If you’ve checked in over the last couple of weeks, you’ll have seen Boss Foundry has taken a new turn. I explain more in this post here and another one here, but basically I’ve had enough of people saying that being in business is all about ‘making bank’. Instead, I want to bring it back to what makes a business TRULY succeed: making a difference to people’s lives. In this post, I’m going to talk about using Instagram for business to make that happen.
I don’t care how you want your business to make a difference to the world. You could be a coach who cares passionately about female empowerment, or be the designer of beautiful ethical clothing. There are so many proven ways of making a difference in the world.
I don’t care how you do it
If you’ve got something to say then build your platform and say it. Your business is your platform.
If you’ve been looking to build a social media platform for your business, you’ve doubtless heard all about the power of Instagram for business. It’s a powerful platform, giving you access to an ever-growing audience of millions. Through Instagram, you can connect with the virtual world as regularly as you like, seeking out clients, customers, mentors, and friends.
Instagram for business is brilliant, BUT it only works for you and your business revolution if you use it CONSCIOUSLY and STRATEGICALLY.
You can’t post photos of whatever you want, whenever you want, throw up the same hashtags and expect to get tens of thousands of followers and a shout-out from Beyoncé.
If you’ve got a revolutionary business, using Instagram for business can be a vital tool for your growth. However, you’ve likely got a million and one things to do alongside Instragram so you have to make sure you don’t squander it. If you’re bootstrapping your revolution, it’s more important than ever that you use all the tools at your disposal to reach out to your target audience and get them on board with your movement.
When I started looking into starting my own blog a year ago, I looked into how to use Instagram effectively and found a brilliant course by the rather excellent Dani Watson of We Are The Clique. You can find her website right here.
Now, I found Dani and We Are The Clique via Instagram. In fact, I think Dani basically started her business on Instagram before she even had a site ready beyond a landing page. She then strategically used Instagram to build a pre-release audience who were chomping at the bit by the time she launched her first product. She now works as a success coach for female coaches and offers great coaching packages which you can find on her site.
Her revolution is for women to believe in the potential of their own success beyond the 9-5 and to build one another up with community rather than competition. Now, these are all values which I’m sure we can all get behind, right? You can check it out for yourself here, but in the meantime here is the front page.
I’m going to come back onto this shortly, but she’s got a consistent look, a strong message, a personal biography, links to what she’s selling. She used Instagram as a feed for her business, and I think there aren’t many better examples at the moment of what she’s doing.
With that in mind, here’s a few things I’ve picked up about what Dani’s feed at We Are The Clique can teach us about how to make Instagram for business work for you and your revolution.
1. Instagram is visual.
Tell you something you already know, right? I know it’s not rocket science but it can be easy to forget if you’re rushing trying to post content every day, especially if you’re trying to fit it around a day job. If you step back and look at the most successful and engaged Instagram pages – Dani’s included – they all have a distinctive look. Thus means that you know from looking at the photo whose page it belongs to. If you look at Dani’s snapshot from above, you’ll see that every shot has a similar look. It’s all whites, grey, rose pink and blue, and it fits brilliantly. It’s aesthetically pleasing and every image is distinctively hers.
The purpose is that if you see a photo in isolation, you should instantly recognise whose page it belongs to, as it’s unique as someone’s handwriting or singing voice.
Given Boss Foundry is all about each business being distinctive and embracing their own revolution, I wholeheartedly approve.
This visual stamp on Instagram for business can be achieved by a few different ways
- Think of your brand colours and make sure that that ‘look’ is reflected in every single one of your Instagram posts. For example, say you’ve got a fun, brightly coloured pink brand, you should be posting photos with a bright theme to them, not pastels.
- The simplest way of making sure your Instragram photos look aligned is to use a filter. Now, there are all the standard Instagram filters like Clarendon for you to play along with, but there are also some apps you can purchase if you’re looking to level up. Take a look at VSCO which is my personal favourite, and it’s free! If you’re having any issues getting to grips with it then this free tutorial should help you get started – don’t be afraid to experiment by diving in though. One of the secrets of using Instragram for business is to try out different techniques to see what works for you and your business,
2. Know what you want from each image
You’re starting a revolution, right? If so then you know what you want to achieve from your business, so that’s what you want to achieve from your Instagram posts. This means not being an aimless presence on Instagram and instead being focussed on your business goals.
Think of everything you post on social media as being your arrow, aimed at a target. Your target is what you want to achieve through your business, so your social media posts are going to help you get there.
Pretty much every social media post is going to be informative (i.e. telling your audience something they didn’t know, about you or your business) or it’s going to be salesy (don’t worry, that doesn’t mean spammy).
The secret of Instagram success is that you need to know exactly whether you’re going to be informative or salesy in every post, then tailoring your content accordingly to achieve that.
The biggest Instagram pages – We Are The Clique’s included – mix up their informative and salesy posts so you don’t feel as if you’re constantly being sold retreats or coaching packages, but also don’t just give loads of informative posts without any end goal of sales.
Have a think about what you want from your business, then think about how you can get your customers on-board using Instagram. Then, think about what posts you can do which are informative, and which are salesy. The timeframe will depend on what’s happening at certain times, so you’ll get more salesy as you’re building up to the launch of a new product or service, but you’ll still mix it up with a sprinkling of informative posts to give free value to your audience.
For example, the kinds of questions you need to ask with every Instagram post:
- Is it because you want them to read your latest blog post? If so, include a link to your blog post page in your bio and direct your caption to it.
- Do you want to build up your follower list? If so, ask them to tag a friend who’d enjoy it.
- Do you want them to look at buying your product or service? If so, make sure your image directly links to what you’re selling and include a call to action in your caption.
It’s easy on Instagram to get caught up in a posting cycle, but remember you don’t need to post anything unless you feel you’re doing it for a reason.
3. Don’t only post when things are ‘perfect’
We’ve all been there, flicking through Instagram in our PJs with morning bed hair while everyone else seems to be devouring blueberry pancakes and wheatgrass shots. Trust me, I definitely have. Faced with a sea of perfection, it’s tempting to only post the ‘perfect’ shot where you’re coiffed to your arched eyebrows in front of blue skies.
However, Instagram is not only about perfection. I can’t emphasise enough how much people like to understand the person behind the brand. Post photos of your workspace, of you preparing your next product, and don’t feel constrained by a vision of ‘perfection’. People will warm to you in your day to day images as much as they would love looking at your photos of a beautiful beach and a bottomless Mojito.
By posting on social media about you and your motivation, you will be showing how passionate you are about your business. When I see someone so involved in their business, I trust that the quality of what they are selling will be high because they actually CARE about what they’re selling rather than just doing it for the money.
4. Engage. Engage. Engage
I’ve heard a lot about social media being networking for introverts, as if we’re all hiding behind our screens to avoid having to talk to one another. Now, I’m not fooling myself that double-tapping someone’s photo means we’ve got a long and enduring friendship, but I really believe that social media should be just that: social.
This means not just posting passively and expecting people to find you; you need to get out there and find them yourself. This means finding people in your niche who you want one day to buy from you, and then engaging with their content in an honest, authentic way.
It means going beyond the double-tap and starting to comment with words rather than just emojis.
I’ve noticed that on Dani’s feed she does engage with anyone who comments and takes time out to respond to queries. She doesn’t just say that she wants to build a community; she lives it. Remember that social media is social, and people buy from people. You’re not on Instagram to be adored for pretty images or pithy quotes; you’re there to build your audience and a bit of warmth in your interactions will take you a long way.
5. Know what your audience want to see
You can’t persuade your audience about what content they want to see. They already have their own personal tastes and preferences as to what they want to see on Instagram, so if you want them to engage with you then you’re going to have to make sure you’re hitting their sweet spot. Dani’s target audience seems to be go-getting women in their twenties and early thirties who want to be tremendously successful with a designer lifestyle and freedom to travel.
What does this mean for her Instagram feed? It means photos from her travel, of designer bags and of women celebrating their successes together with champagne. Now, it may be that those kinds of images aren’t your jam which is more than ok, you’re not her target audience. However, for a women in her twenties trapped in a 9-5 job who feels she can achieve more outside her job and wants inspiration to do so, they’re gold.
That’s probably the key element of using Instragram for business; know your ideal customer, and know what they’re looking to get from you on Instagram. To truly benefit and build your audience from Instagram for business, you have to be willing to truly engage with their audience and get them on board.
What do you think about Instagram for business? Do you find it difficult to get engagement and how can I help? Hit me up in the comments!
Here’s to businesses that make waves.