I’ve asked a LOT of sellers what they need the most help with in their business.

The answer is the same 99% of the time…

Instagram Marketing!

So, I wrote a few blog posts with some key tactics that went over really well. I had lots of sellers telling me how helpful the tactics were, and how they got new followers and sales. Sweet!

Then I figured it was time to move on to another topic… I asked again,  

“What do you need the most help with to grow your biz?”

INSTAGRAM MARKETING!

This cycle literally happened for months…

I couldn’t get away from it, no matter how hard I tried!

I thought, “Okay I’ve explained what to do… why does everyone still need so much Instagram help?”

So I dug in deep to learn what the real problem was with all the information that was out there for Instagram marketing.

Why these strategies weren’t working for everyone, when they totally should.

Then I realized the problem was simple…

And the solution was even simpler.  

If it feels like you’re fighting to grow your Instagram… if getting new followers (and don’t even mention sales) is like pulling teeth, it’s honestly probably because you are fighting…

…fighting the way an Instagram account naturally grows!

You’ve heard that you should run contests to boost engagement, but when you post one, you only get a couple people to enter.

What are you doing wrong?…

You’ve heard that you should use hashtags to get new followers, but you haven’t noticed a difference.

What are you doing wrong?

The same thing everyone else I’ve talked to over the last year does…

Everyone is at a different stage in their Instagram growth, so you’re using the right strategy, at the WRONG time.

And it’s not your fault.

You read the crazy amount of information out there and you do what you’re taught, but nobody tells you WHEN to do it.

After aaaall this, I realized that for me to be able to help everyone, there needed to be a BIG picture of how a successful Instagram account grows so you could find where you are, and what you need to do. That would be the only way you’d see the real results these strategies promise.

So I’d like to introduce you to the missing piece of the no-longer-overwhelming puzzle…

The Instagram Marketing Roadmap.

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Click Here to Download the Instagram Roadmap!
 

This is your guide through exactly which strategies to use and when, based on how real (successful) Instagram accounts grow.

If you follow the Instagram Marketing Roadmap yours will too. (There is more information on each strategy, but the Roadmap is here to make sure you are doing things in the right order!)

Let me break it down for you…

 

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The things you need to have/do to set up your account to attract followers and turn them into customers later. These are 100% MUST HAVES, or else you’ll have problems down the road.  

Goals

Sometimes goals can seem more like these naggy little reminders that you didn’t do something you wanted to do.

That’s because not all goals are created equal!

Without the right kind of goals, you’re just wandering around, putting in just as much work, but getting way less results. And you don’t have any EXTRA time by any means.

You want to make sure every single minute of time you put into your business will pay off later. Goals will make that happen.

Actually-Helpful Goals…

  • are realistic (based on what you know you CAN do)
  • push you to go farther (a bit higher than what you know you CAN do)
  • are adjusted based on how close you get

Make sure you’re setting goals for how many followers you get and sales you make. They will help keep you on track realistically.

Knowing Your Audience

This is a piece of the puzzle you HAVE to have if you want any Instagram strategy to work.

Seriously. Honestly. 100% fo’ real.

You have to know your audience like you know your best friends.

You have to be able to relate to them on a deep, personal level and align your product with a desire you can give them, or a problem you can solve for them.

A lot of sellers on Instagram either make their account too much about them, or don’t know enough about their target audience to relate to them enough to even get close to being able to sell to them.

Click here to make sure you know what you need about your audience to write the right captions and share the right images on your Instagram to grow a large following of people that will actually buy from you.

 

The Perfect Instagram Bio

Most people don’t realize that a key player in your Instagram sale strategy is your bio.

It’s the part that links your awesome promo content to your online store (or wherever you want to send your followers).

So you want to make sure it has all the pieces of The Perfect Instagram Bio Formula if you want it to get you more followers, more clicks, and ultimately more sales:

  1. Clearly describe what you do/sell
  2. Relate to your audience and grabs their attention
  3. Tell followers what action to take (EX: “click the link to shop now”)
  4. Include a short and direct link to complete the action

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Click here for the full Perfect Instagram Bio Formula breakdown!

 

Quality Images

Instagram is all about the visuals.

OBVS.

You canNOT skimp out on the quality of your images if you want to look professional.

And looking professional = people trust you = they are more likely to buy from you.

Crappy, low quality images will make it ten bajillion times harder to get new followers.

And you know you need those followers if you want to make sales. But you don’t have to be an expert photographer with fancy equipment either.

This isn’t something you have to overthink.

When I’m talking image quality I’m not saying you have to be an expert at composition and you don’t have get all fancy.

I’m talking simple, and high quality. And when I say high quality, it really just means use a large enough image so it doesn’t get all pixel-y.

 

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Nice clean white backgrounds and natural lighting (hey, that’s free! lol) will do the trick – just make sure your images are these sizes and file types…

Instagram Image Sizes:

 

72 dpi

square photos: 1080px, 1080px

vertical photos:  1080 x 1350

horizontal photos: 1080 x 566

Instagram Image File Types:

  • jpeg for photos
  • png for vector / logo  / text

 

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The totally crucial things you’re going to always need to do (on the daily) for your Instagram. Actively try and get more followers, and post what they want to see and when!  

Post the Right Things at the Right Times for Optimal Engagement

To know what and when exactly to post for your particular audience, there is no ultimate guide with one answer.

Your audience is unique, just like your brand.

You don’t have to guess… you just have to test! You can get all the info you need about your audience straight from them. Test different types of posts at different times and keep track of which ones get the most likes, comments, followers, etc.

Then do more of what works!  

 

Use Hashtags to Get More Followers

Everyone’s heard how using the right hashtags can get you new followers.

But what most people don’t know is that there are TWO DIFFERENT TYPES of hashtags that are used for different reasons.  

Hashtag Type 1: hashtags to find potential followers

Hashtag Type 2: hashtags to get you found by potential followers

 Type 1 is focused on when you are starting out and don’t have a lot of followers yet.

When you are small, you can’t expect people to magically find you. You have to find THEM and virtually “introduce” yourself.

Type 2 is always used, but becomes more powerful the more followers and engagement you have.

With the right hashtags and posting frequently, your content will be more likely found by the right people. AND with enough engagement you can even score in the “Top Posts” which is prime real estate to get found!

Click here for the Definitive Guide to Using Hashtags For More Followers and I’ll teach you how to find both kinds for YOUR account.

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So the whole reason you’ve been growing your audience here is so you can turn your Instagram followers into customers! Doing that isn’t rocket science, let me explain what you need to know…

The Marketing Path

You don’t actually get sales and newsletter signups ON your Instagram account.

Unless you do sell straight on IG, that’s just where it all starts, and your followers are directed to take actions somewhere else to get you those sales and newsletter signups.

SO that’s why you have to direct them throughout the entire process until they complete the action – and that is called the Marketing Path.

The Marketing Path is the entire journey a follower takes from beginning to end, and it’s up to you and only you to clearly direct them at EACH step, each click until they buy/sign up.

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From Instagram, to your category page, to your product page, to the shopping cart. Or, from Instagram to each step of your opt in page.

Think of it like those little “exit” signs you see in parking garages… there’s one at literally EVERY turn so you never miss it or get lost.

That’s how direct you have to be if you want sales/signups.

Otherwise, your followers will just get frustrated and you’ll lose ‘em. So make sure your ENTIRE Marketing Path is set up with consistent images and CTAs to successfully guide your followers, and you’ll get more sales/sign ups!  

 

 

Collecting Valuable Leads

Building a newsletter is a fantastic way to collect “leads”, which are basically potential customers.

Sometimes people aren’t ready to buy right now, but they are still interested in what you’re all about.

These are people you don’t want to lose! They just take a little more convincing ;)

SO, keep them in your crowd and give them value. The more value you give them, the more likely they will be to buy from you. By value, I mean including stuff like this in your newsletter:

  • free downloadables (depending on your biz… recipes, workout plans, outfit ideas, etc)
  • coupon codes
  • heads up on sales
  • customer testimonials

(These are just a few examples to give you ideas. You should offer what is valuable in the eyes of your audience of course!)

But first, you have to collect those email addresses!

Collecting these leads on Instagram is really simple. Basically all you have to do is:

  1. change the link in your bio to your newsletter capture
  2. promo your newsletter in your posts

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If you aren’t sure what a newsletter capture is, or how to set one up yourself, click here and we’ll show you :)

 

Getting Sales

Alright, so this is the ultimate goal of your Instagram… the reason you’re collecting all these followers is so you can sell to them! To get the sales you’re after, you need to

  1. grow your followers
  2. direct them to buy

Simple.

No, really. It is simple.

The idea behind getting sales is directing your customers the entire way through the marketing path, and making it as easy as possible for them to buy.

The way you’re going to do that is by using CTA;s, or Call-to-Actions.

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You’ll want to use these CTA’s all throughout the marketing path to make the journey to the purchase as easy as possible for your customers. (Otherwise, you will lose them!)    

For more info on using CTAs to Turn Followers into Customers, check out this blog lesson.

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Here we’re talkin’ growing your account and your sales exponentially! Once you know your audience and have your systems down (know what to post and when) it’s time to do MORE of it – and I’ll give you some tips for doing it in less time ;)

Running Successful Contests

Contests are great for a couple reasons:

  1. they build hype around your account/brand/product
  2. you get new followers

Here are the steps to running a contest that your followers will actually enter, and will get you new followers…

Step 1: Choose what to give away

Make sure it’s something of enough value that your followers will want to enter AND makes sense for your audience… bundles are a great idea to add value.

Step 2: Decide how long your contest will run

Small prize = 1 day

Solid prize = 3 days

BIG prize = 5-7 days

(Just don’t go over 1 week! You’ll see a big drop in engagement after 7 days.)

Step 3: Create your promo images and captions

Images = not too busy, at least one post should include an image of the prize(s).

Captions = include ALL rules of how to enter and highlight the benefit of winning – make your followers want to enter! Also include this disclaimer so you don’t get in trouble with Instagram:

“Per Instagram rules, we must mention this is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, entrants confirm they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s term of use.”

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Step 4: Schedule your posts among your usual posts

Plan all your contest promo post ahead of time and schedule them between your usual posts (so you don’t come off as too sales-y).

Step 5: Post as scheduled

This part’s easy if you planned and scheduled ahead… now just copy and paste!

Step 6: Announce winner!

Make sure you announce the winner on your account in a separate post at the end of the contest. It makes them feel special, and your followers will know the contest was legit.

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Influencer Relationships

Growing an audience from scratch can seem daunting. But others have already done it. So can you. But you have an advantage… you can use those already-grown audiences to grow yours FASTER using the Partner Process.

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Building real, genuine relationships with influencers that have the same or similar audiences using the Partner Process is a great way to get your account seen by lots of targeted eyeballs.

And you already know, the more people in your target audience you get to see your super targeted content, the more followers and sales you will get.

But you can’t just find a big account and ask them to shout you out or work with you. You have to build a relationship with them first to up your chances of them working with you… which you can learn how to do by clicking the link right below: 

Click here to read how to use the Partner Process and learn how to build those relationships.

 

Time Management & Automation

Once you have a solid idea of who your audience is, and what they want to see (and when) you can plan your content ahead of time and use systems to spend less time on your Instagram (while still growing it!)

Tip #1: Create and organize your content a week in advance

When you put together all of your post images, captions and links ahead of time you can organize them so you know you have enough content to post each day. Plus, you won’t have any of those “Omg I’m out picking up the kids right now but it’s time to post on Instagram, what can I pull together?!” moments. With your content all put together ahead of time, you can use tips 2 and 3!

Tip #2: Use apps to schedule and post your content

  • Schedugram
    • - upload via web, post now or schedule
    • - multi-accosting
    • - multiple users
    • - analytics
  • Latergram.me
    • Free
      • 2 accounts only
      • 30 post per month
      • Can search & repost content
    • Paid
      • all access
  • Onlypult
    • - upload via web, post now or schedule
    • - multi-accosting
    • - multiple users
    • - analytics

Tip #3: Have someone else post for you

There aren’t a ton of apps out there that post for you. But you have friends right? Maybe a niece or nephew who loves being on social media. Or an assistant if you’re lucky? Give them all your planned out content schedule and have them copy-and-paste post for you!

 

Your Roadmap to More Followers and More Sales

Remember, your Instagram is growing up right now. You can’t force the natural flow of how an Instagram account grows.

Here’s what you do to grow yours as fast as possible:

Understand how it grows and find where you are right now.

Only then can you know which strategies to use when so you actually see results. And when I say results, I’m talking MORE FOLLOWERS and MORE SALES that let you grow your business for the freedom you’re after.

YAS_sheep

Rachel Daley
Rachel is the resident Content Fairy at MadeFreshly, the ecommerce platform that makes your passion pay off. Click here to get her actionable tips and inspiration for entrepreneurs every week!