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Sales - 7 min READ

The Sales Rep’s Guide to Social Selling on Instagram

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Author photo: Darryl Villacorta

Darryl Villacorta

Content & Community Marketing Manager

If you’re interested in social selling, Instagram might be the last place on your mind to hunt for new leads.

Well, think again.

There’s more to Instagram than selfies and influencers hawking skinny tea. Although the visual social network might be the bread and butter of B2C brands, 57% of B2B companies are already on board with Instagram.

Given the platform’s rabid and rapidly growing user-base, it’s no surprise as to why. In fact, Instagram passed one billion users in 2018 with a staggering 500 million people engaging with Instagram Stories on a daily basis.

The takeaway here is that there’s a good chance your target audience is already glued to the ‘gram. Heavily image and video-based, social selling on Instagram allows you to show off your product directly to your target audience.

That is if you know how.

In our guide to social selling on Instagram, we break down exactly how sales reps can navigate the platform to make valuable touchpoints with prospects, leads, and customers alike.

Why social selling on Instagram matters 

Let’s start with the elephant in the room.

Why bother social selling on Instagram when there are more established, business-focused platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter out there?

For starters, Instagram is arguably the fastest-growing social network right now. Between the platform’s consistent roll-out of new business features and many companies souring on Facebook, there’s a reason why so many salespeople are flocking to Instagram.

While the platform was once uncharted territory for doing business, companies and consumers alike have warmed up the idea of social selling on Instagram; you don’t have to scroll very long to see a B2B ad pop up in your feed.

The platform is also the perfect place to give your product and business at large a much-needed sense of personality.

Want to highlight what you and your team have been up to behind-the-scenes? Does your company have a strong in-person industry presence? If so, Instagram is a no brainer to signal where you’re going and where you’ve been.

Given that the platform is still relatively new territory for sales reps, there’s no better time to start building your Instagram presence. Much like there are influencers showing off products in the B2C space, sales reps can serve as cheerleaders for their respective companies as well.

And if nothing else, expect your competitors to ramp up their Instagram presence if they haven’t already.

8 tips for social selling on Instagram

Every network has its best practices and Instagram is no different. Social selling on Instagram is apples and oranges versus the likes of LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Below are some tips for reps looking to successfully take advantage of sales opportunities on Instagram.

1. Cover events, conferences, and launches

Instagram empowers salespeople to keep a stronger pulse on their industries.

Covering events on Instagram does double duty of showing that you’re an active player in your industry while also uncovering potential customers in the process.

From trade shows to conferences and beyond, attendees and spectators alike represent your target audience. Want folks to check out your booth? Looking to build hype for your next launch? Posting photos and videos “in the wild” is a compelling way to grab people's attention.

Did you know: Instagram makes it easy to keep track of events in real-time, especially with the help of event-specific hashtags?

And hey, that leads us to our next point!

2. Spot sales opportunities via hashtags

Hashtags are invaluable for both promoting content and spotting people who might be interested in what you’re selling.

For example, let’s say you’re selling a product in the email marketing space. Email-specific hashtags can highlight people looking for advice or solutions. Additionally, you can keep an eye on influencers and competitors in your space to see who’s scoring the most mentions in your industry.

Additionally, consider that posts containing hashtags instantly receive more engagement than those without them. Beyond event-related hashtags, you should make a point to tack on a few relevant tags to help expand your reach and make your posts searchable to fellow users.

Free tools such as All Hashtag can help you break down trending topics and potential tags to couple with your posts.

3. Go behind-the-scenes with Instagram Stories

As noted earlier, Stories are one of the hottest features of Instagram right now.

Stories are awesome for showing off your own sense of personality. They’re likewise a compelling way to take your audience behind-the-scenes of what your company is currently up to.

Want to provide customers a glimpse of your company culture? Covering an event in real-time? Stories can do the trick.

And as an added bonus, publishing new Stories instantly puts your profile front-and-center in your followers’ feeds. Posting consistent Stories basically allows you to bypass the Instagram algorithm and helps familiarize followers with your company.

4. Pay attention to your bio link

Social selling on Instagram is unique as you’re unable to publish hyperlinks in comments.

In other words, it can sometimes be tricky to point people to where you want to them to go on-site.

That’s why your bio link is such valuable real estate.

For brand pages, bio links often redirect to either a landing page or a generic homepage link. For sales reps, it makes more sense to link to a recent blog post or introductory piece of content (think: an explainer video) to help educate followers about your product.

For example, here’s what a bio link that points to a specific case study.

Pro-tip: Learn more about how to create compelling case studies.

And on the flip side, this bio link points to a general homepage.

There is no “right” answer to what you should put in your bio, granted your links are up-to-date and you have something there to help gather leads.

If you have an Instagram business profile set up for your account, you can track link clicks and interactions in addition to setting up contact options such as an email form or phone number. If not, you can alternatively use a URL shortener and tracker such as Bitly to monitor the activity of leads from Instagram.

5. Consistently “like,” follow, and publish content

Having an active presence and some sort of follower count is a plus for any social network.

Instagram is no different.

Prior to conducting outreach, make sure that your profile looks the part by proving that you’re active on the platform. This means following relevant profiles including companies, follow salespeople, and potential customers alike.

Based on studies regarding the best times to post on social media, Instagram users shouldn’t be shy about serially “liking,” following, and publishing content. Posting at least once per day is totally fair game to help get your follower count going. The more active you are on Instagram, the more natural your outreach efforts will look when the time comes.

6. Make video part of your content strategy

You’ve probably heard this one before but it bears repeating: video content is absolutely killing it on social media right now.

For the sake of showing off your products and engaging following, prioritize video content as part of your Instagram feed. From off-the-cuff office videos to mini-commercials or product tutorials, such content is perfect for getting more eyes on your business.

7. Reply to individual comments

Instagram recently introduced the ability to reply to and “like” individual comments within threads ala Facebook. For sales reps, this spells good news.

If someone posts a question or concern on your company account, replying as an individual is a great way to make a meaningful touchpoint with a potential customer. Doing so is a more personal alternative to a branded reply.

Replying to comments also opens the door for one-on-one communication via DMs. Pitching directly in the comments could be viewed by your followers as pushy. Besides, DMs allows for suited for long-form conversations with your leads and prospects whereas comments are best for short-term communication.

8. Use DMs to move your sales conversations elsewhere

Speaking of DMs, the end-goal of direct messages on Instagram should be to move your conversations either on-site or to email.

Unlike traditional Instagram posts, you’re allowed to post hyperlinks within direct messages. Your end-goal should be to use DMs to either move your conversation to email or encourage an on-site opt-in through a lead magnet. This helps drive your Instagram followers through your sales funnel and makes it easier to track your communication within your CRM.

For example, Copper makes it a cinch to track on-site interactions and email communication alike. Reps can also add their own sales notes based on social activity such as Instagram comments or DM. Logging this activity gives you a more comprehensive view of your customers while also tracking the success of your Instagram activity.

Is Instagram part of your sales strategy?

Depending on your business, social selling on Instagram can help you uncover opportunities and engage with potential customers.

Even if Instagram might not be your top priority as far as social selling goes, the platform definitely deserves your attention.

Instagram’s ever-growing user-base and ad platform speak for itself. Having a presence on Instagram can help you keep a pulse on what your customers want no matter what you might be selling.

And with the help of Instagram and a sales CRM like Copper, you can make valuable touchpoints with your Instagram audience to close more deals in the future.

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