Facebook has always been my favorite place to get new clients. But that certainly doesn’t mean it’s the only place! There are tons of different ways you can score clients. The trick is to try stuff and see what works for you! If Instagram is already your favorite social media platform, it’s kind of a no-brainer that marketing on Instagram might be a good idea for you.
Instagram is probably my second or third favorite platform (after Facebook and Pinterest), but I’ve actually been getting into it a lot more lately, especially since they added the Stories feature.
And, truth be told (at least according to this study), Instagram gets 10x the engagement than Facebook, and people tend to be more interested when moving from the platform to outside websites, compared to other social platforms.
In fact, I’ve gotten quite a few clients from Instagram, so I know first-hand what a great client acquisition tool it can be.
So, just in case Instagram is YOUR favorite platform, here’s exactly how to knock it out of the park with your marketing on Instagram and attract tons of new clients!
How to Get Clients by Marketing on Instagram
I have a bunch of tips that I want to give you guys today, so I’m going to break this up into a few different categories.
Get Your Account Basics on Point
There are so many little things you can do to make marketing on Instagram a million times easier, so if you don’t already have these things on lock, it’s time to get it done.
Make sure you have a business account.
First of all, if you do have a personal account that you want to use for your business, make sure to transition it into a business account.
If you’re not sure whether you want one, here’s a fun and useful infographic from Later that you can use to help you make the decision:
The main difference between a personal account and a business account is that you get to see statistics of your account, and you can get contact buttons, too.
If you’re connected to your Facebook page, your business account will also show the type of business you are below the account name, so make sure that is set up on Facebook and is relevant!
Be strategic about naming your account.
As you’re transitioning more into marketing on Instagram, make sure that your handle matches the name of your business, or whatever you go buy in the business world, for consistency’s sake. It shouldn’t be, like, @cheergirl37.
If you do have an old account like this that you don’t want to change the name of, consider keeping two accounts: one for personal and one for business. I actually find that this can work really well, because if you are using one account for both purposes, your algorithm is going to get all screwed up. Personally, I actually have an account that I don’t even post on, but just use to keep up with friends and celebrities that I follow. Whereas my @mirandanahmias account is purely for business.
While you’re at it, make sure your account name is descriptive. Most people leave it as the default, which is typically just your handle or your full name, but you’re totally missing out if you do this!
This ninja trick allows people to see your handle and your job title when engaging with you on the platform. If you’re trying to be known for something specific, implementing this kind of name association is key.
Your bio is the most important thing ever.
Seriously, your bio is SO important. Do not overlook it.
If you’re going to be marketing on Instagram, you need to give some thought into what you’re going to put in your bio section. Having an amazing bio can be the make or break as to whether someone will contact you.
Keep your bio short and sweet, and focus on getting across, in the most simplest terms, what it is that you do. Try not to get too fancy with it, and make sure that it’s obvious what service(s) you offer.
Your bio is also where you get to include a clickable link. My favorite way to do this is by using Linktr.ee, which is a free service that lets you showcase multiple links in one.
Here’s an example of what that looks like:
At the bare minimum, you’ll want to make sure to include links to your:
- Blog (if you have one)
- Services page/contact form
- Lead Magnet
Other ideas for optional links:
- Facebook group
- Other social media platforms
- Discovery call Acuity scheduler
- Your site’s “Start Here” page
- Upcoming webinar or event
- Most recent blog post
- Most recent podcast episode/video upload/live stream
An eye-catching profile photo.
If you have one, it’s best to use a professional headshot here. If possible, pick one that captures your personality vs. one that’s more traditional or straight faced.
Here are a few examples of some really good Instagram profile photos:
The best guidelines I can give you are more along the lines of what NOT to do:
- Don’t use a photo that’s blurry or super obviously a selfie. We want fun, but professional.
- Unless it’s relevant to your brand, choose a photo that doesn’t feature your kid(s), husband, or pet(s).
- If possible, the photo should be a close-up of your face, or from waist-up. If it’s shot from too far away, we won’t be able to make it out.
- Cool it with the artsy filters and angles (again, unless it’s somehow relevant with your brand)
- Use a shot of YOU, not your brand’s logo, unless you consider yourself to be a corporate or widely known brand.
That being said, sometimes not following the rules is a good thing. It all depends on what you’re going for and how you want your brand to be perceived.
Your Posts and Your Feed
Once your account is set up and ready to go, the next important step to get good at marketing on Instagram is content creation.
Most of the content you post on Instagram is going to be in the form of photos, and the captions that go along with those photos.
Make sure your feed looks professional and cohesive
When it comes to attracting new clients, even more so that consistency, frequency, or anything else, is having a feed that looks professional.
When you come across someone on Instagram, their feed is pretty much the first thing you check out. Besides your photo and bio, your feed is what they check out right away. It’s like your virtual first impression on Instagram, so make sure it’s awesome!
The good thing is that having a cohesive, professional feed isn’t actually all that hard.
It can be easy to get caught up in thinking that everything you post on Instagram has to be amazing, original photography that you spent a ton of time on. But that’s simply not true!
While some of your content should be original photos, that’s not the only thing you can post. So if you aren’t good at photography, or only have a small amount of original photos to share, here are some other things you can post:
- Stock photos
- Styled stock photography
- Graphics, like quotes and tips
- Blog post/podcast graphic
I like to plan out my feed in advance using a tool like Planoly to make sure that it doesn’t look too crazy or unbalanced.
You can also make sure it stays cohesive-looking by sticking to a certain color scheme, utilizing a pattern, and alternating the types of things you post (e.g. don’t share two selfies in a row, etc.).
Utilize your captions.
Your caption is valuable real estate on Instagram (especially those first few lines), so use it wisely.
Depending on what you’re posting, there are a few great ways to use your captions:
Promote whatever content you’re sharing. If you’re sharing the image from a recent blog post, use the caption to promote that blog post (use #linkinbio). Talk about why they should check the post out, how it could help them, share a quote from the post, or give an extra tip that goes along with what the post is about.
Share a personal story. I like to pair personal stories along with selfies, for obvious reasons. I try to come up with stories that are business-related or somehow relate to what I offer. Your caption is a great place to share something vulnerable with your audience, or something that they can relate with. Sharing like this allows them to learn more about you, feel like they are getting to know you, and also encourages them to engage with or comment on the post.
Ask a question. Asking a question is my favorite way to encourage engagement from my audience. I may just ask a simple question in the caption, or share a tip then ask a question. But don’t just ask a random question…keep it related to business, and if possible, ask something that your target market would feel inspired to answer.
Shoutout to current or prospective clients. Tag current or prospective clients in your captions to increase engagement from a specific person. You can share a project that you’re working on with a current client (if allowed), or repost something from a prospective client. Share about whatever it is you’re posting and your recipient will feel valued and special! This is a great way to get on someone’s radar.
Be strategic about when you post.
Instagram algorithms and best practices are always changing, but I recommend to post at least 3-4 times per week, if not once per day. This will make sure that you are staying consistently relevant in the feeds of your target market, without inundating them with too much content.
If you have an Instagram business account, your stats will also show you what are the best days and times of day to post. Make sure to check these stats at least once a month, and adjust your posting schedule as necessary.
For posting on my account, my favorite tool to use for this is Grum.
Straight-up advertise your stuff
I prefer to take the “bootstrap” and organic engagement methods. But if you are interested in shelling out some cash to be really effective at marketing on Instagram, there are two ways you can do this.
You may have seen something like this pop up in your feed before, where Instagram tries to convince you to promote a recent post for more engagement/reach. This is basically Instagram’s version of “boosted posts” you can do with Facebook pages.
Similar to how I feel about boosted posts, I’m pretty much of the opinion that Instagram is just trying to get you to spend money on their platform.
But it may be helpful if you have a post that you think would be really awesome for getting new clients and you want to increase its exposure a bit. Just don’t go too crazy.
Running Facebook Ads on Instagram
Another way you can use ads for marketing on Instagram is by running a Facebook ad that also goes to Instagram.
This method is different from promoting a post, because you can add a button that goes to an outside site. This is best if you have some type of offer, like a lead magnet, product/service, or event that you’re promoting.
Use networking to build relationships with potential clients
If you know me, you know that when it comes to client acquisition, I’m all about building relationships. Getting clients truly has so much more to do with who you know than anything else. Instagram is just another tool you can use to achieve this!
I also think that it can be valuable to build relationships with people across multiple platforms.
If you’ve been chatting with someone in a Facebook group and think that they might be a good potential client, reaching out to them on Instagram as well is a great way to solidify that relationship and increase brand recognition. Just don’t get too creepy or persistent!
Focus on a specific niche or community within the Instagram platform.
In my Build Your Biz Bootcamp, I talk a lot about why niching yourself is important, and how to go about doing that. If you haven’t already chosen a niche for your business, you might want to check that resource out!
Once you have a solid grasp on what niche you’re going after (e.g. first-time moms of newborns), find that community on Instagram and start building relationships.
It might be a good idea to identify who is really popular and active within that niche on Instagram, and focus on networking with those people, as they can be a gateway to connect you with or expose you to great potential clients.
Use hashtags to find your people and help people find you.
If you’ve already started marketing on Instagram, you probably know that each niche or community on Instagram has its own hashtags. You’ll want to identify what those hashtags are, and use them to promote yourself within that niche.
Especially now that you can follow hashtags, this is a great way to get exposure to people in a certain niche who don’t know about you or follow you yet.
You can also follow those hashtags on your own account. This will help you find other people within that niche to network with.
Identify 25-50 people using those niche hashtags that you want to network with. Then, consistently engage with them on a daily/weekly basis.
Focus on helping people in your niche.
Any type of marketing, which includes marketing on Instagram, is all about getting people to like, know, and trust you and your brand. To get people to like you, you’ll want to make a good impression on them. A great way to do this is by focusing on providing value and knowledge to the people in your niche.
On Instagram, you can do this by sharing posts that are helpful, answering people’s questions, and sharing or reposting resources.
Keep your ear to the ground when networking within your niche and notice what people are talking about. What questions do they have, what struggles are they going through, what confuses them, etc.
Use that knowledge to create great content that will endear those people towards you.
Send direct messages to grow your relationships
There are kind of two ways you go about this.
You can use direct messages the kosher way. Simply focus on getting to know people, having conversations, and building your relationships organically.
Or you can use direct messages as a way to cold pitch people.
Cold pitching through direct messages is tricky, and is often seem as spammy. But there is a way you can do it successfully and without pissing people off.
Related Post: The Best Way to Cold Email Prospective Clients
Don’t be spammy.
First of all, when you’re marketing on Instagram, don’t use any auto-direct messaging service. If you are going to send someone a cold pitch, it should be personalized and manual at the very least.
And before you send someone a direct message, make sure that you’ve engaged with them outside of their DMs first. Like their posts, comment on their posts, and view their Stories for a few days or weeks before sending them a DM. They should recognize your name/profile picture when you DM them…the goal is not for them to say “who the heck is this?” when they get your DM.
Get people to be responsive to your messages.
Once you open up that direct message conversation, you’ll probably want to prime someone first before sending them a cold pitch.
- Introduce yourself, use some small talk, ask them about themselves and their business, then pitch yourself.
- Another way to make your pitch go over better is to pitch something besides your services.
- Invite them to friend you on Facebook
- Ask them to sign up for a lead magnet
- Tell them about a blog post you wrote that they might like
- Encourage them to book a free strategy call
- Invite them for a friendly coffee chat
Pitching doesn’t necessarily have to be all about selling…what you want to do is progress the relationship. That can be done in any number of ways. The path to purchase doesn’t always go from stranger directly to client. Often you’ll need to spend time nurturing that relationship for a while before you get to the point where they’re ready to hire you.
And remember that not all of your relationships are about getting people to hire you.
Maybe you just want to make them aware of what you do, to increase your brand exposure. The idea is to get in their head as someone who is an expert in a specific area. So even if they’re not open to hiring you themselves, they’re more likely to recommend you to others.
If you do send a cold pitch, use a script.
If you do want to go the true cold pitch route where it’s all a numbers game, here’s a great script I found from Aly Faulk:
“Hey there, I’m Al! I was looking for hair salons in the area and found your page. I noticed that you don’t have a website so I wasn’t able to get that much information about the services you offer. If you are interested in having a personalized website for your company so that you can reach more people and bring in more clients, I happen to be a web designer* and I’m actually running a special this month for small businesses! If your interested in chatting more about increasing your reach let me know! But if not, no worries!”
Keep track of who you send your pitch to and your response rate. Get a baseline of how effective your script is, and then start to tweak it and split test. Keep track of those numbers as well, and you’ll slowly start to see improvements over time.
Stories are where it’s at.
At least for me, when it comes to marketing on Instagram, Stories are my favorite way to do this!
You can post Stories multiple times a day (3-10 Stories is my personal recommendation). That means it’s easy to slip some promotional material into the mix.
I also think it’s a great way to casually information about who you are and what you do. Plus, since it’s video, you typically will get better engagement over regular posts. And people will be more easily able to relate to you and get to know you!
Here are a few ways you can use Stories for marketing on Instagram:
- Share sneak peeks of blog posts, products, etc.
- Show a new testimonial you just got
- Promote new stuff like a blog post, podcast episode, content upgrade, etc.
- Do a how-to post
- Show the behind-the-scenes of what you do and where/how you work
- Share helpful information or tips
- Reference your services and how you help people
- Introduce yourself and your business often
- Talk about your “why” and your passion for what you do
Don’t just do Stories, do Lives, too!
If you want to get really into marketing on Instagram, another great way to do this is to do Live videos, not just Stories!
In order to save time for myself and repurpose content, I share the same Lives on Instagram that I do in my Facebook group.
I’ve set it up that I can share both at the same time. I use my webcam with the app eCamm Live to broadcast on Facebook. While at the same time using my iPhone to go Live on Instagram.
Here’s what my setup looks like:
I also will repurpose this content by recording the video and uploading it to YouTube. Then I’ll share it as a podcast episode. Plus, you can also transcribe it and turn it into a blog post. But that’s a blog post for another day!
As you can see, there’s a lot to marketing on Instagram, but when done right, it works really well! And if Instagram is your favorite platform, you’ll enjoy this instead of it feeling like work.
The important part about getting clients for your business is to find the methods that work best for YOU. Once you know what those are, focus 100% of your efforts there.
Want even more tips about how to get clients for your business? Sign up for my 5-Day Client Challenge, where I teach you how to get your first, or next, client in 5 days or less.