Season

Growing the right audience for your business on Instagram

Having bespoke products for sale and a stop-you-in-the-tracks Instagram feed is great. But you still need to find the watering holes of your audience. For sure, they are on Instagram (hello, there’s 1 billion users), but how do we find the right ones for you?

Simply growing your audience with a bunch of followers is not enough nor is it sustainable if it’s not yielding profits. There’s a massive difference between popularity versus profits. To illustrate this point further, let me introduce you to two makers.

Hannah knits merino blankets for the modern home. She has a following of 2,000 followers on Instagram. She makes an average of $1000/day.

Jane knits merino blankets for the modern home. She has a following of 34,000 followers on Instagram. She makes an average of $20/day.

If you had to pick, which of the maker would you rather be - Hannah or Jane? Now, of course these two makers live entirely in my imagination *insert laughing face emoji here *. But imagine for a second how many people exist who share these scenarios? Maybe you can relate…

Jane has a lot of followers, but they aren’t engaged and as targeted as Hannah’s following. Maybe Jane’s followers aren’t clicking when she shares a link to her latest sale or newest collection. Perhaps Jane’s followers don’t attend the market she mentioned she’ll be at, selling her products. Maybe each week only 1 person clicks on Jane’s online shop link.

Getting the right audience for your Instagram account is worth putting efforts into. But first, how do you know who’s the right audience for you? Let’s take a deeper look at this.

annie-spratt-259353-unsplash.jpg

What is the right audience for you?

The right audience is made up of people who will love not only your products and your brand, but what they represent, and the values you share. Chances are, they’ll share similar values. They will want to support you and your business because on some level, they share the same beliefs you do. E.g sustainable fashion for a sustainable planet OR plus-size models on your Instagram who aren’t photoshopped because they believe every person is beautiful just the way they are.

  1. The right audience will cheer you on when you hit a low (if you’re a solopreneur, you know what I’m referring to). They’ll understand that not everything will be absolutely perfect. They’ll overlook the technical glitch at check-out when they add to cart. They won’t judge that you used Canva to make your quotes for Instagram (shout out to my own followers here!). They will be patient as you slowly grow, slowly market, slowly produce.

  2. The right audience will be captivated by what you say on Stories. They’ll respond to your call-to-actions, your polls, your questions within your captions. They’ll go read your blog when you ask them to. They’ll check the samples you made and vote for which one they prefer. They’ll give you honest feedback and be glad to write a review after they’ve purchased your product.

  3. The right audience will be actively keeping a lookout for your posts (just like that, rise above the whole Instagram algorithm debacle). If you go MIA, they might message you and ask you what’s up (oh trust me! #beenthere).

  4. The right audience will not only be delighted and charmed by what you post, but they’ll be your brand ambassadors as well on social media. They’ll give you shout-outs, tag you, chat to you like they’re your friends - that’s how much they’ll develop trust in you (plus a little crush on your brand!).

If you haven’t experienced this for yourself yet, I know, it can seem a bit too good to be true. But I can share plenty of stories with you, from clients I worked for back in my social media manager days, and also in my own life. I have this kind of relationship with people I’ve bought courses from, used services from, or provided services to. You get what you put out there - if you want to live in a world where you celebrate creativity and genuine connections, then show up and build those relationships with your audience.

How to grow the right audience on Instagram?

  • Share your values. Ensure you inject your personal values or your brand’s values in your social media posts, and communicate these through everything you do on Instagram. It doesn’t always have to be right in your face, but subtlety works too. Your values can be communicated in the types of raw materials you use, how ethical your production is, how you treat your clients but also your colleagues.

  • Visual storytelling. Pictures can tell a thousand words and that’s SO true with Instagram! Within a few seconds of someone viewing your Instagram feed, they can make an impression of you and what they think your brand is about. Be clear and intentional about the types of stories you’re sharing when you post images on Instagram or on your Stories. From the choice of images, to the colours, and the overall look and filters you apply, all of this helps tell a story and also set the mood and scene.

  • Have a conversation. Friends have long, soulful conversations, but also silly ones. Engage in conversations with your audience. By letting people get to know you a bit better, you’re going to attract those that love how you speak/write. Obviously the ones who don’t resonate with your message might not follow back, or will stop following (that’s OK!).

  • Connect with the right people. When you follow accounts or engage in commenting with other accounts on Instagram, ensure that there’s some kind of synergy going on. For example, it makes sense that if you’re a calligraphist for weddings, you’ll be engaging more with bridal companies, or providers to bride and grooms, as well as newly engaged people about to tie the knot.

I hope this post has given you more clarity on what the right audience can mean for you and your business, and also that you need to be actively growing this. If you’re unsure if you’re communicating your values and growing the right audience, you might want to have a social media audit of your Instagram. That’s something I can help you with.

What is a social media strategy and why do you need one?

nathan-dumlao-625110-unsplash.jpg

Having a social media presence is great for your brand and business, but without a good strategy, your efforts can seem fruitless. If you’re passionate about your brand and what you do, I am sure you want to see some form of results. This can be an enquiry from a visitor to your Facebook page or a ‘like’ to what you just posted on Instagram about your offer.

What is a social media strategy?

Let’s begin by unpacking what it is. A social media strategy is essentially a plan that guides you in how you’ll be using social media to reach your desired goals.These goals could be driving traffic to your online shop or blog, raising awareness about your product, or boosting the sales of your product. It’s about building a genuine connection between your brand and your customers.

What it isn’t - some kind of 'military action plan to kill’ or ‘win the game’. It is not a game. It is a not a battle field. I’m talking pure, simple strategy that doesn’t make you feel like you’ve sold your soul. It has to be aligned with your values, be authentic, and be easily actionable even if you’re not a social media marketer.

It’s how my clients discover me and hire my services. It’s how you too can make sales without having to scream out your offers.

The five elements of a successful social media strategy:

  • Getting clear on your brand, your products, and what you’re offering to others.

  • Knowing who you want as customers, and how you can help them.

  • Knowing how you’ll present your brand & offers to the people you wish to have as customers.

  • Building genuine connections so that you captivate your audience so they take the action you want (without having to force or manipulate).

  • Creating a workflow that allows you to do the above in a way that feels comfortable to you, and with confidence.

My signature framework

I have designed an easy-to-follow framework that helps you build a successful social media strategy that’s tailored to who you are, your values, your brand, and your customers. My personal framework does that in three simple stages: Season, Strengthen, and Sustain. I go deep with this in my private 1:1 coaching package and work collaboratively with you to create a social media strategy that not only feels good but also provides results.

If you too want to create a successful social media strategy, be attentive to what your customers want, and what their struggles and/or dreams are. Make sure you know exactly how to infuse your personality and brand values in the way you present yourself on social media so that your brand tone resonates with your audience, ultimately captivating them. Finally -and I cannot stress this one enough - have a social media content plan. Let’s not forget that you have other things to do within your business, not just social media. A good plan means you’ll know when best to roll out certain offers as well as seize opportunities of important days or capitalise on social media days. You’ll certainly won’t be getting sucked into the endless scrolling rabbit hole nor will you stare blankly not knowing what to post next on Instagram.

Ultimately, it’s about getting a grip on social media and leveraging it in a powerful (yet soulful) way. If you’re ready to start using social media with heart as well as implementing a solid strategy, click here to read how we can work together. Let’s make the next quarter your best yet!

2 Non Negotiable Qualities To Have on Social Media as an Artisan Brand

annie-spratt-397303-unsplash.jpg

You have a passion for your art, for your craft. You live a creative life, want to monetize your art or handmade products and want to share this passion on social media in your business.

Today, I’m sharing two non-negotiable qualities to have on social media. Having these two qualities will get you ahead.

You can also watch the LIVE replay I did on this exact topic by clicking here.

Patience

When it comes to social media, know that it’s something that takes time. Social media is about building relationships, connecting with people. It’s social, and online on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, etc. Just like in real life, relationships take time. Think about how you became friends with your current group of friends. You need a lot of shared moments.

Be patient as you’re building your following. At first you’ll find nobody really is finding you or interacting with you. It’s normal - you are just starting. Give yourself time, and be kind to yourself.

You need time to nurture your audience. Social media is long-term strategy not just a like here and there.

Care

You need to have genuine care for your audience and customers on social media. People have to see this on social media. How do they see that?

When someone comments on your Instagram post, don’t leave them hanging. Reply.

That person took time out of his or her day to ask you something or write you - reply. Even if it’s not a legit comment, other people are watching and viewing your account. If they see that you don’t respond to comments of other people, what gives them the incentive to comment? If you want more engagement, that’s key - engage with people who comment on your posts.

Make sure you infuse and inject care in what you do. Customers can feel that - how much care did you put in writing your posts, how much care you poured into crafting your bio, or doing this beautiful flatlay of your handmade, ethical products.

5 Instagram Mistakes You Are Probably Making (and how to fix them)

A South African business woman once contacted me for assistance on finding some makers on Instagram in the clothing, textile & fashion industry. While browsing some Instagram accounts, it became clear to me that this was going to be tricky. A lot of information was missing. It was difficult to tell whether these accounts were in business, or if they were doing it as a hobby.

Some of these Instagram accounts’ feed looked like a product catalog with a series of handmade items and salesy captions. Success, I thought. Clearly, they are in business. However, when I wanted to contact them, I was again met with certain ‘obstacles’ before I could make contact. I wasn’t particularly motivated to leave a comment because comments left by Instagram visitors before me were left unacknowledged. Why would it be any different to me?

Are you making these Instagram mistakes?

I’m writing this post to address the mistakes you might be making on Instagram as a small business owner. This can have serious impact on the profitability of your business. I’m here to provide you with some insight on what it is you might be making as mistakes, and how to fix them. You can also watch the LIVE replay on Facebook I made on this topic by clicking here.

Mistake #1 - Having your Instagram account settings set to ‘private’

It’s completely fine to have your settings set on private for a personal Instagram account. Maybe you have photos of your kids or really personal pics that you don’t want just anyone to see, unless you know them IRL.

As a business account though, you want to make it as easy as possible to be visible. That’s the reason you’re on social media. You want people to be able to see you and find you on Instagram. You want to attract prospective clients on Instagram by showcasing your products and what your brand is about. If you set your Instagram account on private, we have to first request to follow you, before we can see any of your posts. By the time you accept our request (it might be when we are asleep, or out of Instagram), we have probably forgotten about you.

Fix it: Make sure you have your settings set on public so anyone on Instagram can see your feed, follow instantly, and engage with you.

Mistake #2 - Incomplete bio

A good bio includes what it is you do, where to find you, or how to contact you. Are you a physical or online shop? Do you ship worldwide?

Fix it: Include a website link or where you want to drive traffic to. Make sure we know what your business is about, and can contact you easily.

Mistake #3 - Not using hashtags properly

I’ve seen two main things happen when it comes to hashtags within Instagram posts. The first instance is where someone uses hashtags as their caption. So they’ll post a photo of a tote bag and then include #totebag #greentote as a caption. Please, no! On the other spectrum, some don’t use hashtags at all, or don’t know what they are for, so include a bunch of hashtags that don’t serve any purpose for their artisan business.

Fix it: Hashtags regroups posts of a similar category you can use up to 30 hashtags in your Instagram posts. Include them into your caption itself instead of the comment section. Use hashtags to convey what your brand is about, e.g tropical or - season it with your personality.

For more visibility, or reach, use the hashtags appropriate to your brand and industry as well as a mix of popular hashtags and less popular ones (less than 10,000 posts).

Mistake #4 - The spammy posting

This is when you post five pics at once within the same hour or day. This could be spammy and intrusive on others’ feeds, especially if you’re a new account. Imagine scrolling your Instagram feed and seeing photos of five handmade items from ONE artisan brand. Talk about annoying, right? Careful with this, as that’s what can lead people to unfollow your Instagram account.

Mistake #5 - No consistency in posting

You’ve got people following you on Instagram for a reason (because they like your content) therefore it’s important that you show up. Don’t leave us hanging for months without posting anything. Or posting once every two months! Perhaps your challenge is that you post on Instagram when you have lots of pictures (maybe you’ve done a photoshoot), but once you’ve used them, you don’t have anything else to post. I totally understand - that’s why it’s key to plan ahead.

Fix it: Plan the content for your Instagram feed ahead of time. That way you can spread your images across several weeks or even months, and mix them with other types of posts (quotes, promo posts, behind-the-scenes, etc). If you do not have enough pictures to posts - go to Unsplash, Pexels, PixaBay.

I hope these tips above will be valuable to you and that if you’ve been making any of these ‘mistakes’ on Instagram, you’ll be taking action. Let’s use social media effectively - it will reward you in the long run in terms of profitability and client reach.