The first thing to realize while you’re stuck at home during a pandemic, or another non-apocalyptic circumstance, is that your people still want to connect with you. This is especially true if you historically spend a lot of time on social media. When your region, niche, or even the whole world is going through something significant they turn to their tribe for comfort.
Within Instagram, it will be more important than ever to be authentic and connect with people via stories and direct message. If you’re still feeling uneasy about making an offer, consider what you can offer instead. By giving value to your community you can build trust, help those who can’t afford to make a purchase, and allow those who can make purchases to see the kind of quality they can expect from you.
You may be thinking that Instagram should already be filled with people who are authentic, right? But you probably also know that there are a lot of feeds that are filled with only the most beautiful parts of that authenticity. During a lockdown, or really any other crisis, it’s more important than ever to embrace the full spectrum of your own authenticity.
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As a collective, it’s important for people to see reflections of their personal experience in those around them. When we are suffering we want to find someone who can say it’s going to be ok and that we will make it through to the other side. During a time of crisis, however, platitudes aren’t enough. You really need to make sure that your followers believe that you are going through the same thing and that you’re still showing up. Because if you’re scared and still hopping on Instagram it’s easier for your followers to believe that normality will return.
But what does that mean for you? It means your posts during lockdown don’t have to be picture perfect and might even need to deviate from a preplanned formulaic grid. It’s ok to paint outside your marketing lines when the world goes sideways – people will love you for it.
If you’re thinking that sounds great but you have a solid posting schedule that has been consistently providing you with the results you want, you have another option. Instagram stories are perfect for spur of the moment bursts of authenticity that don’t fall within the confines of your planned content release.
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Even if you always take the time to create perfectly composed shots and include thoughtful posts that are meticulously hashtagged, stories can be a powerful way to build your credibility with your followers.
Accounts that fill their feeds with promotions and generic pictures of their meals or vacation destinations may inspire envy, but do they help people feel a sense of connection with you? Instead, try talking about what you’re struggling with and asking them for their advice. You could ask for Netflix recommendations, cookie recipes, cleaning tips, at-home exercise routines, new music to explore, or anything else you might otherwise turn to Google for. These types of stories will help boost engagement while also letting your audience get an idea of what you find important and what you want more of in your life.
Alternatively, if you are thriving in lockdown because you’ve found some killer resources, you can share those discoveries with your audience in your stories. The type of posts that might be relevant for this moment in time wouldn’t necessarily be applicable later and may not have the shelf life of a post you’d want in your grid, but that doesn’t mean they can’t help you build engagement now.
Speaking of building engagement, direct message takes the authenticity and personalization strategy to the next level. If you have a small following you could reach out to each new follower with a voice message in their DM to say thank you and ask about how they are doing. Follow up when they respond and really take the time to get to know your followers.
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Think about the impact you can have by taking the extra time you have now to let people get to hear your voice and feel seen by you. What would it mean to you if your favorite person on Instagram was suddenly in your DM saying thank you and asking you questions? Amazing. That’s the feeling you could be giving to your followers. It will make a lasting impression and has the potential to create superfans out of people who would otherwise have only passively engaged with your posts. The more engaged your followers are the more likely they are to purchase products and services when you do offer them.
There are several ways you can give content away but all of them have one thing in common, giving away something amazing without asking for a purchase.
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If you routinely partner with a brand you can reach out to them to see if they want to sponsor a giveaway as a way to build awareness for their brand through an act of kindness during a difficult time for your community. This is a win-win for you, the brand, and your followers. This also costs you nothing other than time as you engage with those who are vying for the prize. It can lead to more sales for the company you partner with as those who don’t win may decide to purchase the item for themselves anyway.
If you make money on Instagram by selling services, products, or through affiliate commission you can sponsor your own giveaway. If your focus is on beauty products you could give away a grab bag of all of your favorites or several smaller prizes of individual products to multiple winners. If you sell an online course that you’re launching you can give away a certain number of full and partial scholarships to those who enter. Not only will this help people spread the word about your launch, it’ll also give you the opportunity to give back to those who are struggling financially during lockdown while also continuing to support yourself.
Instead of giving away scholarships you could give a percentage of your profits for a product or service through a specific date range so that anyone who makes a purchase during the designated time frame is having part of their money sent to a charity. This allows your client to do something good for them and for a cause they believe in.
Just because your normal routine, and the routines of others, have been disrupted doesn’t mean now isn’t the perfect time to be making offers and earning money on Instagram. You aren’t selfish or a bad person for wanting to learn more about how to get money from Instagram.
Increase your outreach and add value to your community and don’t think twice about providing opportunities to those who need what you’re offering. When times become more uncertain people look for things to give them hope.
No matter what your offer is, if you are giving your followers a reason to hope that their lives will return to normal, you’re giving them hope. Focus on that and feel into it with every post, story, comment, and offer you create and you’ll be well on your way to making money on Instagram even during a lockdown.
For Bloggersby Sherry Gray July 18, 2021