Instagram is a hugely powerful tool for building your clientele. But it’s important to have a clear strategy of what you’re aiming to achieve, who you are trying to reach and in what geographical region.
What do you want to achieve? Are you hoping to encourage people to visit your website? Or do you have a physical store that you’d like them to visit? Or perhaps you offer a service within a set geographical region?
Who is your target audience? What age range are they? What life stage are they at? What are their interests? What are their jobs? Do they own their own business?
Where do you want to target? Do you have a set geographical region that you operate in? Do you have an upcoming event in a particular region that you wish to promote? Are you hoping to expand your business into another town/city?
These will help you narrow down your efforts and attract only those that are relevant to your business.
Action 1: write down what you want to achieve, who you want to reach and where they are located.
So you may already know that Instagram has a search function. But are you using this to its full potential? Within the search function is a search for ‘places’. This is one of the most powerful digital marketing tools for businesses that operate in a defined region, those looking to expand into a new region and those promoting an event.
Enter the town/city of interest into the ‘places’ search. You will then have the top 9 posts from that location appear, followed by more from that location in chronological order. You can then:
- Engage with people in your region of interest. Build a relationship by commenting and liking their posts regularly, don’t go straight in with a sales pitch, take the time to make your comment relevant to their other posts too. Make sure your Instagram bio explains clearly who you are and promotes your product/service/event so when they look you up they will then see what you can offer them.
- Find people in your region with the most followers and offer them a free product/ticket/service. You already know they are active on Instagram so the chances are they will post about it and you’ll then gain exposure to all of their followers.
Action 2: Using the Instagram ‘places’ search function, locate at least one person in your region of interest with a good following and offer them a free product/ticket/service.
Action 3: Also using the Instagram ‘places’ search function, spend 15 minutes now commenting on people’s posts in your target region without trying to sell them anything.
In the search function you can also search ‘tags’ i.e. hashtags that people have used in their posts. You can then follow these hashtags so posts using this hashtag will appear in your feed.
This can again be used for people hashtagging specific locations but also specific interests. So, lets give an example of an organic skincare business wanting to find new clients. They may wish to follow the hashtag ‘organic’ or/and ‘natural remedy’ as people using these hashtags are likely to be interested in organic skincare. You can then engage with these people by commenting on their posts and, again, there’s a good chance they will check your profile to see who you are.
The results may also include other similar businesses to yours. Before skipping past these, why not take a peek to see who is commenting on their posts and following them, and engage with these people too. If they’re interested in a competitor’s products, they may well be interested in yours! Take a peek at their profiles, comment on some of their pics and start conversations with them.
Action 4: Also using the Instagram search function, follow relevant hashtags for your clients’ areas of interest. What would they look up/follow?
You may have noticed a theme developing with the above points…engagement. Instagram is a powerful, free tool and for businesses IT should be used as a way to network and build connections. Find relevant people by using the above methods, take some time to view their profile and comment on their pictures with a comment that shows you are genuinely interested (i.e. not just a ‘nice pic’ comment), ask them a question and instigate a conversation. Then offer them some valuable advice and eventually drop into the conversation about what you can offer them. By which time you will have already built up a level of trust with the potential client. Never go straight in with a sales pitch, this will be treated in the same way as ‘spam’ and what reason do they have to trust you/your product/your service? Build up the trust first by building a relationship.
We touched on this with the ‘places’ search. Influencers can be extremely…well, influential! Remember who your target audience is and where your target location is and with this in mind you can offer people that already have an established audience that is similar to yours free products/tickets/events in return for them giving you a mention on their social media accounts.
Influencers range vastly in terms of cost, so contacting many of them is the key to finding the ones that will accept a free product without payment. There are plenty of them out there! Typically if they have anything above 100,000 followers they will request payment (and many with less). However, their number of followers isn’t everything. What matters more is how engaged their followers are. More engagement means more trust in the person which means their followers are more likely to purchase an item that they’re promoting . So you may get a better response using an influencer with an active following of 2,000 than you would using an influencer with an inactive following of 20,000.
Action 5: Find 10 potential RELEVANT influencers based on your target audience and target location that have an active community of followers. Reach out, build a relationship first, then ask if they would be interested in posting a picture/video of your product/event/service if you offer it to them free of charge.
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