Instagram and I have an interesting relationship.
While it might have 40 BILLION photos uploaded onto the platform and 85 bazillion users (ok I made that stat up go with me!), the numbers don’t dazzle me.
In fact, I was having a cheeky wine with a dear friend a few months ago and I was whinging about how much I HATED Instagram. She listened to me carry on for a while and then she said… “cool story bro, how’s that working for you?”
And I was like … damn.
I hate it when the truth gets slapped across your face like a wet fish!
They say a picture is worth 1000 words… and the popularity of Instagram shows how true this is.
I guess Instagram doesn’t really care if I “like it” or not! But if it really is that popular maybe I should be using it for business regardless of my personal feelings.
After all, that’s often what I used to tell my clients about Facebook back when it was all new and shiny! So here goes…
Instagram is a visual social media platform app, launched back in October 2010. The first photo shared founder Kevin Systrom’s dog. Titillating.
Unlike Facebook, which often relies on a text and picture duo, or Twitter which uses text alone, Instagram’s sole purpose is to capture an audiences’ attention through images, videos or “stories” (stories are temporary or disappearing images or videos).
In 2012, Facebook bought Instagram from the princely sum of $1 Billion dollars… not too shabby considering they had just 13 employees at the time.
Today, Instagram has over 1 billion users world-wide, with 50% of these active DAILY loading more than 95 million photos.
Businesses and marketers LOVE Instagram because so many of its users are active AND they fit into a tight and very powerful demographic.
As of August 2020, 33.2% of Instagram users were between 25 and 34 years old. The second-largest user group was 18 to 24 year olds with a 22.9 percent share. There are 25 million business profiles and over 80% of personal accounts follow a business and actively view a business profile daily.
So for someone undazzled by numbers like me, what the heck do all these fancy numbers mean for you and your business?
Basically – if YOUR ideal clients are between the ages of 18-34 years old, chances are they would happily follow you, see you and interact with engaging content in Instagram MORE than on other social media.
The outcome? You need to get on Instagram! Put their Eyeballs on YOUR STUFF!
There are ways to do this easily and go ALL IN, to really create your corner of “the gram”… and attract client bookings too. We’ll look at this below.
How does Instagram work?
Firstly, it’s important to note there are a few different elements to Instagram.
I think this was what confused me so much at the start! I’m not really a “pretty” kind of person with a knack for styling.
For me, I looked at all these accounts and they looked so beautiful, appealing and professional.
And I was like DAMN… How can I do THAT?
So, back to the wine with my friend. She’s really great on Insta, and she showed me some ground rules on how she curated her feed (that’s what all the collective photos someone posts are called) with an informal crash course.
As it turns out, an account CAN look all professional and it doesn’t have to be hard.
- She took the photos herself.
- She edited them with a filter to make them lighter and brighter, and used the same filter in every photo for consistency.
- She used an external scheduling app to visualise her feed before she posting.
- She spent time researching hashtags and getting to know where her audience ”hung out” on the gram.
Yep – there was a simple process to all the beautiful things she did. She wasn’t just taking snaps willy nilly and posting them all ad-hoc (like I was).
There was method to the madness. And knowing the method made it easier. HA! Who knew?!
From then on, I started reading, researching and learning by completing a few different Instagram courses … in conjunction with actually USING the platform a lot more than I had previously.
I also spoke to therapists who looked like they were crushing it and getting clients regularly from it, to see how they did it!
How to use Instagram for your massage business
There were so many great learnings from this that I can now see how Instagram can really help therapists get their message out there and get more clients in on their tables.
For me – I have now grown our business following to more than 5,500 followers.
It has taken time, we have followed lots of therapists worldwide and been consistent in our posting and taken a couple of years but it’s been very organic.
What I love is that we have a very active engagement with them when posting regularly. Ok – so we are not massive influencers yet BUT we’re visible in our niche, we’re playing the game and we’re in the arena.
And the biggest thing I’ve already got is CONFIDENCE about how Instagram works and what it can DO for massage therapists wanting to attract local clients.
The 7 Elements of Instagram
I had this notion in my head that Instagram was just for the cool kids and I didn’t belong in the space. But through curiosity, growth and persistence (or perhaps stubbornness) I was able to break down the rules of play into 7 elements of just WHAT this beast was. A bit like the 7 wonders of the world, but Instagram style.
So let’s break down the 7 elements of Instagram….
- The feed or the grid: This is where people post their pictures and is more often than not, heavily curated. Meaning the images people share here are carefully selected and “beautiful”. This is a fabulous place to share images of your service, clinic, team, memes and other pics you find interesting or meaningful.
- Stories: is “disappearing” media (or ephemeral) lasting for only 24hrs. It’s Instagram’s answer to Snapchat. This space is less curated and more freestyle or on-the-fly. Many users choose here to show more personal things in photo or short video form and on a regular basis. You can add filters, words, GIFs, music, stickers and much more, even going “live” to broadcast real time with your audience. Had a last minute cancellation and want to fill the space? Use Stories to let your audience know NOW.
- Highlights: This is a place to save Stories, so the stories continue to be available to view after they’ve disappeared from the normal story place. Each highlight category gets a little logo so it’s a great opportunity to use these to act like a clinic brochure – you can share what your services are and who your team is and even events you having coming up.
- Instagram TV: aka “IGTV” allows you to upload high quality, long-form, vertical videos. IGTV allows Instagram users to create channels where they can upload videos between 15 seconds and 10 minutes long. It’s a great place to put “how to” videos or show the styles of treatment you offer.
- Reels: Is Instagram’s answer to TikTok – very short (15 seconds) grabs of video designed for attention. These can be uploaded with voice or music to your feed, Stories or filed in your “reels” feed section.
- Hashtags: these are like little google superhighways – #wellness #livingmybestlife #massage #myotherapy – search any of these on the platform and you will see how many other people have used that # you can see what else might be trending. They hugely increase visibility and searchability to people not following you.
- Direct Messaging (or “DM”): Just like on FB messenger – you can DM an account and have a conversation between a person or group. Many potential clients choose this is a quick communication option over email, phone or even website.
I feel like that list will create more questions!
BUT remember, this is WHAT and the HOW comes next…
4 steps to start attracting and booking clients
All this is great and if you’re just wanting to experiment with Instagram and learn more about what it actually is, that’s all good.
But the main goal to ANY marketing is to attract clients!
So let’s talk about our 4 steps to start attracting and booking clients using Instagram:
Step 1. Sign up!
If you don’t have a business Instagram account – get one – go to Instagram.com and sign up for one.
You can easily link between Facebook and Instagram. Ensure you enable a “business account” (easily changed in Settings) so you can link it better with your FB page and do things in the future like paid advertising and tracking statistics.
Step 2. Post Photos!
You need followers, and to do that you will need photos… so off you go! Armed with your smart phone, get pics of you, your team, your happy clients and a clinic tour. Feel free to add other nice things that are in alignment with your brand like something for sale in your clinic, maybe this weeks soundtrack.
Post consistently, from 2-7 times a week. You can learn from your insights when your people are online and scrolling.
Step 3. Activate!
It’s time to start USING the platform, so go and follow other businesses and people.
Post in your clinic that you are on Insta – YEAH! And encourage your clients to follow you (and then you should follow them back too!)
Step 4. Engage and Share!
Instagram is about community and it rewards engagement by boosting you in the algorithm. This is not a platform to set and forget, or hope that if you build it, they will come. Follow, like and comment on posts, and reply to Stories in a genuine and authentic way. Share Stories that shout out businesses or products you love and use, tagging them. Collaborate. Each save, comment and DM reply to a Story on YOUR account, equals the platform pushing your posts to more eyeballs (called Reach in your insights).
One big thing we know about Instagram is that it rewards early adapters of new features to the platform.
Like the Reels part of Instagram – it was only launched in Australia in August 2020. Therapists I know that are using Reels are getting much higher engagement and more likes because they are publicly searchable (you don’t have to follow an account to see their Reels).
Now… remember that Action Precedes Clarity. No one got good at Instagram because they got lucky. Everyone figures new things like this out along the way.
Out of the 1 Billion users on Insta, 25 million are business accounts.
And of the daily users on the platform, 80% of them have discovered a service or product from Insta.
So yes, of course there is more to learn and lots of strategy that can be applied. But don’t let that put you off – none of that makes a squat of difference if you haven’t even started yet!
So NOW is your time to go and try this out! #yougotthis #instachamp
– Elicia “fine I’m an insta queen now” Crook