For this article, let's just assume I have 0 followers right now and I want to start out on Instagram - what should I do?
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1) Get really clear on who your ideal client is:
This is not only important for your social media but also for your business in general.
If you don't know who you're targeting, then how do you know what content you have to make? How do you know which branding to use? How do you know what topics to talk about? How do you know what struggles you should address?
Knowing your ideal client well will help you to answer a lot of questions that will arise along the way.
How do you do that?
Every few months, I set up a survey to gather information about my ideal client. I ask some questions I want to get more insights into and I send the survey to some people.
Examples of where to distribute your survey:
Post the survey in some Facebook groups where your ideal client is hanging out. Offer an incentive for the respondents to fill it out. For instance, a discount code or a limited-time offer
You can also ask your Instagram audience. Talk about it in your stories & let people send you a DM if they are interested in participating
You can send the survey to people who are working in that niche
You can even go a step further & set up an ideal buyer persona.
"My ideal client is called Lucy and she is 25 years old. She is a service provider in the creative niche and she is struggling with getting more clients from Instagram. Lucy is putting herself out there & posts a lot of content but she isn't sure if she is posting the RIGHT content. She also struggles with keeping herself accountable and with being more organised. Her goal is to build a profitable business that she can manage from everywhere in the world."
Your buyer persona is the one person that you think of when you create content or when you make creative decisions in your business.
2) Start building a community around yourself:
I don't necessarily mean followers that then turn into clients but it's more about finding like-minded people who can support you and who you can support as well.
People in the same niche are going to know what you're talking about, they understand your posts and they might find them more interesting than others.
3) Engage & reach out:
Potential clients are not just going to find you out of nowhere. You are going to have to engage yourself as well, especially if you're just starting out.
It might be a bit more time-consuming, but you really need to be doing that! You need to get in touch with people, send DMs, comment under businesses' posts in a meaningful way...
4) Choose your branding & stick to it:
Choosing brand colours that represented my business & its values helped me to stand out from my competition in the early days. People could easily recognise my posts from the way they looked like and that helped me to get more engagement.
It's not important that you have the RIGHT brand colors, it's just important that you choose a brand color set and that you stick with it. Many service providers who just start out on Instagram overthink the whole branding aspect and then, end up not taking any action.
It's always better to take action NOW and then optimise as you go instead of just being stuck and not doing anything because that's not going to get you any closer to your goals.
5) Don't put too much pressure on Instagram alone:
You need to find other ways to attract leads and sales too because if you just rely on Instagram you are putting all of your eggs in one basket.
By being active on other platforms and reaching out yourself to clients as well, you will be able to not take Instagram so seriously and to not panic if your insights are not what you would want them to be one week.
Be active on multiple platforms: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok,...
Set up a blog
Start a podcast
Go to networking events in your area
Host workshops/webinars in your community
You don't have to do all of these things! These are just some ideas for you to see Instagram merely as a tool but nothing more.
5) Create a lead magnet:
Creating a valuable lead magnet is going to help you to transfer the followers that you have gained on Instagram onto an email list.
Make sure that you have other ways where people can reach & find you as well. Your lead magnet is also really great to give people a little taste of what it feels like to work with you and the kind of (paid) content that you provide.
If you are just starting out, I currently offer 3 freebies that can help you get started with Instagram in a more organised way. Make sure to download them before you leave! These could be an inspiration for what your lead magnet could look like too! ;)
If you want me to record a separate episode about email marketing & lead magnets, do let me know! I'd love to talk about that because email marketing and social media marketing fit so well together!
Talk to you soon!