The following excerpt is from Kim Walsh Phillips’s book Ultimate Guide to Instagram for Business. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound
Obtaining celebrity status on Instagram isn’t about an ego boost. Instead, it’s about premium positioning so you’re magnetic to your target market. Your perfect prospects will line up to see you, and they’ll pay you top dollar as the celebrity expert you are.
For example, you would expect to pay Jamie Oliver a lot more money to cook dinner for you in your kitchen than you would a random chef you found on Thumbtack. No matter what your niche, celebrity positioning is a powerful tool to grow your tribe quickly and convert them into top-paying customers for life.
Related: 9 Tools to Improve Your Instagram Marketing
Before you embark on a path to stardom, it’s important that you set yourself up 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 you or speaking to you first, what would they think about you or your company? Would your brand messaging communicate what you want the visitor to know?
If you’re like most, you have some ways to go to tweak your brand message to be clear to your target market. It’s an issue for everybody, companies and individuals alike. But being embarrassed of what your brand looks like today isn’t reason to bury your head in the sand. You can develop celebrity positioning with just a few simple steps:
- Get a professional (and recent) headshot.
- Hire a pro to create your lead magnet cover and landing page featured in your bio.
- Get and post photos of yourself when you’re at events, then leverage these photos as blog images and post backgrounds.
- Primarily feature your content in your posts.
Now it’s time to share your message with the world by leveraging the power of your Instagram marketing and entire marketing funnel to establish your stardom. The five steps are rather simple.
1. 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 a niche within that niche. Focusing on a smaller target market will grow your celebrity quicker.
Pick your target market, and then zero in on a small portion of the group/industry/subculture that you’re focusing on, and stay focused on these individuals until you’ve achieved celebrity status. If you want to reach another subset of your audience, then once you’ve grown to celebrity status, you can move on to the next niche.
Identify at least one group, association or organization that serves your niche and make it your mission to dive deep and become a celebrity within it. Develop a relationship strategically and methodically with the organization that currently serves your niche market. This is a lot more effective than starting your niche from scratch, because you can leverage a group that’s already brought members of that niche together.
Related: How to Make Your Instagram Account Impressive
Dive deep into getting to know the organization’s members and leadership. Find a way to volunteer, such as joining a committee or advisory board or working at an event. Follow the organization’s social media and begin to comment 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 meaningless and appear as Mr. Spam Man. No one wants that.)
The next time you attend one of their events, use the Word Swag app to create posts from quotes you hear at the event, and post them on your page while tagging the other brand. The secret to getting in good is giving first and asking second. Keep the ratio at four posts of yours to one post of theirs, and you’ll be in great shape. Only use this strategy when you’re aligning with an industry leader.
2. Give social clout before you ask for anything.
Post a couple of times a month tagging the other organization (meaning, use the @ symbol and list its social media username). This will not only distribute your post to more people (Instagram may show your post to some of its fans who aren’t yours), it will also alert the organization that you mentioned it. If you take time to curate the content (meaning, you add commentary or questions to your post), it will begin to demonstrate how you are an expert in the subject matter. This helps to build a relationship with the organization and position you as an authority in your niche.
3. Leverage the bazookas out of photos.
Celebrities are photographed often and so should you be. This means attending events in your niche and going to meet-and-greets and having your photo taken with as many well-known speakers, leaders, or actual celebrities as possible.
You may feel like a complete tool for doing this, but this strategy is pure gold when it comes to positioning. Post these photos one at a time on your social media and tag the other person. This also means showing up to events well dressed and informed — meaning you know who the VIPs are, and you can talk to them intelligently about their work. If you do a little research before you show up, this will help you get a little extra chat time with the VIP.
4. Feature celebrities in your content.
After you give value and develop a relationship with the previously mentioned celebrities, request to interview one of their key leaders who’s well known within your niche and post it to your blog. Create valuable content to open and close the piece and well-designed social media posts to promote it. This will help to further build your relationship with the organization and establish your authority positioning with its members. You can then create Instagram posts using the celebrity’s quotes and tag him or her in the image.
5. Get in the spotlight.
Well-known publications feature celebrities on the cover as a way to sell the magazine. It’s time you were featured as well. After you’ve followed the steps above, seek guest blogging or guest columnist opportunities from the organization. Write content that’s thoughtful and valuable, not self-promotional and that meets the publication’s requirements. (If you’re unsure about word count or rules about picture inclusion, ask.)
Once the article is published, promote it like your celebrity status and future autograph requests depend on it. First, give yourself a high five, and then pull out quotes from the articles, turn them into Instagram post images and tag the publication’s Instagram account.
Related: 3 Tips to Improve Your Instagram Strategy
Once you’ve accomplished all we’ve just covered, the secret is to stay consistent — as in, don’t give up! Continue to tag, post, photograph, interview and guest post. Repetition is the key to establishing authority/celebrity/expert status. It generally takes me about one year to 18 months to conquer a niche. That may seem long, but the payoff could not be more worth it. A year of hustle for a whole lifetime of expert positioning and premium pricing? Yes, please!