Building your business as a freelancer or solopreneur requires a very savvy marketing mind. When you’re limited on time and resources, you have to be smart and strategic about what you can take on and the different ways you can build your business.
Social media is one of those elements that solopreneurs have to use strategically. The last thing any solopreneur needs is to get sucked into an endless black hole of social media scrolling in an effort to market themselves. After all, likes on a post don’t actually translate to money in the bank.
This is why Instagram marketing for solopreneurs and freelancers looks vastly different than it does for brick & mortar businesses or larger organizations. Great Instagram analytics won’t pay your bills!
But that doesn’t mean solopreneurs or freelancers can’t grow their business on Instagram. We found 7 ways that a solopreneur or freelancer can use Instagram for business and actually see business growth.
Even if it’s only you behind your business and your business is under your name, you’re still a brand. No matter how small you are, your potential customers are most likely searching for you online before they make a decision to hire you.
The best place to start branding yourself on Instagram is in your bio with an Instagram business account. Your bio should clearly communicate who you are and how you help your clients. Let’s break it down, shall we?
User Name: If you’re using Instagram for your solo biz, then the best username is whatever is consistent with your other spaces on the web. If your name is Fran Fancy but your business is “Fancy Pants Designs” and that’s your website name and Facebook page name, then don’t make your Instagram username “Fran Fancy.” Keep it consistent
Photo: A professional shot of you or your business logo. Whichever route you choose, make sure the photo is clear and people can tell what it is when it’s shrunk down into a smaller space.
Bio: Think of your Instagram bio as your elevator pitch. It’s only 150 characters so you need to be direct and to the point. Visitors should know who you are, what you do and who you do it for by the time they finish reading your bio.
Link: This might be the most important part of your Instagram profile! Unlike Facebook and Twitter, there isn’t a ton of opportunities to include links to your website or landing pages so you need to be strategic with your link. There are two tools we’ve found that make this much easier.
With LinkTr.ee you can add multiple links to one central bio link so when a user clicks on the link, they’ll have multiple destinations they can visit.
LinkinProfile is another tool that gives you the ability to use one link to multiple destinations. With LinkinProfile you can add links for each individual image that you post on your feed. When someone clicks on the link in your profile, they can choose which link to visit based on the photo in your feed!
If you’re strategic about these four pieces of your profile, you can set up your Instagram so that it’s well-branded and perfectly presents your brand with the Insta-world.
Instagram is a fantastic networking tool. It’s a great place to find other freelancers, solopreneurs or entrepreneurs who can support you, partner with you or work with you in the future. It’s like a big networking event, just online!
One way to find other solopreneurs or freelancers is to search hashtags to find others posting content that is relevant to you. You might want to search the #freelance or #solopreneur hashtags or you can get more niche. If you’re a graphic designer, you can search the #graphicdesigner tag to find more designers. You can also use hashtags to network with business owners with complimentary but not competing businesses. For example, if you’re an SEO specialist, you may search #webdesigner.
It’s worth noting, if you’re going to use Instagram to network, don’t just spam people with DMs to collaborate or mastermind. Community building is crucial on Instagram! Instead, leave thoughtful comments and take the time to develop relationships with other Instagrammers.
Even though it’s not as easy to share links on Instagram as it is on Twitter or Facebook, it’s still a great place to promote your content like your blog, podcast or content videos. Pull highlights from your latest piece and share them as the caption to a relevant photo in your feed. Or pull a favorite quote or the title of your piece and use a design tool to create a quote graphic to promote your content. You can use the link in your bio to direct people to your content.
Pro-Tip: We use the LinkInProfile tool for this so we can easily promote multiple blogs and pieces of content.
There are over 1 billion people on Instagram. Which means, it’s a pretty safe guess that some of them fit your ideal audience. So you can use Instagram to go find them!
One way is using hashtags, like we explain in the step above. Think about what hashtags your audience might be using. Are you a wedding planner? Try searching #bridetobe or #engaged tags. Or if you are a health coach for moms, try searching #momlife.
If you’re a local business, you may find success searching geotags of your city or you can search #CityNiche hashtags, such as #ChicagoEntrepreneur or #AustinBrides.
From there, you can start following and engaging with prospective client. You can also send DMs but we recommend only doing this after you have spent time engaging with someone’s feed.
If your clients are searching for you online, you want to make sure they see you as an expert in your industry. Providing value and sharing relevant tips on Instagram will showcase your expertise and can help sell you to future clients.
It can take some time to build trust online so providing value is one way to build up that trust in you and your skillset. This is a way to differentiate yourself from the competition and build credibility as an expert. The more you share, the more your followers will trust you and be willing to pay you for services!
Selling on Instagram might not be as direct for freelancers as it is for brick and mortar or product-based businesses but Instagram can still play a role in your sales process.
Many freelancers and solopreneurs use Instagram as a lead generator or list building tool by offering a link to sign up for a free resource, such as an ebook, video training, tutorial or checklist in their profile link.
After they’ve signed up, you’ll have their email address and will be able to include them on promotional emails or your newsletter.
Finally, we get to the fun part! Instagram is the perfect place to share your secret weapon: YOU! As a solopreneur, you are your business and there is no one else like you in the world. Give your followers and potential customers a look at who you are by sharing your personality. Whether it’s by sharing behind the scenes shots of your office on your feed or hopping onto Instagram live to share some quick tips, Instagram allows you to shine through your profile. Research shows that people want to buy from other people so use your Instagram to share who you are as a person! This is another way you can stand out from the crowd and build more trust with your audience.