The following is an excerpt from The Ultimate Guide to Instagram for Business, 2nd Edition by Kim Walsh Phillips, on sale now.
The Power of Stardom: Leverage Your Instagram Account to Strengthen Your Celebrity, Authority, and Expert Positioning
Attaining celebrity status is not about an ego boost (although I’m not going to lie—that was nice, too). Instead, it is about premium positioning so you become magnetic to your target market. Your perfect prospects will line up to see you, and they will pay you top dollar as the celebrity expert you are. The best clients in the world want to hire the best consultants, coaches, doctors, and experts . . . so position yourself as the best.
For example, you would expect to pay Bobby Flay a lot more money to cook dinner for you than a random chef you found at the seafood restaurant down the street, even if that latter chef is actually more talented. No matter your niche, celebrity positioning is a powerful tool to grow your tribe quickly and convert them into top-paying customers for life.
Before you embark on your path to stardom, it is important to lay the groundwork for celebrity success. Your profile must be on point with your brand before you begin promoting.
Getting Ready for Your Close-Up
If someone were to visit your social media pages and/or website without knowing anything about you, what would they think about you or your company? Does your brand messaging communicate what you want your visitors to know?
If you are like most people, you need to tweak your brand message quite a bit to make it clear to your target market. Don’t be ashamed. We all started out with an embarrassing look. Just pick up any People magazine and look at the “Before They Were Stars” section to see a celeb’s awkward moments. It’s an issue for everybody, companies and individuals alike.
But that isn’t a reason to bury your head in the sand. You can develop celebrity positioning with just a few simple steps.
The Ultimate Guide to Instagram for Business, available now at Entrepreneur Bookstore | Amazon | Barnes and Noble
Get a Professional (and Recent) Headshot
It’s time to amp up your game and go beyond the iPhone selfie (ick!). Celebrities have good photos, and so should you. To find an affordable professional photographer in your area, check out Thumbtack (thumbtack.com/) and search for “headshot photography.” Or you can post your job there and photographers will give you their estimates upfront. Another option is to search Instagram for #photographer[insert your name of town] and see examples of their work.
And stop using that photo from 20 years ago, no matter how good you look in it! Those images are most likely hurting your trust factor with your prospects, as they look just as fake as a bad stock photo. (If you’ve done this, then when you show up to your sales call, pop up on your webinar, or start doing any live social media, your prospect will feel like you started the relationship with a lie. Lying is lame, so get in the game with a current photo.)
You’re cute—now smile!
Related: Instagram Is Reportedly Rolling Out A Text-Based App to Compete With Twitter
Make the Camera Your BFF, Seriously
Any time a microphone or professional camera is in front of you for any reason, have someone take your picture. Then share those photos periodically online. Whether it’s when you’re speaking onstage, being interviewed for a podcast, or simply getting an award at your local chamber of congress, leverage these photos as blog images and post backgrounds.
Celebrities are photographed often, so you should share these photos online as though you were your own paparazzi. No matter how cheesy this may feel to you, remember that positioning yourself as a celebrity goes a long way toward getting you paid more, and post that photo!
Feature Your Content in Your Posts
If you got a spot on the Today show, would you use it to promote someone else’s work? I sure hope not.
If most of the time you are sharing other people’s content on your page, stop. This is your opportunity to shine by setting yourself up as an expert in your industry. Feature
your content and develop your own images and posts. Start with any blog posts you’ve written—are there images and quote nuggets you can pull out to run on your Instagram page? If you don’t know where to start, begin by listing 12 questions your prospects tend to ask when you meet with them and answer those. Then turn them into image quotes and long-form comments for Instagram.
Now it’s time to share your message with the world. Thankfully you don’t have to stand in line at 4 a.m. for 90 days at the Today studio door to earn your publicity and celebrity status. (Although, if that’s your thing, have at it.) Instead, you can leverage the power of your Instagram account and the rest of your marketing funnel to establish your stardom.
Related: 21-Day Plan to Grow Your Instagram Following
Start Small and Then Go Smaller
It’s easier to be well-known to everyone in a town of 5,000 than a city of 5 million, and you can’t be all things to all people. Pick a niche, and then choose a narrower sub-niche within that niche. Focusing on a smaller target market will grow your fame quicker.
Once you’ve picked your target market, zero in on a small portion of the group/industry/ subculture. Stay focused on appealing to these individuals until you have achieved celebrity status within this group. After that point, if you want to reach another subset of your target market, you can move on to the next subgroup.
Identify at least one group, association, or other organization that serves your niche, and make it your mission to become a celebrity within it. If you can strategically and methodically develop a relationship with an organization that serves your niche market, it’s a lot more effective than starting from scratch. You’re leveraging a group that has already brought members of that niche together.
Dive deep into getting to know their members and leadership. Find a way to volunteer, such as joining a committee or advisory board or working at an event. The secret to getting in good is giving first and asking second. Follow the organization’s social media accounts and begin commenting on its posts at least twice a week through your professional page. Make meaningful comments that show you actually read and connected with the content. (The worst thing you can do is post something pointless so you sound like Mr. Spam Man. No one wants that.)
For more success strategies, buy The Ultimate Guide to Instagram for Business, 2nd Edition, available now.
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