These days, I’m not really a numbers kinda girl.

Math? The Calculator app is my best friend.

Excel spreadsheets? If I have to.

Instagram follower count? It’s not that big of a deal.

Confused man saying

Yeah, you heard me.

How many Instagram followers you have ISN’T the most important thing about your Instagram efforts.

What is the most important?

→ How you’re serving and engaging with your ideal customer through your account.

I’ve been to known to harp on this. But for good reason. Just ask Erica Rawls (@erica.rawls).

Erica is a real estate agent in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. We had a phone call in the summer of 2018 and she dove head-first into InstaGrowth Boss.

She wanted to see her follower count grow.

I told her to focus on targeting her ideal customer.

We both won.

As a result of Erica’s efforts — we’re gonna get into this in a minute — she grew her following from 700 to over 13,000 (😵) followers.

But more importantly, five of those followers became customers. Erica has generated over $25,000 in business this year from Instagram alone.

*Picks jaw off floor*

When I found out about all that Instagram-generated cash money, I knew I needed to get Erica on the phone again. To find out exactly how she did it.

Here’s what she had to say about how exactly she turned her average Instagram account into a business-growing machine 👇

If you want to hear the story from Erica herself, scroll to the bottom of this post for a video of our conversation.

1.  She observed her competitors 

How a real estate agent generated $25000 in commission through Instagram - Elise DarmaThe first step in any journey is choosing where you want to go. That rings true for a business Instagram account, too.

Before you can build it, you gotta figure out what you want it to look like and sound like.

Erica’s first step was deciding what she wanted her account to represent, what it would offer and who it would serve.

To do that, she turned to her competition. That is, she turned to the Instagram accounts of fellow real estate agents to see what they were up to and, most importantly, who was following them.

“I was looking at my competition, and then looking to see the type of people that were following them. Once I figured that out, they became my target audience.”

2. She drilled down on hashtags

Hashtags are one of the most poorly used tools on Instagram, in my humble opinion.

People add too many hashtags. Too few. Too random. Too obscure. None at all. 

But hashtags are essential to getting your content discovered on Instagram. The rumour is that only a measly 10% of your audience actually see your posts in their feed. Hashtags are part of the solution.

The key is using the right hashtags. The ones that are relevant to your business and have between 10,000 and 500,000 other posts attached to them. This is the sweet spot. Once you’ve got your list, switch up which ones you use for each post.

Confused man saying

How did Erica figure out the best hashtags for her business? She once again looked at what her competitors were doing.

“I started researching the hashtags they were using. I came up with 15 to 30 that I could use… I had those set up and I was rotating them over.”

💡If your hashtag game could use some work, check out my guide to finding the right Instagram hashtags for your ideal customer.

3. She made sure her feed reflected her goals

When we’re using Instagram to grow our biz, we can all be guilty of becoming too focused on “me me me.” 

We’re consumed with what we are posting, who is following us and what comments are being left on our posts.

But if we don’t stop to think about the accounts we follow and the accounts we engage with, we’re missing out on a big opportunity for growth.

Erica picked up this little nugget of wisdom from InstaGrowth Boss and ran with it. 

Realizing that she should be following accounts that reflected her ideal customer and business, she took a new approach to building her “Following” list and the kind of engagement she was putting out in the world.

“I was really being intentional about commenting on the types of [accounts] that I would actually want to follow or the businesses I’d want. That was when I started seeing an increase [in followers].”

Instagram Masterclass 👉

Boost Your Sales, Leads and Clients from Instagram in 2019... WITHOUT Being an “Insta-Model"or Spending Hours in the App

4. She focused on offering value and keeping it real

Everyone has Instagram these days. There are literally over one million of us who are active on the platform every month.

That’s a lot of people begging for your attention. It’s one thing to follow your friends, but you’re gonna need a real good reason to follow someone else. Especially someone who might want to sell you something. 

Erica’s answer to that: offer value. She makes sure that her Instagram account has something to say that people want to hear. And that it looks good at the same time.

Her grid features a mix of motivational quotes, aspirational homes, personal snapshots, tips for buyers and sellers and the odd promotional post.

The voice is relatable, smart, and casual but professional. The look is fresh, crisp and bright. Most importantly, it all feels authentic.

“It’s about adding value to people. Giving value, value and value [so people say] ‘Okay yeah she really does care. I want to check her out’ or ‘She knows what she’s talking about.’”

5. She mapped out her customer journey

Creating a follow-worthy account that people actually want to engage with is one thing.

Turning those engagements into interactions off the app — the kind that grow your business — is a whole other story.

Erica has truly nailed this. 

Less than a year after starting InstaGrowth boss, she experienced what all of us are after: a follower raising their hand, saying they were ready to take the next step. More followed.

Instagram for Real Estate DM exampleInstagram for Real Estate DM example

When Erica has a follower like that, one who slides into her DMs to express an interest in buying or selling a home, she moves quickly.

First, she responds as soon as she can, thanking them for their message and asking them for the best way to get in touch. 

Then she picks up the phone and calls them within 15 minutes. She explains the consultation process and schedules an in-person meeting.

After that, it’s all about continuing to cultivate the connection until the day of the meeting. Erica sends the potential client useful information about home buying or selling.

For Erica, the customer journey doesn’t end when the deal is closed. She continues to work the relationship, offline and online, congratulating old clients when they share happy news on Instagram and even sending gifts for their big milestones.

“We want repeat business, plus we also want referrals … We’re always doing something to stay in contact with them. We’re continuing to cultivate the relationship.”

Want to get REAL, *paying* clients from Instagram like Erica did?

Then take a page from Erica’s book and dive into InstaGrowth Boss — my Instagram course that’s helped dozens and dozens of business owners get clients and bring in serious money, all from the ‘gram.

The best way to get started with InstaGrowth Boss? Sign up for my *FREE* masterclass.

Computer with Elise Darma's Instagram Masterclass on screen

This free class is for entrepreneurs, coaches, service providers and freelancers who want to learn how to:

  • Monetize Instagram with less than 1,000 followers
  • Double followers without running paid ads
  • Attract high-quality, paying customers (all through Instagram)
  • And more!

You don’t need an Instagram following to start. Or even a website.

Are you in or out?

HEAR IT STRAIGHT FROM ERICA:

WATCH THE FREE INSTAGRAM MASTERCLASS

How to boost your sales, leads and clients from instagram - Elise Darma webinar