Recently I was invited to speak for a group of women entrepreneurs who wanted to learn more about Instagram. My first question to them was “How many of you have an Instagram account for your business?” Everyone raised their hands.
I asked my next question “How often do you post on it?” Few said 2-3 times a week, some said once a week, and others said once in 2 months.
I then asked my next question, “Why? Why don’t you post on your Instagram more?”
The answer was what I always get “We don’t know what to post?”
This wasn’t surprising. 7 out of 10 businesses have no idea what to post on Instagram.
So if you are reading this and thinking “Yup, that’s me!” Don’t worry! I promise you aren’t alone.
By the way, the second most common reason why people don’t use Instagram consistently for business is that creating content for it on a daily basis takes so much time.
But what if I gave you a simple formula that will not take you more than 10 mins to come up with content ideas. And, if you are willing to give it 20-30 mins, you will have a whole month of content and forever get rid of the question “What should I post?”
Interested? Atta girl, keep reading!
So here’s my secret formula, which isn’t really a secret at all!
When creating content for Instagram, choose topics that fall under these three categories and think about 10 ways you can create content for each.
Don’t worry, Imma show you how to do it and also give you prompts to get your brain cells functioning.
But this isn’t a ‘read it and forget it’ kinda blog. You’re gonna have to put in the work missy.
So get a pen and paper, or your notes app on your phone or a word/google doc ready and let’s do this!
The first category is ;
Instagram is a social media platform and not an Online Shop. Sure you can sell things from Instagram, but that’s not how it works. People scroll on Instagram to escape from their daily lives and not to shop. If they want to buy something they will be on amazon.com.
So am I saying you cannot sell on Instagram at all? Absolutely not, that is not what I mean! As a business, you are using this platform to market yourself and if it doesn’t result in any kind of sales or leads than what’s the point? But the way you sell on Instagram is different.
Tell. Don’t Sell.
Imagine you go to see a movie. You get your popcorn, settle into your seat and wait for the movie to begin. The ads come and then the trailers. Now its been 20 mins but your film hasn’t started yet.
More commercials. Someone’s trying to sell you an online course, another wants you to download a freebie, there is a commercial of candles at 10% off. Free shipping on hand made soaps and of course, you can get one month free if you join a mastermind for 6 months at the price of your house.
Now its been 45 mins and there is still no sign of the movie you came to see. Just some random people trying to sell you their stuff. What are you going to do?
Well, if I were you, I would get up and ask “what the F**k is going on?” and demand a refund!
People are NOT on Instagram to be sold.
They want an escape from their daily routines. They want to look at pretty pictures and read engaging captions and not be bombarded by an offer to buy something over and over again.
So how do you sell? Well, you don’t. You tell!
Educate them. Show them what will happen if they buy from you. What are the results they can expect?
If you are a Business Coach. Don’t tell them how many calls they will get with you. Paint them a picture of how their life will look after they’ve worked with you. Show them the transformation.
Imagine you are a health coach and you help people lose weight. What do you think is going to have more impact? A picture of you working out in a gym or a before and after of a client you have helped lose 45 lbs?
You bet my skinny ass, it’s going to be the second one!
Coz here’s the thing darlin’. Nobody wants what you are selling. They want the result. They don’t want the process. They don’t care about the process. They care about the outcome.
Now here’s a question for you? How can you tell and not sell? Jot down the benefit of what you do. Not the features. Benefits. How many can you list? Try for at least 10.
Here are some prompts that can help you think (taking an example of a health coach):
- What’s the immediate benefit people will get after working with you?Lose 45 lbs.
- What will change in their life as a result of that benefit? They can wear old clothes, have more energy, their health will improve.
- What other tertiary benefits they will get? They will get lots of compliments, they will feel more confident at work or among friends.
Now spend 5-10 mins listing down all the benefits your product /service provides.
Done? Now let’s move on to our next category.
Do you remember that time when you fell asleep in your Chemistry class and your boring as hell teacher called your name to answer a question, which you obviously didn’t know the answer to because you were sleeping with your eyes open and then she sent you to detention?
I bet sitting in detention you thought this boredom would end with school, but little did you know that it kept coming up again and again.
When you were sitting in that boring marketing presentation at work, or listening to the salesman at Sleepy’s bore you to death telling you about different types of coils that exist.
Or, the time when you were scrolling on Instagram and kept seeing the same #fridayintroduction post on every account!
If your prospective customers are bored, they are going to scroll past your account and that, my friend is an opportunity missed.
But when they see something that entertains them, brings a smile to their face and makes their otherwise dull day better, they are going to LOVE you! And keep coming back for more.
Adding a touch of humor to your Instagram feed can attract people, like flies to dog poo! They will be soon swarming all over your s***t.
So how can you create entertaining content? Start by answering these prompts:
- Share fun anecdotes from your life that can easily transition to your topics (My 3 yr old lifted my dress in a supermarket, and I might be internet famous now)
- Insert some self-depreciating humor into your messaging (The time when I went out with my mom friends and the waiter asked me if I was having fun with my daughters)
- Think of recent news or life event that you can link to your topic (If Kylie Jenner can land a feature in the self-made billionaire category, then I deserve an Oscar for my act this morning when …)
Don’t forget to add a hint of your personality in the entertainment category. It seems authentic when if it’s your voice.
Does every Instagram account have to inspire? Not necessarily. Do you have to inspire? I think you should. And here’s why.
Go back to that day when you decided to start your business. Why did you do it? Surely, there was more to it than just earning money. In fact, any company that is purely started with the intention of making money doesn’t go that far.
If monetizing your Instagram account or business is your sole reason, then I can tell you right now it’s not going to be enough to sustain.
So what was your why? Your purpose? Was it to empower women, build awareness on a topic that’s close to your heart or something else? What are your beliefs? What values do you and your business stand for? What is your mission statement?
When you inspire others, you aren’t only going to fuel your purpose, you will also make an impact and create ripples in this world.
Instagram with its 1 billion users is a fantastic platform to do that.
Imagine how you would feel if even one person tells you that they took action because you inspired them. How would that make you feel?
Instagram is so much more than just marketing your stuff. When your focus is on creating a community, and you really invest in it, those people will be your best advertisements ever.
Use these prompts to inspire:
- Share your story. From the beginning to the end. Show people if it’s possible for you, it’s possible for them.
- Tell people about your struggles and how you overcame it or are trying to overcome it.
- Share with them a book, podcast or a blog that inspired you.
I am sure you can come up with way more than 10 ideas for this category. Write them down
And, you did it! You came up with 30 different content ideas for Instagram for a whole freakin’ month. Now go and plug it into your calendar and you can forever shut the door on that dreaded question “What to post?”
Still struggling? I can help! Download these 40 Quotes that will take you from paralyzing over IG content to lots of engagement. Download here!
Did these categories inspire you to get down to business and create content ideas? Leave me a comment on how are you planning to use these categories to create content for your Instagram.