We’re in a new era where people are championing the community over competition mantra – where lots of business owners, bloggers & entrepreneurs no longer want to do it on their own, but want a community, a network of like-minded women around them to encourage one another, and get the positivity flowing!
I love Instagram – it’s enabled me to connect with so many people from across the world. I’ve connected with other bloggers for shared opportunities; with brands for promotion opportunities, and other like-minded ladies for fun & support.
There are actually a bunch of lovely American ladies (and some other Aussies as well) who I message frequently, just to chat about life, business, and encourage one another. It’s cool, right?
We all need Instagram ‘besties’, and I’m going to show you where to find them.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to other Instagrammers, blogs or brands who have similar followings to you, or even larger followings.
But often someone who has a very similar following to you will be open to pursuing a mutually benefit partnership - this could be guest posting on each other’s blogs, sharing and highlighting each other’s content on Instagram, or teaming up for a giveaway or competition.
Before you reach out to the person, think about whether they have a similar target audience, or a similar niché. Think about how you could each add value to each other’s activities.
For example, if you’re a lifestyle blogger for women in their early twenties, don’t reach out to a brand or blogger who focuses on fast cars for 40-year-old men - that’s not a fit!
Or if you’re a design business that caters to 20-something-year-old women, then reach out to 20-something-year-old lifestyle bloggers, or fellow biz owners who service a 20-something-year-old audience.
So how do you reach out?
Just say hi!
I recommend Instagram Direct as a great place to kick start a conversation, otherwise you could email.
There are two ways to go about your communication. 1. Hard. 2. Soft. And you will have to judge this situation by situation and as the conversation develops.
Start off by introducing yourself and telling the person what you do.
Compliment them on the work they do, and talk about them. Who doesn’t like to receive positive comments about themselves and their work?
So if they’re a fashion blogger, comment on the clothes in their latest post, or if they’re a social media entrepreneur, check out their blog & tell them one thing you find inspiring about the work they’re doing.
And let them know that you’d like to get to know them more.
There are two ways to go about this depending on your motive.
1. You just want to get to know this person more
If you see this person as someone you just want to get to know more, who can be a business mentor to you, or who can encourage you and vice versa, then keep chatting, and along the way you could even Skype – if they live out of your town, which they most likely will. I’ve found myself Skyping people from the US at all hours of the night!
The first few Skype or FaceTime calls can be a little bit strange, as you adapt to the concept of talking face to face (eh, via a screen) with a complete stranger, but once you’ve warmed up to the idea, make the most of it, and allow wonderful opportunities to follow!
Think of it like meeting up for a cup of coffee – except virtually. It’s lots of fun!
I’ve personally reached out to people through Instagram Direct or via email, and have just gotten to know some wonderful ladies from all over the world. I can say that I’ve built up a community of women around me who live across the world – and I can actually call them my friends, or go to people for collaborations.
If you’re unfamiliar with connecting in this way, it might sound crazy – but it’s just a part of the incredible digital times we’re living in!
2. You want to team up with this person for a business opportunity
If you see this prospective connection as someone you want to collaborate with, then mention that to them in your communication. First introduce yourself and compliment them, and then say ‘hey, I’d love to collaborate with you on XX – be it a guest post, a share for share, a giveaway or a webinar’.
Then proceed to tell them why this would be beneficial for the both of you.
For example, if you were both lifestyle bloggers who had around 4,000 followers each, you could suggest that you each share something about the other person to your own audiences. For example, person A would tell their audience about person B, and person B would tell their audience about person A.
The best thing about this sort of partnership is that it’s A) free, and B) a word-of-mouth referral, which people generally take more seriously than any other sort of promotion.
These are just some of the incredible benefits that can come about when you start to use Instagram not just as a pretty place to share images, but as a powerful networking tool.
It may seem intimidating, scary, or unnatural, at first, to reach out other people on Instagram in this way, but from my own experience, I can tell you that it is totally worth it.
Of course, not everyone will take up your idea, or talk back to you. But what’s the worst that can happen? That someone doesn’t reply? That’s alright – just move on.
But in a lot of cases, networking will lead to friendships, mentoring relationships, collaborations or even paid opportunities in the future. It’s a big win! So why not give it a go?