Remember the phone book? It wasn’t so long ago that when we needed a service or product, we’d pick up the phone book and search for a business that could help us.
In those days, the businesses that succeeded were the ones that had a name starting with “A”. That’s because they would be at the top of the A-Z listings. People would be more likely to call A-Plus Plumbers rather than W&W Plumbing Services, for example.
But that’s all changed. Phone books are a thing of the past. Forget A-Z listings – the businesses that succeed today are the ones that top social media feeds.
To be found, you need to be on social media. And one of the most powerful social media platforms is Instagram. It’s the only social media platform that almost guarantees your profile a spot at the top of the feed. That’s because Instagram has introduced a feature called Stories.
Stories brings your brand to life. It allows you to share and collate multiple photos and videos; all the moments of your day that combine to make up your unique “story”.
Videos are invaluable when it comes to building your personal brand. Gary Vaynerchuk, entrepreneur and master of social media, says spontaneous videos are an effective form of documentation. They capture your thoughts as they happen and help you collate your unique content – vital for any Influencer.
So, it’s no surprise that Stories is proving to be a crucial brand-building tool for Influencers. Recent data shows that while Facebook has the highest number of members in Australia, Instagram is the fastest-growing social network. Since stories was launched in 2016, there’s also been a decline in Snapchat usage – previously the only social media platform that allowed users to post videos “on the run”.
What’s more, Instagram is driven by hashtags. This means it acts like a search engine, so you’re more likely to turn up in search results when someone is looking online for a business like yours. It also uses location data, which is great news if you’re targeting an audience in a specific area – for example, if you are a personal trainer in Brisbane.
There are two ways you can use Instagram to your advantage:
1. As a polished branding tool.
Stylised images and videos can give your brand a refined edge.
2. As a spontaneous capture tool.
Videos allow you to share the moments of your day as they happen. They give your audience a unique insight into who you are, what you do and how you can help them. It also shows them that you’re a “real” person, not simply a message.
Negotiation expert Tony Perzow is a fantastic example of someone who uses Instagram videos in a powerful way. His videos not only market his programs, they inform, entertain and educate his audience. Wholehearted Studio’s Hayley Jenkin is another entrepreneur who uses Instagram exceptionally well. Her images and videos are more stylised and consciously crafted, perfect for building her photography business’ sophisticated brand.
Be wary, however, of striving for perfection. Entrepreneurs often have a fear of appearing inauthentic or “showy”. Social media can be a real struggle for them, so they play it safe and do nothing. Consequently, their competitors appear at the top of their audiences’ social media feeds. They’re the ones who make an impact and get the leads.
Be fearless. To be an Influencer, you must embrace social media. Don’t get hung up about appearing perfect – people want to see the real you. Videos can give you enormous cut through with your audience. Better yet, you don’t need to spend huge amounts of money or have a professional recording studio. In this regard, Instagram presents the perfect ally.
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