If you're using Instagram for business, chances are you're looking to drive traffic and leads to your website from Instagram. But, for a variety of reasons, you may not actually be getting referral traffic from Instagram.
I see it all the time. Or I hear it regularly.
Instagram doesn't work. I can't get any traffic. This is a waste of my time.
There's a few reasons. And some of them might not really be your fault.
But if you're making these mistakes, you might not be seeing what the possibilities really are.
You're Not Asking Them to Visit Your Site
Are you including calls-to-action (CTA) in your Instagram posts? Are you asking people to actually visit your website?
If you're not asking, why would they do it?
Make sure you make it clear what you want people to do. Whether it's to visit a certain page on your site, enter a contest, visit your store, call for a specific reason, etc., you need to tell people what to do. They aren't psychic and if all you're doing is posting images without a clear CTA, then you're only providing entertainment.
This doesn't mean every post has to have a CTA. But at least some of your posts should direct your audience to do something.
You're Not Making It Easy to Get Where You Want Them to Go
So let's assume you are including a clear CTA in your posts on Instagram. But if you make it too hard to complete that CTA, you may as well not even include it.
Unfortunately, the only place where you can put a clickable link on Instagram is in your profile bio. That's why this link needs to be as direct as possible. If you want them to go to a specific product page, but the link goes to your home page and then the visitor has to navigate through the site, you're going to lose them.
Imagine when you walk into a store at the mall. You see an amazing outfit on the display and want to try on all of the pieces. But none of the pieces are together in the store and they're nowhere near the display. If it's going to take you 20 minutes to find everything in the store for yourself, what are the chances you actually do?
If you're going to direct people to your website, tell them in the post to click on the link in your bio. Then make sure that link goes exactly where you want them to go.
You can change this link as often as you'd like so make it relevant and impactful.
Also remember that the majority of people are using their mobile devices when coming from Instagram. If your site is mobile optimized and looks different than your desktop site, factor these page layouts and navigations into your CTA.
You're Not "Seeing" the Referral Traffic from Instagram
Here's one of the downsides to Instagram. You might actually be getting a significant amount of referral traffic from Instagram, but you can't see it in your analytics.
When you click on the link in someone's Instagram bio, you need to approve/choose which browser to use to access the site. When this happens, your device and your site analytics now considers this site traffic direct, not referral. So you're actually getting traffic from Instagram but Google Analytics can't track it.
To resolve this, use a custom link or link shortener that allows you to track clicks. I recommend either Google URL Shortener or Bit.ly.
To ensure you get accurate information, use this shortened or custom link ONLY for your Instagram profile.
Once you have your link shortener with a link you can track, put this link in your Instagram bio. Now every time someone clicks on it to navigate to your site, you can actually see how many clicks and referral traffic you're getting.
Another option you have is to send all Instagram traffic to a specific landing page on your site. On this page you can put the direct link or information or form or other action you want visitors to complete. Just remember to keep it easy to navigate. This way, you can track all the traffic to that specific page on your site via your analytics and see what their behaviors are after leaving that page.
If you've been struggling with seeing or understanding your referral traffic from Instagram, determine which of these issues above impacts you. Try implementing the changes I've suggested and see how drastically your referral traffic jumps!