Instagram is one of my personal favorite places to relax and enjoy engaging in the social media world. I love the beautiful images, the inspiring brands, and the conversations.
And maybe you do too! Maybe you’re spending a ton of time on Instagram for your brand — but maybe you’re not seeing that pay off in new sales just yet.
If that’s the case, it’s time to stop filling your feed with common product shots and the occasional inspirational quote, and start using it as the promotional powerhouse I know it can be.
Ready to ignite your brand with Instagram? Click here first to download my Two-Week Instagram Challenge! It contains easy steps you can take to revive a lackluster Insta-brand, or start building your audience from scratch.
Build your brand first
Your Instagram posts don’t need to be a constant barrage of “buy now” messages to earn you more sales. In fact, that’s the exact opposite way to go about it!
Most of your Instagram posts should be about building your brand and connecting with those who resonate most with what you have to say.
When you focus on building your brand first, engagement will become effortless and sales will follow.
Follow your brand book
In order to have a strong brand on Instagram, you must have a strong brand in general to start with. You do that through consistency and intention with the colors you use, the feeling you portray, the voice you communicate with, and other brand elements that make you unique.
Swedish online art print brand, Desenio does a great job of presenting a collection of compelling and beautiful images that evoke a feeling of calm, beauty, and luxury. Commentors often talk about loving the colors in their images, and that they wish they could have a room in their home like the ones Desenio features.
Share images you and your audience can bond over
If you can find a topic that you’re passionate about that your audience also enjoys — instant engagement magic!
Coworking brand WeWork obviously showcases a lot of great pics of their coworking spaces and of the people in them, but one of their most popular (and most successful) topics is the hashtag #DogsOfWeWork.
It not only highlights a passion for many of their followers (doggos!) but also underscores the laid-back, friendly attitude of the WeWork spaces and brand. As of this writing, their top #DogsOfWeWork post has more than 5,000 likes! And there are more than 7,300 posts featuring the hashtag, proving that it’s become something of a movement among their members.
I encourage you to choose 5-7 topics that are true passions for you and may also be passions for your prospects, audience, and ideal customers.
Establish trust with a little personality
Instagram is a social media channel that encourages brands (and the people behind them) to open up a little and share a bit of your personality and behind-the-scenes. And if you’re not willing to get a little bit real… It may not be the platform for you.
That’s because Instagrammers value authenticity (even as they’re applying 17 filters to their photos!).
If you are willing to use Instagram to get a little more personal, to be a little more vulnerable, and to be real, you will be setting yourself up to experience deeper connection with your followers (and make bigger progress with sales) than if you were to remain impersonal.
A great example of this is the small business LetterFolk, which produces the Insta-trendy letter boards that allow people to create their own quotes, as well as other paper and home goods. But the owners — a married couple with kids — also frequently share snapshots of their life.
This post, talking about why they chose to start a business, is a great example of a vulnerable sort of post, talking about the dreams and doubts they had starting their small business. And their followers rewarded them with a ton of likes and comments.
That sort of personal story builds trust with your audience, and grows engagement exponentially.
Share first, sell second
The most important rule to remember is that Instagram isn’t really a selling platform. They’ve deliberately made it difficult to link away from their app and website in order to sell someone a product — yet brands have huge success driving sales through Instagram.
How is that possible?
Because the brands that do it best remember to share first, and sell second.
LEGO does an incredible job balancing different types of content that engage and remind their audience about buying the product.
They often share the incredible creations users make with LEGOs, quick tutorial videos for how to make simple projects, and fun historical facts about the brand. And of course they share images of new products and movies.
But maybe their most popular posts are their fun LEGO takes on pop culture — like this one for the “LEGO Fold,” a parody of the new Samsung Galaxy Fold. That kind of fun, engaging, relevant content is a formula for going viral on Instagram. There’s no “LEGO Fold” kit for sale to go along with it, but the post has been live for only 8 hours as we write this, and it already has more than 34,500 likes; that’s engagement the company can absolutely take to the bank.
If you focus on these strategies when building your Instagram brand, you’ll be well on your way to creating an Instagram brand that sells — but don’t stop there! Click here to download the 2-Week Instagram Challenge and start it today. I created it specifically as a companion to my Instagram Destination Guide inside Business Class, and it’s the first step you should take toward turning Instagram from a distraction into a strong business marketing tool!