Show up on Stories every day: Instagram is all about building that tight community so it’s no surprise that you should be showing your face every day in your IG Stories. Your followers want to hear from you so start a conversation and make it authentic whether that means showing up unfiltered, sharing the behind the scenes, sharing your journey or just your knowledge — make it a place where people feel connected to you. At the end of the day, people want to do business with people so become the face of your brand and show up for your audience. That’s probably the best thing you can do to build and maintain trust with your clients, and trust is what’s going to convert.
As a part of our series about How To Leverage Instagram To Grow Your Business, I had the pleasure of interviewing Laura Haleydt and Ginny Fears.
Ginny Fears and Laura Haleydt are the co-founders of Elle Synergy, a resource for online service based businesses that empowers skilled entrepreneurs to build and scale their business with the power of Instagram. The pair met on Instagram after being furloughed from their corporate jobs in 2020 and together started their Instagram marketing and coaching business in less than a year.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
As the 2020 COVID pandemic hit the world, we both decided to take matters into our own hands. We didn’t even know each other at the time but as with many people in 2020, we had been furloughed from our corporate jobs.
Separately, we each took this opportunity to take a leap of faith and start our own businesses. Before teaming up with one another, we individually built our businesses to over 10K dollars a month all through Instagram alone. During the start of each of our businesses, we met through Instagram and began conversing with one another. Seeing that we had so much in common, we became each other’s cheerleaders and we supported each other through the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur and running a business. After several months of managing our solo businesses, we realized our ideas, services and even our clients were similar and instead of being competitors, we felt it was best to join forces and essentially, go big! This is how we ended up co-founding our company, Elle Synergy, an online education business designed to help service-based entrepreneurs build and scale their business with the power of Instagram.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
We built our business without ever meeting each other. A lot of people are very shocked when they hear this. We actually met through Instagram and quickly became internet friends. We began supporting each other through our own business journeys and figured we could build an even stronger business by joining forces. It was a strange concept for outsiders to grasp, in fact a lot of people were very surprised (and even a little skeptical) that we decided to go into business together before meeting in person.
However, our friendship was quite strong and we had built a good foundation through voice messaging each other every day. It felt like we had known each other for years! This just speaks to the beauty of 2020 and being able to do things online. You absolutely can find opportunities, build relationships and network despite the limitations that we had during the pandemic.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Mistakes are certainly part of the growing process! One of the main ones was linked to our Instagram engagement plan and finding clients on Instagram. We saw that many in our industry were hiring VA’s to prospect clients through Instagram engagement so we felt that in order to be successful, we had to do that too. We quickly realized that this was not the right move and after months of working with a VA on this, we hadn’t signed a single client through this strategy. In the meantime, our content was taking off and people started actively reaching out to us to work with us! This experience proved us what we suspected: client prospection on Instagram is not a sustainable and efficient strategy to build & scale your business on Instagram. Having a proper marketing and sales strategy is what actually led us to where we are today: running a multiple 6-figure business fuelled with the power of Instagram.
Ok. Let’s now move to the main focus of our discussion. For the benefit of our readers, can you explain why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?
Laura is a marketer with an MBA and over 5 years of corporate experience. She was an award winning and self professed “typical corporate girl” ready for an international career as a Brand and Trade Marketing manager for four major beer brands. Then Covid happened.
To keep herself busy and sane, she began sharing her marketing knowledge on Instagram and revived an old account. It’s then that she stumbled across the online business world and was blown away by the opportunities. Financial and location freedom sounded like an absolute dream and she started her coaching business in May 2020 and was making 5K dollars within two months and 10K dollars within 5 months.
Ginny has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Marketing. She worked in marketing as a Product Marketing Manager and Digital Marketing Manager for the past 10 years. She had always wanted to go freelance or start her business, and for her, being furloughed and then leaving her job allowed her the opportunity to start her own business.
In March 2020, after being furloughed, she opened her Instagram account with 0 followers and 0 clients and by September was making over 10K dollars per month and had nearly 10k followers.
We both have put a lot of time, effort and strategy into building our own social media platforms. As we’ve built our businesses, it’s been a joy helping others to discover how they can use social media to scale their business.
Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?
We definitely believe it’s Instagram. While we have cultivated a marketing machine that goes beyond Instagram: YouTube, TikTok, LinkedIn and Pinterest, we’ve seen that when it comes to building a close knit relationship with your audience and a community that converts, Instagram is the place to be. There’s no other platform like it. Instagram direct messages (DMs) are basically a short form of emails. It has so many different features to use like Stories, IGTV, Reels, video feed posts, carousel posts. No other platform gives this many forms of content that help you build a genuine connection and direct relationship with your audience. When you post on Stories, you can cultivate such a close relationship with your audience — people can react to your stories with emojis, send you DMs with their thoughts. You get real time feedback from followers. You can make short form videos through Reels just like in TikTok. Carousels can be used for more long form content to nurture your audience. All together, it’s a great resource to build a tight knit community which is super important as a business owner. If you want to increase your business’ revenue, having a close relationship with your audience will help you sell to them.
A perfect example of this is that when we have people discover us on other platforms such as Pinterest, YouTube or TikTok, they come to Instagram to get to know us better, build a closer relationship and have the ability to reach out.
Let’s talk about Instagram specifically, now. Can you share five ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.
- Use educational content: You want to educate your audience on your experience and expertise. Educating your audience demonstrates the value that you’re bringing them and further positions you as an authority in your field. This is what’s going to help you grow your Instagram and be able to convert followers into customers. For example, if you’re an esthetician you could educate your clients between sessions on how to take care of their skin until their next appointment. Another example would be a mindset coach sharing content on how people can use meditation to calm themselves down when they’re feeling stressed. Just be sure you’re teaching your audience something that they desire to learn — it’s about more than just promotional posts to get sales, it’s about helping people and building a community of like minded people.
You also have to get creative! This strategy works for product based businesses too you just have to do some researching and brainstorming.
- Show up on Stories every day: Instagram is all about building that tight community so it’s no surprise that you should be showing your face every day in your IG Stories. Your followers want to hear from you so start a conversation and make it authentic whether that means showing up unfiltered, sharing the behind the scenes, sharing your journey or just your knowledge — make it a place where people feel connected to you. At the end of the day, people want to do business with people so become the face of your brand and show up for your audience. That’s probably the best thing you can do to build and maintain trust with your clients, and trust is what’s going to convert.
- Use carousels: Carousels are probably one of the best ways to nurture your audience. Another reason why it’s great for business owners? It triggers the algorithm because as you hold people on your post longer, which in turn, makes Instagram’s algorithm know that your content is getting people to stick around longer. People love Instagram because it’s so visual and carousels play into that. This means that instead of putting all of your value into your caption, share it in a more entertaining way through carousels! Think of it as a bit of a miniature blog post, it’s exactly the same thing — you’re teaching people educational content, explaining the mistakes they make, etc. This all leads to nurturing your followers through carousels. An example of this could be a hairstylist who has a carousel of “5 ways to take care of your dry hair during the winter” and each slide would walk the audience through the 5 tips in an educational and entertaining format that leaves them wanting to check the next slide.
- Create visually appealing content: If you want to stand out on Instagram you want to make sure that the content you’re sharing is aesthetically appealing to your audience. It should thoroughly get your message across while standing out. You want to stop people from mindlessly scrolling. Your feed posts should grab their attention and hook them in. A great way to do this is to have artistic images, graphics and, of course, a consistent and strong branding.
- Use Reels: This is the best way to go viral on Instagram. Reels are great because you are able to reach new audiences, show your face and begin to build that trust factor with your audience. If you want to grow your audience, Reels is just going to be a massive game changer for your visibility on Instagram. With Reels, you have 30 seconds to explain your message and bring something valuable to your audience. It really pushes you to stop and let go of the fluff and just stick to what’s important.
Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
The idea that you can turn your ideas and expertise into a profitable online business that you can run from anywhere.
We want people to know that you can do ANYTHING with your life. It’s up to you! You don’t need to get stuck into something you don’t enjoy anymore. You can build something that fits the lifestyle of your dreams.
Some people aren’t happy in the corporate world. They don’t want to sit in an office cubicle for 8 hours a day, 5 days per week and only have 20 days of holiday each year. If you want more time or location freedom, you CAN make it happen; you just have to put in the work to get there.
Now, this doesn’t mean there is such a thing as an overnight success. You will have to put in a lot of work to get to where you want but in the end it is so worth it.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
We’d love a private breakfast or lunch with Whitney Wolfe. As the youngest self-made billionaire she’s extremely impressive and as two women, we are both so impressed with her empowering mission to help women make first moves in business and love.
She had her fair share of setbacks on her way to the top but pushed through and continued to treat people with kindness while dreaming big. She is an inspiration in every single way and we love how she continually stands up for herself and other women!
Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!