4 Crucial Steps BEFORE You Grow on Instagram

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Sometimes it feels like we have to grow our business on Instagram in order to be successful—it seems like the end-all-be-all to our business goals!

But what would happen if your account got deleted tomorrow? Would your business still be able to operate as usual? Would you have a way to get in touch with those followers you’ve worked so hard to gain?

Inspired by last week’s little Instagram crash, today I want to talk about the 4 things you need to do as soon as possible BEFORE you grow your business on Instagram. These 4 simple steps will help in 3 main ways: 

  1. Ensure the foundations of your business are solid 
  2. Make sure you’re using Instagram in a strategic and aligned way for your business
  3. Guarantee that you and your business will be totally fine if Instagram were to crash for an entire month (or even just a day!)

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Step 1: Understand that Instagram is a tool to help drive business growth… it’s not the platform your business should live on

I want to start by making sure we understand this crucial point! Then we’ll peel back the layers of how you can start to set up your business on Instagram more effectively in the next few steps. And I’m not saying that you CANNOT grow a successful, thriving business if your sole form of marketing is Instagram. It’s totally possible, there are tons of businesses that operate in this way.

But do you really want to have to worry about the ‘what if’ situations or things that could go wrong when you rely on one platform? Instagram occasionally crashes (as we saw last week!), sometimes deletes accounts at random by accident, and ultimately, it’s a platform that’s just not in our own hands.

We don’t own our Instagram account like we own our website or email list or other forms of marketing. If we lose our Instagram account, for whatever reason, we have no way of getting in touch with those followers we worked so hard for.

Step 2: Define Your Goals

I’m not necessarily talking about social media goals, such as growing your following or increasing engagement. I want you to focus on the overarching business goals you hope to achieve in the next 3, 6 or 12 months. Do you hope to get more sales? Build a community? Create a membership? Launch a new product?

When it comes to social media marketing from a business standpoint, the most important thing to have clarity on upfront is what your overarching business goals are. Social media is a tool to help you achieve those goals.

Too many of us get caught up in the numbers and the vanity metrics of how many followers we have or how many people are watching our stories or whatever it may be. When what we should really be focusing on is whether or not this platform is actually helping to drive our real business goals?

So take some time today to write down your big business goals for the next 3 months, 6 months and year. The goals you come up with might seem intimidating at first, but equipping yourself with this knowledge of your own goals is crucial. This will help to inform your social media strategy, and your marketing strategy overall, and make it easier for you to see what’s working to drive those goals and what’s not working that you can shift in the future.

RELATED: 8 Ideas to Supercharge Your Instagram Engagement

Step #3: Know Who You’re Talking to & What You’re Telling Them

Once you know what your goals are, it’s time to define who you’re talking to, also known as your ideal client or customer, or target audience. Spend some time brainstorming on who specifically would benefit from the content you’re putting out on social media for your business.

Think about the usual stuff like their gender, age, and location, for example. But also think about things like their hobbies, interests, sense of humor, likes and dislikes. How do they best like to consume information? Is it written text or video content? Do they have a sarcastic sense of humor or more lighthearted? Take the time to dig deep here and think about who exactly you’re talking to so that you can use these qualities to inform your social media posts moving forward.

Another thing to get clarity on in this step is your message. What are you going to help this person with? Are there specific problems they’re struggling with right now? What’s the solution? What are their goals?

I also like to think of this in terms of ‘what do I want to be known for?’ This is YOUR business. You get to choose what you’re known for and what your legacy will be! So take the time to get clear on that and map out the message you want to share with the world.

Step #4: Map out the next steps for your audience

Finally, once you’ve defined who your target audience is, it’s time to define your calls to action. I like to think of calls to action, or CTAs, as the steps that I want my followers to take next after interacting with my content.

Your calls to action should correlate with your overarching business goals that you mapped out in Step 2. This is where the strategic part of social media comes in, because you have the chance to point followers in the direction you want them to go.

RELATED: 5 Instagram Mistakes New Business Owners Make

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