Followers and engagement can help you judge the success of your Instagram strategy to some extent, but ultimately website owners want to be able to measure increase of traffic to their site just like brick-and-mortar business owners want to see more foot traffic in their stores!
If you have less than 10,000 followers on your Instagram account, there are really only two ways to organically send traffic from Instagram: through a link in your bio and with a CTA in your posts.
A Link in Your Bio
Your bio is a crucial part of your Instagram strategy, as it’s the only place where you can include a clickable link. Think about it: you have no capability to add clickable links to your posts or in comments and there are no CTA buttons.
Start your bio with a short description that sums up what you do and why this makes you a better choice than your competitors. Also make sure that its clear who your products and services are aimed at. In a new sentence, write a CTA that tells users what will happen when they click the link and why they should want to do it. End with the link itself. You could send users to the homepage of your website, but you’re more likely to benefit from a link to a landing page.
These are the essentials. A couple of other ideas to consider are: using social proof and including an emoji or two. For social proof, for instance, you could mention how many users are already taking advantage of your offer. As for emojis, get creative. Just make sure that whatever you use matches your brand image.
A CTA post asks followers to take an action — such as gain more information, check out an offer, or receive premium content. It also has instructions on how to do so.
Only some of your posts should be CTA posts. If you are demanding action from followers in every post, users will soon tire of your content. Your followers need to feel that your primary purpose is to inspire, entertain, or inform them. For this reason, it is best to have no more than 25 percent CTA posts, but you may prefer as few as 10 percent.
To encourage users to act on your CTA posts, use text in the image to make it clear what you want users to do. Then, in the caption, you can go into greater detail. You should also include a few keywords in the description to improve visibility. If the result is a large chunk of text, consider dividing it up with some emojis.
At the end of the caption, write your CTA and include a link. Ideally, the link in your posts should be the same as the one in your bio. That way, you can give users the option to either copy and paste the link or find the clickable link in your bio. Bear in mind that this will mean you can only run a single campaign on Instagram at any time. Plus, you will need to change the link in your bio every time you launch a new campaign.
Finally, you want to include hashtags. It is best to add hashtags as a comment rather than in the caption, unless you are able to use them naturally as part of the description. Choose quite specific hashtags to target just users who will be interested in your offer.
Tracking the Traffic
One final thing to do before you start sending traffic to your website is ensure that you are able to track the traffic. Otherwise, how will you know if your campaigns are working? The problem is that Instagram offers no tracking solution. Luckily, it is simple to set up tracking for yourself.
1. Add a UTM Source Code
A UTM source code at the end of the link will show you where traffic is originating from. This means you need to add something like ?src=instagram.
2. Shorten Your Link
With a limit of 150 characters for your bio, you need to keep your link as short as possible. You also want to limit the text in the post captions to avoid overwhelming users. Unfortunately, you’ve just added source code to your link, making it even longer than before.
Your best option now is to use a URL shortener. A top choice is Pretty Links, as this lets you decide how you want your final link to appear. For instance, you may be able to increase clicks by including an emotive word. Other possibilities are the always-popular Bit.ly and Clkim, which allows you to brand links.
You actually could use the URL shortening service to track your traffic, instead of a UTM source code. However, if you want the data to arrive in Google Analytics, you need the source code.
3. Find the Traffic Data
Google Analytics is your best option for tracking traffic. It’s free, it’s easy to use, and you’re probably utilizing it already. To find data about your Instagram traffic, you need to head to “Behavior,” which you’ll find under “Reporting.” Click “Site Content” to make a dropdown menu appear and choose “Landing Pages.” Then, search for the identifier you used in the source code (i.e. Instagram). You’ll instantly see how much traffic you’ve been generating.
Once you’re sending Instagram traffic to your website and tracking it, you can start optimizing your strategy. For instance, figure out how many of your posts should be CTA posts and how publishing time influences traffic. You should also determine what types of offers your audience responds to best — to maximize the amount of users who convert.