Don’t lie to yourself…
Instagram is a HUGE tool in business. There’s no denying that.
Hundreds of thousands of fans interacting with your brand. Swarms of traffic headed towards your site at the drop of a new tee shirt or hoodie.
But how do you go from zero followers to one of the largest accounts in your category?
And even then, how do you turn your account into an actual business that profits?
I grabbed dinner with Josh Shapiro to find that out.
Josh grew Baseball Lifestyle 101 into a respected account with over 466,000 dedicated fans.
While I scarfed down sushi, Josh did most of the talking…
Giving me tips on growing a brand, creating engaging content, selling to your followers without being shady, and more.
I put down my chopsticks just long enough to take some notes.
Let me break them down for you.
First things first
I know you want to grow a huge brand that makes money.
You have to focus on fostering a community.
With so many brands out there, why would anyone buy from one they barely know?
If you’re creating a brand, it’s important to provide value up front. Create engaging content that your followers find useful and enjoyable.
This help build trust between your brand and its fans.
They’ll tell others about what you’re doing. And word of mouth is key in a today’s oversaturated world of brands.
Then when you finally share a useful product with them, they’ll take an eager look instead of a skeptical one.
But how much useful content should you post before pitching a product?
The more the better.
As a general rule, you can follow the 80/20 principle.
For every one post that’s a product pitch, you should have four more that provide interesting content.
This brings us toooo.
How to make your content engaging
Engaging content is, by definition, content that people interact with.
If people are eager to interact with your content and you make it easy for them to do so.
Then your content is engaging.
Two easy things to make your content more engaging today:
- Ask thoughtful questions in your picture’s caption. Let your followers answer in the comments. Questions give users a fast, straightforward way to engage with your content. And if you ask good questions, they’ll be excited to brainstorm some answers.
- Use overlay text to your advantage.
Drinkwel makes it easy to interact with their picture.
Telling you right away, “double tap to win”, and adding overlay text that greats you with, “Happy labor day weekend”.
You can do a ton of things with overlay text.
Clear instructions and fun messages let your users know you care about them and see them as people.
The same way your followers want to be seen as people. They also want to see the people behind your brand.
Show the human side of your brand
Your followers want to know more about you. Not just see your pictures and read your text.
Post videos of you behind the scenes of your brand.
Are there any events you’re going to? Fun projects you’re working on or places you’re traveling?
Anything you do related to your brand, post it.
No one will love your brand as much as you do. You’re the one who made it.
Your true fans will connect with you over the love of your brand and what it embodies.
Make it easy for them. Share who you really are.
Or in other words.
Document, Don’t Create
Let’s be honest…
Most of us aren’t experts. We’ve still got a lot to learn.
Don’t try to trick people into thinking you’re one on Instagram.
Gary Vaynerchuk said it best,
“one of the biggest mistakes people make when creating content for their personal brand is trying to oversell themselves because they think that’s what’s going to get people’s attention. Whether you’re a business coach or motivational speaker or artist, I think it’s much more fruitful to talk about your process than about the actual advice you “think” you should be giving them.”
Listen to Gary and there will only be one thing left to do.
It’s time to make your offer
If you have a product your audience will love, you’re doing them a disservice by not offering it to them.
By this point, you should know your audience well, and know what’s important to them.
Make a post where you let them know how your product solves their problems and makes their lives better.
Then put the link to your product page in your Instagram bio. Make it clear that people should look there if they want to buy your product.
It may take a little while before everyone pounces on your sweet offer. The average person needs to see something about seven times before they internalize it.
Just keep posting useful content, and sharing your products every once in awhile.
And while you’re doing this, there’s one thing to keep in mind.
Don’t be afraid to give out free stuff.
Giving some product away will let the quality speak for itself.
If it’s a good enough product, people will spread the word. And nothing is more influential than the recommendation of a friend.
Not to mention, you’ll get valuable feedback on what people like and what could be improved upon.
But don’t worry. You won’t just be handing out free product left and right.
There’s a way to turn free product into more followers, better brand exposure, and build some hype.
I’m talking about…
With an Instagram giveaway:
- Your current followers will like you more – They’re excited you’re giving away product. They see that you put them first over saving a few extra dollars.
- Your brand gets exposure – If you give out a good enough prize, people will start talking. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just put some thought into it.
Wufoo gave out a literal battle axe…
You can bet that got their brand some attention.
- You get more followers – With word of mouth and hype around your contests, you’re bound to attract some new followers who like your brand or heard about your cool giveaways.
- You get insight into the demographics that enjoy your product the most – You can see common characteristics of followers that participate in your contests.
This will help outline your target customer and be more specific in your message and marketing.
All that’s left to do is.
Rinse and Repeat
You’ve got the basics down. Now just trust the process and be consistent.
With enough time, you’ll have a massive brand, and loyal customers.
Keep them happy, and they’ll return the favor.
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