You might be trying strategies to get your ideal clients to find you on Instagram... posting many times a week, making sure at least one story is up every 24 hours, using optimized hashtag lists and putting polls up there you hope your audience will see. We’ve been talking for so long about "how to make great reels" and "when is the perfect time to post?" that we’ve neglected the opportunity to use this platform to seek out our ideal clients - and no, I don’t mean in a gross, cold pitch kind of way!
In her You Are A Badass book, Jen Sincero writes about having to believe in something before you can see it or it becomes real in your life. Your dream clients on Instagram are no exception! If you believe they are out there (and your market research backs that up!) you’ll be much more open-minded when it comes to trying to find them. Some mindset reframes that might come in handy:
- The energy I put into Instagram matters.
- I am open to finding dream clients who want to work with me on Instagram.
- The perfect clients for me are out there and I am intentional about connecting with them.
Your marketing time spent on IG fulfills two very distinct (but complementary) purposes:
1. Content Creation - creating posts and captions, creating and uploading Stories, answering comments on your own posts.
2. Outreach and Engagement - interacting on other people’s content in order to seek out your ideal clients.
This post focuses on # 2, so you can learn how to use authentic outreach on Instagram to find your next clients! Below is the list for the 5-Step Ideal Client Hashtag Method, and you can get the FREE Instagram Ideal Client Tracker here!
1. Make a list of 5-10 hashtags your ideal client is searching.
Hopefully these are the same ones as you’ve been using on your posts and in your stories! For a social media strategist with a target client who is a mom, some examples might be:
2. Tap over to the TOP tab of each hashtag’s page in Instagram.
Read all top nine posts for the hashtag, then like and write a comment on each of them. While you’re in each post, notice who else has commented on the posts. These may be your ideal clients and bonus, you already know that they are engaged followers and commenters. As you’re writing your own comments, tap over to the profiles of the other commenters. Scan their bio and their feed posts, and if they are an ideal client, make a note of their Instagram handle.
3. Click the RECENT tab of each hashtag's page in Instagram.
Click on the posts that you think your ideal client would find most engaging (hint! this is most likely content that is similar to yours) Repeat the above process of liking and writing genuine comments while making notes of the Instagram handles of people you think may be your ideal clients. You can use the Instagram Ideal Client Tracker to keep track of the ideal clients you find while you're going through this process for each hashtag.
You may have heard that your ideal clients need 4-7 touchpoints before becoming familiar with you - that means that you'll need to engage with them more than once to begin to recognize your username and engage back. Keeping their usernames in a list will help you know who you've engaged with, when, and ensure you can follow up with the people who are most ideal.
4. Revisit your ideal client list and start engaging with each of your potential ideal clients on Instagram.
I recommend following them, then liking and commenting on a few posts that stand out to you, which are NOT necessarily the most recent three, and not too far down their feed either. The idea is to authentically engage with them, not to be creepy or too much! 3 likes and 2-3 comments is a great place to start that is real and not pushy.
I like to imagine that I'm at a market and talking to the person at the booth. If I wouldn't say "ooh, I love these earrings!" and truly mean it, I'm not going to type that in an Instagram comment either. Being genuine is so important in business - and on social media. Keep scrolling on an account until you find something you genuinely connect with. That is what is going to spark the best conversations! Challenge yourself to ask questions, share from your own experience, give value, share an insight, or give an answer to a question asked in the caption. Your overall goal here is to start a conversation - just like you would in real life!
5. Nurture Your New Connections
It’s important to like and answer the replies that you get. You might watch the stories of the new accounts you’ve engaged with and start a conversation in the DMs through there. Be in alignment every time you’re connecting - that means typing like you would talk, getting to know people over time, and not pushing to make a sale or directing them to your products or services until you’ve gotten to know each other.
In the Tracker, you'll notice that there are a few columns for follow-ups. Engaging in a different type of content each time is a good way to get to know people on social media; meaning that you could engage in a Live the first time, a Reel the second time, and a carousel post the third time, for example. As you continue to engage and get into conversation, you'll be learning more about your ideal client in real-time through this Instagram engagement and building an authentic relationship, too.
Top Tips for Success in Finding Your Ideal Clients on Instagram
1. Get your copy of the tracker so you can track your progress!
2. Make sure you’re feeling positive and have plenty of time, ie: not rushed, and not in a low vibe mood.
3. Only comment on what feels aligned and authentic to you as you would anywhere else on the platform. A good rule of thumb is to only write things you would say in real life, face to face.
4. As soon as you start to notice yourself writing similar comments, take a break. Your list isn’t going anywhere, and you won’t get the results you want if your energy isn’t high. It's better to come back to this activity when you are in a great mood and you're feeling high-vibe because you'll write better quality comments that are truly conversation and connection starters.
5. Decide ahead of time how much time you are going to spend on this task as it can be time-consuming. I recommend 15 or 30 mins to start while you practice. You may only get through a few steps at first and that’s okay! Take your time and don’t get discouraged if you don’t get as far in as you wanted. You can always reserve a block of time and make it part of your daily marketing tasks to fit it in to your schedule.
Why I created the Ideal Client Tracker
About 50% of my current clients come from Instagram... some of them find me, and others I connect with first through intentional engagement using this exact hashtag method! Without the tracker, I was feeling overwhelmed because I would fall down an Instagram rabbit hole. This way, I can keep track of where I'm at and actually feel like I'm making progress. This keeps it sustainable and motivating for me.
Track your ideal client progress on Instagram here!
Have you started using the tracker and come up with questions? Let me hear them! Connect with me on Instagram @clearquartzcreative and I'm happy to give personalized feedback!