I write a lot about how to get clients online for your freelance or service-based business, but did you know that one of my favourite places to find those clients is Instagram?
Okay okay, I’ll admit I’m a little *Instagram oBsEsSeD*…
It’s for good reason though!
Since realizing a few years back that I could use the platform to connect with dream clients, I wanted to learn everything I could about using it strategically. The trick? I didn’t want to have to wait until I hit 10k followers or more to see a ROI for my efforts.
So I learned how to attract the right people, treat them well, and book discovery calls from the app all the time. This was generally pretty easy for me to figure out considering my experience is rooted in copywriting. I took everything I knew about web and launch copy, but applied it to Instagram captions.
Want my best secrets? Here’s how you can easily sell on Instagram in 2020 too!
As a copywriter for creatives, I’ve learned a thing or two about what makes people tick and how to sell services online. A lot of these copywriting techniques also translate to selling on social media. It’s the same strategies, just applied with a different tool. The good thing is that you can learn the tricks of the trade too. I could talk about how to sell on Instagram for literally hours, but I know you don’t have that long, so I’ll share the good stuff here. Quick and easy.
When you start using Instagram for business, your profile is no longer about you. Instead, it shifts to what your audience wants. What can you give to build trust? What can you say to prove credibility? What do they need to know to feel comfortable working with you? Instagram is a great place to educate and inspire. Offer free, valuable content that your dream clients will love and just watch how it makes a difference in your leads.
As an example, when I share a post that’s super valuable because it’s packed with tons of information, I get a bunch of saves, shares, and comments. Even better… I often get a few DMs and/or emails asking if I have upcoming availability. Given the project-based nature of my work, I’m always booking ahead, so using Instagram to generate a consistent stream of leads is a priority for me. If your freelance business or service-based business operates on a similar project-based model, you know the importance of always bringing new people into your circle.
Focus on the results you get for clients—this is a classic copywriting trick. If you want to convert people, you need to show them what the results could look like for them! What do they gain from working with you? On Instagram, I do this in a handful of ways:
Graphics with testimonials and captions explaining what the project was all about.
Images/videos of completed projects paired with testimonial snippets and detailed project overviews in the captions.
Screenshots of DMs and feedback alongside captions that dive deep into the results I helped a client or student achieve. What goals did they hit with my guidance?
Sharing parts of my own story of growth! Since I work with new entrepreneurs, my early stages of business are now an amazing example/proof of the possibilities.
Client features… I love showing off my clients and students to share a bit about what they do.
Through all of the above, storytelling is key, especially if you’re a creative type. Try to show readers what the results are instead of just telling. Show them how creative you are! Show them how innovative! It’s okay if you need to write a longer caption to get it all in… just make sure to use line breaks.
A CTA is a Call To Action: What do you want your readers to do? Obviously, you want them to connect with you so you can continue trying to make that sale. I know this might seem obvious, but so often we forget to just ASK for what we want. Make the ask super simple though! It could be something like:
DM me for more information!
Comment with X emoji if you’re interested.
Click the link in my bio to book a free call.
You want to streamline the process for your readers while also getting them into the top of your sales funnel. If your ask is confusing or involves multiple steps, they likely won’t do it.
Okay, I know repeating yourself feels SUPER awkward at first and you might be thinking… am I annoying everyone?!
You’re not. We need to repeat ourselves to consistently make sales on Instagram. For starters, people are often distracted, so even if they like your post, they might not actually be paying attention. Also, the algorithm doesn’t show everyone all the things. It’s more likely that they’ll only see a handful of different posts that focus on the same core message, which will encourage them to connect with you, which gives you the chance to keep selling!
OF COURSE don’t post the exact same thing every day, but you can pull old favourites from the archives to repurpose. You can also come up with new ways to share the same message or new ways to lead into the same CTA. Think of your Instagram feed as a relationship builder, a portfolio or website, while also advertising your services.
Now that you know HOW to sell on Instagram, let’s talk about WHERE. What features can you use to get new clients on Instagram? The easy answer is all of them, but I know that’s not helpful for you. Here’s the 3 spots I hang out often to sell my services on Instagram. Your sweet spots might differ, but you won’t know until you try. Start experimenting.
Hashtags are an awesome search tool! I spend a lot of time in the hashtags my ideal clients are using and that’s because it’s an easy way to actually find my people. For example, if I know I want to work with more business coaches, I’m going to find all the hashtags related to this and slowly work through them, leaving thoughtful comments and following those whose content I connect with. I try to spend a few minutes every single day doing this.
I also always dedicate time to leaving genuine comments for my existing community. I intentionally scroll through my home feed, but also go through my follower list and select a few people from there to dive deeper into their content and get caught up with what they’re doing. If I notice that someone who typically leaves comments on all my posts has been quiet for a while, I might even message them to see how they’re doing. It’s all about building relationships and starting conversations!
Writing amazing captions is what I’m known for over on the ‘gram! However, you can’t make all of your captions a sales pitch. Much of the sales come from the big picture of providing free, valuable content on a consistent basis. What do you want to be known for? Create content around that and your people will come.
I actually teach on how to write captions, both in 1:1 consultations and self-paced formats. It’s one of my favourite subjects! If you want to learn how to show up on Instagram with confidence and create content that converts—efficiently—check out #InstaBiz. On top of lessons around how to create engaging content, it includes 8 weeks of caption templates for you to Mad Libs your content creation and over 50 additional prompts. I wrote these caption templates in a flexible way, so you have the direction you need to get started, but also the creative leeway to run with it!
The great thing about Instagram is that you can get really personal and you have a front-row seat to your dream clients’ day-to-day. This is why selling in Instagram DMs has become a common practice for many service providers. However, this requires a disclaimer. DO NOT cold pitch to people in their DMs immediately after you follow them. And definitely don’t do it without even following them! It’s clear that you’ve copy/pasted a pitch template and it just feels tacky. If I had a dollar for every time someone not following me messaged something like “I love your content! What are your goals?” …I’d be a wealthy lady. Don’t use this icky sales tactic.
Instead, if you’re going to try to sell in DMs, you need to get to know your people first. Build a real relationship with them. Follow them and engage with their content. Reply to their stories if you have something genuine to say. Start a conversation and lead them to that action you want, like booking a call. It takes a lot longer, but you should be ready to play the long game if you’re going to grow a business.
I have plenty more tips for you! If you want to keep learning, download my checklist to get clients on Instagram. Let me know if you have any questions! I’m here to help.
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