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Marketing Your Direct Selling Business with Instagram

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Last year my teenage daughter asked if she could get an Instagram account. This was an eye-opening and educational experience for our family as we learned a whole new way to communicate on social media with our kids and their friends. As teens moved away from Facebook and over to Instagram in large numbers last year, parents have another social media environment to monitor, with some added benefits if you’re open minded about learning a slightly different marketing approach. Instagram isn’t just for teens. Almost 80% of Instagram users are between 13-49, and 68% of the users are female. 

After sitting down with my daughter for about fifteen minutes I was educated on setting up my profile, posting pictures and getting creative with #hashtags. From a teen perspective there are cool things to post on Instagram and very uncool things and now that we were following each other the last thing I wanted to do is appear as a stalker parent.   There were some abbreviations I needed to Google in order to understand what she and her friends were talking about: #goals, ttyl, TBT, OOTD, bae, cray, LYT and WTH. Now that I had the basics down I was off and running.

Because Instagram is picture and video driven (you can’t make a post without one) the visual stimulation when you scroll through the feed can become rather addictive. I found myself following gluten-free chefs, beach yoga instructors, natural skincare crafters, coffee drinkers, motivational speakers and crossfit athletes. Because IG sorts photos by hashtags, when you go to explore new people you’ll immediately gravitate toward people with common interests.

Creating Connections

Posting comments on Instagram is much like Facebook and you can easily engage with new people simply but making a positive comment on their photo. You can private message your friend on Instagram, too, which also requires attaching a photo to the initial message. Another way to engage with your friends is to add their IG name, for example @abc123, as a comment to a post, or tag them in a post. The next time your friend goes to their Instagram account they will see the post you intended for them to see. It goes without saying, if someone follows you, follow them back, unless of course you have reasons not to. Since about 70% of Instagram users check their feed at least once a day, post pictures regularly to keep followers engaged and interested. Follow and engage with people who have similar interests as you. For example, if you see a user who often posts about a healthy lifestyle and natural skin care, you may want to follow them.

Instagram connects to other social media channels very easily. By sharing your Instagram photos to all platforms you can manage your time better. In my opinion there are some photos that are perfect for IG and not as effective on Facebook but that will be personal preference after you have some experience using both platforms.

Market Your Brand Without Advertising

Instagram is different than Facebook in that photos tend to be more ‘lifestyle’ related. Selfies are the most popular photos on Instagram closely followed by food, pets and word-art. Post things that you think your followers will be interested in. Followers on Instagram appreciate a quick snapshot with a phone. Taking a picture of how you use your products everyday have more impact rather than posting a still shot of a product taken from the online shopping cart. I’ve also noticed that telling a story on IG tends to be more effective than copying a description out of the catalog.  

HASHTAGS

Over 80% of all Instagram posts contain a hashtag and because that’s how people sort images on this platform, you’ll want to use some strategies. I see people come up with their own phrases like ‘whywontmycarstart’ or ‘mytoddlerisadorable’ and while they are clever, they aren’t necessarily going to bring new followers in the vast world of Instagram.

There’s a great article from www.twelveskip.com and they’ve broken down Instagram hashtags by the category of photo you’re posting. For example, if you have an inspirational quote, trying adding #quote, #quoteoftheday, #instadaily #motivation, #determined, #dreams or #instalike after it. Hashtags like #organic, #cosmetics, #directsales, #workfromhome, #skincare, #naturalskincare, #lipstick and #lemongrassspa work well for Lemongrass Spa related posts.

Instagram is such an easy way to interact with your family members and close friends. As an added benefit, when people see how much fun you are having with your business, the way its impacting your lifestyle and how you’ve incorporated it into your everyday routine you may find yourself with new followers, customers and potential recruits. #SeeYou on #Instagram!

Let's follow each other! You can find Lemongrass Spa at @lemongrass_spa_products. 

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Heidi Leist is founder and CEO of Lemongrass Spa Products, a direct selling company specializing in natural and organic skincare, mineral makeup and baby care products.  Heidi’s passion is empowering women and men to live the Lemongrass lifestyle by balancing natural skincare with healthy eating, exercise, faith and family.  Learn more about us on Facebook at Lemongrass Spa Products Corporate or follow Heidi @LemongrassHeidi on Twitter.

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Guest Thursday, 23 May 2019