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12 Ways to Find Potential Clients on Instagram

12 Ways to Find Potential Clients on Instagram

Instagram is home to over 2 billion monthly active users. With such a massive user base, it's unsurprising that many businesses and entrepreneurs leverage Instagram to find potential clients. But with so many users, how do you cut through the noise to identify and connect with those most likely to become paying customers? This comprehensive guide covers proven tactics to help you find your ideal potential clients on Instagram.

Conduct Market Research to Define Your Target Customer

Before diving into Instagram, take time to conduct market research to gain clarity on who your ideal customers are. Defining your target customer is crucial for allowing you to create content that resonates with their needs and interests.

Analyse Your Existing Customer Base

Look at the customers you already have. What are their demographics, interests, and needs? What drew them to your business in the first place? Gaining an intimate understanding of existing customers who exemplify your ideal client can inform your efforts to find similar potential customers.

Research Your Competitors

See what types of customers your competitors are attracting and engaging with. Their followers and customers may also be a good fit for your business.

Map Out Their Customer Journey

Understand the path potential clients take before becoming customers. What pain points lead them to search for a solution? How do they research options? Mapping their journey allows you to create messaging to connect with them at different stages.

Clearly defining your target customer gives you a guide for your Instagram efforts.

Optimise Your Instagram Profile to Attract Your Ideal Customer

Best Graphic Designers On Instagram

With a target customer in mind, ensure your Instagram profile catches their attention and interests them enough to follow or inquire about your offerings.

Complete Your Profile

Fill out your bio, and add a profile picture and description summarising your offer. This gives visitors instant insight into your business.

Use Relevant Hashtags

Include hashtags that your ideal customers may search for when looking for solutions to their needs and pain points.

Showcase Your Best Content

Your Instagram grid should showcase your abilities and offerings through stunning visuals and captions that provide value. Intrigue potential clients to follow you for more.

Add Clickable Links

Instagram's link feature allows you to add links to your website, online store, or lead capture forms to facilitate conversion.

When potential clients stumble across your profile, you want to capture their interest and motivate them to engage instantly.

Leverage Instagram Search to Discover Prospects

Instagram search is an underutilised yet powerful tool for finding potential clients already using the platform. Tailor searches around relevant terms, hashtags, locations, and interests.

Search Keywords and Hashtags

  • Industry terms
  • Product and service categories
  • Common pain points
  • Related hobbies and interests

This allows you to discover users who are already engaged in topics related to your business.

Search Locations

  • Target geographic areas
  • Event and conference venues

Connecting with prospects in locations important to your business increases chances for local conversions.

Search Instagram Mentions

  • Your company name
  • Product names

People mentioning your brand have expressed previous interest – they may be great leads to retarget.

Uncover new prospects where conversations relevant to your offerings are already happening. Then, engage through likes, comments and follows.

Connect With Potential Clients Through Content

Finance Seo On Instagram

Strategically creating and sharing content on Instagram designed to attract, engage and inspire your target customers will organically grow your audience and client base.

Share Valuable Insights

Create educational content that provides solutions, tips and insider knowledge to your ideal prospects' questions and concerns. Position yourself as an industry expert.

Host Educational Live Videos

Broadcast live videos (or pre-record and upload) where you share your expertise on topics you know potential clients are interested in learning more about.

Promote Lead Magnets

Develop free downloadable lead magnets (like guides, templates, samples or assessments) explicitly designed to appeal to your target customer. Promote them in your content and link them in your bio to capture lead information.

Run Giveaways and Contests

Giveaways are hugely popular on Instagram. Require entrants to follow you and tag friends to increase reach and discover more potential leads through contest entries.

Creating binge-worthy content tailored to your target audience drives engagement and conversions over the long term. Patience and consistency are key!

Use Hashtags to Increase Discoverability

Hashtags help Instagram users find content and accounts related to their interests. Including relevant hashtags makes it easier for ideal prospects to stumble upon your brand organically.

Research Popular Niche Hashtags

Find hashtags frequently used by your industry and niche with hashtag research tools or by checking top posts within your niche.

Create Branded Hashtags

Launch unique branded hashtags and encourage users to use them when mentioning your company or content. This makes tracking brand mentions easier.

Host Hashtag Contests

Incentivise entrants to follow you, tag friends and use your branded hashtag for a chance to win prizes. This increases discoverability and interaction.

Strategically using hashtags helps you connect with those already networked around topics and interests significant to your business – making them more likely to convert to customers.

Collaborate With Micro-Influencers in Your Niche

Influencer Marketing Pyramid

Micro-influencers are everyday Instagram users with more minor, targeted follower bases full of ideal prospects for your business. Collaborate on sponsored posts or content.

Identify Niche Micro-Influencers

Vet influencers ensure followers align closely with your customer persona regarding industry, interests, needs, and location. Engaged followers represent qualified leads.

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Provide Content Creation Guidance

Provide suggested talking points or free products to organically integrate into posts showcasing your offerings in the influencer's authentic voice.

Negotiate Multi-Post Partnerships

Ongoing partnerships where the influencer creates and promotes content featuring your business across multiple posts, often through a customised hashtag, drive sustained engagement over one-off posts.

This influencer marketing fuels genuine word-of-mouth recommendations to the exact type of customers you want to target.

Advertise Strategically With Paid Ads

Instagram and Facebook ads allow you to display highly targeted promotions to specific demographics and interest groups, making them powerful tools for discovering potential clients.

Target Lookalike Audiences

Upload customer contact info to create customised audiences of users with highly similar attributes to serve your ads.

Retarget Website Visitors

Upload website visitor data to target Instagram ads to users who have expressed previous interest in your site but didn't convert.

Track Conversions

Optimise ads around landing page visits, content downloads, email subscription sign-ups or purchases to gauge interest and follow up with these hot leads.

Paying to boost visibility amongst hyper-targeted groups prone to conversion drives measurable results and keeps ad spending efficient.

Reply to Instagram Questions and Messages

Measure Instagram Story Analytics

Responding to comments and direct messages promptly presents a valuable touchpoint to engage, connect, and convert interested prospects into clients.

Share Requested Information

Answer questions about your offerings, business, pricing, etc. Provide links to helpful content on your profile or site to move them along the sales funnel.

Address Concerns Quickly

Pay close attention to comments or messages expressing dissatisfaction, confusion or objections. Clearing up issues increases the likelihood of converting prospects into promoters.

Send Offers and Promos

If appropriate, privately share exclusive discounts, coupons or trials to incentivise conversions from those who actively reach out.

Replying to Instagram inquiries and comments is sometimes neglected, yet one of the most effective ways to convert passive followers into active purchasing clients.

Captions & Comments to Connect with Clients

Writing compelling Instagram captions alongside quality content increases engagement and conversions.

Tell a Story

Share the story or emotion behind a post to spark interest and seem relatable:

  • How was a product made?
  • Why was today important?
  • What’s the backstory of a featured client?

Ask Questions

Prompt your audience to engage via comments:

  • Have they dealt with an issue you discussed?
  • What additional info do they need?
  • Would they buy/use X products or services?

Then, respond personally to commenters.

Add Call-to-Actions

Every post should nudge followers along the conversion funnel. Direct them to:

  • Clickable link in bio
  • Swipe up for an offer
  • Book Consultation
  • Start free trial
  • Purchase service

Connect via Instagram DMs

Instagram Mutual Followers Pr Campaign

Leverage Instagram’s direct messaging feature to have more meaningful conversations with leads and close deals.

Share Contact Options

In your bio or profile link, list professional DM as the preferred contact method. Check and respond to message requests frequently.

Start Dialogues

Proactively reach out to potential clients and warm leads via DM—Personalise opening messages based on post likes, comments, similar interests, shared connections, etc.

Book Consultations

Move promising DM conversations into preliminary video consultations to vet projects and quote pricing. Tools like Calendly integrate with Instagram.

DM conversations lead to higher customer lifetime value as you build relationships directly with leads.

Follow Competitors’ Customers

A tactic for expanding your audience is following users who actively engage with competitors. These targets likely share interests and business needs relevant to your offerings.

Identify Top Competitor Pages

Search related Instagram handles and hashtags to find key competitor accounts in your space. Look for substantial, engaged followings.

Export Engaged Followers

Use tools like IG Inspector or Social Bearing to analyse competitors’ audience data, then export lists of followers, likers, and commenters in the past 30 days.

Follow and Engage

Import these custom-engaged follower lists and systematically follow relevant users. Like posts and build genuine connections to convert them into your clients.

This compounding effect continually expands your reach. As you gain clients, add those new followers to target lists too.

Additional Tips To Find Clients On Instagram

Beyond the significant tactics outlined above, some additional best practices for client growth include:

  • Post Valuable Educational Content – Build authority and trust by sharing your expertise on Instagram
  • Host Instagram Live Q&As – Increase visibility by hosting live streams answering common client questions
  • Cross-Promote Content – Repurpose top-performing blogs, videos and podcast episodes natively on Instagram
  • Run Client Contests Or Promos – Offer free consultation calls or discounts to incentivise conversions
  • Ask For Referrals – Adding word-of-mouth client referrals or testimonials to your page adds social proof.
Hashtag + Location BrowsingCheck followers and following lists of similar businesses serving your clients.Slow organic growth
Competitor ResearchCheck follower and following lists of similar businesses serving your clientsTargeted quality leads
Instagram Search FiltersLeverage interests, behaviours and demographics filters on a search pagePrecision ideal client discovery at scale
Paid Ads CampaignsCreate campaigns with detailed targeting capabilities and retargetingFaster growth from qualified cold traffic
Educational Content MarketingBuild authority and trust by sharing your expertiseLong-term relationship building
Instagram LivestreamsIncrease reach and engagement by hosting live Q&AsImmediate growth during live streams
Cross-PromotionsRepurpose top-performing content, increasing visibilityAdditional exposure for quality evergreen content
Contests + PromotionsIncentivise followers to convert into clientsShort-term client growth from loyal followers
Client ReferralsGain additional word-of-mouth social proof and testimonialsHigh quality pre-vetted new clients

This covers the primary methods for systematically finding potential new clients tailored to your business on Instagram. By defining your ideal client, conducting targeted account research, engaging thoughtfully and leveraging paid promotions – you can build meaningful relationships and attract new business growth on the platform.


With so many touchpoints to connect with potential clients on Instagram, coordinate multiple tactics for optimal results:

  • Strategically hashtag and geotag content
  • Target paid ads to ideal buyer demographics
  • Comment and engage across relevant hashtags and geotagged locations
  • Proactively direct message potential customers
  • Partner with nano and micro-influencers
  • Expand visibility through profile optimisation badges

Consistently publishing quality content while actively networking across the Instagram ecosystem leads to large-scale client acquisition.

Define and reassess your audience, offerings, and messaging over time. Follow the data and double down on what converts. With consistency and innovation, Instagram presents monumental opportunities to drive business growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of businesses typically find the most success connecting with potential clients on Instagram?

Visual and creative businesses focused on style, beauty, fashion, graphic design, photography, events, food, fitness, travel, and hospitality industries tend to have an advantage in attracting ideal potential clients on Instagram.

What should I do if I don't have an existing customer base or business Instagram account yet?

Start engaging organically without an agenda by searching hashtags and locations relevant to your offerings. Like and comment thoughtfully on others' content to provide value and establish trust in your niche. Slowly transition to posting your content showcasing expertise people can benefit from.

Is it better to target only followers from my local area or cast a broader net, engaging prospects nationwide?

It depends on your business model and offerings. Location-based businesses like gyms, salons or cleaning services may target a tight geographic radius, while online coaching and ecommerce businesses may prioritise industry relevance over location. Test what works for your unique business.

I don't have a large budget for paid Instagram influencer partnerships. Are they still worth pursuing?

Yes! Smaller nano and micro-influencers often offer the best return on investment. Negotiate complimentary product or content trades rather than paying high rates to collaborate on organic sponsored posts. The key is ensuring the influencer's audience aligns tightly with your ideal customer.

How long does it take to generate potential client leads from Instagram marketing?

Patience and persistence are vital. Building authority, trust and awareness organically on Instagram happens gradually over months or years rather than days or weeks. Maintain realistic expectations persistently, provide value to your niche, and you will reap the leads and sales rewards in time.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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