Generating New Customer Leads through Instagram
September 15, 2022 by Service Direct

How To Use Instagram To Generate Leads As A Small Business

Updated on March 14, 2024

There are over 200 million businesses on Instagram. These businesses have common goals, one of which is to generate Instagram leads that can convert into sales. 

Instagram has become a goldmine when it comes to generating leads, and the competition is now fierce. It's like the red ocean, where many hooks are competing for the same fish. So how sharp are your hooks?


In a recent survey we conducted of small businesses, Instagram was the second most widely adopted channel for distributing content, with 87% of respondents reporting they post content on Instagram. Furthermore, almost half do so on a weekly basis!

So if you are a small business looking to keep up with your competitors through Instagram lead generation, this article is for you! We'll discuss 10 strategies you can use to generate quality leads that can convert to sales. 

What is Instagram lead generation?

This is the practice of using various forms of content, such as images, videos, and text, to spark the interest of an Instagram user in your target audience.

As any marketing guide will tell you, the first goal of marketing is to make potential customers aware of your company. This allows you to begin forming a relationship with your ideal audience so that further engagement provides an opportunity to convince them why your company is the solution to their problems.

Why is it important to small businesses?

If you’re a small business looking to grow, the reality is that you have to go where your customers are. For most small businesses, that means having a meaningful presence on Instagram.

Facebook, Youtube, Whatsapp, Instagram, and TikTok are the world's most used social platforms in that order. This graph shows the number of users.Image Source

Worldwide, there are 2 billion people using Instagram. That’s a big sea with a lot of fish in it! Not only that, but these users aren’t just posting pictures and videos of their lives, they’re using Instagram to interact with and buy from small businesses.

In fact, according to The Small Business Blog:

  • 81% of people use Instagram for research on companies, products, and services.
  • 50% of people have visited a website to purchase a product or service they saw on the app.
  • Shoppable posts are tapped by over 130 million users every month.

What these stats make clear is that Instagram can be a goldmine when it comes to being able to attract, engage, and convert users into leads and customers for your small business!

What impact can it have on your small business?

While there are many opportunities for engagement on Instagram, we recognize some readers may not be convinced that engagement translates into actual Instagram leads and revenue for their small business. 

So before we explain exactly how your small business can utilize Instagram lead generation to turn engagement into customers, we wanted to highlight a small business doing just that.

Dr. Benjamin Caughlin of Many Faces of Chicago

“Instagram won’t work for my business; we’re in a small niche,” you say. It doesn’t get much more niche than buccal fat removal services, but that’s exactly what Dr. Caughlin offers at his clinic in Chicago.


Dr. Benjamin Caughlin, or as he is also known, ‘Dr. Buccal Fat’, has been utilizing Instagram as an effective lead-generation platform for years. As you can see, he’s amassed over 10,000 followers, which in and of itself is great, but doesn’t mean much if he can’t take that reach and turn it into leads.

So how's he doing on that front? You decide.


As you can see from his Google Analytics data, Instagram is his second most valuable channel in terms of lead conversions and revenue to his business, accounting for 66 booked appointments via his online scheduler and $264,000 in actual revenue for his business over the selected time period. 

But perhaps the most incredible statistic from Dr. C’s Instagram marketing efforts is this:

7.92% of visitors that land on his website from his Instagram posts end up becoming a lead.

To put that in perspective, Google’s organic traffic is often considered the most targeted traffic a small business can generate. It makes sense. If someone is searching for ‘buccal fat removal in Chicago’ or ‘jawline sculpting Chicago’ and arrives at Dr. C’s website, that’s the "perfect" website visitor. But that type of traffic only converts into leads 2.71% of the time. In other words, Instagram is almost 3X better than Google's organic traffic. 

That’s huge and speaks to just how warmed-up Instagram visitors are prior to taking that crucial step of wanting to meet with Dr. C.

Through Instagram, they’ve had a chance to interact with and get to know Dr. C and his practice. They’ve been able to see the transformative results from previous clients and hear from him directly about the quality of his services. They’re better leads because of it, and clearly, the data shows that!

10 Tips to Generating Instagram Leads For Your Small Business

So now that you know it's possible, let's dive into strategies you can use to generate Instagram leads as a small business.

1. Let Your Instagram Profile Speak About Your Business

Let your profile photo represent your business: a well-designed logo is a good fit. Have a username that is easy to remember. If possible, let it relate to the products and services you offer. 

Write a keyword-optimized description that states what an ideal audience stands to gain from your business. These efforts all work toward building credibility and giving a user a reason to learn more about your business on Instagram.

An optimized business profile can influence clicks when users search for businesses on Instagram. Also, Instagram's algorithm tends to favor it.

For example, I searched for an interior designer on Instagram. Most of the accounts that appear on the search results have logos and usernames that relate to my search term.


The screenshot below is what Alice Lane Interior Design’s Instagram business profile looks like. As you can see, this business is implementing all of the elements we just discussed.


2. Create Content That Solves the Pain Points of Your Target Audience

Content is king on Instagram, and that's the hook to attract and retain a target audience. 

Users will first learn about your business from the content you dish out, then they will decide to show interest in your product and services. 

Text, video, and images are 3 forms of content that move the needle on Instagram. Identify the problem of your ideal audience and package your solution in any of the content formats.

For text, you can create and schedule content using the 2200-character limit for captions, which Instagram allows. That's like microblogging, where you have a chance to provide some written context around your post for your audience to read. 

user-engagement-by-caption-length-instagramImage Source

As you can see from the data above, it’s imperative that you provide some captioning for your posts if you want to boost engagement, and it’s preferable that you make them longer versus shorter.

If you’re struggling to come up with engaging copy to accompany your Instagram posts, you may want to look into AI writing tools to help you defeat writer’s block and churn out great captions that fit with your small business's style and voice.

Videos cut it on Instagram. According to a recent study, video posts on Instagram are the most popular content types when it comes to both likes and comments, outpacing both carousel and image posts.


Creating videos for Instagram is now easy. Prepare your content, record it with your smartphone, and edit your video to enhance its quality. 

“Gosh, that sounds hard, is it really worth it?” Absolutely! We recently surveyed consumers about their habits when patronizing a small business, and one thing they made perfectly clear is that videos matter to them!


A majority of consumers say that they are more likely to buy from a small business if they have a chance to watch videos from the business prior to making a purchase!

Awesome product photos also wow Instagram users. There is no shortage of image editing software you can choose from to make brand-consistent, compelling images Instagram users will love. 

For example, you can make transparent backgrounds, customize text fonts, and add other effects that can enhance the quality of the photo. 

Here is an example of how Boyds Madison Ave uses photos and texts to create content that helps its target audience discover its various product offerings.

boyds-madison-ave-product-promo-instagramImage Source

3. Engage and Interact

Engaging and interacting with your audience breeds familiarity and builds relationships

This can be in the form of responding to questions in the comments or in your direct messages. When a user asks questions about your business and what you offer, it's a sign they are interested enough to reach out. 

Pay more attention and engage as much as possible to ensure that these critical leads are not lost. 

Of course, you can't be available 24/7 to engage your ideal customer. Making use of a chatbot might be the answer.

You can do this easily with an Instagram chatbot from platforms like SendPulse or Manychat—no coding skill required. These chatbots can generate leads for your business on Instagram by requesting emails or phone numbers of your target audience.

4. Leverage Instagram Stories

A study indicates that the most popular activity of Americans on Instagram is to watch other people's IG stories.

most-popular-activities-on-instagram-1Image Source

This is a crucial way to convert your Instagram followers to leads. A user who follows you on Instagram derives value from your content. When you post stories on Instagram, they see it on their feed. Video of how your products and services can solve their problem is a good fit for stories. 

Thankfully, Instagram allows you to add a link to your Instagram stories. Have a call to action toward the end and add a link to your landing page where they can join your email list or request more information about your products or services. 

5. Share User-Generated Content

Sharing user-generated content is like having your verified customers testify to how helpful your products and services are. It also makes them feel they're part of your community and encourages them to continue to spread good content about your business. 

Ask happy customers to share their results with your product. Social proof is one of the most compelling things you can provide someone to convince them to take the next step and become a lead for your business. 

Happy customers love to share their experiences with your business, you just need to make sure and ask them to do so!


In our consumer survey, we found that 71% of customers are happy to share their experience as long as the business makes it easy for them to do so!

So go ahead—ask them to take a quick video sharing their thoughts and experiences with your company. Then, compile and share those videos in the form of testimonial content with your audience. This can prompt users who are skeptical to take action. 

6. Go Live on IG

Your target audience needs to see the human side of your business.

Going live on Instagram will boost viewers' confidence and encourage them to try your products. It's also an opportunity to interact with them in real-time and offer more explanations as to why your products and services are better than your competitors. 

Think of it like a live webinar where participants want to learn how to solve a problem, and in the end, become leads willing to try the solutions you offer.

7. Host Giveaways

People like free things, especially from businesses they admire. And that could be a strategy to convert them to leads.

dermae-instagram-giveawayImage Source

You will wow your Instagram followers if you announce a giveaway for your products or services. Those who are lucky to get it will have a first-hand experience of your product. If it meets their expectations, the chances of having them buy and remain a loyal customer are high. 

Some of these customers will also spread the word to their followers through their Instagram stories and posts. This creates more awareness for your business and also prompts others to at least check out your products. 

Here are simple tips on how to create and host a giveaway on IG:

  • Determine the goal you want to achieve (lead generation in this case)
  • Set criteria for your audience to participate 
  • Promote the product you want to give out
  • Set a hashtag or keyword for the giveaway
  • Have a time limit for the giveaway
  • Announce winners at the stipulated time

8. Collaborate With Influencers in Your Industry

Instagram is a platform where influencers shape the behavior and decisions of people toward businesses and brands. A lot of Instagram users trust the judgment of influencers that they follow. So it's to your advantage if you identify and work with any of them in your industry.

Although it can be expensive for businesses with a small marketing budget, brands with deep pockets don't mind because it pays off.  Smaller businesses are also working with micro-influencers to reach smaller but still wide, trusted audiences. 

Here is a great example of a micro-influencer sharing a post promoting Get Bezel, a new marketplace for watches.


This type of collaboration makes perfect sense for Get Bezel. By working with Lauren Caruso, who has a strong following of fashion-forward fans, they are able to tap into her relationships with people who are more likely to patronize their business.

9. Try Instagram Ads

As you dip your toes into organic methods for Instagram lead generation, keep in mind it may take time to generate the number of leads that you're looking for. 

So, you may have to consider Instagram ads since it's a fast way of generating leads. Instagram ads aren't cheap, but it's worth it if you want to get quick results. 

Also, you can leverage the tracking code you added to the landing page to target the audience who visited it but didn't become leads.

10. Analyze Performance

You won't know if your lead generation efforts are yielding results unless you analyze your performance. All the clicks, shares, comments, and sign-ups landing page should not only be tracked but also analyzed. 

Although Instagram has an analytics feature, it isn't advanced. You'll want a dedicated tool to look at the metrics and KPIs that matter to create an Instagram analytics report

This will help you make an informed business decision as to what changes to make to boost your lead generation on IG.


Instagram is a key strategy for driving quality leads to your small business in the digital age.  Hopefully, we have shown you strategies to adopt as well as great examples you can pull inspiration from.

Begin with having an Instagram business account that reflects what you do, then create quality content to win the hearts of your target audience, engage, and interact to build relationships. Create Instagram stories to demonstrate how helpful your products are, go live on Instagram, and share user-generated content. 

By following these best practices, there's no doubt your small business can expand your Instagram presence and generate valuable leads that turn into happy customers!

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