Ok, hands up. Honesty time. Who went and set up an Instagram account for their business because, well, someone told you should? Did someone say to you, “You sell your stuff? Well you need to be on Instagram then.” And then did you just go and set up your account, but not really know why?
Well you’re not alone, it’s something a LOT of us end up doing. We end up on social media with some vague idea that we have to be there, but not really understanding why the heck we’re there in the first place, or what we’re trying to achieve. Well, beyond ‘getting more sales’ anyway. And in my eyes that’s so vague it’s not really a goal.
Look, I did it too. When I first started my jewellery business I opened a Facebook account and a twitter account, because it seemed like the RIGHT thing to do.
So when Instagram came along, that seemed like a no-brainer too. But what I didn’t understand was WHY I needed to be on Instagram. Because if I’d known that straight away, well that would have made my life a WHOLE LOT easier!
Well if you have set up an Instagram account, then well done. I truly do think it’s an essential for any creative business. It’s a medium that centres around photographs and images and is a truly creative space, and it gets you out there.
But let’s be clear on the overall goal of Instagram. Because if you’re JUST on Instagram to sell, and nothing else. Well, you’re likely to be pretty disappointed. Because here’s the thing. Here’s the ONE BIG SECRET TO INSTAGRAM: It’s not about selling at all really. It’s about relationships. And namely, building them with potential customers and other business owners.
Now I know you’ll probably be saying right about now, “But Victoria, you CAN sell stuff on Instagram. You can have a shop and EVERYTHING!” And that’s true. You can have a shop. However, if you just put your stuff out there without building any relationships first, well you’ll be hearing crickets (i.e. nothing).
The whole point of Instagram is meeting people. People who might like to buy your stuff eventually, people who you can help support you and people who inspire you. Yes, I like to think of Instagram as a great big networking platform. Which actually, is what it is. But I think it’s easy to forget that.
Meeting your perfect customers on Instagram (as well as your perfect support network) is what it’s all about. It’s the perfect platform for them to get to know you, so that they will eventually feel comfortable enough to buy from you. But relationships don’t happen overnight (even virtual ones), it’s something you need to work on and build over time.
Repeatedly having conversations with your customers on Instagram and building a relationship with them – that’s what will bring you in the sales. Not just chucking out a photo of a pair of earrings and hoping for the best.
Make sure you talk about yourself in your bio, your stories, and your posts. Include photos of yourself and talk about your life. Instagram is about connections and people connect with other people NOT products.
If you do this, you put yourself out there and go and find your ideal customers to talk to and build relationships with, that’s when the magic happens. And that’s when the SALES WILL COME. So think of your Instagram goal as making connections with new customers, and it may just become a sales platform for you too!