As nice as it would be to be able to just jump in with two feet and conquer Instagram, before you can open the traffic floodgates, you need to set up some infrastructure.
In this chapter I’ll show you how to set up your Instagram account to give you the best chance in driving a ton of traffic from your profile.
And of course, it all starts with having a solid plan.
Unfortunately, it’s not enough to start an Instagram account and pound the pavement to start posting content.
Any progress you make if you take this approach will be difficult to track and haphazard at best.
Instead of just throwing shit at the wall and seeing what sticks, you’ve gotta create a plan and then track your progress like it’s your job.
Because, well… it sort of is. Ever hear that awesome quote:
"What gets measured gets managed"?
Hat tip to Peter Drucker for that piece of gold. It’s something that we live, eat and breathe at Sumo.
That means that to reach our marketing goals, we create plans using the quant based marketing approach.
If you’ve never heard of quant-based marketing, it’s the simple approach of creating a strategy to reach a set target by working backward from that goal. This approach is one of the biggest reasons we were able to grow our Instagram following so quickly, so I’m just going to come out and say it…
You need to create a marketing plan for your Instagram growth.
Set a traffic goal for yourself, and then work backward from that goal to reverse-engineer your success.
You may be a bit lost on how to set an accurate traffic goal for yourself, but accuracy is not exactly the point. This goal is supposed to be a projection, a goal, and an estimation.
Here are some guidelines for your goal, but you need to set one yourself based on what you’d like to see.
Time frame: 90 days. Anything past 90 days is nearly pointless to envision. Too much can change past that timeframe.
Tracking: I suggest tracking weekly. You may not engage in activities that directly drive traffic every single day, so tracking your progress weekly will help give you solid data.
Growth rate: You’re not going to double your Instagram traffic week over week. That’s unrealistic. But you can expect a healthy growth rate of anywhere between 10-40% (40% being on the high end, if you have a budget for the growth).
Follower count: To reach a traffic goal, you’ll have to reach a follower goal. Make sure to make a goal there, too.
When you’re creating your plan, remember that like with almost all social media, Instagram growth is exponential rather than linear.
It’s far easier to go from 10,000 followers to 12,000 followers than it is to go from 0 followers to 2,000 followers.
When I was creating Sumo’s Instagram marketing plan, I worked backward from the goal, which was 3,000 weekly visitors from Instagram by week 12. To land on that goal, it meant we needed a 37% growth rate week over week:
Don’t want to have to create your own Instagram marketing plan from scratch? Click the button below to get our template for FREE.
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In our marketing plan, I built out tabs for:
Track anything you possibly can that will help you understand your audience, analyze your growth rate, and find out whether you’re on track.
You don’t need to mess around in your plan every day, but having one is crucial for success.
Once you’ve set your marketing plan, you have to set up your profile to conquer all.
Want to hear a funny story?
When we first started on Instagram, the username "Sumo" was already spoken for.
It’s true. It belonged to somebody who hadn’t used it in 2 years, and had only posted a few times prior to that.
So our username was TeamSumoMe, which was not ideal. We managed to get SumoMe from the previous user because it was an inactive account, but for the first few weeks of project Instagram takeover, our audience was confused.
When I’d refer to my takeover of Instagram, our audience would try to look up @SumoMe and come across a profile that was most decidedly not in line with our brand. Naturally, we lost likely hundreds of new followers because our tribe couldn’t find us.
I’m not telling you this for fun, though. After all, it’s not that interesting of a story.
I’m telling you this to demonstrate just how important your username on Instagram is.
Your username should represent not only your business but also your personal brand (if you have one). So, this all begs the question… should you use your name, or your business’ name as your handle on Instagram?
Here’s a quick guide:
For example, Noah Kagan is one of Sumo’s founders, but he has his own strong personal brand aside from Sumo. Sumo is a brand entity on its own, and it’s made up of a couple dozen personalities.
However, Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income fame uses his name as his handle:
Pat not only has a strong personal brand, but his brand is truly his brand - you don’t think of anybody else except for Pat when you think of Smart Passive Income.
Protip: To figure out what the best handle is for your IG account, consider whether your audience is more likely to search your brand’s name or your name when they’re looking you up on social media. If you’re not sure, ask.
If you’re not starting from scratch on Instagram, you’ve already chosen your username. Fret not: you can change your username once.
Either way, make sure to choose your username wisely.
Once you’ve nailed down the perfect username, you can...
Are you committing this silly Instagram sin?
Like this person:
And this person:
That’s bio abuse. And an abused bio isn’t a cooperative bio. It’s not going to generate traffic, likes, and shares to your website.
See, your Instagram bio is literally the only link option available on the entire social platform.
You can’t link within your posts. You can’t add links to your comments. And you certainly don’t have calls to action buttons like on Facebook.
Nope, your bio is the only place you can add a link. So to list facts about yourself in your bio is like going to the doctor for a sore back and using your entire appointment telling her about your weekend. Fun, maybe, but not useful.
Instead of committing bio abuse, rework your bio to include a call to action leading to your website or even better, an opt-in offer.
See how our Instagram account has a compelling call to action based on what we know our followers and target audience wants?
The perfect Instagram bio has the following elements:
A short, punchy description of what you do. Be as specific as possible. Example: "The best FREE marketing tips and tools to grow your website's traffic".
An identifier of who you do it for. Who is your target audience? You need to communicate to those people whether or not they should be following you. Example: "your website’s traffic" indicates that we build our apps for people with websites and want more traffic.
A strong call to action. This is what most people are missing with their Instagram bios. What do you want your new follower to do? You don’t want them to just read your bio and bounce. Give them something to do next while you have their attention. Example: "Get 20%+ more traffic now".
Emojis. Emojis are eye-catching and provide lines of sight. Use an attention-grabbing emoji (or three!) to lead the viewer's eye directly to your bio link.
A strong, trackable bio link. This link will lead to a landing page, your content, a product page, or your homepage. Using words like "free" in your link like I do on my Instagram account is compelling and attention grabbing:
BONUS: Social proof. Social proof should be used as much as possible in all of your marketing activities. This will tip the scales for getting more followers, double-taps, and bio link clicks. Example: "used by 372,000+ websites".
When you’ve set up the perfect Instagram bio, you need to set the link and track that traffic.
One of the most frustrating things about Instagram right now is that you can’t track traffic from it.
Don’t shoot! I’m just the messenger.
If you don’t use a link tracking service, you could go through all the steps in this guide, start driving massive traffic to your website through Instagram, and then never see any of that traffic in Google Analytics.
Then you’d just want to throw in the towel. After all, it wouldn't appear that any of this works, right?
So for the love of all Sumo-Sized Guides everywhere, please use the method below to track your links, ladies and gents.
A UTM source code is a way of manually adding a trackable code to your links so you can gather data on them in Google Analytics.
If that made no sense, here’s the simple version:
It’s a bunch of text you put at the end of your URL to see where your traffic is coming from.
For example, our WordPress plugins Sumo-Sized Guide’s URL is:
But, if we wanted to track how much traffic is coming from Instagram, we could add this bit of text at the end (in bold):
This won’t change the page that it takes you to on the website, it will just add that little identifier at the end. You can add any identifier after the URL and ?src=. Add Twitter, Facebook, random-blog-post, or anything that you want to track.
Protip: If you want to get super meta and fancy, you can even track the traffic coming from individual posts you make on Instagram. For example, say you wanted to know how much traffic was coming from a call to action post you published on December 12 vs. how much traffic is coming from your bio link. You could do a source code that said: http://yoururlhere.com/blog/your-article?src=instagram-post-12-12.
After you’ve created a source code for Instagram, you need to shorten it.
You can only post 150 characters in your Instagram bio.
That doesn’t seem like much, especially with all of the elements of a rock solid bio I listed above, right?
So you don’t want to waste characters with a long link; not to mention that UTM source codes sort of make the link ugly. And we’re vain.
So you want to take that URL you just created with the trackable source code at the end, pull up your favorite URL shortening service and generate a shorter, more manageable link.
Why don’t you just use the URL shortening service to track the data instead of the URL, you ask? Well, because then you won’t be able to see that traffic in your Google Analytics dashboard, and you’re placing all of your links and analytics data into the hands of a third party.
So try to use the shortener only for the job it’s intended to do.
Here are a couple that will do the trick:
Pretty Link: I highly recommend using Pretty Link to shorten up your URL rather than an external service. Pretty Link is a WordPress plugin that allows you to create custom links and "pretty them up". The advantage Pretty Link has over the other options, is that it uses your URL - and you have control over how it looks. For example, if you use Bit.ly as a URL shortener, it will look something like this: http://bit.ly/2aydeRp. Whereas if you used Pretty Link, it could look like this: http://sumo.com/free-IG
Bit.ly: If for some reason you don’t want to use Pretty Link, you have too many plugins already or maybe you just hate pretty links, convenience and puppies, you can use a URL shortening service like Bit.ly. This will do the trick as well.
Clkim: Clkim is a branded URL shortening service that is a great alternative to Bit.ly. It provides in-depth analytics for your links and allows you to track them comprehensively.
Once you've shortened that link and started generating traffic to it, here’s how you can find out just how much traffic the big Insta is sending you.
Once you have your trackable link and it’s sitting pretty in your Instagram bio, you’re probably sitting there refreshing your Google Analytics window over and over again eager to see the traffic start rolling in, right?
But the tricky part is finding exactly where in your Google Analytics dashboard you can see the traffic from Instagram.
You won’t see it in your Audience Overview. You have to do a bit of digging - but don’t worry, it’s not too complicated.
First, open up Google Analytics. Then, on the left under the Reporting tab, press Behaviour.
Under Behaviour, expand Site Content, and then click on Landing Pages:
From there, you can search "Instagram" or any identifier you used in your UTM codes:
Then, you’ll be able to see the traffic from Instagram in your Google Analytics dashboard.
Running short on time? Click the button below to download a FREE eBook with this entire process, including bonus material like our Instagram marketing plan and SOPs.
Click here to download this entire guide for free.
Now that you’ve set up your Instagram account to truly conquer, you should be ready to move onto Chapter 3 and grow your following like crazy.
Click here to go to Chapter 3