Now don't get me wrong, I like and value Instagram, but I'm always the first to put my hand up and say it is NOT the be-all-and-end-all. It is also certainly not the ONLY way to grow your business. There are literally dozens of ways you can grow a successful business outside of the gram. Five of these ways include:
Partnerships & Collaborations
Let's dive in....
Image Credit: Daniche Creative
Instagram is not for everyone - and it's not for every business,
When it comes to marketing your business, I'm a big believer in finding and using the tactics that sit in that sweet spot between what aligns with your target audience and what aligns with you. There is absolutely nothing worse than slogging away at something that just doesn't fit your jam. The result is usually a combination of you slamming your head against the wall and your audience turning away because they can feel that "I am not about this" energy oozing through the screen.
If you're stuck in the IG funk and looking for other ways to grow, here are five epic places to start.
1. PARTNERSHIPS & COLLABORATIONS
With any partnership, it is always super important to ensure your business values and brands align before you dive into any kind of biz relationship. Ultimately whoever you partner with is going to be a reflection on your business - and you on theirs. So take your time with this one.
Begin by seeking out businesses who share the same target audience as you, but offer a complementary service. Reach out and simply start by getting to know and understand each other. Try out one another's product or services, catch up for coffee, etc.
Once you're confident it's a match made in heaven, then start to explore different collaboration ideas. Collabs should always be a win-win for both sides, and be promoted equally to both audiences. It's all about that combined growth, and being able to offer your audiences something exceptional and sensational as a result of bringing your epic skills together.
2. FACEBOOK GROUPS
With Facebook being very much a pay-to-play space for businesses, gaining traction for your business profile can be a hard slog without throwing some dollars at it. However, there are still a few pockets of goodness in the platform and one of them is Facebook groups. Well managed groups with high engagement rates and decent admin, can provide an awesome space to connect with and promote to your target audience.
Start by thinking about the types of groups your audience are likely to be members of, then research them within Facebook and request to join. Once you're accepted, make sure you get familiar with the specific admin rules for that group because no one likes a Spammy-Sammy.
Rather than go straight in for the sell, I recommend start by sharing stuff of value. Demonstrate your expertise and personality by giving tips or advice that's in tune with the group and what the members are there for.
I also suggest do a search in the group for keywords associated to your business. See if any historic posts crop up where people are seeking out products or services like yours. Drop a comment on the posts introducing yourself and tagging in your business. Subtle, but smart.
3. ATTEND AN EVENT
Whether you attend as a participant or a stall-holder, events are an awesome way to create strong connections, fast! There's literally nothing better than cutting through the digital fourth-wall and seeing your people in the flesh to solidify a bond.
Think about the types of events your target audience are likely to attend. More specifically, events where they'll be seeking out products or services like yours - or at least have it on their radar somewhat. Search for events that fit the description, sign up and go!
Show up as your tru authentic self, and make an effort to genuinely try and connect with those that are there.
4. AFFILIATE & INDUSTRY WEBSITES
When DIYers want to find a tradie they might jump on to sites like Houzz or Word of Mouth. When brides-to-be want to find vendors they might head to sites like Wedding Diaries or Easy Weddings.
Consider what the equivalent websites for your business are. Then consider if they align with your target audience. Some sites exist to help shoppers find the cheapest option available, so if you're a high-end business having a profile here would make zero sense.
Third-party websites might be more PR style where you feature in an article, others might be more profile style where you pay to have your business represented on the site. Either way, you would need to look into the specifics for each one to determine if they're the right fit for you. For any that are though, jump on the opportunity because the back-links alone can be epic for your website SEO and driving new eyes to your biz.
5. STAKEHOLDER OUTREACH
A stakeholder is anyone who plays a role in your business - past, present or future. They can be internal, such as employees or external such as partners, consultants or clients.
Make a big map of all of the stakeholders who play a role in your business, or who you would like to play a role in your business. For each one, determine the best way to reach out and build on the relationship. For some, it might be a simple email thread here and there, for others it might be a regular coffee catch up. The nature of the communication will very much depend on the nature of the relationship, and where it's at vs. where you want it to be.
Stakeholder outreach is definitely a lot more involved and time-consuming than other marketing methods, but it truly is an exceptional way to grow your business organically. The relationships that come from it can create years and years of consistent business.
So there you go! Five ways to grow your business beyond Instagram.
If you'd love support bringing any of these ideas to life, you know who to call!