Social media gets a bad rap sometimes but love it or loathe it, Instagram is a platform where your ideal students are hanging out and you want to be where your ideal students are. If you want to grow your community you need to be visible and sharing content on the platform.
You may have seen success stories of people who have used platforms such as Instagram and TikTok to build celebrity like followings.
But there are some things you need to remember about Instagram:
- Instagram is a great free platform but it is not your community, it is a tool you can use to grow your community.
- Instagram as a direct marketing tool is limited and there’s just no measurable way to turn your followers into paying students. Your goal is to bring followers offline, on to your email list.
- It’s not all about followers – there are people who have 100k followers and are not making money from that following.
- Your followers on Instagram will not see everything that you put out on the platform and engagement can be low. Don’t let that stop you from being consistent.
Instagram is not your community, but it is a powerful platform.
Building community should be your focus with Instagram but by community we don’t mean the number of followers, we are talking about your email list. You don’t own your Instagram profile, you don’t own your following – it’s just a rented space. By using social media to help grow your email list, you are growing a community that is yours.
Email marketing is powerful – emails get delivered 90% of the time whereas you can’t guarantee that your followers will see your posts. An email list gives you access to a more engaged community who want to hear from you – they are your community who you want to nurture and create your offers for.
3 easy steps to get students from Instagram
Create an opt-in freebie
The first step is to have a freebie (or lead magnet) you can share on Instagram and other social media platforms. This opt-in freebie is something you create that can be accessed in exchange for an email address to add to your mailing list.
Why is this important?
Having forms on your website is not enough to grow your email list, your ideal students are out there looking for support and your freebie is going draw them into your community.
What freebie should I create as my lead magnet?
When you’re creating your freebie, think about what problem you can solve for your followers. Don’t just create something quick and easy, make sure it’s really useful for your ideal students and the challenges they are facing (and related to the solution that you offer). The last thing you want is someone feeling like they’ve been scammed or didn’t get anything valuable in return for their email address.
It should be packed full of value and naturally lead your new subscriber to become a paying student through a journey of nurturing via email and your content. Ensuring that your freebie aligns with your offer and other content will ensure that you attract ideal students to your community.
Planning your content
Once you’ve created a freebie you need to be sharing and promoting it across all of your marketing channels, including Instagram. Planning how and what you are going to post will save you time and help you be consistent.
How long do I need for content planning?
How long you spend on your content planning will be individual but aim to allow at least a couple of hours a week or a day a month to gather the content you want to post, ensuring it is niche specific for your ideal student.
How to use Instagram to promote your freebie
When you’re planning your content, ensure that you’re being creative with the different ways that you will share your freebie.
Instragram really is a video based platform currently so utilising video for reels, stories and lives will help your content to reach a wider audience, get more engagement and ultimately convert more of those followers into joining your email list and eventually becoming paying students.
If you haven’t already, add short form video to your content strategy. It’s not going away any time soon!
If you’re new to video, our guide will help you to get started: Four powerful types of video content to use in your yoga business.
Stay away from too many “download my free guide about X” posts, these should be sprinkled between content that is engaging, educating and fun.
Sharing your freebie in Instagram stories
Stories are only shown to your existing followers so they’re not a way to grow your following but they are a great way of nurturing your existing audience. Stories are a great way to connect more deeply with your audience and let them get to know, like and trust you.
Lead with education, sharing tips and guides, letting followers know they can find out more with the amazing freebie you have to offer with a clear CTA (call to action) on how to access it (eg. Click the link in my bio to download).
Creating and sharing your freebie – a summary
- Know who your ideal student is and what problems they are facing
- Create something valuable for your ideal students that you will offer in exchange for their email address
- Make sure you have are nurturing your list through email and your content
- Make something you are proud of and happy to share on all your platforms in different ways.
- Plan your content in advance to educate and engage your ideal students
- Include video content on Instagram for higher reach and engagement
Instagram is a great place to build your network of other teachers, guides and coaches who are working in the same niche space as you and to collaborate with them to expand your reach to more ideal students via their audience as well as your own.
Finding and reaching the right people is a strategy we teach inside Yogipreneur Launchpad. These strategies help our students to extend their reach and grow their email lists much quicker than they could alone.
Once you have created these relationships you can collaborate online, for example, run giveaways or competitions together, or do a series of lives or educational conversations. You can explore ways that you can add value to your partner’s audience whilst also extending your reach and growing your email list.
For more on collaboration, check out our podcast: 3 collaboration ideas to extend your reach.
It sounds simple, because it is, but social media is called social media because it’s social. The final way to use this platform to get new students is to engage.
Of course, you want to share and post your content but take set aside some time to interact too. This is how you build trust and relationships with your followers and connect with them on a one to one basis. It’s also a great opportunity to guide them back to your freebie. and /or paid offerings.
If you’re being honest with yourself, you probably spend too much time scrolling through instagram anyway, so you might as well make it worthwhile by using that time to engage.
- On other people’s content
Be sure to comment on people’s posts and really mean it, engage with their caption and write a meaningful response that shows you see them and you care.
- In Instagram stories
Watch your followers’ stories and reply to them. This goes directly into their inbox and will help you to create a conversation there.
- Always reply to comments on your posts
It’s amazing how many of us forget to do this. If they leave you a compliment, say thanks. It’s awesome to hear back from someone. Unless you have tens of thousands of followers, you should be able to do this pretty quickly and easily.
- Get conversations going in the DMs (direct messages)
Find ways to have conversations in the DMs, through replying to stories or messaging about their recent content that you genuinely loved. You can also use CTAs (Calls to action) on your stories to encourage your followers to message you.
Remember: You get what you give. If you show people enough comment love, most people will show it back. If you want more engagement on your posts, engage on posts. This is extremely helpful for your reach too as Instagram favours posts that have more comments and will push your post up the feed so more people see it.
With these organic interactions, you’ll create more trust, because you’re really showing up for your people on an individual basis, building trust and gradually building momentum with paying students.