Regardless of the rise of TikTok, the sustainability of Facebook, and the variety of both LinkedIn and Twitter – Instagram remains THE social media platform for creating the most impressive presence and authoritative brand. Other channels may be more direct in providing lead generation, for prospecting data or engaging in conversation, but if you wanted the fastest way to qualify a business (or personal) level of establishment within modern society, it is all about the Instagram account. Why Instagram developed into such a monster of a platform is always slightly baffling. Probably the most limited in functionality and general visibility compared to other social media options. Yet in simplicity, it achieved so much exponential growth in such a short amount of time. Whereas other modern applications have their moment and fizzle out, Instagram continues to charge and become even more prominent in terms of an exposure channel, a way of documenting lifestyle, working process or general activities. Individuals are monetizing through Instagram with creative approaches and therefore it is no excuse for a business to not utilise this functionality in some way, shape or form at some stage of the marketing and sales funnel. In a similar way to how Instagram is so effective yet so simple, it is possibly the same for the way in which you can use it to get awareness of a service or product, engage with ideal customer profiles as new prospects, or actively make sales which can be attributed from Instagram. And it is not just a Business to consumer environment where Insta has benefits. Because the way in which the data is packaged and the features are evolving, there is so much versatility to adapt it for your specific business needs. I think the first point to outline is the general process which you can apply for making Instagram an asset to your company’s marketing system. And that is content, visibility, action. Whatever you sell, these fundamentals will deliver an opportunity to do so through Instagram. Content for the platform which is clean, clear and consistent. Try all kinds of different ideas which may engage your audience at every stage of your sales cycle. Packaging the Frequently Asked Questions in a fun, digestible and relatable way. A clean feed will be the gateway to this. Prepare your theme but don’t be afraid to shy away from this style to accommodate new ideas or then it becomes a vanity product! And you are doing this to create sales, not social status. But perception does lead to the next stage so do not dismiss the attention to detail of your appearance – because this does not occupy too much time but can be the crucial factor when making first impressions. Bio and copy presentation must be smart and also without ambiguous language. You have a second to get the attention and don’t want to waste this with overcomplicated jargon. Scheduling your posts and stories in advance will free up your time to take advantage of the opportunities which Instagram presents, instead of doubling down on more activity – you need a double edged sword for the most efficient system. To grow a following on Instagram takes time. You can buy followers, but again this returns to the point of vanity metrics and non-actionable data. It is imperative to identify where your audience exists on Instagram and find ways to get their attention. This returns to the quality, the variety and then the promotion of content. A good way to start is by using an offering to growth-hack awareness. A giveaway or competition which incites shares and these can be accelerated by asking contestants to tag entrants or sharing on their story. This will be a sharp surge of impressions – but you need to have a plan to utilise this data. Scraping the followers into a spreadsheet for further activities is a potential strategy. An automated, or manual, direct message to create a relationship or expand on your services can also be a way to send traffic to your website. And you can identify the businesses using a lead forensics alternative. Going forwards, an intelligent use of logic will be to engage with followers of accounts who overlap in your industry or even competitors. Liking the images or following them to receive a follow back. Beyond this you can watch their stories which is a micro engagement strategy that works for many businesses to create more awareness. The final stage will be to use paid advertising to take the data to the next stage of your funnel. Providing an offer or further creative copy of the benefits you provide. Once you can find a formula for this you will be able to build using a cost per lead calculation.