Instagram is a beautiful, yet ever-evolving beast that has taken the social media world by storm. What started as strategically placed coffee cups and touting filtered, high-contrast beach photos to a few select contacts, has now grown over the last 5 years to also be a great hotspot for coaching entrepreneurs, allowing you to reach millions with your message and brand.
Let’s first talk about what this post is not:
It’s not a “get 25 clients overnight through Instagram” checklist.
Nor a “get 300,000 followers in 30 days post.
This post IS a coaching entrepreneur’s introduction to realistic, strategic, and proven methods to gain new followers. These Instagram suggestions are a great way to gather tangible leads and lead down the path to new coaching client bliss.
First things first: Instagram is like a rebellious teenager. It doesn’t like anyone trying to trick it, tell it what to do, and will throw all your perfect plans in the air if you aren’t diligent in your approach.
Instagram posting – especially for terms of lead generation – is a big, BIG topic. As of right now (September 25, 2018) and for the foreseeable future, this platform is a mega-hotspot for coaching entrepreneurs to initiate, develop and usher new contact relationships into new clients. We’re going to give you our biggest tips & tricks below, but you should know that using Instagram requires ongoing reading and a commitment to continually researching on the topic. Because it is built on an algorithm, changes are inevitable (and often).
Here are the knowledge bombs you need to know when posting for your coaching business:
- Plan first. Then post.
We recommend planning out the first 45 days (AT LEAST) before you begin. Sporadic posting will kill off a well-built Instagram account quickly, so plan ahead.
- Post consistently. And then interact.
You can post until you’re blue in the face, but if you don’t interact, comment, and engage with other accounts on Instagram, your efforts will be for naught. (Virtually) reach out and hug someone often! If Instagram isn’t your bag, this is a great task to delegate to a VA.
- All work and no play makes for UNfollows.
Ask for the FOLLOW! But, after you post your opt-ins, your events, and your courses make sure to balance it with no-pressure, highly-engaging (personal!) posts as well. For example, if you’re going to your sister’s wedding this weekend, post about your love for sunset weddings, etc. People want to know YOU even more than they want to know about your business. We often want to hide away and let a stock photo take the place of anything related to our personal lives, but your clients want to connect with YOU, too.
- Instagram is a content & photo-loving platform. Get it right.
There’s no way around it, Instagram was made for photos and vibrant graphics. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a photography session or graphics each month, but know your strengths! If you don’t claim to have a creative eye, elect the help of someone who does.
- An amazing opt-in is the golden ticket.
Your downloadable guides, blueprints, roadmaps, checklists, etc. do very well on Instagram. But, wait! Before you go posting your guide, make sure your follow-up campaigns (auto-responder emails) are brushed up, beautiful, and ready to go. Psst! See our biggest tip of all in #10 below!
- Don’t fret the small stuff.
There’s a lot of hoopla about a lot of small details on Instagram. Don’t be sucked into the minutiae. Although it doesn’t hurt you, video doesn’t boost your post visibility like Facebook does, so if you’re shy in front of the camera, just skip it! Another common concern we hear is about getting “Instagram Business Account Verified”. Guess what? It doesn’t matter in any statistic we’ve ever recorded… so put your efforts into other tasks in this list.
- Use hashtags.
Sorry, you can’t get away from this one. But there’s a few things that we see coaches do often that you should avoid. First, this is one area we don’t want you to be ultra-creative on Instagram. Use commonsensical hashtags like #coaching #entrepreneur #lifestyleentrepreneur #lifecoach #lifecoaching when you’re posting versus making things up as you go. Important note: Hashtags MUST be in your 45-day plan before ever starting to post. Doing so ensures consistency and uniformity.
- Vagueness = death on Instagram
You can’t leave anything to guessing on Instagram posts. This is a very “fast glance” platform. While you can tease upcoming events, when creating your daily posts, keep it specific. To begin with, you can create posts with the following structure: Thought-provoking question. Thought-provoking solution. Engagement request question (tell us what you do…). Hashtags. Keep it simple in the beginning!
- Make sure to place the Instagram graphic on your other platforms, along with your account link. Conversely, ensure you are sharing the URL for your Facebook, LinkedIn, Website and Twitter accounts on your Instagram. Don’t weigh your Instagram to heavily with this, ensuring to only do so once or twice per month (Instagram’s algorithm also doesn’t love tons of outside social media platform links).
And our biggest tip of all for coaches looking to use Instagram?
10. Plan for long-term success.
We aren’t just giving you a 50,000 ft idea here! When you plan your 45-day marketing plan before posting, you’re also going to intertwine all of your platforms. If you’re giving an opt-in on Instagram, where are they going once they click the link?! Don’t waste this valuable engagement! When someone clicks a link for your opt-in, course, etc on Instagram, you need to make sure that they’re doing the following:
- Going into your subscriber list/database seamlessly.
- Interacting with your website in a valuable way (instead of a bland ‘thank you page’ make sure they’re arriving at a highly-converting sales page after they’ve opted in.) If you feel just “meh” about your website, there’s a good chance visitors will feel the same. Keep it simple, but well-branded. Brand Genie has beautiful, visitor-friendly sites tailored specifically for coaching entrepreneur.
- Getting a follow-up email in your auto-responder campaign (after the opt-in has been delivered). Ask how the opt-in is working for them, and invite them to reply to you with a answer to a valuable question you ask in the same email. Starting 2-way communication earlier in the relationship shows a greater propensity for high-ticket service purchases!
- Lastly, make sure they’re landing on a Facebook pixeled sales page. This is a hidden little gem that can significantly boost any ads you choose to run on Facebook AND Instagram in the future. (That means you spend less, but reach far more people… with far greater click-throughs from interested followers).
Instagram can be a great, authentic way to boost your potential lead pool. But, if adding Instagram to your business seems like an overwhelming increase in time demand compared to your current commitments, consider having a digital marketer review your marketing plan. Book a strategic consultation to evaluate where you’re spending your marketing time.