It is so easy to believe the lies. To take everything we see on Instagram as a reality.
We might look at an influencer’s account and see hundreds of thousands of followers if not millions and think to ourselves, “the only way I can build a successful business using social media is if I build a massive following like that.”
Here’s the harsh reality though, followers can be bought.
It’s so easy to fake a big following.
Unfortunately, it’s nothing but vanity metrics.
I see so many accounts on Instagram that have thousands of followers yet when they post a photo on their feed, CRICKETS. No one is engaging.
Not long ago another influencer with millions of followers was “outed” where people found out they couldn’t even sell 36 T-shirts.
We view Instagram as a big number generating machine instead of for what it is.
An amazing tool to build real relationships with real people.
But when you put it this way it’s no longer that inviting and sexy. Because building relationships takes actual time and effort. You can’t quickly buy real relationships.
It takes intentionality and a bit of yourself in order to invest in the people you are building relationships with.
But it’s so worth it.
And here’s the good news. You don’t need millions of followers to build a lucrative business via Instagram. You don’t even need thousands of followers.
All you need is a few handfuls of the right followers who come to know and trust you and seek you out for helping to solve one specific problem.
Once I started flipped my whole Instagram strategy upside down and inside out pretty much everything changed for me.
Ok, so if focusing on the numbers doesn’t work and if putting our energy into the masses is not producing many results then what will?
What should we focus on instead?
Well, if you keep reading, I will tell you.
First, think of your Instagram strategy as a train vs. a race car
Let’s face it, we live in an age where everything is so ramped up. We want something and we want it now. And in many cases we get. Do you want food from your favorite restaurant? All you need to do is place a phone call and someone will either bring it to you in 30 minutes or less or you can pick it up yourself. Do you want something from Amazon? You can literally get it by the end of the day. Something you might’ve had to wait weeks for just 10 years ago. Do you want to binge-watch your favorite show right now, with the click of a button? Well, hello Netflix.
No wonder, we have such a hard time playing the long games vs. expecting results right now. The problem is that because of the instant world we live in we’ve been fooled into thinking that everything works like that in life. And that is NOT TRUE.
Anything that you want to build to LAST is going to take time, energy, investment, and patience. Building an audience that lasts via Instagram is no different. You cannot rush meaningful relationships. And newsflash, in order for someone to want to do business with you, there’s gotta be a meaningful and trustworthy connection taking place. I personally do not buy services from people I haven’t vetted. Slower is faster with people, even in a fast-paced world. Trust me. I want you to think of it as a Train Vs. A Race Car. When it comes to building relationships you want to be like a Train. A train that takes a while to get going. At first, the train moves extremely slow but with time it not only gets up to high speed but not even a brick wall can stand in its way or stop it. A train in motion can pretty much plow through anything. I switched my mindset from race car to train on Instagram and the results were mind-blowing.
Second, go from “Well, here I am” mentality to “Oh, there you are!”
Instagram is a giant party, not just a lifeless tool. Treat it as such. In his famous book, “How to win friends and influence people” Dale Carnegie says, “you can make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” Let me repeat that just so that you can soak that statement all in.
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
People are not interested in you. They are interested in “ME”. They are interested in themselves morning, day, and night. The only way people get interested in you is after you’ve shown interest in them. That’s just the way it is. We are the heroes of our own stories. The person that can learn to place their focus off of themselves and place it on others, will never have to worry about being successful in influencing others and having friends. Unfortunately, when it comes to Instagram and social media in general we have it backward.
We are constantly trying to get people’s attention by saying “look at me.” Look how awesome I am. And in a noisy social media world, especially, it will do you no good. That’s why as I mentioned at the beginning of this second point, you’ve got to shift your mindset from, “Well, here I am to oh, there you are” on Instagram if you want to be successful in attracting followers and potential clients to you.
So, what does this look like in a virtual setting?
Spend more time engaging more with other people’s content than you do by trying to have people engage with your own. That will happen naturally when you give more than you ask for. Instead of working so hard on trying to have others notice you on Instagram why not go out of your way to notice them and engage with them. Be the first to reach out. Take it to the DMs. And no, I’m not referring to sending a message that is promoting you. Send a message that is genuinely interested in getting to know the other person behind the handle.
Want a bonus tip?
Make it a goal for the next 14 days to genuinely reach out to 5 people each day on Instagram via the DMs. And see what happens as a result!
Third, focus on the vital few vs. the masses. Take one conversation at a time. I think this point is pretty self-explanatory but let me just spell it out in case we are not on the same page. Let me ask you this, in real life, not the virtual kind, how do you build relationships? One person at a time, correct? At least the ones that become meaningful. Yes, we make a lot of acquaintances but not everyone will become our besties. Social media has given us an amazing opportunity to make a lot of acquaintances in a short amount of time. Which is great. Nothing wrong with that. But the side effect of this is also that we make the wrong assumptions that we can defy the natural laws of relationship-building just because we are in a virtual world.
NOTHING can be further from the truth.
Slower is still faster with people. Would you ever ask someone to marry you on a first date, ever? I hope your answer is HECK NO ;) My point is that building the know, like and trust factor with people takes time. And if you are wanting to convert clients using Instagram you are going to have to put in the work in order to show this person you are trustworthy. That takes time, energy, and commitment, which is, unfortunately, kind of lacking in our world these days. But that’s good news for you.
Standing out in a noisy and shallow social media world has never been easier.
So, remind yourself, slower is faster with people. Focus on the vital few vs. the many. And see what happens.
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