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Expert Tips On Getting Clients From Instagram

Instagram isn't just for pretty pictures or product-based businesses. 5 experts share tips on getting clients from Instagram - plus beginner mistakes / what NOT to do!

I recently realized that usually, when I hear someone say “I don’t know what to post on Instagram” – it’s someone with a service based business. It’s easy to come up with ideas for Instagram photos when you have products, but for service-based businesses – it’s not always so obvious what we should be doing. BUT – that definitely doesn’t mean that you can’t get clients from Instagram (I’ve shared my thoughts on this myth before) – the majority of my clients over the past several months have found me through Instagram and I know that I’m not alone!

I asked a few fellow biz owners (and all around awesome gals!) how they use Instagram to attract potential clients and also what mistakes they made in the beginning that might have prevented them from getting potential clients – here’s what they had to say:

AlishaJohns

On getting clients from Instagram…

As a social media strategist, stylist & photographer, Instagram acts as a working portfolio to help attract potential clients. It is the perfect platform to not only display the creative work that I’m producing, but also to interact with the potential clients who may appreciate it the most. The hashtags that I use, and the community that I have built all support a bright, happy, and colorful brand aesthetic, and those are exactly the type of clients who reach out to me saying that they saw my work on Instagram and would love to work together somehow. I also frequently include a call to action to “click to the link to in my profile to…” which increases site traffic and ultimately leads to more inquiries.

But in the beginning… 

At the very beginning, I didn’t realize the importance of having my email address listed in my profile description, I assumed clients would just visit my website if they wanted to get in touch, and that was definitely a mistake. Having my email address listed nearly doubled the number of inquiries I was receiving from potential clients, especially for influencer related work.

Visit Alisha’s website + follow her on Instagram (photo credit: @asiacrosonphotography)

HollyMeyer

On getting clients from Instagram…

Instagram is one of my favorite social media platforms because it’s incredibly visual, which works to my advantage as a graphic designer! It has sort of become my mini portfolio. I use Instagram to showcase client branding + web design projects, my own personal projects (i.e. free downloads + courses), and mood board inspiration. I also use strategic hashtags to get more eyes on my posts from dream clients. Doing this has helped me book a custom web design project and more inquiries about my services.

But in the beginning… 

The biggest mistake I made in the beginning was not posting relevant work on Instagram. I was mostly using Instagram to document life and realized that if my audience doesn’t SEE the type of work I do, they’ll have no idea what kind of services I offer. Of course, I don’t post work all the time. I still like to mix in some personal posts or styled desk shots here and there. But I noticed a huge difference in my ability to attract and book clients when I started sharing more of my design projects.

Visit Holly’s website + follow her on Instagram (photo credit: Amy Paulson Photography)

 

Louise Henry Solopreneur Sidekick

On getting clients from Instagram…

I started seeing real traction in my business once I started writing as though I was talking to my best friend! It’s a simple tip – but really works! By doing this, my followers get to know me and I’m able to establish a deeper connection with them. I also make sure to deliver as much value as I can before they are a client (inspiration, advice & humor work particularly well on Instagram). I believe the visual aspect of Instagram shouldn’t be overlooked either – it says a lot about you. A potential client can get a feel for your knowledge, style and personality – all from your feed! Once I realized this and wasn’t afraid to be myself, Instagram became a main driver of clients for me!

But in the beginning… 

When I first started out, I thought that I was “engaging” simply by liking lots of photos! As soon as I made the switch to genuine comments, I saw a tremendous increase in connections made. It can be tempting to go for the “quick like” method because you feel as though you’re accomplishing more, but it is truly not nearly as effective! Focus on quality, not quantity, in order to get clients.

Visit Louise’s website + follower her on Instagram

SarahShuttle

On getting clients from Instagram…

I post consistently with on-brand content, and I include my own work every day because potential clients need to see what they’re getting! I also always ask a question in my caption – starting engagement and forming a relationship is much more likely to turn a potential client into a definite!

But in the beginning… 

I had no ‘organic’ followers. I relied on ‘follow for follow’ ladders which meant the majority of people weren’t my target audience and weren’t actually interested in my content or work, they just wanted to boost their own following.

Visit Sarah’s website + follow her on Instagram

So there you have it – Instagram is NOT just for product-based businesses! If you have additional tips for finding or attracting clients on Instagram, share them in the comments!

Instagram checklist - free checklist of the 8 things you should be doing for every Instagram post

4 Elements of An Effective Instagram Content Plan

Elements of an effective Instagram content plan - read this if you're not sure what to post on Instagram. Tips for creating effective Instagram content for your audience and maintaining a consistent brand. Plus join the Irresistible Insta-Challenge for a 14 days of Instagram tips.

If you still think Instagram is just posting some pretty pictures and using some hashtags, you’re wrong. Especially if you’re using Instagram for your business! When I first shifted my Instagram account from mostly personal use to more professional (even though my professional presence is kinda personal), it was confusing. I wasn’t sure what people really wanted to see, and striking a balance between my “real life” and a perfectly curated “Instagram life” took a bit of trial and error. Even though I’ve spent a lot of time managing other brand’s accounts, doing it for myself has always been the hardest – but once I developed my own Instagram content plan, it was MUCH easier!

4 ELEMENTS OF AN EFFECTIVE INSTAGRAM CONTENT PLAN

If you feel like you don’t know what to post on Instagram, here are a few key things to keep in mind to make sure your content is working for you!

KNOW YOUR PURPOSE

You should know WHY you’re on Instagram and WHAT you’re trying to accomplish with this aspect of your social media. Are you trying to build brand awareness? Generate leads? Build influencer relationships? What’s the end goal?

Your purpose should dictate your content. If the purpose of your account is to sell your products, then you should be regularly posting photos of your products – that’s pretty straight forward. But that doesn’t mean basic product photos on a white background that you would most likely see on a website – Instagram is a VISUAL platform so if you want to sell more of your products from Instagram, they need to look good! Use styled images to help people envision would it would look like to have your products in their life (or a aspirational version of their life).

If you don’t sell physical products, then think about what your audience would want to see / learn before they hire you or before they visit your blog / website. People aren’t in buying mode when they’re scrolling through Instagram. No one says, “I need a tulle skirt so I’m going to go buy one on Instagram” or “I need a health coach so I’m going to go search for one on Instagram” – that doesn’t mean they won’t come across a tulle skirt they love or a health coach they trust on Instagram, but it’s probably not the reason they opened the app to scroll through.

So even though your purpose may be “get more design clients” – that doesn’t mean your posts should all be “I’m a designer, hire me!” – but what you can do is share posts that allow your followers to get to know you + how you can help them so that you can build that know/ like/ trust factor that can lead followers to becoming clients. In this specific example, a graphic designer might share things like examples of her work (completed or in progress) / tips on why good design matters / testimonials from clients whose brands she’s transformed / relevant blog posts / behind the scenes photos of her workspace, etc. All of these things relate to her ultimate purpose of getting more clients, but the focus is really on educating + inspiring potential clients rather than selling to them.

If you’re not clear on your purpose, you’re going to have a hard time figuring out what to post and you’re probably going to have a hard time growing your following as well.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

One of the reasons I love Instagram so much is that it feels like the most “personal” network of what I think of as the “big 4” (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram) – yes there’s also Snapchat, LinkedIn, Google+, Periscope, etc. – but Instagram is my jam and how personal you want to get really depends on your audience.

If you’re the face of your brand (blogger / solopreneur / small business owner) then, your Instagram content is probably going to be more personal. People want to connect with people, so it makes sense to share behind the scenes content and personal stories that help people relate to you as a business owner / mom / dog-mom / etc. Some people may share mostly business-related content plus a little bit personal content mixed in. Some people may share mostly personal content with a little bit of business mixed in. Some people may split it completely 50/50. There’s not a single “right” way – because what works for me or you may not work for someone else.

If you’re trying to find the right balance between personal / professional content, remember your purpose. If your purpose is getting clients for your graphic design business, then most of your content should be related to that. If your purpose is getting more people to read your blog, then you should be regularly sharing your blog posts. If photos of what you ate for breakfast or what you wore on Friday night or what your kid did at school aren’t related to your purpose – don’t share them!

cu-insta-challenge

KNOW YOUR BRAND

Keeping your purpose and your audience in mind, your Instagram content should also be on brand. So if your brand is fun, colorful, and artistic, your content should be fun, colorful, and artistic. And if your brand is minimal, refined, and monochromatic, your Instagram should be as well. When someone comes across your Instagram account, they be able to recognize your brand from the rest of your online presence (and vice versa). So when you’re crafting your content make sure that the colors / patterns / style / voice are all aligned with your brand – you don’t want to confuse people by sharing off brand content just because you felt like sharing a random photo!

Read this: Defining your personal brand

BE CONSISTENT

Finally, an effective Instagram content plan is going to involve consistency. Consistency in style / voice / branding, but also consistency in content. That doesn’t mean you need to share the same thing every day (I actually don’t think you should!), but there should be a certain level of consistency so people know what to expect. That could mean every every Tuesday you share a tip or every Saturday you share a behind the scenes photo of yourself or every other post you share a quote. By creating consistency (and potentially even creating a visual pattern), you are more likely to draw your audience in and keep them engaged.

Read this: 5 ways to attract more Instagram followers

NOT SURE WHAT YOU SHOULD BE POSTING ON INSTAGRAM?

JOIN THE IRRESISTIBLE INSTA-CHALLENGE AND YOU COULD:

  • Know exactly what YOU should be posting on Instagram every single day
  • Have a plan to create the content that attract the RIGHT followers
  • Use your Instagram to get more traffic to your website, more signups on your email list, and more revenue in the bank!

The Irresistible Insta-Challenge is a 14 day challenge to craft your ideal Instagram content plan. You’ll learn how to define your visual style, create content that appeals to your target audience, plan your content calendar, and so much more!

cu-insta-challenge

How Instagram Insights Compares To Iconosquare Analytics

How Instagram Insights new analytics tools compare to Iconosquare analytics. A comparison of Instagram analytics tools, how they can help you grow an engaged Instagram following, and whether or not investing in analytics tools makes sense.

Earlier this week I was pleasantly surprised to see a popup notification after I updated to latest version of Instagram letting me know that Instagram analytics have arrived! Instagram announced last month that their “Instagram Insights” analytics information as well as other other business tools would be rolling out, but after a quick google search and asking around in various social media communities, I found very little concrete information around the who/when/whys of the tools are rolling out other than “business profiles, insights and the ability to promote will be rolling out in the US, Australia and New Zealand in the coming months, and will be available in all regions globally by the end of the year.”

I might of done a little happy dance when I realized I had access to Instagram Insights – if you don’t already know, I’m a HUGE data nerd and am excited to see analytics information directly within the Instagram app! I currently use and recommend the paid service Iconosquare for Instagram analytics (Squarelovin is similar + free), though Iconosquare just announced their “PLUS” level membership (the lowest tier) is going up from $28.80/year to $49.00/year starting July 11, 2016, so I thought this would be a good time to evaluate whether or not it makes sense to continue to pay for analytics information when Instagram itself is now providing it for free.

INSTAGRAM INSIGHTS

If you haven’t seen the new Instagram Insights, it is similar to the analytics for Facebook pages in that it gives you data on your followers and your Instagram posts. This type of information is sooo valuable in determining if you’re actually reaching your target audience and the types of content that are resonating with your audience.

Mochi Instagram Dog Profile

To access Instagram Insights, there is a bar chart icon next to the settings icon at the top of your Instagram profile. If you don’t see this yet, then the analytics haven’t rolled out to you yet – your Instagram account may need to be associated with a Facebook account for Insights to work (I had to confirm my Facebook Information to access Instagram Insights the first time) so if you haven’t connected it already, you may want to do that now!

Instagram Insights: Impressions, Reach, and Engagement

The first section you see tells you your number of post “impressions” for the week (number of times all of your posts have been seen) and if you swipe left, you’ll see your “reach” for the week (number of unique accounts that have seen any of your posts). These numbers are interesting because (to my knowledge) Iconosquare and other analytics tools I’ve used in the past have only tracked likes / engagement / growth but haven’t been able to provide insight as to how many people are actually seeing your posts. On a weekly level, the numbers don’t mean a ton to me, but on a per post level this is really helpful information!

Instagram post insights for @mochiandthecity Instagram celebrity dog

Looking at my Instagram posts from the last week, I can see the post specific impressions / reach / engagement by clicking on the “View Insights” tab below each photo. It’s interesting to see engagement in relation to reach because to me, this is more indicative of audience preferences than looking at engagement in relation to overall followers. With that said, I’d love to see percentages in addition to raw numbers! #hinthint

Unfortunately, Insights are not available for historic posts beyond the last week (I’m guessing this is the last 7 days from whenever you get access to Insights), but moving forward this will be less relevant as you’ll be able to see up to 2 years of analytics.

Instagram Insights: Top Posts

Instagram Insights Top Posts for @mochiandthecity

Going back to the main Instagram Insights area, you can see a “Top Posts” section that you can sort by type of post (all posts / photos  videos), by time period (7 days / 30 days / 3 months / 6 months / 1 year / 2 years), and filter by impressions / reach / engagement / likes / comments). This is an easy way to get a sense of what types of content your audience is engaging with so you can do more of what’s working (and less of what’s not).

Instagram Insights: Followers

Instagram Insights for @mochiandthecity Instagram dog

Possibly the most exciting part of the Instagram Insights information is the follower demographic analytics. You can see the breakdown of your followers by gender, by age, and by location. You can also further breakdown the age ranges for either male or female followers. I’d love to be able to see more specific numbers rather than just %s or ranges, but it’s still great data to have in terms of knowing if you are attracting the right people. Mochi’s target audience includes female millenials so seeing 84% women and the largest demographic segment from 18-34 is a good sign!

Instagram Insights Location analytics

For location, you can view followers by city or country – I think this would be particularly helpful for any one with a local business or local target audience, but it’s also helpful in determining which time zones the majority of your followers are in so you can post accordingly. There’s also an hourly breakdown showing when your followers are active (it’s no surprise Mochi’s audience is less active between 1am – 7am ET since the majority are in the U.S. and specifically in NYC) – and which days of the week your followers are more/less active (in Mochi’s case, it doesn’t really matter). 

This level of demographic information is unique to Instagram Insights vs. other Instagram analytics tools (which makes sense since Facebook owns Instagram), and combined with the other analytics information like reach / engagement, this is definitely a helpful in knowing how to position your best content in front of the right audience at the right time.

HOW INSTAGRAM INSIGHTS COMPARES TO ICONOSQUARE ANALYTICS

While Instagram Insights provides a lot of great information, there are still a number of ways that Iconosquare sets itself apart. In particular:

  • Custom time periods – The ability to sort by custom time periods is extremely valuable for evaluating campaigns whether you’re looking at top posts/ engagement over time / follower growth or other stats.
  • Follower growth over time + gain/loss – Iconosquare provides more information about account growth over time both in numbers and in graph form. It also shows daily gain / loss information as well as specifically which followers followed / unfollowed so you have additional insights.
  • Community details – I don’t pay a lot of attention to who’s following back / who’s not, but if you’re looking for more account specific detail regarding your followers, Iconosquare is a more helpful tool.
  • Engagement as a percentage – While it’s nice to have the impressions / reach information from Instagram Insights, I’d really love the see engagement as a percentage instead of just the total number of likes / comments.
  • Change from week to week or month to month as a percentage – Tracking growth or engagement from one time period to the next is something I look at pretty often, and there’s no way to really do that with Instagram Insights.
  • Daily reporting – I really like getting a daily report (by email) from Iconosquare showing a quick overview of the previous day’s activities. Instagram currently doesn’t have it’s own reporting tools beyond what you see in the app (and to my knowledge that’s not something they have planned to roll out in the coming months).

OVERALL THOUGHTS

For the average Instagram business user, Instagram Insights are simple (free!) way to get key analytics that can help you grow an engaged Instagram followingYou probably don’t “need” additional analytics – and for the initial release of it’s business tools – I think Instagram has done a great job at providing the most valuable information in an easy to access manner. I’m interested to see if / when / how they update the Instagram Insights capabilities as they roll out additional features like business profiles and in app advertising capabilities.

With that said, I’ll probably continue to pay for Iconosquare (at least for Mochi’s account), because I like the more detailed analytics and daily reporting feature. To me, these things are worth the $4/month Iconosquare fee, but if you’re just looking for straightforward analytics, Instagram Insights might be your new BFF.

If you have access to Instagram Insights already, I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

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