Get your butt over onto Instagram, they said. That’s where all your clients are, they said!
Except they forgot to mention how hard it is!
Now hold on, I’m not saying it’s impossible. I’m not saying it’s the hardest thing ever, either.
You can absolutely get results from Instagram.
Even if you don’t have a whole lot of followers (I’ve gotten some great clients, even when with around 200 followers).
It just takes consistent effort, patience, and strategy. So don’t give up.
In fact, the strategy is what we’re covering in today’s post.
I’m sharing with you my personal advice on how to build relationships on Instagram and my own experiences with the platform, even as someone who’s more introverted.
First Things First: Make Your Profile Presentable
Yeah, I know I said I was going to talk about the relationship-building, but before that, we need to cover all the essentials, so that people know what you’re all about when you connect with them!
Think dressing up before an important networking event.
You’re not gonna go out naked, are you?
Though, that WOULD be a pretty interesting marketing strategy. If you can make it work, I’d love to see it.
Anyhow, you want to optimize your profile.
Here’s my Instagram profile:
You don’t need to have a perfectly planned feed (although it does help if you have a consistent look and feel), but you do need a bio that clearly conveys who you are and how you can help.
It needs to include, in 150 characters:
- A summary of what you do: “Copywriter for Business Coaches & Consultants”
- The main benefit of what you do: “Turning your big idea into sleaze-free sales!”
- A clear call-to-action: “Book for March ⬇️”
You also want an eye-catching profile picture. Your picture is what shows up in every single post you make, so you want it to be something that’s memorable.
And being memorable makes building relationships much, much easier.
Ideally, you want it to be either:
- A quality photo of yourself, with a colourful background (or just a background that doesn’t take away attention from you).
- Or your brand’s logo, if you’re more of a team than a solo act. Although, I’d still recommend you go with a photo of yourself, because people connect better with people, and not logos.
Creating Content That Sparks Conversation
Yeah, value, but what IS value?
Like with most things in life, your content requires a good balance.
You can’t just put out tips and hacks every single day (or else your audience will only see you as a resource library, and we all know libraries don’t sell much). You need to sell once in a while too.
You also need to be putting out more content that sparks conversation.
That’s how you start building a community, and get more of that juicy engagement.
It’s honestly something I see a lot of people do (and some can get away with it, because they’ve built so much rapport already).
Just broadcasting educational content doesn’t really encourage people to comment their thoughts (mostly cause…there isn’t a whole lot to add).
And when people aren’t accustomed to comment, then…how do you expect them to feel comfortable enough to reach out to you?
That’s why you need some content that invites them to share their thoughts, alongside your educational and vulnerable posts.
Content that asks your audience a provoking but easy to answer question.
Content that starts a relevant, possibly controversial discussion.
So that when people comment their thoughts, you can easily start deep conversations with them (right in the comments sections!).
Getting the Heck on Stories
I actually really, really hated going on Stories.
Especially doing videos.
But trust me, it’s worth it.
Especially since 58% of people get more interested in a brand after seeing it on Stories.
And in my experience, putting out more Stories has really helped me reach people that I might not otherwise have reached.
Some people just don’t see the regular posts you put out, and Stories allow you to connect with them in another way.
Yes, you should post videos of yourself on Stories. People work with people, not brands, and putting yourself out there lets them see and get to know you as a person.
Don’t just reshare other people’s content. You can from time to time, but that shouldn’t be all that you share.
Otherwise, you’re just funnelling your audience towards other people.
You want them focused on you.
Here’re some ideas for Story content that you can post (you don’t need to do it daily, you can start weekly, and work your way up as you grow more comfortable):
- Bite-sized tips on whatever your niche topic is. In my case, this was general, actionable copywriting tips.
- Thoughts and reflections on things in your business, your industry, or even just your personal life.
- What your daily agenda looks like, your morning routine, or the projects you’re working on.
- Sharing your behind-the-scenes process, how you work with clients, etc.
- And of course, once in a while you can share your new offers (remember, some people don’t see your regular posts, but they will see your Stories).
And this way, people feel more comfortable reaching out to you (or, just talking to you, because they now have even more prompts to start conversations with you!).
Engaging with Other People
Finally, we get into the juicy part.
You get out of Instagram what you put into it.
And if what you’re putting into it is mindless follow-for-follow’s and posting-and-praying, then you’re not gonna get very far.
You need to truly engage with your ideal clients, as well as other people in your niche (other coaches, consultants, leaders, etc.).
- Making thoughtful comments on their posts. People filter out the “I love it!”s and “Good post!”s. It never comes across as genuine, and it’s really a waste of time. Actually contribute to the conversation and bring a fresh perspective.
- Responding to comments on your posts. Try and start up some conversations in your comment sections. Ask people to clarify, ask them follow-up questions, talk about your additional thoughts, etc. It boosts your own engagement, and people remember you for being the one to actually respond.
- And striking conversations with them. Slide into those DM’s! Don’t be afraid to talk to people if you have something to say, or ask! If you’re like me, and you’re not the best conversation starter, here’s a pro tip: just respond to people’s Stories. You get an immediate, natural way to break the ice, and an easy in to their DM’s. It works like a charm. Try it!
Treat Instagram (and social media in general) like one big networking event that’s always on.
Would you get very far if you attended a networking event and just swapped business cards en masse without really talking to people?
I doubt it.
Why would you treat Instagram any different?
Plus, the more genuine connections you make, the more those people will be compelled to support you and your content.
Which means more referrals, and more organic engagement on your posts.
Engagement that you can actually count on.
Where Do You Go from Here?
Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there!
Make yourself known.
Build those relationships, and get those eyeballs on your offers!
And hey, if you wanna say hi on Insta, or you’ve got some follow-up questions feel free to connect with me over at @hinly.written!