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How to Build Your Online Brand Using Instagram (Action Steps You Can Take NOW)

My CEO, Morgan, and I used Instagram™ to build our online brand. Now, we have a profitable seven-figure business. But here’s the thing, we don’t want to keep our steps to success a secret. We know you can do it too! 

That’s why in this blog post we’re sharing five action steps you can take right now. Plus, discover one of the best ways to connect with your local customers on Instagram™.

In this blog post: 

#1 Establish Yourself as an Authority

First, let’s talk about establishing yourself as an authority on Instagram™. We see it all the time. A newish business or brand starts posting beautiful photos on Instagram™, but they don’t take the extra step to establish themselves as an authority in their niche. 

But before someone is willing to buy products from you, they need to know why you’re the go-to authority in your business niche. For smaller Instagram™ accounts, especially when you’re trying to build your Instagram™ followers, you have to think about the value in someone following you. 

Remember: If you’re talking to everyone on Instagram™, you’re talking to no one. Think about the specific customer you’re trying to reach. Once you have that Instagram™ follower in mind, you’ll be able to create Instagram™ content that will attract that specific customer.

#2 Build a Bridge

Next, let’s talk about building a bridge. Once you’ve established yourself as an authority on Instagram™, it’s time to take the next step in building a relationship with your niche followers. 

Focus on how you can create content that builds a bridge between what you are showing in a post and what’s in it for your customer. Especially as you’re building your account, you want to ensure all of your Instagram™ content communicates the value you bring to your customers.

For example, let’s take a look at @TheHouseOfHandbury. As a small business specializing in vintage goods, Laura was struggling to sell her vintage pieces on Instagram™.

Laura, owner of The House of Handbury, shares an Instagram post that shows a living room filled with some of her vintage finds.

After assessing her account, the SBZ Team realized two things: 

  • First, Laura wasn’t providing any context about the vintage products she was selling. She also wasn’t being clear about how people could purchase her vintage finds.
  • Second, Laura wasn’t comfortable showing herself in photos or on video.

After assessing her Instagram™ strategy, Laura is taking a different approach to her Instagram™ marketing. Not only is providing more context about her one-of-a-kind vintage finds, but she’s also making an effort to showcase her personality with videos and photos. 

These small changes are making a big difference for Laura’s business. Now she’s gained thousands of followers, doubled her sales, and is confident stepping in front of the camera.

No matter what you’re sharing, whether it’s a photo of your product or a video of your dog, you have to “build a bridge” and provide context to your followers. 

#3 Engagement is Just as Important as What You Post

Now, let’s focus on engagement. So many people spend time scrolling on Instagram™, but almost no time engaging with their followers. But here’s the thing: If you want to grow quickly on Instagram™, you have to consistently engage with your followers.  

Engagement isn’t just something the SBZ Team talks about, it’s something we do every single day on our Instagram™ business accounts. 

Whether it’s answering questions on your post, pinning comments, or sending Direct Messages to your loyal customers, it’s important to remind people that there’s a real person behind your Instagram™ avatar. 

#4 Have Real Conversations on Instagram™

Next up, it’s time to put the “social” back in “social media.” Despite Instagram™ being a place to connect, so many business owners and entrepreneurs spend almost no time having conversations with their Instagram™ followers or other business accounts. 

But this is a complete missed opportunity. If someone has taken the time to follow your account or leave a comment, they want to hear from you. 

Let’s take a look at Riva’s Instagram™. As a functional medicine doctor, Riva’s Instagram™ is focused on helping people live their healthiest, happiest lives. She uses engagement on Instagram™ to build fruitful relationships with her followers and to grow her business. 

Riva shares an Instagram™ post that shows her happily jumping the air with her friend, Kim.

In fact, after being discovered on the explore page, Riva struck up an Instagram™ Direct Message conversation that turned into an invite to speak on a podcast. But even when she’s not building business relationships, Riva always takes the time to send Instagram™ Direct Messages to her followers. 

Even something as simple as “Thanks for being a part of my community” can make a big difference in making your Instagram™ followers feel appreciated. 

#5 Use Geolocation to Connect with People Locally

Finally, let’s talk about leveraging your geolocation. Sometimes businesses get so in the weeds of building a strong hashtag strategy and creating beautiful content, they completely miss the potential of leveraging their location. 

But oftentimes your best customers are just around the corner. By sharing your geolocation you can be sure that your local customers never miss your content. That’s exactly what we did with my Cape Code store, Sue B. Do. 

We made sure to tag our geolocation every time we shared Instagram™ content. Low and behold, customers started coming in because they found us on Instagram™. In addition to tagging your content with your geolocation, make sure you’re using local hashtags. 

Not only will it drive local traffic to your business, but it will make it easier for other local businesses to find you for networking opportunities. 

Turn Your Instagram™ Profile into a Buyer Magnet

A blog banner that links to Sue B Zimmerman's Three Keys Instagram training.

Do you find yourself spending hours every day on Instagram™ trying to create eye-catching content? I promise, there’s an easier, more efficient way. Grab a spot in my FREE Instagram™ course. You’ll discover the three visual secrets that will transform your Instagram™ into a buyer magnet.