Instagram? For Business? Seriously?
That was my thought as I embarked on a journey to investigate if it was truly possible to leverage the ever-growing social media platform into a measurable source for ROI. I had agreed to author Ultimate Guide to Instagram for Business, so I certainly hoped it was. But frankly, I wasn't too sure.
The first problem I saw was that Instagram only allows one clickable link in your account -- within your bio. This means your individual posts won't have links, which forces you to create content that not only connects with users but also gets your prospects to follow your account.
I found that for most business users, focusing on that content and messaging -- and how it connects back to growing your business -- can be confusing. Sadly, most businesses get it wrong, falling into one of two categories:
1. The Spammy McSpammerson.
Unfortunately, many businesses begin their relationships with prospects either by asking to get married on the first date -- yuck! -- or they come on like used-car salesmen hawking goods from "hello." They make all their posts about their products, programs or services and never about what their prospect really cares about -- themselves.
2. Too chicken to make a move.
Some companies do the complete opposite and never connect their content with anything that converts a follower into a buyer. They post and post and post forever but do nothing to earn their ROI from their Instagram follower base. This is like dating the love of your life who you long to marry, but never popping the question. Not only will you two not get married, but most likely when someone comes along with more serious intentions, your twosome will become a onesome.
Without a clear path to transact business or an explanation of why someone should do business with you, you won't earn sales. Your followers, instead, will move one to someone or something else that meets their needs, or they will do nothing at all.
What your prospect really wants.
The truth is, whether you realize it or not, you have a purpose. You have a mission. It is your duty to find those who need you so you can heal their pain. You have a moral obligation to do so. When this is done well, the process can seamlessly create lifelong client relationships (instead of one-time, love-em-and-leave-em interactions). Creating these relationships doesn't have to be complicated, especially with Instagram: start with value, build trust, then ask for the sale.
What I discovered was that using Instagram as the start of your funnel is an effective way to create expert status, while magnetically attracting your perfect prospects. But first, you have to start by making your content all about your prospect and what they care about.
So what do they care about?
The reality is no one cares about your products, programs or services. What they care about is how your products, programs and services will make their lives better -- the benefits, the solutions. Focusing on what they care about -- as in how you are going to make their life better in some way -- is vital to creating a tribe of loyal followers who become your customers for life.
Now, take the time to consider what your ideal customers are thinking when their thoughts wander during the day. What causes them anxiety? What do they repeatedly hope will become different? What keeps them up at night? Before you move forward with your Instagram marketing (or any type of marketing, for that matter), answer this question: How would your target market finish the sentence, "If I could just..."?
For example, clients of the following might say:
- Recruiter clients: If I could just find a career that suits me so I can enjoy what I do.
- Personal Trainer clients: If I could just get my abs back so I finally feel comfortable on the beach again.
- Financial Advisor clients: If I could just take my wife on vacation without worrying about finances.
- Realtor clients: If I could just sell my house for enough money to move closer to my grandkids.
- My amazing tribe thinks: If I could just fill my sales pipeline and get more clients, I could reach and help more people, and my business would bring my family and me the financial peace and prosperity we long for. (YES, my tribe is the bee's knees).
I focus my posts on the motivation and mindset necessary for taking your business to the next level, along with some quick how-to tips. These posts tie into how my tribe wants to build an audience of qualified leads, turn those leads into clients, and then become financially prosperous in the process. Then, I tie it together with a "free gift" offer in my bio. Of course, it can be difficult to get into your prospect's mind. We are so accustomed to focusing on our own products, programs and services, we spend too much marketing power on ourselves instead of on our audience.
Get inside their heads.
An effective way to get into the mindset of your ideal prospect is to write yourself a letter as though you are them. In this letter, dig deep into the problem at hand and what effect it is having on their emotional well-being. Go beyond facts and get to feelings. Make sure to answer the "If I could just..." sentiment. This will put you into your customer's mindset, instead of your own and help you focus your promotion all on them.
Set a timer for 10 minutes, and write yourself this letter. You should set a timer because you and I both know that if you don't make yourself sit there and get this done, it won't happen. (When you're done, feel free to treat yourself. And if you're buying I'll take a non-fat cappuccino with cinnamon. Thanks!)
Spending time outside of Instagram before you launch is hard for the impatient, get-it-done-now kind of person (ask me how I know), but it's imperative for quickly succeeding on this platform. Getting inside your prospect's mindset before creating content will give you an advantage as you develop your Instagram campaign. Once you have found your ideal customer's needs and wants, you can set forth on the rest of your marketing and sales funnel.