Congratulations! You’ve managed to build a following on Instagram, but what’s next? While having X number of followers might seem like the ultimate goal on the photo-sharing app, as a brand, you know that followers mean nothing if your products aren’t selling

Ultimately, achieving sales targets is what’s important to every business owner. Luckily for you ? of Instagram’s over one billion users have used the app to purchase a product. This means that there are hundreds of millions of Instagram users out there who can be your potential customers! 

Here’s how you can convert followers to consumers in a few easy steps: 

1. Be real

Nowadays posting overly staged photos and stock images will not work with consumers, especially on Instagram. It’s now all about being authentic and real and letting your followers see the humanity behind your brand. 

Glossier has built a cult following thanks to their use of “real people”.

Doing this is pretty simple and doesn’t have to cost anything at all. You can start by sharing photos of employees, behind-the-scenes moments, and snippets of what goes on behind creating your products. Instead of investing time and effort to set up a professional shoot just for content, all you need is a smartphone, some willing employees, and a great photo editing app

Another way to appear authentic and strengthen your brand image is by reposting user-generated content. This will not only make your followers feel appreciated, but it might also transform them from just a follower into a customer. 

2. Know your followers

If you’re a business on Instagram, you should have already signed up for an Instagram Business Account. This way, you will have access to post performances and most importantly, follower demographics. There you’ll see information such as gender, age range, top locations, and online times. Understanding these details about your current following will allow you to tailor-fit your content to their interests.

If for example, you find that your followers are female and are aged between 18 to 25 years old, and your business sells sportswear and equipment, your grid and photo posts should reflect that. This means using photos with models from the same age group, and showcasing products that would interest them. 

@outdoorvoices’ page is a clear celebration of women

A prime example of a brand that has successfully created content that appeals to its customers is the lifestyle and activewear brand, Outdoor Voices. Even though their brand sells clothing for both men and women, their Instagram content is mostly catered towards women. Outdoor Voices clearly knows what makes their customers tick as their posts get thousands of likes each time, and comments are filled with inquiries about new product releases. 

3. Engage with them

While you probably already know how important likes and comments are on Instagram, the platform allows engagement to be a two-way street, especially since the launch of Instagram Stories. On top of having a very responsive social media manager to man the comments section, Instagram Stories allows you to talk to your followers through video, “ask me a question” stickers, or via polls and surveys. 

Sephora engages with their followers through polls

Asking your followers questions, and taking their comments into consideration will make them feel valued, and will encourage repeat engagement. In turn, because of the history of engagement, Instagram’s algorithm will place your content on top of their feed. After all, what’s the point of having followers if they don’t see your content, right? 

4. Have a clear call-to-action

One of the most obvious things to have on your page is a call-to-action, this can be as simple as a “Shop now!” on your bio or by adding CTA buttons on your page. If you’re a restaurant, you can add a “reserve”, and even a “buy tickets” button if you’re having an event. 

Pacsun keeps a “shop now” CTA on its bio at all times

If you’re fairly new in the industry, followers might not be familiar with what you do. So, whenever you post something, it’s important to include CTAs. Otherwise, your page might appear to be just another Instagram account with pretty pictures. 

5. Put prices on your photos

Clicking on a photo from @urbanoutfitters’ likeshop will lead you to its product page.

Another way to encourage your followers to buy your products is by making their prices visible on the photo itself. Thankfully, there’s a tasteful way to do this without appearing too hard-sell. There are apps available that allow you to add product links to photos. Having this makes it more convenient for customers to buy directly from your page, and it eliminates the need for you to spell out the price of each product in every caption. 

6. Invest in Instagram Ads

With the information about your current following through Instagram insights, you can create shop ads that target the same type of demographics. This will attract new followers and potential customers to your page and can result in an increase in sales. 

John Lewis was able to grow their following to over 600k thanks to ads

Even large retail brands like John Lewis have used Instagram to promote their new collections. One campaign increased their followers by the thousands and increased the purchasing intent of their target demographics by 14 times. 

Increasing your followers should never be the be-all and end-all of your Instagram account, especially if you are running a business. Even if you are already content with your sales elsewhere, ignoring the massive audience on Instagram that you have yet to tap would be a waste.