How to Attract and Nurture Quality Instagram Followers

Want more business from Instagram? Looking for a proven process to follow?

In this article, you’ll learn three steps to attract and engage your Instagram audience, and convert them into leads and customers.

#1: Attracting the Right Audience on Instagram

At the top of the funnel, your job is simple: You need to grow your number of Instagram followers and make sure they’re engaged with your content. It’s important to have only high-quality followers; inflating your numbers by buying followers will skew your data further down the funnel, resulting in lower link clicks and conversion rates.

So how do you make sure you’re getting engaged followers? You can have thousands of Instagram followers but if they don’t engage with your account, they’re not doing you any good. Put your effort into gaining real followers so your data doesn’t get skewed as you move leads further down the funnel.

Brands get real Instagram followers through methods such as:

These are just a few effective ways to ensure you’re getting real followers. Your account’s growth might be slow at first, but if you keep working at it, you’ll start seeing steady growth. By using these tactics, you can see sustained growth in your Instagram account, giving you more leads that you can move into your Instagram sales funnel.

Organic Tactics to Establish and Build Brand Awareness

In digital marketing, growth hacking is a term that refers to the process of experimenting with different marketing tactics to see what works—and more importantly, figuring it out fast. You try a marketing method, quickly decide whether it worked, and either keep it or scrap it and move to the next strategy. The focus of your experiments is on growth and trying to find the best ways to quickly grow your Instagram followers and your business.

So what growth hacking methods can you use to grow your Instagram account in preparation for moving people through your sales funnel? Let’s break down a few ideas to try.

Brand awareness refers to how easily people recognize your brand. To visualize this, just about everyone recognizes Twitter’s little blue bird. Another good example is the golden arches of McDonald’s. But these are well-established businesses that have been marketing themselves for years. Small businesses have a little more work to do before their brand is easy to recognize.

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You can establish brand awareness by optimizing your Instagram business profile to help people understand what you do. In your bio, add your company name, a brief description of what you do, and your website. Also consider using your logo as your profile picture.

The Instagram bio for clothing company Posh Peanut explains what they sell and shares their values, location, and an on-brand profile photo. Optimizing your profile like this will help anyone who comes across your account to immediately understand who you are.

example of Instagram bio optimized for business

You can also grow brand awareness by carefully crafting your social media posts. Consistently post photos and captions that are a good representation of your brand and include testimonials and on-brand graphics. Don’t be too salesy, though. Instead, simply use a consistent posting strategy and your brand awareness will gradually begin to grow.

Hashtags are yet another way to increase brand awareness. What sort of hashtags should you use on Instagram? Begin by thinking about what someone would type into the search bar to find your profile. If you’re a clothing retailer, descriptive hashtags such as #fashioncompany (which only has 19K uses) or #teenstyle (which has 219K) could help your account be found. It’s best to stick with hashtags that have fewer than 300K posts or your content won’t be seen.

Search through the hashtags your competitors are using to get some inspiration. Also experiment with different types of tags including your own branded hashtags.

Use Influencer Campaigns to Grow Your Followers

At the top of the Instagram sales funnel, you’re still trying to grow your account, and influencer marketing is an excellent method for growing brand awareness and your following. When you ask an influencer to post about your business, you’re exposing your company to a large number of people who may not have known about it before.

Getting started with influencer marketing is fairly easy. First, decide whether you’d like to work with macro- or micro-influencers.

Macro-influencers typically have anywhere from 10,000 to 1 million followers. Micro-influencers, on the other hand, have fewer than 10,000 followers. While macro-influencers might seem like the better option at first glance, micro-influencers have a lot of benefits too. They’re less expensive and they often receive more engagement on their posts.

Once you’ve decided what type of influencer you want to target, start identifying specific influencers who might be a good fit for your brand. You can find influencers within the Instagram app by searching for specific hashtags or scrolling through the Explore tab. Look for influencers in your niche who post high-quality content that gets decent engagement.

Instagram hashtag search for potential influencers to partner with

In addition to using Instagram, you can also search for influencers using a third-party tool, which makes it easy to narrow your search criteria.

After creating a list of potential influencers, reach out to them via email or direct message to see if they’d be interested in collaborating. Craft a short, conversational email that states what you like about the influencer’s account, explains what your brand does, and asks if they would be interested in discussing a collaboration.

For compensation, you might send the influencer a free product in exchange for a post, or for a more long-term partnership, pay the influencer cash in return for consistent promotion. Whatever type of collaboration you decide to do, make sure to send the influencer a list of the deliverables you’ll need up front. That way, they can gauge how much time the project will take and decide if they want to take it on.

Influencer marketing is a powerful tool that offers exposure and brings more Instagram followers your way. Once your account has grown, it’s time to move to the middle of the funnel: keeping those followers around.

#2: Interacting With Your Instagram Followers

The next step is to keep your new followers highly engaged, which is the middle of your funnel.

Social media engagement has a lot of benefits, from providing social proof to boosting brand awareness and expanding your reach. In the context of your Instagram sales funnel, engagement is a way to measure whether your audience is tuned into what you have to say. Likes, comments, and shares on your posts are the precursor to what’s next—hopefully making sales.

So how do you keep your followers engaged? Here are some tactics to try.

Tell Your Brand Story

First, you need to create a story for your brand that entices people. Be authentic and tell the true backstory of how your company got started. And don’t be afraid to add an emotional hook and put a spin on things. Your brand story should also encompass your business goals.

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SoulCycle’s brand story is about redefining the exercise experience to make fitness fun and inspirational. Similarly, your brand story can explain the vision behind your business and the goals you have in place. If you do it right, people with those same goals and values will be drawn to your business like moths to a flame.


Include CTAs in Your Instagram Posts

When you create your Instagram posts, be sure to include strong calls to action (CTAs). You can add CTAs that ask your followers to do several different things such as:

  • Like the photo.
  • Tag a friend.
  • Leave a comment.
  • Visit the link in your bio.
  • View a product.

PBH Foods encourages followers to tap on the product tag in their images. A good CTA uses actionable language that creates a sense of urgency such as “Buy Now,” “Tap Here,” or “Subscribe Today.” It’s also effective to include the benefit someone will receive by following the CTA such as, “Subscribe now to become an expert in all things digital marketing.”

example of Instagram business post with strong call to action

Use Questions, Polls, and Contests

Additionally, you can increase Instagram engagement by using questions, polls, and contests.

Questions are an Instagram Stories feature that gives you an opportunity to hear direct feedback from your audience. Polls are also popular on Instagram Stories, helping you crowdsource ideas and have a little fun.

example of Instagram story post using questions sticker

Instagram contests are also an excellent way to get engagement. A study by Tailwind found that posts related to contests get 64X more comments and 3.5X more likes than traditional content. These types of posts can help boost your Instagram engagement rate.

#3: Converting Your Instagram Followers With a Lead Magnet

The next order of business in the middle of your Instagram sales funnel is creating an enticing lead magnet. It should be gated content, which means users have to fill out a form, or at the very least enter their email address, to receive the content. Gated content is an excellent way to generate leads because it provides you with valuable information about someone—in this case, your Instagram followers—as you encourage them to download the content.

When you create your lead magnet, first decide on the type of content you want to offer such as:

  • White papers or case studies
  • eBooks or PDFs
  • Videos
  • Short email courses
  • Discounts
  • Free trials
  • Assessments or tests

White papers and case studies are popular lead magnets for B2B companies. If your target audience is made up of consumers, you might choose an eBook or video. The content in the lead magnet should be valuable to your followers.

To produce something truly valuable, think small. Pick one of your target audience’s common pain points and then solve it. Your lead magnet should also be well-written and well-designed. Hire freelancers if you don’t have the resources available in-house.

Let’s look at an example of how to offer content that’s tailor-made for your Instagram followers. Lindsey Roman is an elopement photographer with more than 35,000 Instagram followers. She runs a business educating creative entrepreneurs on the side so the large majority of her followers are also photographers. Recently, Lindsey shared a link in her Instagram Stories to an “Instagram Master Guide,” encouraging her followers to swipe up to get their copy.

example of Instagram story featuring lead magnet

When users followed the instructions to swipe up, they were taken to a landing page where they could enter their name and email address to receive the free guide, which shared Lindsey’s personal experience growing her Instagram account. The information was highly valuable to her followers.

In addition to asking for an email address, consider having a form for users to fill out to access the content. Think about what information would be relevant to help you reach this lead. Maybe you want to know what country they live in, what job title they hold, or their age range. Add those to the page, too.

example of landing page for lead magnet promoted in Instagram story

Once you’ve gathered a list of email addresses from the people who downloaded the content, nurture those followers through email marketing. Send regular sales emails and newsletters to continue moving your leads further down the funnel to eventually make a purchase. Gated content is a highly effective method of lead generation and can be extremely helpful to your business.

Create an Instagram-Specific Landing Page

When your Instagram followers click on your lead magnet, they should be directed to a landing page that’s specifically for Instagram. This landing page is the bottom of your Instagram sales funnel, and the visuals and messaging on the page need to be tailored for your Instagram followers. To create this landing page, add an unlinked page on your website. This is a page that can’t be found unless someone has the direct link.

You can send people to this landing page through a link in your bio or by using the swipe-up feature in Instagram Stories. Business accounts that have more than 10,000 followers are eligible to use the swipe-up feature, and it’s an easy way to get people directly where you want them to go. This feature also makes it easy to track how many people are visiting that landing page. This way, you’ll know if you need to change the CTA you use in your Instagram stories.

You don’t have to use this landing page just for your lead magnet, though. You can use an Instagram landing page for other things, too. For instance, suppose you want to run a holiday discount that’s just for your Instagram followers. In that case, announce the discount on Instagram only and send your followers to a landing page where the discount applies. That’s what Discount Dance did here to advertise a special holiday sale:

example of Instagram story sharing discount code


The process of capturing and converting leads on Instagram might seem mystifying, but in reality, it can be fairly simple as long as you follow the right steps in the right order. Get more Instagram followers, make sure they’re engaged with your account, and then offer a lead magnet to start moving them through the funnel.

Instagram is a lucrative platform for businesses and applying your sales funnel to this social media platform can help you get more leads and more conversions.

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What do you think? Will you try this approach to attract, engage, and convert your Instagram audience? Do you have any tips of your own to offer? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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