You post every day.
You’ve connected your booking link to your Instagram bio.
You’re telling people how they can work with you…
But nothing. Your Instagram posts snag some likes and comments, but bookings on your calendar aren’t coming from Instagram despite your efforts, and I’ll tell you why that might be…
You’re looking at Instagram as a place to make sales, but Instagram is a sharing platform, not a selling platform.
Do sales happen through Instagram? Absolutely!
Larger brands, especially e-commerce brands may see great direct sales numbers roll through Instagram, but for the independent small/solo business owner, that’s not how Instagram works, and it’s the constant selling on Instagram that’s likely keeping you from attracting new clients through the platform.
For example, here’s what I see a lot on Instagram as it pertains to beauty professionals:
“Here’s my new service, book today.”
“Here’s my promo for this treatment that I’m running, book now.”
“I have openings, click here to book.”
These posts can be appropriate in moderation, but only when you’ve done a high degree of sharing, providing value, and creating connecting content that doesn’t directly ask for a sale because without all that front end work of “giving,” the ask is never going to connect.
With this thought process at the forefront, we have to shift from looking at Instagram as a sales machine and instead as a bridge (built on your know, like, and trust factor) where you’ll transport someone from being a random scroller over to an intrigued follower and eventually to the other side of the platform, which is likely your website where someone can book with you.
Here’s how to build that bridge and get your audience across it:
1) Educate Your Audience
For a beauty professional, one of the most crucial elements of the know, like, and trust factor is trust.
People are putting the health of their skin, appearance of their face (sometimes permanently or semi-permanently), and hair in your hands.
You have the power to transform their confidence, both for the good and the bad. Now I know if you’re reading this, you’re excellent at what you do because you’re taking the time to grow your business and your skill set, which is what invested experts do…
But your potential clients don’t know that.
You have to educate them on the services you provide, how they benefit your clients, what’s involved in the process and why they should choose you to be their go-to expert.
Keep in mind, this educating piece doesn’t need to be overly complicated or too nitty-gritty in the details.
We just want to provide our audience with the most crucial information they need to know that would help them to decide as to whether this service or product would be a good fit for their needs and if you’re the best person to provide it to them.
When you can educate your potential clients is this way, you don’t even have to say, “Come book with me.”
You can simply say, “If you want to learn more information about this treatment, I’ve got an awesome blog post about it linked up in my profile where you can learn more,” or “Go head to my FAQ page to see the answers to the main questions every newbie asks about [insert your topic here.]”
Let’s say you’re educating through content shared in an Instagram story. You can then ask that your viewer head to the latest post in your feed to get a better look at before-and-afters, etc.
You always want to invite your viewer to take the next step, but that next step shouldn’t always be a sale.
2) Demonstrating Through the Power of Video
In conjunction with educating to build your know, like, and trust factor, you’ll also want to embrace video as a primary type of content on your Instagram presence.
Not only is video one of the top-performing types of media on social, but when people can see your face, hear you talking, and view your work in real-time (the power of Live video is incredible!), you’re helping to transport your potential client to a place where they feel like they know you before ever actually engaging with you 1-on-1 and they can envision themselves working with you.
For example, if you’ve ever watched a television show routinely or listen to the same podcast on your way home from work, there’s an element of kinship with the people you hear and see on a consistent basis…
It almost feels like you know them even though they don’t know you in the slightest.
That’s the effect you have when you can consistently commit to showing up on video. You’re creating a more in-depth connection that transcends the typical written word caption (which is also essential), but the best part is, you’re not an unreachable persona on a tv show, you’re a real person who can create a connection with your audience directly in the comments or in your direct message inbox.
3) Creating Authentic Connections
Finally, in addition to educating your audience and demonstrating your skill set to lead to more inquiries (and thus sales), you have to put effort into connecting.
Again, Instagram is a relationship-building platform. Having great content is one large piece of the puzzle, but then comes the bit of actually being a part of the community, and that means taking the extra time and effort to engage with your audience.
Part of that involved engaging with the people who comment and like the posts on your account and send you messages, but it also requires you to branch out on the Instagram platform and draw in people who could be your ideal clients.
For example, search local hashtags for your community. Go through and find people that are in the top nine of that hashtag. Those tend to be local micro influencers.
Build relationships with those micro influencers who match your persona for an ideal client, and then take it a step further by going into their comment section and beginning to engage with the people engaging on their account.
With this approach, you’re doing social data mining and networking by looking for the common threads that connect you with the most influential people in your immediate area and finding a way to start conversations with the people who stand to be a great fit and future loyal clientele for your business.
I know this sounds like a lot of work, but it doesn’t need to be difficult. Simply dedicating 15 to 20 minutes of this activity per day leads to your account getting a substantial boost within the Instagram platform, so you’re more easily found by the people who want to be seen by, but also build connections with people in a way that doesn’t require the exhausting process of continually asking followers to “book now, book now, book now” with little results to show for it.
And finally, what is possibly one of the best outcomes of building your Instagram presence through educating, demonstrating, and connecting is that you effectively eliminate bargain hunter clients who are only looking for an Instagram promo or last-minute spot to fill where you’re more likely to provide a discount.
Instead, you’ll build a base of people who are most likely to become your loyal clients who are happy to book ahead, pay your full price, and may even tell you, “I would pay you more.”