How this digital marketer got $27,000 in new business through Instagram — with less than 1,000 followers
I was at a coffee shop the other day, taking a break from working on a new IGTV video (translation: maybe procrastinating just a little bit), when I came across an interview in a magazine.
The interviewee was some actor I didn’t recognize. But it was the final question that caught my eye:
“What secret do you want to share with the world?”
Weird question, I thought. And then I answered the question in my head, as if I was this unknown actor.
“Business owners can get real clients and make real money with Instagram.”
I know, I know. Cheesy answer, but true story. Plus, it makes for a great blog intro! 😬
And I want to continue spilling alllll the beans on why — and how — Instagram is an amazing tool for businesses looking to get clients and grow profits.
- Gained 500 followers ✅
- Landed their first client ✅
- Booked for a podcast ✅
Beautiful messages like these
…and so on.
Brandy Kinnear was one of the latest bearers of good news.
Brandy is a digital marketing strategist and growth consultant for natural health doctors.
Through her business, Your Ideal Patients, Brandy helps docs grow their practices, treat more patients and increase their profits.
It didn’t take her long to hit the ground running and meet some pretty impressive milestones, though.
By October, Brandy had closed three high-ticket clients — including one that brought $7,000 into her business! 😲
But wait, there’s more.
In January, Brandy had more good news for me. Her total revenue from Instagram at that point: about $20,000. 😲
Twenty. Thousand. Dollars.
But wait, there’s even more.
As I was getting ready to hit the publish button on this post, Brandy left me a voicemail. Take a listen 👇
Oh, no big deal. Just another $7,000 client.
And as of December 2020… Brandy has reported her earnings from Instagram are more like $50,000:
Obviously, I was curious about how Brandy took her Instagram from 🤷♀️ to ahhhh! in less than a year.
I decided to pick her brain on what Instagram strategies and best practices she found success with, and how her fellow digital marketers can follow suit.
Here’s what Brandy told me 👇
If you would prefer to hear Brandy share her story in video format and get the down-low straight from her, scroll to the bottom of this post.
1. She gave her Instagram feed a designer makeover
Forget what you learned as a kid about not judging a book by its cover. On Instagram, we’re all about showing off our fancy and aesthetically-pleasing feeds!
Don’t get me wrong — the captions are important, too.
But when it comes to making a good first impression, the overall appearance of your feed is how someone decides whether you’re worth following.
Only Brandy’s family and friends (and the usual annoying spambots 🙄) followed her Instagram account in its early days. There were selfies, the odd grainy event photo, vacation pics.
Y’know, how most of our accounts looked like before we decided to turn them into biz tools.
Then, around March 2018, something changed on Brandy’s Instagram. Where there used to be dancing bitmojis, there were now profesh-looking motivational quotes! And a color theme! And high-resolution images!
One look at Brandy’s Instagram feed now, and you know that this isn’t just any old meme-sharing, selfie-factory Instagram account.
You know that this woman means business.
You also know that…
- Her business is about helping people (thanks, inspiring quotes on striking backgrounds)
- She’s a thought leader (photos of Brandy at a podium, addressing a room full of eager listeners, check ✅)
- That turquoises and blues are her brand colors (hello, beautiful color palette!)
I focused on making sure I had professional images and brand colors that were consistent. I get a lot of positive comments about my Instagram feed looking really good.
2. She became laser-focused on her ideal audience — and less focused on her follower count
It’s one of the most common mistakes I see in Instagram marketing: getting too hung up on follower counts.
How many followers you have is only one measure of Instagram success. And it’s not even the most important one.
What matters more than the number of followers is the quality of followers. 👏👏👏
Think about it this way: would you rather have four mugs of the world’s crappiest coffee? Or one mugful of steaming hot perfection?
(If you said four mugs of junk, you’re officially a coffee addict, and I feel you).
In this analogy, you want the one mug of perfection. Two hundred engaged Instagram followers who fit the profile of your ideal client are always going to be more valuable than 400 bots and old high school friends.
Brandy understood this right away.
“Resonating with the right people is more valuable than having 50,000 followers, of all kinds of accounts and people who don’t matter.”
In Brandy’s case, that meant creating Instagram content specifically for natural health doctors. It’s a niche audience, but that’s exactly why Brandy went after it — it’s a niche she could truly have an impact with.
“Staying consistent and speaking their language” is how Brandy has owned her niche and built a small-but-mighty following comprised of potential leads who are following her for all the right reasons.
“The people who do find me on Instagram are my ideal clients. I have calls, I’d say weekly, with doctors that have followed me on Instagram and want to learn more about what I do.”
Today, Brandy’s Instagram following hovers around 900 followers. But that following has, even at its modest size, rewarded Brandy with over $27,000 worth of business.
3. She established — and stuck with — specific content themes
Brandy does not post about her thoughts on the Game of Thrones season eight trailer (um, where is Bran Stark?) or her celery juice.
Because neither of those things have anything to do with her business or her persona as a business leader.
One of the biggest and best changes Brandy made to her Instagram biz strategy after joining Social Bank (formerly InstaGrowth Boss) was developing content themes and sticking to them.
Her feed is a mix of motivation, education, entertainment and personal life, and she rarely colors outside of those lines.
“I started doing a combination of education, entertainment and motivational quotes. It was all about being consistent.”
Consistently posting about the same themes means that:
- Potential followers visiting Brandy’s feed quickly understand what her feed is all about
- There’s a reason to follow Brandy’s account; instead of a mish-mash of topics, followers know to expect a specific blend of content
- Creating and scheduling content becomes much easier (Brandy isn’t starting from ground zero every time she sits down to plan)
- Brandy is strengthening her brand with every post; by creating content on the same topics, she can really go deeper and own those themes
4. She supported her Instagram efforts with additional content
Instagram is just one tool in Brandy’s business arsenal.
Like most skilled online business owners, Brandy realizes that she needs complementary online content to support her business.
Here are some examples of additional content that I personally offer:
- A blog. I share all kinds of valuable, free guides on Instagram, online marketing and business, written specifically for my ideal client.
- Free tools and trainings. Free? Yup. If you’re a regular visitor of this website, you’ll find plenty of fun, free stuff hidden in my blog posts and on my website! (Psst… my favorite freebie? My completely free, Instagram workshop that is jam-packed with information on growing your biz using Instagram!)
- Linktree. You know, that URL tool for Instagram bios that lets biz owners link to multiple pages, instead of just one? I use my Linkin.bio from Later to push my followers to my website, to my latest blog post, to my free masterclass, etc..
I can link out every Instagram post to a different part of my website.
Tying all of these different online avenues for your business together is a brilliant way to go about creating a holistic online presence. 👌
When I launch a course or new service, I create a blog post about it. The blog post is an answer to “why” my followers need the program. A call-to-action is, of course, included.
A call-to-action (or the so-called ‘CTA’)is a specific piece of text that directs people to take action from your blog post, from your Instagram feed, or from any other online presence you have.
Here are some examples of good CTAs:
- “Want to book a free 15-min chat to see if we’d be a good fit? Click here!”
- “Need help with growing your Instagram account? Check out the link in my bio to find my free Instagram masterclass!”
- “Head on over to my blog post if you want even more tips on how to find your ideal customers!”
A good CTA is normally followed by a link or a button that is well-contrasted, easily accessible and easily clickable.
Now, back to Brandy.
The content from Brandy’s blog posts helps her create Instagram content to promote her program, like an Instagram feed post or Instagram Story content.
The blog post itself might be the call-to-action from her Instagram feed, and it may be the featured link in her bio. Sometimes, Brandy also creates a video to go alongside the blog post, as well.
The point is: Brandy brings all the tools in her digital marketing tool belt together. And usually, Instagram is where the whole customer journey begins, pushing Brandy’s potential leads to take the next step.
“They’re consuming my content, they’re getting to know, like and trust me. They get over into my website, where they’re taking advantage of one of my calls-to-action, and then reaching out to me after they’ve had a few engagements with me. They’re usually reaching out to me on Instagram.”
Brandy’s Instagram advice for fellow digital marketers
Brandy has four pieces of advice for fellow digital marketers who are ready to start making money — real money — with Instagram.
- Stay consistent
- Focus solely on your ideal client
- Be authentic
Her fourth piece of advice is something that she wants to start putting into practice herself: storytelling.
“I’m speaking to the audience a lot, and one of the things I want to do more is tell more stories. That’s something I’m adjusting with my own brand.”
As Brandy knows, when it comes to Instagram strategies for business owners, there’s always more to learn!
But speaking of making a profit through Instagram…
Want to start making real profit through Instagram like Brandy did?
Get a jump start on your Instagram strategy, feed, captions, bio, and all the other little things on your Instagram To-Do list with my Show Me The Strategy! Instagram Growth Package.
It’s perfect for business owners, freelancers and online entrepreneurs who are ready to see *real* results on Instagram. ⚡️
Inside the package, you get:
- One Instagram Strategy Guide, researched and created just for your business, that includes everything you need to know and follow in order to grow your Instagram account effectively.
- 60 minutes of face-to-face time with me (Elise!) to talk alllll things Instagram.
I love writing case studies about biz owners who are growing their companies in big ways with Instagram. Check out the Show Me The Strategy! Instagram Growth Package and you might just be my next superstar feature! 😉
HEAR IT STRAIGHT FROM BRANDY:
Discover how this digital marketer got $27,000 in new business through Instagram — with less than 1,000 followers
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