for free that you can use for your Instagram pictures. Many people on Instagram just share popular motivational quotes or pictures of cats (and you can do that too).
On that note, it’s possible to use a picture of pretty much anything as long as there’s a clear area where you can include the title of your article in bold text, where it can be easily read, and doesn’t clash with other colors.
Once you have set up the title of the article in bold text, a link to the article should be included too, or at least a link to your website. I include the link to the article in the profile description even though it’s not clickable, it still makes it easy for people to select the URL and copy it into their web browsers.
This means you need to keep the URL as short as possible, this can be done easily with WordPress. Or you can shorten the URL with a service like Bitly or Tiny Url or others.
The shorter the better, and it needs to be easy to remember (remember, the viewers need to copy this into their web browsers) so you should aim to keep the URL as short as possible, max 3 additional words.
There are three ways we want people to find the link:
- Copy and paste it from the picture to their web browser.
- Remember it and type it into their web browser.
- Click on your profile and click on your website.
So the image must be designed in a way that encourages the viewer to take one of the above actions to find our website.
If you want people to click on your profile then you need to include some text in your image, such as, “Click the link in my bio for more info” or something similar.
Details to Include in Image Description:
Once you are done creating the image and you managed to upload it to Instagram without having to start over due to poor format, the next step is to edit the picture description.
I like to include a summary, a few sentences that tell people what the article is about, followed by the article’s URL, and then followed by as many related hashtags as possible.
Hashtags work the same way as they do on Twitter, each one is an individual feed, therefore, it makes sense to include as many hashtags as possible because it boosts the exposure of the image thus bringing in more traffic.
Remember, the images can only be uploaded from your phone so you’ll have to manually type all the hashtags into the image description. The more the merrier!
Then, once everything is ready all you have to do is hit the publish button.
How to Get Followers on Instagram:
Obviously, the images won’t do you any good unless you have a lot of followers.
Collecting followers is not so complicated, there are a few ways to do it, but we don’t discuss all the methods in this article.
The easiest way to collect followers is to follow accounts that are in your niche, and follow the people who are following those accounts.
It’s really easy all you have to do is open the search bar and type in the a word that’s related to your business (e.g. marketing) and then follow as many accounts as you can.
You’ll notice that many people will follow-back and your fan-base will start to grow!
That’s the easiest and fastest way to collect followers.
Here’s a list of some other ideas you can use to boost your fan-base:
- Include embedded Instagram images on your website’s homepage or in certain articles.
- Connect your Instagram account to your Facebook account.
- Buy Instagram ads.
- Share your Instagram account on other social media websites.
- Leave comments on Instagram images.
- Like as many images on Instagram as you can.
- Include as many hashtags as possible.
- Got more? Leave a comment below!
So as you can see there are quite a few ways to collect followers on Instagram!
Let’s Wrap it Up:
I know you’re probably thinking that all this photo-editing is rather time consuming and that would be correct.
I’m not going to argue; this does take time.
On the other hand, the best things in life take time, and if you’re going to commit to creating a website, it’s better to take it a step at a time instead of trying to reach the end result as fast as possible.
That’s a mistake that a lot of so called internet marketers make when it comes to making money from the internet, they rush to create schemes and scams to make some fast cash, but it rarely works out for them in the end.
It’s also possible to outsource all this work so you don’t need to worry about spending all your time editing pictures!
I think it’s important to create a pleasurable reading experience for your fans, that means including quality images and make sure that the text format is easy to read too.
To summarize what you learned in this article:
- Instagram is extremely popular and most businesses are starting to create accounts.
- The user interaction rate on Instagram is much higher than other social media websites.
- You can’t include live links on Instagram.
- The ideal image size is 1080 x 1080.
- You can’t upload images from your computer, only from your phone.
- You should take your own pictures and edit them on your own to avoid copyright issues.
- There are a lot of stock images that you can use too.
- Include the title of your article in the image.
- Include a link to your website or article in the image.
- Test out different styles to see what works for you.
- Follow accounts and wait for them to follow-back, that’s the easiest way to collect followers.
- All this can be outsourced.
- Take your time.
So that concludes my article about Instagram.
If you have any thoughts or questions, feel free to leave a comment below, I love to hear from everyone and I will reply!
Until next time.
- Timothy Gagnon