How to network on Instagram in 2017/2018

Too many people out there use social media to market and sell, trying to get something from you; not as many people ask themselves “What can I do to solve your problem?”, “Is there a way I can help you and bring you value?”. With Instagram and all the other social media, it is important to connect first. Then you provide value to people and only after that, you can start to ask for something. In business, you need to be patient and play the long game. Wait for the right time and you will achieve success!

I don’t think people understand how powerful Instagram DMs (Direct Messages) are in terms of building relationships and strategic networks. It is possible that in the future Instagram will implement a stricter privacy policy, which will allow users to block DMs from random people on the platform. Since this is not possible just yet, here you can read my step by step guide to get the most out of this exceptional chance. Follow my 5 step guide and I can assure you, you’ll succeed.

Before you dive into the guide, I just want to remind you the laws of probability: the more you do the better — remember the 10X Rule? Well, if you planned to do this stuff 10 times, you better do it 100 times if you really want to achieve something!

1. Find suitable Instagram accounts

Everything on social media is confusing and there is way too much stuff. What you need to do first, is to find what you are interested in, by doing a quick search on Instagram. The beauty of Instagram is that you can choose several different ways to find your leads by searching in selected locations or looking up specific users or hashtags. If you own a business and want to expand the amount of people that you can reach, start by finding out what are the most used hashtags in your industry.

Let’s assume you own a barber shop in Rome. To begin implementing your Instagram strategy, you can filter people and posts by location and start looking for the hashtag “haircut”, for example. At this point you need to analyse each account by looking at the “top” and “most recent” posts. Now, the problem for most people is that they just want to grab the big fish at the very beginning and they don’t realise that even collaborating with someone who has between 100 and 1000 followers can have a huge impact on their business. Unless you’re a huge company with a very extended budget, you don’t want to follow this approach. What you need to do, instead, is to get in contact with “micro-influencers”, or people with less followers but good engagement that operate nearby your shop.

2. Understand their Instagram profile

The second step is to spend 30–40 seconds on understanding and studying the account you just picked. Try to figure it out their interests, what they like and dislike.

It doesn’t matter how many followers that account has. Even if it only has 200 followers but every single one of their posts has something like 50 likes and 10–15 comments, message them via Instagram DM. If the engagement is high, it means that the user has the attention of their audience, that is something crucial in today’s digital world. So, focus your attention on micro-influencers that are within your region. They can help you grow your business more than you’d expect and can bring you tremendous value as a person at the same time. All it takes is a single DM to start building a relationship.

3. Are you giving them value?

What I want you to understand is that this is not about spamming accounts and the last thing we want is to get our account banned from Instagram and get our message automatically deleted. The Instagram DM game plays around one single concept — bringing people value.

I can appreciate that right now your entire thinking is focused on getting something from the influencer straight on. Of course you can DM Lebron, DM Warren Buffett, DM Totti, but if you don’t fully understand what the influencer actually needs first, you will never manage to collaborate with them. If you want to win at this game the main thing to keep in mind is that you have to bring them value. Formulate your message carefully and bear in mind that in order to bring value to someone you need to ask yourself: “how can I help solve the problems they are facing?” or “what might they need in the near future?”.

4. Direct Message

Open your Instagram, find the person you want to reach and go to their profile page. At the top right corner, you will find three little grey dots. Tap the icon and send a personal message to your influencer!

5. 10X Rule & Repeat

I’ve already explained you the 10X rule and how important it is in order to achieve success. Be ready to receive 100 NOs for every YES. Also, bear in mind that most people won’t even reply. But don’t get discouraged, this is completely normal. Remember that each individual has their own professional and personal network. What you can do is start a conversation with one of the people following those you want to reach and climb up untill you finally manage to speak to your influencer.

Reminder: If you really want to succeed, do this at least 100 times a day!

Be willing to work for free at the beginning if you are just about to start and you want to gain some visibility. If you are good enough, you will be rewarded later on. Be patient.

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