Obviously I’m going to say Instagram is brilliant for promoting your business, but if you need convincing, or you’re a bit confused about how Instagram might work for you, let me tell you exactly how it’s worked for me.
It’s an opportunity to tell a visual story about you and your business
It allows your audience to get a real sense of you by telling an authentic, meaningful, entertaining story about who you are as well as your business. Your audience have the chance to connect with you, to know, like and trust you, and then they’re much more likely to want to buy from you.
My audience knows that I run half marathons and don’t train for them, that my dad has dementia, that I went litter picking in Stockport at Easter, that I’m addicted to creme eggs.
They also gets tips about Instagram, find out about workshops I’m running, know about some of the clients I’m working with and get to join in my Instagram challenges.
The personal and the business merge together and form a full picture of who I am – Instagram allows me to be more than a shopfront – I get to show up as a full human being. And if my audience likes me as a person, they are more likely to buy from me. Which is vitally important in my case as an Instagram trainer, because people probably need to like my personality to be taught by me. But it also applies to people selling products because people still like buying stuff from people they like.
You Get to Demonstrate That You Really Know Your Stuff
I get to demonstrate my knowledge – I offer free tips and advice and share my thoughts about the platform. You get to gauge my level of expertise.
And perhaps more importantly I’m living proof of how to use Instagram well. By telling my business story with creativity, imagination, style and warmth, I’m showing others what’s possible for them.
People Get To Really Know You
I show up pretty much every day as myself, more often on Instagram Stories than on the grid. I’ll tell you what I’m working on, I’ll talk about my thoughts about the environment, I’ll tell you what I’m reading, what walks I’m doing, what networking events I’m attending, I’ll moan about and celebrate aspects of freelance life, I’ll show you my new socks and maybe my lunch and my breakfast smoothie bowl too. I’ll tell you what a terrible morning I’m having because my new podcast hasn’t launched and it’s stressing me out. I’ll talk you through the trials and tribulations of creating a podcast series – from sessions with my podcast trainer to the hours of editing in a darkened room.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is I’m always going to be on the radar of my audience, showing up as me – authentically, enthusiastically, honestly, warts and all. By seeing what I’m up to and all my processes I think it allows my audience to really get to know me and feel confident that:
a) I’m a grafter and I know my stuff
but also that
b) I’m a really nice, open, approachable, fallible human being who will encourage you when I teach you Instagram and never make anyone feel stupid.
Build a Community of Your People
Instagram is a fantastic opportunity to find YOUR people because it’s based on your passions and interests. I want to work with people who are my people. Instagram allows me to find those people. Which works out well, because the chemistry in workshops is so much better if I’ve attracted like minded souls.
Instagram provides an encouraging atmosphere that enables you to develop meaningful relationships with those people. It feels like a safe and positive place (much more so than other platforms), so people tend to open up and really share.
This also provides fantastic opportunities to find out what your audience is thinking and feeling about and what they might need from you. That’s market research at your finger tips.
Experiment Until You Find Out What Works
Instagram is an easy and fun place to experiment. I share daft Instagram stories, I do boomerangs, I talk to camera on stories, I try different kinds of photos and captions on the grid. Many things I do don’t get the response I would like. But then some things really fly and then I know I’m onto something.
The concept that we can now build online businesses and communities that are based on our personalities is VERY NEW. And something I’ve been trying to get my own head around at the same time as encouraging people to do the same. But I’ll continuously experiment with sharing more and more of the real me on Instagram – from bad days to vulnerable feelings, to aspirations and failures. I’m totally learning and refining on the hoof. It’s never dull. But the feedback I’m getting is that it 100% works. Because it’s intimate, authentic and real – and people have started to crave and expect that.
How Does Instagram Work For You?
I’ve told you why it works for me, but I realise it’s different for everybody. Please do get in touch and tell me how it’s helped your business.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this, you might like to try: How to Take Better Photos on Your Smartphone
And if you’d like to learn more about Instagram there’s a number of ways I can help:
- I offer one to one Skype sessions. It’s £50 an hour or three hours for £125. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
- I also have a Instagram for Small Businesses Workshop on Monday 13th May at Beaumont Organic in Manchester.
- Come and hang out with other like minded Instagrammers at my Instacake Manchester event on Tuesday 21st May
- I have a monthly newsletter where I give out free advice and tips about Instagram, just sign up here.
Photo credit: Jill Jennings