Instagram is one of the most popular social channels globally, but it’s also a handy platform for brands and businesses. In this guide, we’ll explore the benefits of being on Instagram for executives and CEOs for lead generation and sales. 

Scrolling through photos and exploring feeds may not be the first activity that comes to mind when thinking about the daily responsibilities of a CEO. Still, Instagram can be a hugely influential platform for businesses. With around 1 billion monthly users, Instagram has evolved from a social site focused on sharing photos to a platform that facilitates engagement between customers and brands, generates leads, and allows businesses to show their human side. 

Studies suggest that social media is not a priority for many executives, but many of those who have taken the plunge and set up profiles and accounts reap the rewards. More than 60% of the highest-performing CEOs don’t have a social media presence, but more and more are jumping on board. From Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg to Jaclyn Johnson and Doug McMillon, high-profile company directors use Instagram to boost their personal brand, raise brand awareness and encourage interaction with followers and customers. 

Instagram is best known for being a photo-sharing site, but it has evolved and diversified since its inception, and it now offers multiple benefits for brands and company executives. There are several reasons why it can be advantageous for CEOs to be active on Instagram. These include:

Giving your brand a human side

One of the most significant benefits of social media for businesses is gaining access to a platform that enables brands to show their human side. Social media provides an opportunity to go beyond pitching products and promoting services to convey messages about brand ethos and culture, share values, and form deeper connections. CEOs can front campaigns to increase engagement and build relationships, providing an insight into how the company works and what values it holds most dear. 

Our client Matt Sweetwood is the Co-Founder and CEO of Insurious, an equipment insurance company that caters to photographers and other tech enthusiasts. Matt regularly posts stunning photographs of his neighborhood in Miami where the company is based. Being a photographer and user of high-end tech products himself makes him highly relatable to his company’s target market. Research shows that consumers buy from people with who they can relate to and have things in common.

Research suggests that consumers are no longer looking solely for the best prices or the fastest, easiest ways to shop. Instead, more than 70% of consumers are looking to buy from brands that align with their values, and 63% of shoppers prefer to buy from purpose-driven businesses. 

CEOs who utilize Instagram become more accessible instantly. This helps to change perceptions of brands and break down barriers between companies and customers. As Richard Branson, one of the most influential and well-known entrepreneurs in the world, explains,

Instagram for Sales

Source: https://lewisedward.com/richard-branson-social-media-quote/

In addition, CEOs can also use Instagram as a platform to endorse their products and services, providing more impactful posts than social media images or stories that simply feature pictures of a product or descriptions. As a consumer, if you see images of company bosses using products or recommending services, you may be more likely to buy into that brand. 

Building consumer trust

Over 80% of consumers will only buy from brands they trust. Using social media can be an effective means of building trust and encouraging prospective customers to put their faith in your brand and take the next step. Most people are familiar with household names like Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Branson, but what do we know about them? We see articles in the newspaper or hear headlines on bulletins, but Instagram provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs and executives to let people in and establish a connection. If you follow CEOs on Instagram, you see beyond the sharp suit or the figures for net worth. Offering insight to followers can help to build trust. 

Once you trust consumers, you have an influence that is difficult to build or establish through different types of media or marketing techniques. Instagram can play an integral role in personal branding, and it can also be an incredibly effective source of lead creation. If consumers’ trust encourages them to buy products or invest in services, they will be more likely to buy from those brands. 

Image is taken from https://sproutsocial.com/insights/data/social-media-connection/

Using Instagram for sales

Instagram is a versatile platform, and it affords consumers the option to search for products, interact with friends and relatives, and follow influencers, celebrities, and brands. For business owners looking to increase sales, it can also be beneficial to have an active Instagram account. Statistics suggest that 79% of users search for more information after seeing a product online, 65% visit the brand’s website, and 49% make a purchase. Additionally, when analyzing data explicitly linked to the influence of CEOs, data from Sprout Social underlines the potential to create leads and boost sales. As you can see from the image below, 38% of consumers are more likely to research products and services when a CEO posts:

Instagram for sales

Raising brand awareness and improving company metrics

To succeed in using Instagram for sales, you need to ensure that your content can be seen and encourage followers to interact with it, share posts with others and build networks. It can be challenging for businesses to get the attention of buyers online, especially if the competition is fierce and has a compelling online brand that includes a powerful personal brand from the CEO and executive team. So having your own CEO accessible via platforms like Instagram can play a vital role in raising brand awareness and improving visibility and critical metrics, such as likes, shares, website visits, subscriptions, and purchases made via posts and bio links. Look at heads of global brands for inspiration, like Marcus Lemonis Star of CNBC’s The Profit and Camping World CEO with 1.3 million followers. 

According to data from Sprout Social, 70% of consumers feel more connected to brands whose CEO is active on social media. The diagram below highlights the main reasons why consumers are more likely to buy from businesses if their CEO has social media accounts:

Image from https://sproutsocial.com/insights/data/social-media-connection/

Building relationships and learning about the target market

Customers who follow social media brands are often looking for more than news about new products or posts promoting services. The entire concept of social platforms is based on interaction and communication. Businesses can harness the popularity and reach of Instagram to build relationships and increase sales and expand client and follower bases. One of the most valuable aspects of being on Instagram for CEOs is having an opportunity to get to know the target market, gain insight into who they are, what makes them tick, and what motivates their decisions.

Jaclyn Johnson, CEO of Create & Cultivate, explains the value of Instagram for creating ties with followers, starting conversations, and providing information, tips, and advice for people who have career ambitions and dreams, 

Source: https://awario.com/blog/10-ceos-to-follow-on-social-media/

Actionable tips to reap the rewards of using Instagram

If you are a business owner or company executive and want to start using Instagram, it is wise to adopt best practice guidelines. Here are some tips to help you reap the rewards:

  • Identify and outline key objectives: what do you want to use Instagram for, and what are you hoping to achieve by setting up an account and encouraging people to follow you? Then, draw up a strategy before you start posting. 
  • Understand your target audience and get to know users. Then, take the opportunity to respond to comments, answer questions, provide advice and chat with followers.
  • Be consistent: consistency is vital when you post and the brand voice and tone you use.
  • Vary content and use visual media: the human brain processes visual content 60,000 times faster than text. So stories, images, and video clips are a brilliant way to connect with followers, showcase products, and make your profile more engaging.
  • Be authentic: authenticity is an essential requirement for consumers who follow brands or personalities on social media. Statistics from Stackla suggest that authenticity is a crucial factor for 86% of social media users when deciding which brands to follow (source). 
  • Prioritize the social aspect: 60% of consumers will stop following accounts if they feel essential they are being bombarded with advertorial content and promotions.
  • Collect and use feedback: feedback can be precious for every CEO. You can better understand how followers and customers view your brand, and you can also ask your target audience for ideas and suggestions to take your business forward. 
  • Monitor performance and reactions: when attempting to create leads or increase sales, it’s always beneficial to monitor your performance and gauge reactions. You may find that people respond more positively to some types of content than others. They express an interest in particular topics or subjects for discussion or share specific kinds of posts more, for example. 
  • Prioritize transparency: a company CEO cannot wave a magic wand to make a crisis or a scandal disappear, but they can use platforms like Instagram to offer explanations, admit mistakes, communicate openly and honestly with customers and issue apologies. 

Instagram is a hugely popular social media channel. While many of us think of Instagram as a photo-sharing app, it has become an increasingly powerful and influential platform for businesses. For executives and CEOs, it can be incredibly beneficial to be an active Instagram user. With Instagram, you can build consumer trust, showcase the human side of your brand, form connections with prospective customers, increase lead generation and sales and make your brand more accessible. To achieve success on Instagram, it’s beneficial to devise a social strategy, to share original, engaging content that will appeal to your target market, to track performance, and to take the opportunity to engage and inspire your target audience.

Take CEO of Greer Consulting Inc., Jason Greer as an example of an executive who uses his Instagram to motivate and inspire his followers. Motivational content is something that people crave on social media. Too many leaders head right into promoting their products and services on social media. Most people on social see this as noise. Breakthrough the noise by being a leader who motivates potential buyers without having to do a product slam.

Be authentic and transparent, and use your platform to put your personal brand on the map, break down barriers and build long-lasting relationships. 

Are you ready to begin using Instagram to build your executive personal brand and drive more sales for your company? Let’s chat! Grab a time on my calendar using this link: https://calendly.com/juanblanco76/meeting

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