How to Get Clients Through Instagram
BY BIG CAT CREATIVE
The tools I use for maximum engagement and client inquiries on instagram
When I set out on my business journey, I knew I had to get involved in social media. But what to choose from? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Tumblr, Pinterest… it goes on. I’d heard from many successful business owners to not spread yourself thin, but pick a couple of platforms and be really good at those.
I knew straight away that I wanted to utilise Instagram, it was my favourite social media platform by far and I also knew that my ideal customer would be on Instagram too. Now, that’s really important. Before you read this blog about the best ways to get clients through Instagram, first think, “Is my target audience hanging out on Instagram?”. Because if they’re not, you shouldn’t be. Or at least, you shouldn’t spend much time on it.
Because, Instagram is very time consuming. It’s a completely free platform, but it can really suck up your time. So if you’re going to be dedicating part of your work week to Instagram marketing, then you want to actually be getting some clients out of it.
You may have seen my Instagram and thought to yourself, “what is she talking about she only has like 500 followers!”. It’s true, I don’t have many followers. But the followers I do have are high quality, engaging and very-interested-in-my-services followers. The amount of connections I have made and the amount of inquiries I get every week through Instagram is not a reflection of how many followers I have, but the quality of my followers.
So if you want to start getting some good quality followers, and some inquiries, read on!
1. Have a high quality, cohesive feed.
Ok, this is really obvious. But it’s really important.
- Post high quality images (that means not fuzzy or pixelated).
- Try to keep to a color scheme throughout your feed.
- If you’re using instagram filters, use the same filter for every photo, this keeps everything looking cohesive. Similarly, if you’re editing your photos on the computer, try to use the same editing techniques for each of your photos.
This is a lot more easily said than done, and it’s basically impossible to visualise what your next photo is going to look like in your feed until you’ve posted it. I use Planoly to schedule my photos, but I also use it to see what my feed will look like. It has a cool tool that lets you upload then rearrange your photos in your grid! It’s also completely free - bonus!
Here are 3 awesome examples of some of my fav Instagrammers that I follow that have beautiful feeds:
2. Update your business info.
- Add a good profile picture that reflects your brand. Either a logo, or a professional photo of yourself. No iphone selfie cam!
- Add a short description in the section that asks for “Name”. When someone gets a notification from you, it has that short description next to your username. For example it will say “bigcatcreativeco Branding & Website Design has requested to follow you” instead of “bigcatcreativeco Erica Hartwick has requested to follow you”.
- After that short description, add a longer description about your business that will attract your ideal audience. Who are you, and how are you helping? There’s an 150 character limit, so you’ll have to keep it short and sweet! You should spruce this up with some emojis and line breaks.
TIP: You can’t actually use line breaks when you’re typing your bio directing in the Instagram settings, but if you go to your Notes app, you can enter line breaks there (hit the return key). Then just copy and paste your bio from your Notes app into Instagram.
- Add a link to your website. You can add a link to your homepage, or anything new. I add my newest website design, and I use www.bit.ly to shorten the link. The link that I have in my bio gets good engagement.
Here's an example of my Instagram business bio:
3. Use #Hashtags.
- I see a lot of businesses overlooking hashtags, and not utilising them to their full potential. And with it getting harder and harder for your posts to be shown on Instagram, hashtags are your best friend. You can only use 30, and you should use 30.
- I like to put my hashtags in the comments under my post to keep my caption tidy (If you want to put them in the comments, you need to do this straight away).
- Finding hashtags to use is easy. Start by hashtagging about what you do. For example, I always put a few hashtags in about #design, #website design, #squarespace etc. Then from there, do some research to see what people in your industry are hashtagging. Ideally, you want to be using hashtags that your target audience will be searching. This takes a bit of research, and it also changes frequently, so try to keep an eye on trending hashtags.
- You’ll want to have variety of hashtags that you use, as it’s suspected that Instagram penalises users who continuously use the same 30 hashtags over and over again in every post (as in, your post might not show up for a certain hashtag if you’re using it too much). Try to change it up and keep it fresh!
- When you type in hashtags in your caption, it shows you how many posts there are under that hashtag. I recommend not using the hashtag if it has over one million posts, as a small fry, your post will most likely get buried in other posts. Try to use hashtags that are a bit more specific and have less posts, but are still popular enough that people will be scrolling through them. See the example below.
Psst, hey you!
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4. Tell a story with your captions.
People love to get to know you on Instagram. I follow a lot of business Women on Instagram that are incredibly successful and most of them write long captions about their life and struggles, I honestly feel like I know them. Obviously, I don’t know them, but that’s the magic of Instagram. You can utilise your caption to really connect with your audience. Although it can seem a bit strange at first, like you’re talking to a brick wall, it's worth it and you’re not. Your followers really love to read that stuff.
A really good example of someone who does this well is @jennakutcher. Not only is her feed beautiful, she always has a great story to tell with each picture.
It’s also a good trick to end your caption with a question (again, like talking to a brick wall) because this encourages people to comment, which brings me to...
5. Engage, engage, engage!
This one’s really important for building those connections with other business owners and potential clients. I have made a lot of great business relationships through Instagram, and also met a lot of people who have turned out to be clients. Many people overlook this step because it’s so time consuming, but for me it has been one of the most useful techniques for client acquisition.
Comment on people’s posts and really mean it, engage with their caption and write a meaningful response.
Especially try to engage with those that look like they could use your services, but be genuine about it and try to build a *real* Instagram relationship with them.
Watch and reply to people’s stories, as this goes directly into their IG inbox.
Replying to peoples comments on your post, especially if they are genuine comments (not just spam), is a good way to be social and engage. If they leave you a compliment, say thanks! It’s awesome to hear back from someone, and unless you have 10’s of thousands of followers, you should be able to do this pretty quickly and painlessly.
If you show people enough comment love, most people will show it back. This is extremely helpful as Instagram favours posts that have more comments (comments are more valuable than likes) and will push your post up the feed so more people see it. Bonus!
6. Post at least once a day.
- This is enough to keep your Instagram updated, relevant and your followers growing. It’s also not too much that you annoy your followers, and they unfollow you. There’s nothing worse than scrolling down your feed and one user has posted 10 photos in a row.
- Another tip is to check your target audience time zones. For me, engagement can be highest really late at night or early morning, because most of my target audience is in the USA, and I’m currently in New Zealand.
7. Plan your posts.
I can get a bit slack on this sometimes, I NEVER regret creating a bunch of content and scheduling it. It’s actually a huge time saver, when Instagram can be so time demanding.
- Sit down for a couple of hours once a week and gather the content you want to post. Then, put it into a scheduling tool. I use Planoly. It’s free and easy and has a great visual planner so you can see what your feed will look like. If your posts are planned for the week, then you won’t forget or avoid them, and you’ll keep on your trusty “once a day” schedule.
These are all of the tips I use get clients through my Instagram. My followers are growing every day, but more importantly, I’m connecting with fellow business owners and I’m getting direct messages through Instagram. I believe consistent engagement and sales are more important than lots of followers.
So, start applying these strategies and I can guarantee your engagement will start to grow. There’s no quick fix with Instagram (well, you can buy followers, but please don’t, it’s not going to help you at all) and it’s a true test of patience. But your hard work and hustle will definitely start to pay off, consistency is key!
Good luck grammers, and make sure to follow me on IG, I’d love to connect! Let me know in the comments if you have any other great Instagram tips!