Social outreach is the key to making more sales on Instagram. You can share the best posts, be consistent with your content, and have 10K followers—but without active outreach, you’ll struggle to bring in more clients and customers.
Passive action doesn’t lead to sales. Active social outreach does and that’s why it’s critical that you prioritize this element of your Instagram strategy if you want to get more from the platform. Before doing any selling, however, familiarize yourself with the following steps and strategies.
Start Genuine and Authentic Conversation
Have you ever received a long-winded message from some random person on Instagram selling their products or services? Before ever attempting to speak with you or get to know you? If so, you’ve experienced the perfect example of what NOT to do for social outreach.
To convert followers into clients, you have to build rapport first. This means showing a genuine and authentic interest in who they are and what they do. The best way to do that is to start a conversation asking about who they are and what they do. See an example from a conversation I had with someone who turned into a client.
Be open, respond back, and disconnect yourself from the sale. This is an opportunity to simply connect. Be open to where the conversation goes before shifting into selling.
Keep Reading: 7 Steps to Organically Increase Your Instagram Followers
Use Conversation to Qualify Your Potential Client
The conversation you have before pitching this potential client isn’t just a chance to be genuine and authentic. It’s also a chance to qualify the person you’re speaking with. As you chat, the focus should be on figuring out whether this person would be a good fit for what you have to offer.
To qualify during the conversation, start with their profile. Do you see any indicators that they’d be a good fit as a client or customer? Next, ask the right questions. Not only does this help you continue qualifying the person as a potential client, but it ensures you’re fully understanding them along the way.
As Audrey Harris, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Salesforce suggests: “A good sales tactic is to ask questions throughout the conversation. Salespeople should relay their understanding of the situation in order to see if they’ve fully grasped the client’s challenges, or if they need further clarifying details.”
While you’re not a salesperson, you need to think of yourself as one. As you continue to ask questions, remember to be genuine. Share about yourself when they ask and allow the conversation to flow freely, without pushing a sale on them before it’s too early.
If you want to figure out which questions to ask, check out Marketing From the Gut, an Instagram course where I teach you how to create the same pitch flow that helped me build a 100-person membership program in 6 months.
Ask Before You Pitch Anything
This is a key piece of social outreach. Just because you’re having a great conversation, and it sounds like your service or product may be of value to them, doesn’t mean they want to hear your pitch. This is why I recommend always creating a soft pitch, with just 2 to 3 sentences that end with, “Mind if I share more?”
Put the ball in their court to say “yes” or “no.” If they say yes, then you know they’re ready to hear what you have to say. This receptivity means they’ll receive your sales pitch more favorably. Rather than forcing it on them, you’re giving them something they haven’t asked for. Notice how the conversation ends amicably and can continue, even after they no. They may even turn in a client down the line.
If you’ve always felt sales is “sleazy” this can help you redefine that idea and see that it doesn’t have it be. Focus on connecting first and making a sale second. You never know what could come out of this outreach, so keep an open mind and don’t burn bridges.
Expect a “Yes”—But Be Ready for a “No”
So what if you give them your soft pitch and they say, “No, thank you”? This is as much of an opportunity as if they had said “yes.” This is your chance to get deeper insight, move them into your audience in some other way, or simply close out a positive conversation that leaves a great brand impression on them.
Here are three ways to shift that no from a negative to a positive:
- Ask why they aren’t interested. Do they already have a coach for this? Are they not ready? This gives you insights you can use for selling to other people. It can also give you a chance to refute their “no.” Maybe they don’t fully understand your offering and you can clarify.
- Encourage them to sign up for a freebie. This gets them into your subscriber list where you can continue marketing to them for other programs or offerings.
- Remind them that you’re here to offer your support and stay connected. Connections you make now can lead to sales down the road—so end it cordially so maintain the relationship.
Set Outreach Goals and Stick With Them
Social outreach is a numbers game. If you’re reaching out to people who aren’t following you or don’t know you, responses may be minimal. This means it’s critical that you set a clear goal for how often you’ll be doing outreach—and then stick with it.
To set this goal, work backward. If you want to get 5 new high-ticket 1:1 clients in the next 3 months, you may need to reach out to 5 to 10 people each week. This assumes you get a positive response that leads to a pitch from maybe 2 to 3 people and of those people, you convert a small percentage over the course of the month.
Use your own data and experience to come up with the right goals. This will be different based on what you’re offering and how effective your pitch is. Some people may need to do social outreach more each week while others may need to do less.
There is no right answer, so set a goal for the current month, and check back in to decide whether you need to increase or decrease it.
Keep Reading: 10 Instagram Story Ideas to Boost Engagement
Use Social Outreach to Convert Clients on Instagram
Social outreach, when done right, is just another tool you can use to generate leads and clients from social media. Before making your pitch, however, it’s crucial that you take it slow, make genuine conversation and prepare for a “no.” Use these strategies to turn Instagram into the valuable business tool it can be.