The #1 thing I get asked is “how do I get more followers?” What they are really asking is “how do I get more customers/ make more money?” Networking on Instagram is a great way to find potential customers and partners. But you can’t start there … there are a few crucial steps you need to take ahead of time to increase your chances for success. Before you network on Instagram, you need to set up your profile to clearly communicate your brand so you attract the right customers. It sounds challenging, but don’t worry … I have a solution for you further down in this post.
It’s been almost 6 months since Gary Vaynerchuk dropped this nugget about networking on Instagram onto YouTube (beware of language):
Gary walks you through his process of doing “biz dev”, by identifying potential clients through hashtags then sending them a direct message, or DM. I’ll save you some time … the first step is: HASHTAGS.
Wait, hold on … BEFORE you can do anything with hashtags, you need to set up your account to attract the RIGHT PEOPLE. Just like Gary is scoping out potential clients on Instagram based on their profile and website, those clients will turn around and scope you out when you make your offer.
The DM strategy works. As someone who receives a lot of DMs, I’ve got tell you that there’s one reason why the strategy can fail, even when you’ve been incredibly generous, thoughtful, and polite in your offer.
People have tried the DM thing on me, the strategy Gary describes. Just last week, an account messaged me and asked me to “collab”. My first step was this: I checked out her profile. I had to say “no” :
I wasn’t sure what her brand was about when I looked at her profile. And because she showed so little (she had 5 posts, no website, and 0 interaction) it was clear to me that she could not follow through on her offer of a craft collaboration and mutual promotion. Besides her offer being flawed, from her profile I didn’t have a clear vision of what she makes … she’s supposed to be a crafter but only 1 of the 5 photos on her account was a craft project.
The number one reason that DMs fail is because the asker doesn’t look like they can deliver on the promise. Their offer sounds amazing but when you check out their account, you can’t find any evidence that the offer is actually legit. It’s like the person offers to make you videos yet they don’t have any on their account, their profile doesn’t say anything about making videos, and their website doesn’t have any videos. They could very well be AMAZING at making videos but they may never get to step two with that contact because their profile did not clearly communicate their brand to the client.
BEFORE you can do the ask, you gotta get your account in top shape.
1. You need to be clear about what your brand is.
2. Then your profile, your photos, your text … it all needs to clearly communicate your brand.
That way when people get to your account, they know exactly what to expect from you.
It’s so easy to have blinders on when we are evaluating our own content. WE understand what we’re posting and what our brand is all about because we are living it every day. But just because the vision is clear to us, doesn’t mean everyone else “gets it”. It’s easier when you have a friend to help you. A friend to look at the message you are putting out there and give you their feedback about it. This can help give you insight into what the general public sees when they encounter your brand online.
What if I told you that we can work on your Instagram account together?
It would be a lot easier if you had someone lead you through the parts of an Instagram profile, someone to explain why you need hashtags, and maybe even help you figure out what to post so your brand message is crystal clear.
As I was gearing up to create the next update to the Hashtag PRO course, I thought a lot about what you need to know the be prepared to jump right in and apply the concepts in the course. The strategies I share in Hashtag PRO are amazing but if you don’t have a solid foundation, meaning a profile that clearly communicates your brand, then it doesn’t matter how well you use and research hashtags … you’re not going to get the incredible results that I know you deserve.
That’s why I developed the Hashtag PRO Insta-Makeover, a FREE 3 day course that you can take to help you clearly communicate your brand vision so you can attract your ideal community.
We’ll work through concepts and strategies that will help you take your Instagram account to the next level. Even if you’ve had your account for years, this free mini course will help you to dust off your profile and give new context to your posts.
By opting in, you’ll receive the emails for the FREE 3 day mini course when it launches so watch your inbox!
Not sure if you are ready for this? Read more about the FREE 3 day mini course HERE. I don’t want you to miss out since I am only doing this once this year!
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A craft industry professional for over 14 years, Jennifer Priest has been featured in major publications and online by the likes of Apartment Therapy and MSNBC. Jennifer's digital marketing consulting firm, Smart Creative Social, has a prestigious client list in the craft and hobby industry, connecting influencers with brands, developing digital marketing strategy, and guiding clients in creating a solid social media strategy for their brand.
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