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Get more followers on Instagram… hold on, more followers or more clients?

Get more followers on Instagram… hold on, more followers or more clients?

I know, it is a catchy title and for a good reason. #followforfollow #followback #followme are 3 of the most used, and abused, hashtags on Instagram. And I get it. Having lots and lots of followers makes everyone feel good.

The problem sometimes is that what these followers do is only that. It is what Eric Ries calls in The Lean Startup “vanity metrics”. They give a company the feeling that they are doing great with their social media efforts. But are these followers converting to becoming qualified leads and to your clients?


Tip: What is your Instagram (or LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter) success metric? Is it measuring followers or converted clients? Use Google Analytics to measure the traffic being referred to your website from the different social media channels. It will give you an idea of how many of your followers are actually interested in your offer. After that you can set up goals based on the actions you want your visitors to complete. And measure it again.

So what is the difference between followers and marketing qualified leads or clients? I believe you may already have an idea. The difference lays in the interest or actions the followers display. A follower may like your content or even comment on it. A marketing qualified lead or client will show her interest by going a little further and taking action. It is with your visual content that you can guide them on how to disclose that interest and take actions. I will further explain soon.

But first, you need to get the right followers. Meeting your niche is essential. Understanding who your clients are and finding them on Instagram using #hashtags (I already gave a tip about how to find your niche by using hashtags). It is also important to understand that it is better to have a small community of raving fans willing to convert in any offer you display than a huge community of diluted followers. Craft you content to make it relevant to your niche and to make your niche take action towards your proposals.

Four ways to lead your followers to disclose that interest and take actions to become your clients

1. Starting a movement around your brand.

Think of something your company makes possible for your clients and ask them to share their photos under a certain #hashtag for the chance of being featured in your account.. Like the #runfree campaign from @nikerunning.

2. Creating a contest.

There are many different types of conquests but the idea is the same, foster user generated content (UGC) when you ask them to share pictures under a hashtag you provide.

Note, I do not recommend contests that ask followers to tag friends on a picture or regram/repost it as a way to obtain leads or clients because these contests are good to achieve awareness but not to convert followers into clients.

Last year Belkin created one of the coolest, most customizable iPhone cases in a partnership with Lego. Belkin asked their customers to showoff their creativity and how each one personalised their case by tagging their Instagram photos with #LEGOxBelkin.

#legoxbirkin UGC campaign

3. Making them download from the link in your bio.

This is a big opportunity to grow your mailing list. Create a freebee you know your potencial clients will enjoy. Publish the specific landing page in your bio.

4. Inviting them to your brick-and-mortar store.

Again consumer-generated content is the key here. Imagine a restaurant that asks its clients to take pictures of their favorite dishes and post them under their hashtag to get the chance to see their pictures printed and featured in the menu. Check also this example from @madewell1937 explained here.


All these actions should be thought in advance to understand the effects they will have. And that is being strategic about your activity on Instagram to get real, loyal, engaged clients. What more can you ask for?

Thank you for reading. If you found this post useful, you can subscribe to the newsletter or follow me on Instagram for daily musings on how to win on Instagram: sisiandcompany. Or get in touch at if you have further questions.

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  • Randal Quiambao 26/02/2015 at 12:31

    Usually I don’t read article on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to take a look at and do it! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thank you, very nice article.

    • Paula Arredondo Author 27/02/2015 at 13:42

      Thank you very much Randal for you comment! I’m glad you enjoyed and appreciated it. Please, let me know if I can further help you anyhow. And thanks again for your kind words!

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