If you’ve watched my Get Unstuck webinar on personal branding basics, you heard me give some tough love advice, to a rising group, on the 'gram: instagram entrepreneurs or instapreneurs. What is an instapreneur, you ask? The person who thinks they can build a business solely by creating a separate Instagram page and a "business" gmail account. They have no digital identity, no personal brand, and no interest in doing anything more than crowding our feeds with low quality before-and-after pictures. (Was that shade? A little.) Now, I'm not knocking you Herbalife coaches, It Works people, weavepreneurs and rookie boutique owners. Do you boo-boo, do you. However, I would be remissed if I didn't shed some light on the things that can be done better to build a more profitable and credible long-term business. I've only been consulting for 5 years and had my LLC for 4, so I will own up to the fact that I don't know everything about everything. Nonetheless, this journey has allowed me to learn some important lessons about longevity and help others do the same. If you have no interest in being in business past a few months or a couple years, then stop reading, you'll be alright. If you want to stop being stagnant, keep reading to see if these are things you haven't considered before. #ThankMeLater
1. You haven't bothered to build your credibility.
It's both endearing and heartbreaking to see the passion and hustle that instapreneurs have. Often times, a lot of businesses die because the person has exhausted their immediate network and sales just stop. You need to be able to let others know, like and trust you, in order to expand your network, increase your exposure and close more deals.
[Tweet " If you can't sell to a stranger, your business can't survive."]
You need to build trust with your audience so that they can be comfortable buying whether they know you or not. What makes you think that I'm going to buy just anything off some random on Instagram? Studies have shown that people are more likely to purchase a product based on a recommendation. Are you recommendable? As a consumer, I want to know what makes you qualified? How are you a subject matter expert? I'm going to be looking for knowledge and social proof that you know your stuff and deliver in your band promise.
One person who does this well is my fellow Latina Massy Arias, aka Mankofit. Because she has done it for herself, you can trust that she knows what she's talking about.
She builds trust by giving tips and advice like recipes and exercises, so that you are confident in her abilities to get results. By investing in her first, you can then invest in what she's selling.
2. You forget to leverage other social media channels. Instagram isn't the only place to engage people.
This may come as a shock, but Instagram is not the only place where your target market exists. Granted there are 300 million people on the platform, but there are also 7.3 billion people in the world. Your job is to figure out where else they are online and offline. If you have a website and Google Analytics, you can see where your audience is coming from and identify communities and social networks that are worth spending your time on. But if you don't, you can just use the following tips to decide if a network is right for you.
Periscope: if you post before-and-after pictures or sell products you need to leverage periscope: the home of DIY, how-tos and teachable moments.
I shared some examples with a new boutique owner on my Get Unstuck Webinar and talked about some ideas for those selling body wraps too.
Twitter: a great way for you to build connections with media and for your personal brand, especially through Twitter chats. If you want to expand your network and get some press coverage, this can be a place to start.
Pinterest: if you have any visual content and a website, Esty or Selz store to drive people to. Pinterest is a traffic driver, you want to curate boards that represent your brand's lifestyle, but also capitalize on the click-throughs.
Find creativity somewhere in your heart and soul, because you are going to need it. In order to avoid spamming your followers, you need to find a new way to say the same thing over and over again. Start to think like a publisher and listen to what your audience wants to know.
Here is what your page doesn't need to look like:
If you are selling weave for example, then your audience is into hair. Give them some tips about how to keep their edges on deck, how to keep their tracks from itching and ways to take care of their hair between sew-ins. (I've never worn a weave so excuse me if my terminology is off, but y'all get the point.)
Bonus yet obvious reason: Your pictures are trash.
Take better Instagram pictures. How? 1st you need to get a better camera. Phone cameras aren’t the greatest quality, so investing in a camera is crucial to taking more appealing photos. Be more mindful about balance, the rule of thirds, lighting and framing. Not every photo should be a selfie or meme, and the regram app should just die. It’s actually the worst. Create clean crisp images with photo and camera apps like VSCOCam, Snapseed and Afterlight. Trust me, they are a game changer.