Social media has taken this generation by storm. Nowadays, your online following is like your resume. Many millennials see your following and engagement numbers as equivalent to your overall credibility.
Even the big guys – Apple, Starbucks, Taco Bell and many more – have turned to social media as a way of business. They realize it is the future and the best way to reach young people today. Facebook ads, for example, made over $40 billion in total sales in 2017.
I truly believe that this new wave is only going to get bigger – and the people who build the largest brands over the next five years will not only make the most money but will create the most impact in the world.
We live in a time where anyone with an internet connection can earn a living. We are seeing the rise of digital entrepreneurs as we speak. That said, things have definitely changed when it comes to monetizing through social media.
The social media space is a nonstop evolution process. It's no longer just about being active online or posting an ad for your business – it's all about the brand. People only buy online from brands they trust and have an actual connection with. Too many people try selling before establishing a relationship with their followers, which doesn't work like it used to.
I want to show you how to build a cultlike following of excited and engaged people from around the world so you can turn that into an income stream for yourself. We are going to focus on Instagram, as it's the fastest-growing social media platform, with over 1 billion active monthly users and counting. Instagram allows you to simultaneously grow a brand on Facebook as well – another big perk.
To do this, as an example, I want to share with you three strategies that my friend and Instagram expert Alex Lombard and I are currently implementing to crush it in 2019 with our brands. These strategies work for both a business owner and an individual looking to create a presence on Instagram.
1. Build your personal brand.
The first strategy is to focus on building up your personal brand on Instagram. It doesn't matter who you are, what you've done or what kind of business you own – the world wants to know you. Your buyers will arise and become more active when they see your face and hear your voice. It gives your potential customers the ability to build a real connection with you.
2019 is all about the rise of the personal brand. People are taking over industries by simply documenting their life through their Instagram feed. Things like starting a podcast, doing live videos and posting quality, value-driven content seem to be the winners moving forward on Instagram.
One powerful way to accomplish this is through what's known as influencer marketing. This simple yet effective strategy made over $1 billion in revenue in 2017 and has helped millions of brands explode on Instagram.
The idea is that you reach out to major accounts within your niche market and ask them what it would cost for them to post your photo or video on their account, exposing their followers to you. You may even be able to collaborate for free in return for you promoting their brand on your account. It's a common win-win tactic that, when used correctly, can take your brand to another level.
The key is to become known in your industry, to become the go-to expert in your specific field, and one of the best ways to do that is by building up your personal image online, particularly with Instagram.
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2. Build an engaged following of people who love everything you do.
Having a lot of followers on the front end looks really good and is the starting point to establish yourself as a figure of authority. However, without a back-end following of truly engaged people, you won't see true engagement or ever really sell anything. The goal is not only to establish credibility but also to build a culture with your followers so they listen and take action on everything you say.
There are many ways of doing this, but by far the most effective is the story feature on Instagram.
The first strategy of Instagram stories is to provide as much value as possible. Everyone on Instagram is trying to sell you something, but few provide any real value. Remember, no one cares what you know until they know that you care!
Find creative ways to do this. For just a few examples, you can give value by simply uploading motivational or inspiring content, sharing tips and tricks you have learned inside your niche or industry, or actually giving something of value away for free to your followers. E-books, courses, cheat sheets and video recommendations are all great and easy value-adds that people love to receive.
The second strategy for building a cultlike following through your story feature is showing your day-to-day life to your followers. This strategy is what allows your followers to really connect with you on a deeper level. An example of this would be you waking up in the morning and taking a video of you talking about how excited you are for the workday and sharing a tip about your morning routine. As dumb as it may sound, it works.
Another example would be you walking across a stage accepting an award for something. Your story is a peek into your actual life, and I recommend showcasing the good, the bad and everything in between. It shows you are human and allows you to not only establish some credibility with your followers but also connect with them. We live in a filtered world, and the brands that are raw and real will take the upper hand in 2019.
3. Create a clear message through quality posts.
Content is king on Instagram – on any social media, for that matter. One of the biggest mistakes that so many people make is that their content doesn't portray a clear message in an effective way. If I click on your profile, I should know within seconds what type of brand you have, what niche you are in and what I will get by following your account. I recommend a few steps to achieve this:
Decide what type of brand you are building. Is it a fitness page? A sports page? A motivational quotes page? The best way to do this is by starting with whatever you are excited and passionate about. You can't hit a target that isn't there.
Design your content around that overall theme. If your page is all about health and fitness and the majority of your content is about your favorite Netflix show, you won't make it far. Post content related to the story you are trying to tell people.
Follow a posting structure. I recommend making one or two columns on your feed the same style of photo. This provides clarity for your potential followers and structure for yourself as to what you post. An example would be two columns that show your personal life and what you are all about, while the third column is motivational quotes with a white background.
Quality content will make or break your account. You don't need to live the filtered life, but you do need to make sure your content is sharp, high-quality imagery. Blurry images or video, for example, will push people away. Social media is a visual stimulus, so make sure your content sticks out to capture the short attention span of new followers.
At the end of the day, Instagram is all about clear, concise and quality content. Take some time to figure out what your brand is all about, and create a structure to paint that vision to your followers.
These three strategies work, plain and simple. The ones who apply them consistently over this year will be ahead of everyone else come 2020. Go and set yourself up for success in the new digital age!
To connect or mastermind with Alex or myself concerning social media tips and strategies, you can reach us on Instagram at our handles: Alex – @visionwall | Ryan – @ryanwhite