According to NapoleonCat.com, there were 2,028,000 Instagram users in Ghana in January 2021, which accounted for 6.4% of its entire population. People aged 18 to 24 were the largest user group (770 000).
Instagram has become more important today than any traditional broadcaster ever was. It is instant gratification in our hands. Companies have long used Instagram for brand awareness. Today, if you are not making money from your Instagram page, then you are losing it.
Only a handful of Small and Growing Businesses (SGBs) in Ghana have mastered Instagram’s sales machinery. These businesses are selling daily on Instagram.
If you invest the time to take the perfect picture, buy data, pay for graphic design and even boost (paid advertising), then you must monitor conversion into sales – daily, weekly, or monthly. Instagram offers analytics tools that a business can combine with other tracking techniques to determine sales conversions.
Whether you offer a service or product, you must be intentional and consistent about converting visibility into hard cash.
Consider the five reasons below as to why your Instagram activity may not be translating to sales:
1. DM for the price!
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. They are scrolling Instagram. They are relaxed, they are feeling good, they have some cash, and they want to treat themselves. Instagram is just that – ‘insta.’ They want to see it, like it, order it and have it today – latest, tomorrow. So when they land on your product and tell them to DM for the price, you have lost them. They will quickly press that arrow on the right side of your profile so Instagram can show them pages similar to yours – essentially your competitors. Put a price for each item you have for sale. This allows a faster purchase decision by the customer.
2. Payment before delivery!
In this day and age of e-commerce giants like Jumia offering payment on delivery, who are you to ask for payment before delivery? Your customers’ words, not mine. All business must be based on trust. The truth is, for every nine sales that will go through, only one will not complete the order. By demanding payment on delivery, you are telling the customer, “I do not trust you!” You end up losing nine customers who were willing to pay cash on delivery for that one that might have wasted your time. Do the math!
3. Where is your WhatsApp Link?
Customers still appreciate speaking to a real person for reassurance. In case anything happens, they feel they still have a way to reach you. Instagram draws the customer to you, but WhatsApp deepens the connection. By offering a WhatsApp link in your bio, you are telling the customer, “come closer, I’ve got you.” It does not matter if they will WhatsApp at odd hours of the night, get a separate line for work and have a dedicated team member to engage customers on WhatsApp. This is also your golden opportunity to create a customer database of real people you can reach directly when you have promos and offers. Use that link in bio to connect with your followers on WhatsApp.
4. Slow responses to messages
Customers understand you are busy. They do not! If a customer were in the supermarket and needed some information, they would not understand if the attendants were busy. Take your Instagram page as your supermarket or shop. When a customer sends a comment, DM, or WhatsApp message, you had better respond to it as soon as possible. Have a target response time to all inquiries and add it to your Key Performance Indicators. Every month do an audit and check your average response time to all the customers’ messages. Aim to shorten that response time each month. This works more effectively if you have a team member assigned to that role. You may choose to rotate team members each month and make it a fun competition on who has the shortest response time. Understandably no team member is expected to be responding to messages at 3 am or 9 pm. However, as soon as work hours start, the customer must receive the first message politely explaining the business working hours ( add your time zone) and quickly respond. The longer a customer waits for your response, the sooner you lose the sale!
5. Hashtags, hashtags, hashtags
Once again, put yourself in your customer’s shoes. When they realize they need a product or service, what will come to their mind when they decide to search on Instagram? What kind of words would they type in the search? Imagine all the possible keywords or phrases they may use. Use them as hashtags in all your posts to make it easier for your customer to find you. For example, if I needed shoes, I might type in #shoesinghana or #shoesinaccra or #womensshoesgh. Think along those lines and let the hashtags work for you.
“Instagram is a powerful marketing tool. Ensuring consistent activity and engagement on Instagram has led to us building an audience and customer base both locally and internationally” – Nana Ama Yankah, CEO of Naya Naturals.
A training course or a consultation with a digital media expert can help your small and growing business maximize your sales on one of the most powerful advertising and sales platforms. Start by working on the above and then go further.
The writer is an SME Growth Advisor and a Communications Expert with over 10 years of experience helping corporates and SMEs in Brand Building and Sales. She is also an Intra-Africa Trade advocate having Co-Founded the Kenya Trade Expo in Ghana to promote trade and investment between East and West Africa.