PERSONAL BRANDING: KILLING IT ON ON INSTAGRAM
Ok first and foremost, a few Instatistics to start getting your mindset into the space of “OMG I had no idea Instagram was so good for businesses!”
Your ideal clients are discovering brands on Instagram!
And if your business has a target audience who responds well to visuals (think cooking, coaching, creative arts, photography, travel, fitness and so much more) then Instagram is a platform you shouldn’t overlook.
It is not just a social platform. But because it is a ’social platform’ it makes it the ideal place for personal brands to find their tribes, because the users there are open to connection as well as buying.
It’s true that it works better for some products and services than others but there’s every reason why you and your business should be showing up on Insta.
I grew my wedding photography business through the platform and in one year of ‘doing’ my Instagram my leads went from zero to 30% from the platform and are continuing to rise. And the conversion rate for those enquiries is 100%. This is where my ideal client lives for wedding photography. Is it where your ideal client lives?
So…..this is why I spend so much time trying to convince other women in business that this is our platform! It’s a space where you don’t have to be uber formal as on LinkedIn and even on our Facebook Business pages where people expect a higher level of professionalism. It’s a place where we can be authentic and open and show our prospective clients our real selves, all the while gently directing them towards the amazing product or service we offer. This is especially powerful when we are selling to other women. When purchasing a product or service we do so based on emotional needs being met. We do then justify the purchase based on more rational thinking. But the initial sale is often emotionally led. Retail Therapy is a pretty straightforward example of this.
Feel rubbish -> Buy something to lift mood -> Justify later by saying it was in the sale so I actually ‘saved’ money
I know that the idea of ‘doing’ your instagram is…quite frankly, boring/overwhelming/horrifying etc.
And I know this because I felt the same. Somewhere in my brain, I knew it was the place to be but I had no hard proof that all the time and energy I was about to put into it was going to pay off.
I can tell you now, from my own experience …it does! But you have to get the formula right ladies! There’s no immediate gratification to be had here but if you build it, they will come. It requires patience, consistency and perseverance.
But I will tell it to you straight. There’s no point pussyfooting around what’s needed here. Winning on Instagram requires some graft but it’s very simple stuff. You just need a plan! I go into great depth with my Branding clients but here are a few tips to get you started.
Firstly, don’t waste time liking and commenting on posts that have nothing to do with your ideal client! See more about identifying your ideal client here and why it is so vitally important before anything else.
So I’ll outline here where to start and where to focus your time.
1. SET GOALS FOR SUCCESS!
Before setting out, you need to understand what your goal is on Instagram. Is it a place for sharing and showcasing your work? Highlighting your expertise? Building a network? If you have a clear idea in your mind of what you want to achieve then the message will be clear in your image selection and your copy. Ideally, most businesses want to generate leads but there are different ways to appeal to your target market.
It’s worth spending a little time looking at other accounts; influencers, brands, companies, even executives you admire: “What accounts do you feel drawn to? What do you enjoy about their posts or profile? Are you into the aesthetic or the teaching aspect. Are you impressed by their level of skill and knowledge? You can use this as inspiration to guide you in how you want others to view your profile.
This is Jen of Newborn Photography by Jennifer. Jen knows the value of high quality images and content so she has booked quarterly shoots with me to ensure her grid is always looking fresh. Her personal posts sit amidst her BEAUTIFUL newborn baby work so as to give a flavour of her personality and what she’s about but not so much as to overwhelm the actual work she does for her clients. Jen is KILLING IT on Instagram. Be like Jen.
2. AUTHENTICITY RULES
People can smell b.s. from a mile away, even on social media. So just be 100% your authentic self. Some people won’t get you and that’s fine because you can’t please all the people all the time and it’s just something that we need to accept in the bigger picture as well as in business.
Besides, not everyone is your target audience. The ones who do get it are your tribe! And not only will they be genuinely interested in you and your business but they will also be incredibly easy to convert into clients. They will also be the ones shouting from the rooftops about your amazing product or service after you’ve wowwed them with the experience!
If you really want to succeed at growing your personal brand, then you need to learn how to use Instagram authentically.
I know that “authenticity” is a horribly misused buzzword. But being authentic is still a real and important thing in marketing. Because authenticity fosters transparency and, in turn, trust.
Remember, the goal here is to let people into your life and to give your audience a peek behind the curtain. Just be aware that it is still a business page so keep it relevant to your main business themes and keep it positive. No-one likes a Debbie Downer and it’s not inspiring in the least to talk about what a horrible day you’ve had. Relatable yes but uninspiring. You can talk about adversity but always end with how you overcame it.
Don’t try to be something you’re not but always try to be ‘your best self’ with your Instagram posts and the right people will be attracted to you and your brand.
3. CONTENT IS KING AND IMAGES WIN!
We are visual creatures. It’s generally accepted that images do better than written content across all platforms. Instagram, especially, requires scrollstopping images to stop them in their tracks and stunning, professional looking grids to captivate your audience and inspire them to reach out to you.
Ergo, you should only be putting out the kind of visuals that will instantly grab the attention of your target audience. These images should be on-brand. They should be conveying your brand story and your business values. They should include (or at least compliment), in some small way, your brand colours and have a consistent look and feel to them.
This sounds like an overly fussy thing to suggest but imagine how each image you post works in relation to the rest of the grid. Rather than an unplanned set of images that are an incoherent, higgledy-piggledy mess.
The most beautiful and impressive Instagram accounts are the ones who have beautifully curated grids. They convey professionalism and forethought. They are considered and curated to create maximum impact. They convey the idea of a strong brand identity. One that can be trusted.
Compare that to a grid that’s hit and miss with the style, colour and content of each image. Grids made up of poorly taken iPhone images and selfies don’t generally convey the level of professionalism that your clients are looking for. And if they find a competitor online who has a better looking ‘shop front’, who are they going to book or buy from?….or who are they likely to feel confident in paying a premium for? There is a feeling of prestige attached to working with a real ‘got their shit together’ kinda brand.
Imagine your competition have the most beautifully curated grid of professional images that conveys their professionalism and skill as well as capturing the warmth and approachability of their personalities. It shows how they interact so naturally with their clients. Your clients! If you want to stand out, having a professional looking shop front is Marketing 101. How can you compete based on your level of service if your shop window needs a lick of paint?
4. GOOD COPY, BAD COPY!
That said, a very close second to sexy images is sexy copy. Copy is the written information you put out into the world. It relates to paper marketing as well as Instagram posts, Facebook statuses, website information, etc. The language in your Brand copy should be consistent across all platforms and your website; with the same voice and feel and it should line up nicely with your imagery.
Now this may all be starting to feel quite overwhelming but if you’re willing to go back to the very beginning in identifying your brand values and story, then follow through to identifying your ideal client then it will feel much less complicated as you will know exactly who you are talking to and what is going to resonate with those individuals. This then informs everything you put out into the world under the banner of ‘Your Brand’.
If you try to talk to everyone, you will end up talking to no-one. So get really specific in your language and content.
Each post you generate should talk directly to your ideal client and should do at least one of the following; address their pain points, solve a problem they have (even if they don’t yet know that they have it), inspire them to take action, convey your brand values, story and/or personality, give them something on which to relate to you i.e. something you love to eat/do/watch etc.
5. GET YOUR FACE IN THEIR FACE AND ESTABLISH A PERSONAL CONNECTION
If you are looking to grow your Personal Brand through instagram, you’re going to have to get a little bit personal. It’s powerful stuff so you may need to suck it up when it comes to insecurities and barriers you place in your own way. This is another area I address in my clients Branding Projects because it’s often a sticking point, preventing them from moving forward with their business.
Many businesses require you to be professional but in YOUR business it’s alright to connect with your ideal clients on a more personal level. In fact, it’s more than alright, it’s going to create a much more fruitful enterprise.
That said, remember to keep it light and relevant. It should always tie back into your business themes. And it should always have a positive angle.
So post photos about your travels and adventures, your daily hiccups and what you ate for dinner, a personal or physical transformation, pictures of you and your other half, or even just pictures of your dog (everyone loves pictures of cats and dogs!!). Give your target audience points upon which to connect with you as a human being. Give them subjects that they are able to relate to and even encourage commenting by asking a question. All the while keeping it positive and inspiring.
First impressions are everything for a brand, and Instagram is the ultimate in managing the kind of style, aesthetic, tone and variety of content that enables you to establish a special connection with your audience.
You can’t underestimate the power of personal connection. People buy from people. If you’re website is full of text and products then it’s just text and products. But if your beautiful face is there in images and videos talking passionately and sincerely about this amazing thing you’re backing then I’m much more likely to get on board with your ideas and values and actually buy from you. Because by now you’ve established, in my mind, that we’re on the same wavelength so on some level you understand me. It’s a well known strategy to improve sales through helping your clients to ‘Know, Like and Trust’ you. People buy from people and they are especially likely to buy from people they like or feel an affinity with.
Instagram is also a great channel for establishing a “behind the scenes” feeling with your brand evangelists and target audience. It also lets your new potential clients get a glimpse of YOU.
Let people in. Show them the real you. Otherwise, you are building an Instagram account to promote ‘just another boring business’. And that’s not you is it? So get your faces in your instagrids ladies! They are such beautiful faces! And let your personalities shine through.
Instagram is recognised as an excellent platform for business growth so if you’re not already on it, get on it and if your profile needs an overhaul, gimme a call.