When it comes to Instagram, most people aren’t even getting close to tapping into the potential it has to completely change the trajectory of their local business.
From new customers to repeat buyers to raving fans, this simple app has the power to build your community.
And the best part is…
You don’t need a complex content calendar or a curated Instagram feed to do it.
Did I just hear a sigh of relief?
Most people *think* that Instagram is about posting beautiful photos or creating videos in Instagram Stories.
What they’re missing is that it’s simply another place to network. 🙂
People do business with people and behind every local business Instagram account is… you guessed it, a local business owner (or their teammate).
Before we dive into where you have the opportunity to shift, let’s dive into what you can stop doing… like today.
Have you ever passed on the baton to a teammate to take pretty photos of your stuff or post on your Grid just to make sure you’re at least present on social media? How is that working out for you? 🙂 Are you seeing results?
Honestly, I get it. You can’t possibly be on every single social media platform, but if you keep reading, I think you’ll start to understand why it’s worth your time to show up on Instagram on a regular basis.
More people love behind-the-scenes videos and photos of your life. Long gone are the cohesive, perfect Instagram feeds where you needed Lightroom. People want real. People want to connect with you! More on that coming up…
Followers do not equal revenue. Can it increase your revenue? YES. Is it “the thing” you need to obsess over? No. Stop showing up on Instagram and de-valuing yourself or your business because you don’t have as many followers as others.
It’s more important for you to think about the impact of your post and what it’s creating. Similar to follower count, these are vanity metrics and don’t mean your business is going to be successful. Keep. Showing. Up. Trust that this will grow the more you do what we recommend below.
Ok now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about the shifts you can make today on Instagram as a local business owner.
First and foremost, you’re in a local community full of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands or millions of residents).
These are real people who crave connection. They come to Instagram to explore, pass time, see what their friends are up to, avoid work responsibilities… and our hope is that three things happen: they visit your account, stick around to see what you’re all about, and make a decision to visit you or buy from you. 🙂
So let’s get the ball rolling, shall we?
First thing’s first…
Show people who YOU are! What do you care about? Why did you start your local business? What are you up to today? How do you kick off your morning?
Stop hiding behind your products or your space or the photos of your clients… it’s time to step into your awesomeness and show yourself. Some of the most successful local brands do this consistently which has allowed them to build tremendous momentum from the minute they chose to “open shop.”
Having some imposter syndrome and asking yourself… “who would even care about my life? I am so boring!” … my friend, your community of customers and potential customers cares. Stop creating stories in your head about what you believe others think about you.
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We made it to Friday!! Yay!! This morning I’m talking Christmas color palettes over in our stories. I’m kinda a color chameleon…I have several favorites. So it got me curious as to what your favorite Christmas color palette is….head over and check our stories and vote on your favorite!!
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Kyla doesn’t get enough appreciation on social for the amount of behind the scenes work she does. She is the queen 👸🏼 of organization and cleaning. Owning a vintage shop often means having crazy backstock of clothes and without her we would be lost 🥴 (no pun intended 😩) and very very disorganized. Swipe to see her in 1 of our 2 storage spaces. 👉🏽👉🏽 • Every garment has been hung and organized by style and color and that has carried on to our personal closets! 😂 Between having two shops and an online store organization is extremely needed. What are some of your clothing organization hacks at home? Has anyone watched Get Organized on Netflix? They should do one for businesses!
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Did you know acquiring a new customer can cost FIVE TIMES more than retaining an existing one?
It’s easy to get caught up in new, new, new, but you probably have dozens (if not hundreds) of existing customers you can continue to invest in who have already had an amazing experience with you! They’re more likely to visit you again or book your services if their first time was great.
So how do you engage with them?
+ Know who they are first of all. Comb through your CRM or email list and see if you can find your customers on Instagram!
+ Follow those customers and hop into their DM letting them know you appreciate their business! I’ve seen a couple local business owners sending voice memos in DMs and it’s a simple extra touch that goes a long way.
+ Start commenting on their posts (don’t be generic) and their Instagram Stories!
Remember, these humans have already said YES to you. They’ve popped in your store, booked an appointment and ultimately exchanged dollars with you. People who say yes once are more likely to say yes again!
But just like you, they’re human. Life goes on, they get busy. By building a real connection with them outside of that one-time experience they had with you, they’re more likely to engage with your product or service again.
If you’ve had at least 100 customers visit your brand, message me on Instagram @love.local for access to our Come Back Again Method. It’s $27 for a limited time and chalk-full of lessons that will make your brand stand the test of time.
Ok, so maybe you do want some new customers, so it’s time to find them on Instagram and start a conversation or continue one! This does NOT mean dropping in your dream customer’s DMs and selling at them. Ever. No one comes to social to be sold to. They may buy from you, but they likely did not open the app excited to see what someone was selling today… remember that. 😉
What does it mean to engage your dream customers?
Tell them how cute their cat is and send a picture response of yours.
Are they asking about great Mexican restaurants? Respond with your recommendation and why.
See them with a coffee? Ask them where their go-to coffee spot is in town.
Do you notice them talking a lot about a cause they care about? Ask them more questions about it or how you can contribute.
Does it seem too simple to actually be effective? Of course… BUT this will put you top of mind in conversation. “Who recommended this Mexican restaurant?” “Oh this girl Emily who follows me on Instagram said they have the best margaritas!” “Who’s Emily?” “OH ummm I think she owns a marketing company and helps local business owners, I’m not totally sure.”
Over time, your dream customers WILL know what you do. You will come up more in conversation if you’re adding tremendous value to them. You’ll see referrals coming from these people or perhaps someone they had a conversation with who happens to be searching for a local business like yours.
Never underestimate the power of these connections.
We tell our Love Local students to never be shortsighted. Just because someone doesn’t match the description of “ideal customer,” doesn’t mean they don’t have a wide network or circle of family and friends who WOULD love you.
It takes a few minutes every day to show up for your followers and make them feel better than they did when they first opened the app. If you dedicate your time on social media to making people feel amazing… you’ll reap the benefits of this over and over and over. But if you come to social media and think adding hearts or double tapping is making people feel amazing, it simply won’t move the needle.
Start a conversation or continue one. That is what will build an even stronger network of buyers and referrers.
Want even more tips to grow your local business on Instagram? You will LOVE our newest training with dozens of examples and step-by-step tips on key things to implement…
We talk about how to use hashtags to find local customers you probably would have taken years to find otherwise.
We tell you what it looks like to strategically share posts on Instagram Stories to tap into new networks.
We share how to use Instagram to build an email list (the thing you actually have way more control over compared to social media).
We show you what it looks like to have dozens of your best customers tagging you, sharing your message, and driving new visitors to your Instagram account on a regular basis.
If you’re ready to go all in on Instagram, this training is for you. It’s designed for the local business owner to tap into their own local network to get short-term and long-term results.
My name is Emily Steele and I teach local business owners how to be the legends they are and build an irresistible and profitable local brand.