How to use Instagram in every stage of the marketing funnel to generate leads

Instagram is growing fast. This means, there is a good chance your buyer is active on the platform. B2C companies have already seen this opportunity and use Instagram as a fully integrated channel to sell their products, B2B companies still struggle. I believe Instagram is as massive opportunity for B2B companies as B2C companies. The main difference is the strategy. B2C companies can influence and trigger people to buy their products with beautiful pictures. This is slightly different for B2B companies.

When you want to use Instagram to generate leads it is important to use the same funnel stages as you use for your other marketing activities. Nobody will buy your products or will sign up for a demo after seeing just 1 ad. This is exactly the same for Instagram. When you build your strategy you have to keep in mind that awareness focused ads are as important as your bottom of the funnel, conversion ads. That’s why it is important to use an “always on” strategy, to make sure you don’t lose buyers during their journey. Build an always “on strategy” to nurture your buyers thru the funnel stages.

In this example, I use the 4 funnel stages that I prefer to use: Awareness, Education, Solution, and Selection. Every stage is key to get your buyers ready to buy your products or services. Identify messages around these 4 stages before you start to create content. Make sure you have pixels in place for retargeting across the different stages. Let’s get started!

Awareness stage

In this stage, you want to make people aware of your company or specific problem. You don’t talk about products or services, you inform and trigger people. The content your share in the CTA is not gated because you focus on building trust and relationship. The Instagram ad formats that work the best in this stage are photo, video and carousel. The photo and carousel ad format can have a CTA to a landing page. When people click on the CTA and land on the landing page you can retarget them with content in the next stages of the funnel. With the video format, you can measure video views and you can retarget based on video views.

Education

In this stage, you educate people about the problem they have. (You triggered this in the awareness stage). In this stage, you don’t take about the products either because your buyer feels like he has a problem and he wants to learn how to solve the problem. He is not interested in buying a product (yet). This means you can gate education-focused content. (make sure the content is valuable enough to gate). Buyers are willing to give some data for valuable content. This is the first stage where you can start to generate leads. Instagram ad formats for this stage are video, photo, and carousel with a CTA to your landing page. But also the lead generation format works really well at this stage. The buyer can request a piece of content without leaving the platform. This increases the user experience.

Solution

This stage is the first stage where you start talking about your solutions! (finally ;-)) Your buyer has a good understanding of the problem because of the education content and wants to learn more about how your business can help. In this stage the products are less relevant, the buyer wants to understand how your business can help his business. This is why your content is focused on solutions and not specific on products. The ad formats that Instagram offers for this stage are photo, carousel and lead generation. The content in this stage is gated as well and will help to increase to lead score of your buyers. Similar to the education stage can you use photo and carousel with a CTA to a landing page or lead generation ads to keep the buyer on the platform. The content that you gate needs to help your buyer to understand how your company can help and what makes your solutions different from competitors.

Selection

In this stage, your buyer has a really good understanding of his problem and knows how your business can help. You now have to show other customers, who use your products. This will help your buyer to understand which product can help him. All CTA’s in this stage should be focused on conversion. Conversions can be for example a demo registration, a free trial or a callback. The best Instagram ad formats in this stage are photo, video, carousel or lead generation ads. Your buyer is now ready to get in contact or to have a conversation about buying your products or services.

Keep in mind that Instagram is a very visual platform and that all content needs to be very high quality. On this platform, you compete not only with friends and family of your buyer but also with the content of social influencers, photgrafers, film stars, models etc. Try to create content that blends in with your buyer’s timeline.

Using the different stages helps to nurture your buyer thru the funnel but don’t forget that your buyer is active on multiple channels. It is really important that content across all channels is aligned to the different funnel stages so your buyer gets influenced right across all stages.

With love, from Dublin…

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