I’ll never forget this surprising truth about communication that a high-level business leader once shared with me – he said, “People don’t really listen to you. They listen to the conversation that’s happening in their head while you’re talking.”
This feels especially true in today’s world. People encounter millions of bits of information every day – how do you communicate in a way that stops them from mindlessly scrolling and causes them to actually pay attention?
On Instagram, this requires two things:
1. Communicating with Emotion
“People may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” The fact that everyone attributes those words to Maya Angelou just shows what a great quote it is. Either way, the wisdom is undeniable – you want to communicate in a way that makes people feel something, whether it’s through slogans, photos or even the colors you use (in light of the Olympics, here’s a powerful example LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Pause for a moment and think: What emotions do you want your audience to feel when they interact with your business?
Once you find what emotions best communicate your story, choose a few to be your main focus, then keep them in mind with all of the content you create.
2. Communicating with Visuals
Also known as your aesthetic, this is how those feelings are communicated visually. If one of the emotions that you want to communicate through your brand is joy, think of all the visual ways you can communicate that – it could be through:
-your color scheme
-the lighting of your photos and videos
-your editing style
-the layout of your profile
As people scroll, they usually decide within the first few seconds of seeing something whether they’re interested or not. I strongly recommend the Preview App as a way to plan out your content and know what your images will look before posting, to ensure a cohesive look and feel that will help draw people into your story.
*Bonus: Communicating with the Algorithm
In order for your content to be seen by as many people as possible, you’ve got to be friends with The Algorithm. Rather than feeling intimidated or getting discouraged that your post might not be seen, hopefully we can use this to our advantage and share strategically. The key word to know is: ENGAGEMENT.
Instagram determines how many people are going to see a post within the first 30-60 minutes of you posting. So if you have high engagement on your post right away, Instagram sees that and says, “Wow, people are enjoying this post. Let’s show it to more people.”
Engagement is all the ways that people interact with you or your posts.
Likes and comments are some of the most obvious ones, but is also includes:
-the length of time people look at your posts
-the number of times people save your post
-how many times the video is viewed
-the length of time that video was viewed
-re-sharing of your posts
-a D.M. in your post to someone
-the number of people that go to your profile after seeing your post
-tagging friends in your post
Keep in mind: The quality of engagement is just as important as the amount of engagement on your posts. To filter out the bots and fake accounts, Instagram places a higher value on comments with four or more words, as it reflects a more authentic engagement.
As someone who values relationships, I’ve actually come to see the algorithm as a positive – it rewards the real connections that we’re building over everything else.
I hope that’s the reality of our companies, whether online or in person.
Last week, we kicked off a new series designed to help you leverage Instagram to grow your business. It started with a shift in thinking from “How can I get” to “How can I give?” More specifically, it’s asking:
“How can I give my potential clients what they desperately need?”
To answer that question, you’ll need to have clarity on the audience you hope to reach. Take a minute to consider: Who is your target audience? Who is the demographic of people that is most likely to be interested in your product or service?
You might be tempted to say, “Everyone,” because obviously you’d love to have the whole world paying attention to what you offer. But beware: Random equals Random – when you put out random content, you get random followers, and random followers means random sales and random engagement on your content.
Here’s another way to think about it: What’s your niche?
A niche is a specific part of the market that you want to focus on. One of the most important things you can do as a business is GET SPECIFIC. Use categories to niche down and define a precise area that you want to hone in on – that’s where you’ll find your target audience waiting for you.
It may also help to imagine your target audience as one ideal follower. Paint a picture of a single person that you hope to engage:
-How old are they?
-What are they interested in?
-What do they value?
Create this dream follower’s profile with any other specifications relevant to your business. Maybe start by using someone close to you as an example, since you’re already familiar with some of their interests and needs. I know it may feel a little weird inventing this make-believe person, but have fun with it – it can seriously change how your messaging comes across. As they say in writing, “The more specific we are, the more universal something can become.”
So don’t just speak generally to the masses – address that one dream follower, and all those thousands of people will feel like you’re talking directly to them. If you do it right, they’ll look at your content and think, “Wow, I feel like this was made just for me.”
Here’s to that dream follower leading you to many more!
You probably know Instagram can be a powerful way to connect with your dream customers, but where do we start? Over the next few weeks, Bos Media is here with some ideas for how to best engage this platform.
First, let’s start by shifting our mindset from “How can I get” to “How can I give” – this perspective alone can change everything. Instead of thinking, “How can I get more followers?” think: “How can I give my potential clients what they desperately need?”
People are so used to being asked for things that when someone is giving them value, they literally can’t get enough. The more you understand the specific problem you are helping people solve, the more your content becomes about THEM instead of about YOU. Which is essential, because the truth is, people don’t really care about your company (no offense :)… but if you are filling a need with a product or service they can’t live without, you will definitely have their attention.
So before we do anything else, we need to know the following about our potential clients:
- What’s their problem?
- What do they need?
- What pain points do they have?
- What are their wants and desires?
Let those questions inform the content you share – when you post, ask yourself, “What need is this fulfilling?”
There are so many fun and different ways for content to offer value – it could be:
- Educational. Teach as an expert in your field, passing along the secrets of what you do.
- Behind the Scenes. Pull back the curtain on how you do things – this humanizes your business while also giving new level of access that makes your audience feel special.
- Practical. Show them a step-by-step process to get them from point A to point B.
- Motivational. Inspire them through stories, quotes (not cheesy ones), and/or your own life lessons.
- Entertaining. Maybe it’s as simple as just making them laugh. There are a lot of companies I follow just to see the fun and creative things they do.
Take some time this week to get clear on what your goals are, and how Instagram can play a part in it. I’ll be back with some more tips next week, or feel free to email me if you have any questions.
Can’t wait to see your next post!