Let’s talk about how I use Instagram to sell. It’s not just about selling – it’s about how I prime and prep my Instagram following so that when I’m ready to sell, people are waiting with bated breath.
The first thing I’m going to tell you is GROUNDBREAKING. Not enough people say this (I honestly don’t know if anybody says it) and it’s the truth. So, let’s dive in!
How I Use Instagram to Sell
Want to listen to the podcast version of this post? I’ve got you covered!
This is a really timely episode. I have had it planned out for way longer than I knew I was going to be releasing a course called Insta Sales School…. But they go together so well!
Today is the LAST DAY to get a seat in my new course, Insta Sales School!
If you’re reading this on Cyber Monday of 2020, then today is the LAST day you can jump in on Insta Sales School! After today, it closes for at least three to four months while I run it live and make it THE best course it can be.
It launched on Black Friday – and if you missed that, then you missed a ton of bonuses – but you haven’t missed the ability to get in on this awesomeness! I’m going to run this course LIVE for ten weeks. We start next week, and it’s going to run for ten weeks. (Don’t worry – I’ve accounted for Christmas!)
I’m going to teach you how to cultivate raving fans on Instagram who practically throw their money at you. That sounds bold, but it’s the truth. If Instagram is your ideal platform (or you want it to be), if your ideal customer hangs out on Instagram, if you have built followers but don’t know how to turn them into money, OR if you have no clue how to even start building followers – this course is for you!
After this time, I will NEVER run it live again and it will double in price.
If you buy it today, you not only get access to the live course, but you also get 365 Instagram story prompts. If you ever get stuck with what to put on stories, this would be perfect for you!
First – Your social media accounts should only sell 20-25% of the time.
Whenever I tell people this tip, it always shocks them – especially local businesses here. They always ask, “but HOW?”
We’ve been so inundated with the information that social media IS marketing, that people think it should be used to sell all the time. That’s the FURTHEST thing from the truth.
Your social media accounts should only sell about 20-25% of the time.
Yes, you read that correctly. That means that 75-80% of the time, you aren’t selling anything! When we think we should be in selling mode all of the time, it causes our audience to lose interest and leave.
So what are you doing that other 75-80% of the time? I’m going to tell you. You just need to know that, when I’m telling you to use Instagram to sell, there’s a whole backend strategy there that isn’t selling. So, you don’t sell to make more sales (is that confusing?).
I’ve written down five things I do to make sure that my Instagram is primed and ready to make sales. I do these things so that I know when I put a swipe up or do a launch, I won’t annoy my followers and they’re going to purchase from me.
Tip 1: Use Instagram as a space where people can hang out with you directly. One sided relationships NEVER WORK.
I pour into and cultivate my Instagram in a way that makes it the place to hang out with me directly. One-sided relationships NEVER work.
We’ve all had or seen those relationships where one person puts in more effort than the other. And they never work. If they don’t work in real life, why would we expect them to work with our audience? We shouldn’t!
In some way, we have to cultivate a place to gather people and let them hang out with us directly. Create that two-way relationship!
This can be done in a ton of ways. If you’re a YouTuber, you could create a Patreon site for people to hang out with you. You could make a Facebook group for people to hang out. I have personally made sure Instagram is that place.
I am showing up there every single day on stories. And I am answering every single DM. I’m having real, two-way conversations with people!
That’s not selling AT ALL. But it is building a solid foundation for a relationship with your audience. On my podcast, I’m just talking at you, but on Instagram I’m talking with you. Instagram is the hub I’m giving you to hang out with me in a two-way relationship.
This is NOT superficial! I’m purposefully building trust with my audience. I’m not getting you to my Instagram to just turn you into money – that’s not true AT ALL. I genuinely want to build relationships with my audience. The selling is just a benefit to that.
Tip 2: I nurture and build the relationships on Instagram with Stories.
Stories are like a magical unicorn tool. Every social media platform is putting out some type of story capability because it’s a GREAT tool to hang out with an audience.
If you have seen my stories, you know I show up without my makeup or hair done in the bad and good times. I’m furthering the relationship with those stories! Stories that you put out help build trust, and ultimately (even though it might not seem like it at first), help you sell on Instagram.
Tip 3: I cultivate MORE raving fans with growth strategies on Instagram
For a long time, my Instagram only grew because my YouTube channel or podcast was growing. But now, I have learned how to find more and more people on the platform who want to hang out with me and buy from me. I’m cultivating them through growth strategies on Instagram!
Everything is building on each other. I’m giving people a way to hang out with me directly to stop that one-sided relationship fiasco, I’m nurturing and building those relationships with Stories and DMs, and then I’m making sure my Instagram not only grows from other platforms, but on the Instagram platform itself!
I’m using strategies to find people who are already on Instagram who will be interested in what I have to say and getting them to become a raving fan, too! And in turn, they’ll probably go to my YouTube, podcast, and Facebook page. It’s like a big cycle.
NONE of this happens with me selling. It happens with me showing up as a real human so that people feel connected with me. And I really enjoy it. If something cool or bad is happening in my life, then I want to share it.
We buy from people we like, know, and trust. That’s a pure fact. I don’t have a ton of Instagram followers, and I haven’t grown dramatically on Instagram in the last year. But I have incredible engagement. I know people with double and triple the number of followers that I have, but they don’t have near the level of engagement with them that I do.
If your audience isn’t hanging out with you everyday because they care about you as a human, then when you get on there to sell, people aren’t actually listening.
People have to know, like, and trust you.
Everything I’ve talked about up until this point isn’t directly a sales strategy – but it is a know, like, and trust strategy. And until your audience knows, likes, and trusts you, they won’t buy from you.
I spent the entire morning on the day I’m recording this emailing and pitching possible sponsors for my podcast and YouTube channel. That’s not something I’ve done a lot in the last few years. When I co-hosted All Up In Your Lady Business, Jaclyn handled all of our pitches. One of the reasons I hesitate to pitch sponsors is because I care about my audience. I’m not going to sell them out for dollars – ever.
We actually had an instance where this was the case. Someone really wanted to work with us, and they were willing to pay about double what I charge for a YouTube sponsorship, but they were a program that I really didn’t believe in. I told them no, and they came back and told me that they really wanted to collaborate and asked what my terms were. All-in-all, we ended up saying no – because again, I’m not going to sell you out for a few dollars. If I’m telling you about a product, you can BELIEVE that I love it and believe in it, too.
I have cultivated a relationship with my audience so that they know I really like something when I share about it. THAT is the power, and it's how I use Instagram to sell authentically.
Tip 4: Build pathways to purchase on my profile
On my profile, I have highlights that act as pathways to purchasing. There’s a “Start Here” bubble, one for my digital planners, one for my affiliate links, and more. I have swipe up things that will lead followers there.
Now, let’s talk about swiping up. I wanted the swipe-up feature more than I wanted oxygen for awhile. I thought that would completely change my world and my business. I will say that the convenience is nice, but it really doesn’t make that big of a difference. I haven’t seen a big difference in people taking actions.
But you HAVE to build pathways for people to purchase on your profile. The link in bio needs to lead people somewhere that will eventually get them to buy. An opt-in, somewhere else for them to go, a way to get them on your email list, or an actual purchase page.
I know several people in my audience who have found me on YouTube, then followed me on Instagram, and then purchased something straight from my Instagram profile just because they liked me on YouTube. Without those pathways on my profile, they wouldn’t have been able to do that.
Tip 5: Build trust EVERY SINGLE DAY so that, when I'm ready to ask for the sale, they’re ready to buy
If you’re selling all the time, this is never the case. You have to have that 80%/20% kind of split here, or people won’t want to buy anything when you sell it.
Building trust and nurturing your audience every single day is going to make your relationship stronger. So, when you have something really amazing for them to buy, your audience will say: “Oh my gosh, I love her, if she says this thing is awesome, I should buy it!” Or: “She’s so smart and I’ve learned so much from her for free, I’m definitely going to buy her paid products!”
That’s an element I didn’t even talk about here. Not only are we nurturing these relationships with real-life, in-person, “I’m a human” content, we’re also nurturing it because we want to make ourselves seen as an expert in whatever we do. When people see us as an expert, they’re ready to swipe up and buy anytime.
People like us, trust us, and know us. They know that we know what we’re talking about because we’ve given that content away for free and we haven’t sold it. When we’re ready to sell, people will buy more.
It can be a really hard concept to think about having a business account on Instagram or Facebook and saying you’re not ever going to sell. That sounds weird. But I promise you, the whole formula together works really well.