Instagram: The Dark Horse for Lead Generation


Instagram heart

icon gets our heart beating!

Instagram has been out there for some time now and we, at Inbound Mantra, just got started with it.

Before I joined Inbound Mantra, I was surprised to see that we didn’t have any presence on Instagram – one of the fastest growing social media platforms. So I took it upon myself to create awareness about Inbound Mantra on Instagram.

I researched about the platform and analyzed what the others were doing and during this process, I learned a lot. I applied all my knowledge to create an Instagram page for Inbound Mantra and within a few hours, it gained some traction. This was very exciting for me and for the team. Instagram, often dubbed as the platform for the millennial, has been rolling out new features to support paid advertisement. We’re still in a nascent stage when it comes to using Instagram to generate leads but we’ll get there and we’ll get there fast, this much I believe.

Recently, Instagram has also been in the news for introducing a feature to post your own stories – much similar to Snapchat’s snaps. Hmmm…. What will be future hold for Instagram and Snapchat? Well, that’s a discussion for some other time.So without further ado, let’s dive in.

Instagram provides with 3 basic features for any business: Business profiles, Insights and Promote.

Business Profiles

You can set up your company’s business profile for free and it can be integrated with your company’s Facebook page. This page essentially allows the business to decide how they’d like their audience to get in touch with them – via call, email or get directions to the office. You can give a brief description about your business that should include your website too.

inbound mantra instagram business profile

Our Instagram business profile that shows our posts and the contact button

inbound mantra contact options

Options for the audience to get in touch with us.


Insights have many metrics like the number of impressions, reach, profile views and website clicks.

It also shows you which posts performed better in terms of impressions or engagement or any metric that may be useful for you. It gives you the option to apply filter from where you can select the time duration, metrics and the kind of posts that are fitting to you.

Inboundmantra top post

Filters provided by Instagram

The feature that is most interesting is the fact that you can check the demographic that is responding most favorably to your posts – gender wise, age wise or location wise. It also tells you about the time when you gain more followers – hour by hour.

Inboundmantra Instagram followers

Insights give you the demographic to which you’d like to push content to in a timely and relevant way.


With just a few taps, you can turn your best performing posts into ads directly. Promoting a post allows you with the option of either visiting your website or contacting you. You can also decide who to target and for how long. You can create a custom audience to streamline the targeting and reach only the interested customers.

inboundmantra promote

Promoting a post allows you with multiple options for audience, budget and time of promotion.

Okay, so now we know what Instagram can do. Excellent! Now it’s time for the big question that has got many inbound marketers scratching their head: Should I be using Instagram for my business? Will it actually help me generate leads?

As an inbound marketer, one often ponders whether one can extract some quality leads from the platform. Since Instagram promotes only visual content – whether info-graphic, creative or video, it often leads to people thinking that only product based businesses can thrive on it. Our clients include a lot of SaaS (Software as a Service) companies who can improve their business using Instagram. But this is not the only clique that can utilize this ever- growing platform. Well, it certainly helps if you have a product but those businesses without a product need not worry because I’m here to save the day.

Many businesses have benefitted from marketing on Instagram. Califia Farms has used Instagram to show-off their natural beverage products which is unique in itself. This has helped them generate a lot of revenue which they were previously unable to extract. Organic Authority has utilized Instagram to promote an organic lifestyle and they’ve done it brilliantly. WeWork has an awesome Instagram page and they’ve used some customized hashtags that has worked in their favor. Now do you believe in the authority of Instagram to help your business grow? Well, if they can then you can too.

Instagram is all about networking. Your aim should be creating a good experience for your target audience so that they’ll eventually be converted to leads. If you go all-in with the intent of just generating leads, I’m afraid you will fail. Sounds like a lot of work doesn’t it? Ironically it takes only about 15 minutes a day on Instagram to research about your personas and post some great content.

Step-by-Step approach for generating leads from Instagram:

1. Spend time building your buyer persona: This is the most important step in the sense that you need to know who your potential customers are and who you’d like to target. Build your buyer persona that tells you who they are, what are their goals, their hobbies and interests and so on. Revolve your content around your persona’s interests and problems so that they feel that you are helping them solve their problems, that you are providing them value which they require, that you care!

2. A kick-ass business profile: What I mean by that is you need to provide a description that may seem helpful to your audience. Why would they care about who you are and what you do as long as you are not providing them with some incentive? Have a clear-cut Call-to-Action that will direct the traffic to your Landing Page. Let your content do the talking. A great profile with a Call-to-action within your bio can help to direct traffic to your website and help in conversion. 

foundr business profile

Having a well-defined CTA has helped Foundr increase their leads

3. Content + consistency = success: Post fresh content and do it at regular intervals. Create an expectancy level for your audience. Your content should resonate around your personas – something that they can relate to. Post team pictures, behind-the-scene images and other content that tries to humanize your brand so that people can connect with it on a more basic level. Tagging your fellow employees goes well with the crowd and can help get more traffic to your page and also to your website. This is where you capture them – just like a Pokemon!


HubSpot with a touch of humanization and excitement that helps people to resonate with people and not business.

4. Hashtag Research: We already know that hashtags are what get you going whenever you post something on Instagram (and now Facebook too!). Try to use hashtags that already have over 1000 posts associated with them so that people searching for those hashtags can find you easily. You can also use personalized keywords to give your own spin to it. Remember that hashtags for Instagram are like keywords for search engines so use it well. Instagram allows only a maximum of 30 hashtags per post. Being brief and creative with hashtags will go a long way towards building a following.

There are many apps that can store custom hashtag lists and also provide hashtag inspiration like Tagsforlikes, Hashtags for Instagram and many more. But I personally recommend using your own hashtags because people usually appreciate originality.

5. CTA for individual posts: If you have an interesting blog posts or an eBook worth sharing, Instagram allows you to put up the link in your bio. But it doesn’t allow you to add a link to your caption or comments due to the increasing number of spam links. So what you can do is provide a interesting caption mentioning that the link is in the profile. An actionable CTA with a great Landing page will help you get more conversions.


Flight media with an interesting blog post giving the link in their profile.

6. Engagement with audience: With such high audience engagement rates on Instagram, you need to get involved too. Follow your potential lead, like their posts, interact with them to make them feel valued and they would definitely return the favor by following you back. SaaS companies can give away a free demo of their product to create a buzz. Product based companies can give away freebies through a contest on a celebratory event for their business. Take inspiration from your competitors and take lessons from their campaigns. Being innovate with the way of communication with your audience can also help you make a positive impact in the Instagram community and then further help you to get more traffic to your website.


Buffer sure knows how to engage with their audience.

7. Track your potential leads: Last but not the least. Tracking is the one of the most essential requirements if you want to know about your ROI. With the help of a good Landing Page and an effective CTA, you can redirect your traffic and analyze the metrics that matter to you whether it is Landing Page clicks, conversions, Cost-per-click and so on. Currently, only Hootsuite provides the functionality for integration with Instagram. HubSpot are you listening?So now that you know why and how you should use Instagram to grow your business, what are you waiting for? Go out there and create an experience that people would remember. Associate a feeling with your brand just like Coca-cola has happiness; HubSpot has love to name a few. Start tagging and #goinbound!

Team Znbound
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