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COMMUNICATING ON INSTAGRAM

How to put the 6 unique communication channels of the 'Gram to work for you

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COMMUNICATING ON INSTAGRAM

I’m a big believer in consistency.⠀

In showing up, day after day. Taking small (but bold) steps in faith + letting the effort compound itself toward your goal.⠀

In the health + wellness fields, we see the payoff of consistency everyday, yes?⠀

But, when it comes to marketing our health + wellness businesses, we often take this idea and twist it into a kind of cult of consistency.

In short, we’ve been brainwashed into believing:

Show up everywhere, daily… or you’ll disappear.

But friend, it’s a lie.

As Elise Grice (one of the generous + brilliant marketing minds behind Hey, Sweet Pea) shared in her recent email series:⠀

Prioritizing consistency above all else carries some dangerous costs.⠀

  • It traps us in an endless cycle of forced content creation.⠀
  • It diminishes our ability to contribute meaningfully.⠀
  • It narrows the field of options we see for ourselves.⠀

See, when it comes to establishing real, authentic “influence” in the mind + heart of your dream client…⠀

Good content will ALWAYS win.⠀

(Yes, even after a long stretch of radio silence.)⠀

If the message rings true, your people will always be here for it.⠀

Which brings us to Instagram.

Projected to surpass 111 million users in 2019, it’s safe to say your people (at least some of them) are hanging out on Instagram.

And with so much noise on the platform, vying for your dream client’s attention, it’s all too easy to believe we must be showing up there constantly, day in and day out, to stay top of mind.

But here’s the thing:

Instagram isn’t a 1-dimensional thing. Instagram is what you make it. It’s totally customizable.

In fact, it’s actually comprised of at least 6 unique channels of communication:

  • posts to your grid⠀
  • comments⠀
  • Stories⠀
  • LIVE Stories⠀
  • IGTV⠀
  • DMs ⠀

A variety of ways to connect. Each one up for grabs. (Or not!)⠀

So, instead of treating Instagram like this giant beast to be tamed, outsmarted, or constantly fed, what if you started seeing it for what it truly is?: A multi-dimensional menu of OPTIONS for communicating with YOUR people.

Because once you start approaching Instagram this way, the ONLY important question becomes:⠀

Which 1 (or more) of these channels is most aligned with my natural communication style + the message I have to share today?

To help you shift your thinking about communicating on Instagram, let me break down each of the platform’s 6 unique channels + highlight how some of my awesomely talented subscribers are putting them to use!:

1) Grid posts

This is what comes to mind when most people think “Instagram”.

And while it’s true that Instagram is a visual platform, you’re likely following me for the copywriting goods. So, let’s focus solely on WORDS for now, shall we?

Your grid is the first impression most visitors will get of your profile, so it’s important to put some thought into what’s represented there.

When it comes to written communication in your grid, you’ve got 2 main options:

  • text graphics
  • captions

Text graphics allow you to communicate a clear message, summarize dense material, or highlight a point from your caption. In my experience, the simpler the layout, the better. But it’s your grid, so test, tweak, and repeat as you like!

Captions enable you to really let your natural copywriting superpower(s) shine. Some folks tend towards a concise couple of sentences. Me? I prefer to push that character limit + treat each caption as a mini-blogging opportunity. Play around with different styles + see what works for you (and your dream clients)!

START COMMUNICATING ON INSTAGRAM:

Ask yourself:

What do I want my dream clients to know, feel, or do after they discover my profile? How can I start engaging them in meaningful ways with each post I share?  

Inspiration:

Dr. Tracy Dalgleish (Clinical Health Psychologist) shares grid images that convey a single point (e.g., her Lessons to Learn series)

Dr. Dami (Dermatologist) shares captions that translate research findings into actionable advice for readers

2) Comments⠀

Ahh, the comments section.

So full of promise… so easily wasted.

Listen, it takes time + effort to respond to each comment you receive on your post, but you’ve gotta respond. (Instagram is a SOCIAL medium, right…?)

Challenge yourself to go a few levels deeper than a knee-jerk emoji response. Put some thought into your response. Use the commenter’s first name. Answer their questions. Pose new questions. See if you can get a conversation going.

But, don’t stop there!

  • Comment on your commenters’ original content.
  • Drop into your followers’ profiles + leave a comment there.
  • See something you like in your feed? Slow your scroll + drop a comment there.
  • Remember hashtags? Pick a few that’re relevant to your niche + start commenting on recent posts under each hashtag.

It takes time, but it’s not rocket science. Instagram is all about engagement, so quit trying to outsmart The Almighty Algorithm + actually engage instead!

START COMMUNICATING ON INSTAGRAM:

Ask yourself:

How can I respond in ways that are helpful to members of my community? How can I educate, engage, and/or encourage through my comments on my own (and others’) content?   

Inspiration:

CéShaun Hankins (Social Work Coach) + Karen Barnes (Mindset Coach) are both lively commenters, engaging with others’ content + and in the comments section of their own posts

3) Stories

Of all the communication channels on Instagram, Stories are where I’ve really let myself explore creatively.

Talk about low-risk, high-reward:

  • Didn’t go as you’d hoped? It’s gone in 24 hours! 
  • Knocked it out of the park? Save it to your Highlights!

Stories offer the chance to let your dream clients in on a new part of you + your business. Used effectively, they have the potential to inspire, entertain, educate, build anticipation…

And with new bells + whistles rolling out all the time, Stories are an experimenter’s playground!

Try your hand at mixing static images with video. Play with the various stickers + interactive features.

Have fun with it + watch your confidence grow.

(Then, when you’re ready, you can give LIVE Stories a try! :))

START COMMUNICATING ON INSTAGRAM:

Ask yourself:

How can I engage my dream clients in new ways? What parts of my business, content, or personal story can I highlight for them? What can I share with them that they might not otherwise find in my feed?

Inspiration:

Dr. Jesse Lillejord (Chiropractor) uses Stories to share event updates + behind-the-scenes peeks into her practice

4) Live Stories

Remember back before streaming TV was a thing? When you’d race to the bathroom during the commercial break, then hurdle the ottomon and land yourself back on the couch just in time to tune back in??

Sadly, that giddy, frenzied experience is a thing of the past, friend.

…or IS it…?

Live Stories help us create that moment-in-time, never-to-be-repeated experience for our dream clients.

Sure, they’ll remain up on your profile for 24 hours, but if folks want the unique opportunity to engage with you LIVE, then they’ve gotta show up when you do!

From Q&As to demonstrations to special announcements to interviews, Live Stories are your go-to channel for creating a new micro-community within your community, every single time.

It’s very exciting.

START COMMUNICATING ON INSTAGRAM:

Ask yourself:

How can I create a unique + time-limited experience for my dream clients? How can I engage them in a real-time exchange of some kind?

Inspiration:

Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart (Pediatric Psychologist + Parenting Coach) hosts frequent educational lives + live chats (one of which I recently had the pleasure of participating in!)

5) IGTV

I’ll be honest:

I haven’t used IGTV in either of my businesses. (Yet!)

But, that certainly doesn’t mean I see no value in it.

Used strategically, IGTV is an excellent way to ensure that your dream clients have evergreen, continual access to your content.

Maybe it’s a Q&A series.
Or your top FAQs from clients.
Or an orientation to you + your offerings.

…or all of the above!

Just be sure to get clear on the why behind the content you’re posting there. The more pared down and focused it is, the more accessible + helpful it’ll be to your dream clients.

START COMMUNICATING ON INSTAGRAM:

Ask yourself:

What content do I want to make continually accessible for my dream clients? 

Inspiration from my subscribers:

Dr. BethAnne K.W. (Intuitive Healer + Akasha Reader) hosts a recurring IGTV series, Poetry & Perspective

6) DMs

Confession time: I constantly have to work on putting myself out there. I have a hard time introducing myself to new people. It kicks up lots of anxiety.

So, I’m absolutely FLOORED by the sheer number of new people I’m exchanging DMs with on a daily basis.

But, here’s the thing:

It doesn’t feel anxiety provoking. It feels natural + authentic + fun.

And that’s exactly what a good conversation should be, right?

Friend, if you’ve been shying away from your Instagram inbox, this is my challenge to you:

Just jump in.

  • Pick one of your followers + send them a quick message to thank them for engaging with your stuff.
  • Enjoy a piece of content in your feed? DM the creator to let them know.
  • Posting to your grid or Stories today? Invite followers to share their feedback + watch the DMs come to you!

START COMMUNICATING ON INSTAGRAM:

Ask yourself:

How can I go deeper with my individual dream clients? How can I help them feel seen, welcome, and cared for? 

Inspiration:

SO MANY OF YOU!!! I’m continually blown away by the messages you send me.

And if you haven’t DM’d me yet… what are you waiting for? Seriously, I’m probably in there right now, so don’t be shy! 😉


Let’s take action!

OK, here’s your action step for today:

  • Choose 1 of the channels to focus on this week + start communicating on Instagram! (Be sure to link your profile in the comments, so we can encourage you!)

Cheering you on!


TAKE THE QUIZ + FIND OUT!


HI!  I’M MICHAELA. 

I help health + wellness professionals connect with their dream clients through genuine, engaging communication. After spending over a decade studying, researching, and teaching psychology + communication principles, I started this business to empower health + wellness professionals like me to “preach what you practice”. I share practical guidance so you can get clear on your unique value, communicate it with heart, attract + serve the people you love working with most… and actually have fun along the way.

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