Every Instagram Feature Has a Specific Purpose
By Corey C. Walker
Did you know that each feature on Instagram has a purpose? Whether first intended by Instagram or not, the different sections of Instagram appeal to different stages in the life cycle of your audience, and different content works better in each area. Let’s go through each feature in the order of a sales funnel. If you are new to sales funnels, picture a large funnel where your brand new prospects are at the very top (wide audience), and as they get to know you better and better, they work through to the bottom of the funnel (small audience), eventually making a purchase from you. Only select people will make it all the way through the funnel to the bottom. Top of the Funnel: Reels
Reels are short form vertical videos that can be posted on your profile and main feed, or sent directly to the Reels area of Instagram on their own. The Reels only area is accessible by tapping the arrow in a square icon located at the bottom middle of your screen on Instagram. Reels are #1 in the algorithm and are shown to a large population of people that aren’t your followers. If you are trying to attract new people to see your content, Reels are the best way to do that. Create short videos under 60 seconds that entice people to want to see more from you. Always remember to have some sort of hook that draws them in, and give them a call to action to either follow you, click the link in your bio, or save the post. Hopefully they will like what they see, and follow you, moving them down your sales funnel to the next step – the main feed.
Next Step in the Funnel: The Main Feed
The main feed of Instagram is seen by your followers, and now is also suggested to other people whom Instagram thinks will enjoy your content. It is where most people of think to post their content (photos, videos, graphics). The content here should be “evergreen”, meaning it isn’t time-sensitive or seasonal. The reason for this is two-fold: some people may view your content months later so you don’t want it to be dated, and you can also re-purpose it several months later without having to update it. This content should be appropriate for people that are toward the top of your sales funnel. It’s a little more formal and thought through vs. the other types of content we will discuss next.
Further Down the Funnel: Stories
Stories are in their own section and can be accessed at the top of your main feed by tapping someone’s profile circle. Stories are only seen by your followers, so the information you share can be more personal and less formal. Also, since Stories are only available for 24 hours, you can get much more into your day-to-day life, and what's happening RIGHT NOW. You also have the ability to link out to web sites using the link sticker. This allows you to offer something to your audience like a lead magnet, or other resource. It’s also an appropriate time in your sales funnel for an offer because this audience has gotten to know you better.
For those Stories that you’d like to save and are more evergreen, use Highlights. Highlights live on your profile page above your regular content. You can have multiple Highlight categories and save multiple Stories under each one.
Bottom of the Funnel: Instagram LIVE
Looking for even more connection with your followers? Host an Instagram Live! Instagram Lives are an opportunity to chat intimately with followers in a live format. Your followers can ask you questions via chat and you can respond live on video. This can be a great sales tool once you've moved prospects down the funnel from some of the other features of Instagram. You can show how your product works, or talk more in-depth about your services. You can even do live sales where people enter the product they want in the chat!
Hopefully this gives you a good run-down of all the features, and their best uses. Refer back to this article as you are planning your content. It's a good reminder about how to create an overall strategy to keep moving a cold audience down the sales funnel to the warmer audience features of Instagram.