Today, we’re talking all about your Instagram strategy to help you reach your niche audience and ideal clients on Instagram. We’re going to talk about your profile, your content, and hashtags. 

First thing first, we need to actually make sure your profile is all filled in. It needs to be specific and clear so not just saying, “I’m a fitness nerd and I love my cats.” But something like, “I help fill in the blank with fill in the blank.” I could be like, “I help women lose weight without a gym,” whatever it is that your niche audience is.

If there is space after this, it is a good idea to add a fun little note. Just give your audience a little peek into your personality and content. You could actually add in that part about loving cats.

But again, going back to the business part of it, the key to a good Instagram strategy is to be specific so people know if you are the right person.

Something else that can be really beneficial is actually tweaking your name that’s displayed on your profile. This is not your username, just the name. If you go to the edit profile button, the next page will show where you can edit name, username, website, and your bio.

Your name is what appears in bold on your profile. It’s the very first line. What I would recommend is maybe putting your first name and your title or just your title. It could be like, “Jamie, personal trainer for women.” That way, if people are searching for “personal trainer” on Instagram, even if it’s not in your handle, you still have a chance of showing up in the search results.

Now, the other big thing about your profile is that you should be using a business profile. When you use a business profile, it gives you really great insight to analytics. I know there’s probably some fear with a lot of people that you don’t get as much reach or you have to pay to play, just like Facebook but so far, that is not the case. And I’ve hear that Instagram is slowly starting to crack down on businesses who use personal profiles anyway, and forcing them to switch over.

What’s great about the analytics is that you can see when is the best time to post on Instagram, that way you can strategically reach more of your target audience.

Now, the next part that we’re going to talk about is what you are posting. You don’t need perfectly styled photos for every post but you also shouldn’t be posting pixelated graphics you found on Pinterest or someone else’s Instagram or Google Images or wherever you found it.

We want your content to be somewhat consistent in style. And even somewhat consistent in the brightness. We don’t want you posting a super grainy, dark photo of you in the dark. Maybe it’s an early morning workout or a late night run or something and then the next photo is a flat lay on your white desk. We want some consistency there.

The funny thing is that as much as Instagram is a photo sharing platform, it’s more so about content and storytelling, which is important to remember for your Instagram strategy. Yes. You heard me right. As much as it is a photo sharing platform, you really don’t need perfect pictures because people care more about the content and what story you’re telling and how you are connecting with them. This can help you increase your passive income streams, too.

To tell good stories on Instagram, people need to know more about you and your business.

This is something I heard a few years ago and honestly, I don’t remember who said this, otherwise I would give them credit but think about the five facets of your life. The five that really make up you and your business. For my Instagram strategy, that would be design, video, my marriage, fitness, and my faith.

Ideally, when someone comes to my Instagram profile, the last five to six posts would show them a peek into one of these facets that I just mentioned. Now, I’m not perfect so they don’t always see all of these facets and they might not always see those facets on your profile either. But, if I’m only ever posting about design, people won’t know about my YouTube channel. If I’m only ever posting about my personal life, they might not know that they can hire me for website design.

This is where I see so many coaches missing the mark. You post plate after plate after plate of food, and while it’s super helpful and you’re teaching I don’t really get to connect with you. I don’t get to see the person behind the brand or who’s making the plate.

And on the flip side, if you are just posting selfies with your best friends all the time, you’re not really enhancing my life. You’re not teaching me anything and showing me you are the best coach for me.

The most important thing to share on Instagram isn’t just sharing what you do and show how you can help people although, like I said, those things are still important and you must do those too. But when you share who you are. Because at the end of the day, the only thing that truly differentiates you from your competition is you.

So for your Instagram strategy, share stories about who you are, the why behind what you do. How you got here and pivotal points in your life. But you can also share those fun and quirky stories or those parts of your personality.

My Instagram audience knows my obsession with diet Dr. Pepper and Chick-Fil-A runs very deep.

This also means you need to be on Instagram stories consistently – make this part of your Instagram strategy. I recommend posting at least three clips a day but anywhere up to probably around ten. Any more than that and it gets to the point where a lot of people might just skip over them entirely.

Now, if it’s just a once in a while occurrence that you have more than ten, it’s probably fine, don’t freak out, but if it’s consistently you have lots and lots of clips, you will risk losing those viewers.

But every other Wednesday, I do mini-website audits on my Instagram stories for my followers. So, I have more clips that day. But that’s it for the entire week. But like I said, that only happens every other week.

Your hashtag choices can help you get in front of new people, as you know.

It used to be that hashtags were the most important factor of your Instagram strategy but that’s not quite the case anymore and we’ll talk about that in a minute.

But, it’s not really effective to use #fitness. Because it has millions of posts within that hashtag feed and you’re going to get lost so easily. And people are still using bots which I don’t know why but you might get 986 likes but how many of those are genuine people or ideal clients? The other problem with using #fitness is you want to use hashtags that your ideal clients are using an searching.

For me, in each of my posts, I’m using a few health and fitness related hashtags which has helped me get in front of my ideal clients. (Just like my YouTube channel!)

When you are deciding what hashtags to use, I always say to aim for those who have at least 20,000 posts but less than 500,000 in that hashtag feed. You can see this number if you click on a hashtag, the next screen will show you the hashtag at the top with a number beside it and then you can see underneath all the posts that use that hashtag.

Once you’ve made your list of hashtags to use, and I do recommend trying to use all 30 that you’re allowed, create a keyboard shortcut on your phone to easily add these to each post.

For iPhone users, sorry, for Android users, you can do this under settings, general, keyboard, and then text replacement. You will copy and paste your full list of hashtags and paste it into the phrase box. In the shortcut box, this is where you’ll type whatever shortcut you want to pull up those hashtags.

You want to make sure it’s a word you’d never use while on your phone. It could be like the word “pineapple,” or I actually have my shortcut as “#hashtags.” And then the full list will appear once you press the space bar.

Now, there’s one other thing I want to talk about and that is I have some good news and bad news about Instagram. The good news is that you do not have to post every single day to grow a following or get clients through Instagram. Yes, you heard me right, you do not have to post every single day. Not even every other day.

Instagram strategy has really shifted and it’s not about daily posting or multiple posts in one day. The bad news here is that the strategy that does work to get clients might take more time than posting every single day.

The key to a successful Instagram strategy is to engage with your ideal audience. And this has to be genuine, consistent comments and not just liking their photos.

I have found that there are two ways to make this easy to remember and do consistently. First, you can save some potential ideal clients into a collections folder on Instagram. Under each post that you see in your feed from other people, there is a little ribbon icon on their right hand side. You can click this on the photo and that will save it into a collection. Only you can see this collection.

Then every day or every few days, go into that collection and go engage with the person’s last post. The collection will save just the photo that you’ve tapped, it won’t save their profile, so you have to go to that post, click on their profile, and then go to their last post.

The second way, if you don’t have a specific group of people in mind that you really want to focus on and engage with every time they post is every time you open Instagram, just engage with the first ten posts in your feed.

Of all of the clients I’ve gotten through Instagram, I’d say 90% have been because I engaged with someone on their post or their stories. 10% have been because of something I posted.

You could also take this strategy and go engage with posts in a particular hashtag feed. Let’s say you love working with moms to help them lost that baby weight. You might look at #bossmoms, for instance and comment on several posts in that feed.

And I’m well aware that this seems like a lot of work and it kind of is but it’s more effective. The clients I’ve gotten through engagement on Instagram hired me after only two to three interactions. But like I mentioned earlier, these have to be genuine interactions. This means not just saying, “Cool post. Love this. How fun,” or anything really cheesy and generic like that.

From what I’ve experienced and seen the best engagement is when you ask a question. But then also take it a step further. When the person replies to your question, reply to them again. Either saying, “Thank you,” or, “Oh my gosh, I agree. I love that too,” or maybe even ask another question. Really start that dialogue with them. (If you want to schedule Instagram posts, check out this tutorial.)

Okay, so we’ve talked about your profile, your content, hashtags, and engaging with your audience but I do have one last thing before we wrap up. And that is you cannot appeal to everyone. This really applies to your entire business and not just your Instagram strategy but, you know, today we’re just talking about Instagram.

Don’t be afraid to be you talk about the things that you’re passionate about. Even if others aren’t. I know a lot of dietitians who are passionate and educate others about the health at every size movement, which can repel some of their followers who don’t agree with it.

Or it could be the opposite. Maybe you’re a dietitian who doesn’t advocate for health at every size, I’m not saying you have to advocate against it, but I’m just saying you’re not for it and your followers are. But when you share your passions and your opinions, it makes it easier to connect with your audience because you don’t seem as generic.

Think about when you make a new friend and you realize that you both love the same TV show or actress or band, whatever, and you guys just start talking about, “Oh my gosh, remember that episode with this and that,” and you just have this long conversation because you finally found someone who loves your favorite TV show as well.

When you talk in more general terms on Instagram, it makes it harder for people to connect with you (especially compared to going live!).

That’s all I have for today. If you have any questions about today’s episode, what better place to reach out to me than on Instagram. You can find me @jesscreatives and I will see you in the next episode.

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