Converting Instagram Followers to Customers
Instagram has become a powerful marketing platform. Using your Instagram account to sell your products or services can help you reach your target audiences and drive your sales. But how can you attract the right followers to your account, and how do you turn them into customers?
Tyler McCall is an Instagram marketeer, strategist, and coach who helps his clients use Instagram to grow their community and their business. “We had clients who paid off $20’000 in credit card debt, made more money in one year of business than in the past four years combined, retired their spouse – all by using their Instagram account in a genuine and intentional way.” Here, Tyler reveals how.
From Non-Profit to Instagram Strategist
Tyler graduated from college and went on to work in the nonprofit world. “It’s what I had always wanted to do. I traveled nationally and internationally with the YMCA and fell in love with that organization. I did that for the next six years, working in membership, marketing, corporate sales and operations. I think a lot of the nonprofit world prepared me for entrepreneurship because in the nonprofit world you have a title and a salary. Typically it's a tiny salary, and the title means you’re actually doing 14 different jobs.”
Tyler also spent time doing political and community organizing and says that now, he can really draw on this experience. “I learned how to get people to stand behind a cause or mission, how to get them excited enough about something that they would give their time and money.”
Towards the end of his time in nonprofit, Tyler felt tired and burnt out. He was feeling frustrated with the job he was doing, and started his own business on the side. “I got my first client and ran their Instagram account for them. It was a gift shop here where I live in Asheville, North Carolina. They paid me $300 a month to post on Instagram five times a week.” From there on, Tyler built out his business, got a business partner and took on more and more clients. Over the next two years, he ended up managing and writing Instagram strategy for dozens of businesses and brands.
The People First Mentality
When Tyler saw the accounts of the people he was working for growing and their business achieving great results, he thought to himself: “Wait, I should be doing this for myself too.” In 2016, he started getting very focused and intentional with his own Instagram account.
He invested in James Wedmore’s program “Business By Design”, launched his product “The Follower to Fan Society” and had a breakthrough year in 2018, focussing on that product and optimizing it for the entire year, automating the sales process and scaling it.
When it comes to getting followers, Tyler says that his secret sauce really isn’t that exciting. “At the end of the day, it all boils down to the core principles we have in business, which is approaching what we’re doing with the people first and people always mentality. These are real human beings behind the screens, with hopes and wishes, dreams and fears. When you think about it in the context of helping someone doing the thing that person wants to do, all you need to do is find that person in a state of thinking about needing some help with that thing, connect with them through your content and have a conversation with them, and then that can lead to a sale.”
Focused Content for Ideal Followers
But one step at a time. Tyler says that the first thing you have to do when trying to grow your Instagram is to get very clear on who you want your ideal follower to be. “You have to master the art of attracting and repelling the right and the wrong followers. And if you’re going to become more intentional about follower growth, that also means you need to become more intentional about creating content that is turning people off and pushing them away, because you don't just want anyone following you on Instagram.”
Tyler’s ideal follower is 32 years old, a mom of two, and she loves this drink at Starbucks. “Now to get to the next level, get really clear on what your ideal follower is afraid of, how they're making purchasing decisions, what they hope they can accomplish, what their big scary dreams are, and think about those things, because that is what will allow you to create far more meaningful content.”
Having a lot of different types of content is actually a mistake, Tyler says. “You have to streamline your content and have two or three things that you talk about consistently. The most successful Instagrammers are those who show up consistently with consistent content, and a consistent brand voice, with a consistent visual identity. And if you've ever reached a stage in your Instagram account where you feel like, ‘Gosh, I'm just saying the same thing over and over and over again’ then you're doing it right.”
The only way to build authority, get your name recognized and becoming the go-to in your niche is by saying the same thing over and over again.
The Human Connection
Being vulnerable and authentic is important to create a connection with your followers that goes beyond monetizing that relationship. “If you're only posting and sharing on Instagram with the goal of getting people to buy your stuff, the energy you're putting into that type of content is very pushy. It's very promo.” Your goal shouldn’t be a human to business connection, but a human to human connection. “That allows you to sell with so much more ease.”
The key to this is leveraging Instagram Stories. “Show up consistently and as regularly as possible on Instagram Stories, because they’re a gateway to direct messages. If you can get your followers replying to your stories via direct messages, you can nurture that conversation and build a relationship around something that is completely independent from your business. Down the road, when you have an opportunity to sell your product, it’s going to be so much easier because that person is already used to talking to you.”
Tyler is a big believer in proactive follower growth – liking and commenting on other people’s content to attract them back to your own account. “The engagement strategy we teach is going to someone's account, liking three to five of their posts, and leaving a genuine and real comment on at least one of those posts. And through that engagement, you're going to catch their attention.” If you’ve been clear on who you want as a follower and what kind of content you’re creating for them, chances are big that they come back to your account and potentially follow you.
“Think what you can do to gain visibility on other people’s platforms,” Tyler says. There is more than the traditional podcast or guest post. “It can be as simple as taking over someone’s Instagram story for the day, or doing an Instagram swap for the day where someone posts in your feed and you post in their feed with content that is valuable to their audience, attracting people from one place to another.”
Another way is to create content that is more likely to be shared. “Memes and cartoons are very effective. Those posts get shared by users to their Instagram stories, attracting other people back to your account.” Using features like the two options poll or the question box or making a clear call to action in your posts or stories additionally gets people to interact more with your content.
Investment: 15 to 20 Minutes a Day
Tyler encourages his clients to spend 15 to 20 minutes per day on Instagram, engaging thoughtfully and intentionally to attract people back to their account. “Posting in the feed too much doesn’t necessarily help you beat the algorithm. We teach our clients to post consistent and high value content two to three times per week, and show up more regularly on Instagram Stories, maybe five to seven times a week.”
A lot of people tell Tyler that they’re spending an hour a day on Instagram and not getting any results. “I always ask them: What are you doing during this time? We have to differentiate between content consumer time – where you watch, are entertained, or chat to your friends – and content creator time, where you log in for 10 minutes with a thoughtful, purposeful task that you’re going to accomplish in this time.”
The Power of the Direct Message
Once you have identified your ideal follower and are attracting people to your account, it’s time to think about how you’re getting them to buy.
“You’ve created content that is eliciting conversations and that is creating connections, and that doesn’t necessarily talk about your product. You’re responding to comments and direct messages (DM). Those conversations will become your springboard into actually promoting your product or service.”
It will be a simple invitation. “All you are doing is creating an opportunity to connect people with something that will solve a problem for them. They want to be more healthy, they want to have more time, they want to have a better relationship? Simply send out an invitation in the style of: If that's something you want help with, just send me a DM and let me know.”
The reason Tyler dotes on DM’s instead of getting his clients to 10K followers is that it’s a much more active form of marketing. “If you can get them in your DM’s you can own the conversation, instead of just sending them to the link in your bio and handing off the marketing decision to the person. You can directly address their objections, you can talk them through their fears, you can qualify whether or not they’re a good customer or client for you.”
Tyler builds in a call to action in his automated webinar that pushed people to direct message him, letting him know they're watching the class. “We’re responding to every single DM saying thanks for watching, and then we ask questions like what was their biggest takeaway, and what they’re going to do to implement what they’ve learned. That’s where we can start digging into what their plans are, and what support they need to implement them. And we simply say: ‘If you're looking for more plans or more support, or more coaching, The Follower to Fan Society is the perfect place for you.’ At that point, we can start having that sales conversation.”
Two weeks ago, Tyler was talking to someone through DM and she told him that now was just not the right time for her to sign up in his program. “I responded and said I totally get it. If she has any more questions about it, she could let me know, also if she had any Instagram questions in general. I said I'd loved to support her until she was ready to join us.” The next day, Tyler saw that she had DM'd him at 4:00am, saying she would like to join because Tyler had been really helpful even when they were just chatting about it. “She signed up that day. So that one extra step, that 20 seconds it took me to have a conversation with her, led to a sale and it's going to make all the difference for her and her business.”
In the age of automation, human connection is making all the difference. “The business owners who are doing live events and take time to connect and have these conversations are seeing incredible results, because their clients are connecting in real life and in person.”
Connect with Tyler J. McCall:
- Follower to Fan Society
- Tyler J. McCall on Instagram
- Tyler J. McCall on Twitter
- Tyler J. McCall on Facebook
- Tyler J. McCall on LinkedIn
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