Hey there, and welcome back to another episode of The Profitable Mindset Podcast.
Welcome to The Profitable Mindset, a show dedicated to teaching you the skills you need to build a profitable product-based business that makes you feel free and fully in control. Here’s your host, Charlotte Smith.
Welcome to episode number 16 of The Profitable Mindset Podcast, How to Use Categories on Instagram to Attract Customers. Now, if you’re wondering what do I mean by categories, what I mean by categories on Instagram is that I’m going to teach you how to choose different categories that your photos will fall within, and then you will learn to only post photos that fall within these categories that you choose. What happens then is you never wake up wondering, “What in the world should I post about today?” Because you can look at your different categories and you will know exactly what to post. It helps you learn to become really decisive. So what I’m going to teach you about today is I recommend you choose six to eight, or maybe 10 maximum different categories that your photos will fall under, all right?
So I’m going to jump into that training, but first, as usual, I want to pause and share a review from iTunes. So, super amazing review. I love sharing these. If you haven’t left one yet, jump over there and leave one. This is how my podcast will remain on air, because as you know, we don’t make money from podcasts, so the reviews are what helps make sure it gets shown to the people who will benefit from it. So leave your review and then I’ll read it on here perhaps.
But this review, I love it. It’s from mrs@bff. She titles it, “You’ll be better for listening.” She says, “Charlotte has a lot to share, but if I had to boil it down to one phrase, it would be, ‘Make it about them.’ That’s what I carry around in my brain from Charlotte. Once we get our eyes off ourselves, it makes marketing easier, friendships are better, and even your marriage.” Ooh, that’s awesome. I love that she threw that in there. She says, “I love Charlotte’s active teaching style. This is not some passive podcast where you get to listen and then go away. Nope. You will come away with a link to click, a page to print, a new way to think, a person to go talk to, some kind of assignment that will help cement that current teaching into your head. Are you serious about wanting your farm to improve? You need to listen to The Profitable Mindset with Charlotte Smith.”
That is so cool. I’m so grateful, just beyond grateful that you guys write the things you do. And today’s episode, mrs@bff, is no different. You are going to learn a ton of actionable things, okay? And they’re going to help you find more customers and beyond your way to profit immediately when you practice these things. I know this because I get to teach these things to thousands of people all year long, so it’s just wonderful that I can put them on a podcast too and reach even more people.
So all right. Now let’s hop back to Instagram and how to use categories on Instagram to attract more customers. Why you need to do this is Instagram is no longer chronological, and it hasn’t been for a few years, which means when you post a photo, just like on Facebook, it’s not like you are seeing everyone else’s photos that they post, and if they follow you, it’s not like they’re seeing your photos either. The reason your photos are shown to different accounts is because there’s an algorithm that determines if your post is relevant and warrants being shown to more accounts. When you learn how to choose categories and post within those categories, the algorithm will start to see you as relevant and show you to more people and your reach will grow, your followers will grow, and your profits will grow. But if you step outside of the categories you choose, then you will notice your reach actually drops and you don’t get shown to as many accounts. So having categories and consistently posting only within the categories you choose helps you be really confident in knowing what to post. All right?
So know that there are no magic categories. I’m going to give you an example of mine, but there aren’t any that are more magic than others to attract customers for you. It’s just a way to further define your brand and make it clear who you are and how you help people. So just know that the categories you choose is wide open. It’s up to you. You can choose any category you want, but remember to constrain yourself to posting photos within those categories. So I’m going to share mine with you, and like I said, you don’t have to choose my categories. I just want to be an example of one possibility. You will choose categories that you really love and that you want to post pictures within.
Now, if you want to see an example of my categories, please jump on my account on Instagram and follow along. I am at charlottesmith3cow, and do introduce yourself in my comments so I can follow you back too. I’d love to meet you over there. I have so much fun on Instagram engaging with farmers. It’s a ton of fun to see what you’re doing and hear about your successes, so look over there. You’re going to see an example on my account of what I’m about to teach you about categories. So I’m at charlottesmith3cow, and if you didn’t get the Instagram download last episode, I have that for you for free. It’s 10 Steps to a Profitable Farm on Instagram, and that is at 3cowmarketing.com/Instagram2019, and that’s a mouthful, so I’ll link that up in the show notes as well.
Okay. So my categories over on charlottesmith3cow, our category number one, farm animals, and category number two is pets. Now, pets includes horses and my love of cats, and you’ll notice that those are two separate categories even though they’re both animals, and that’s just how I’ve made them. Again, this is totally my choice, and you can do whatever you want. The next category is my husband, and the next category is my kids. And again, notice that I could have just had one category titled family, but I wanted two separate categories there because that’s what’s important to me, all right? I wanted to be able to post photos that fall under the category of my husband that represent a little bit different part of my brand, such as teamwork and running a business together with your spouse, or even date night or commitment and things like that. So I want to be an example of what’s possible in that area, which is why he’s his own category. Lucky him. And then my other categories of my kids. So under that category are photos of learning lessons that include my kids, or maybe parenting or inspirational activities with the kids. All kinds of things that relate to my kids.
Okay, so there you go. You’ll notice I just listed off four categories. So continuing on, another category I have is flowers. Now, we don’t sell flowers on our farm, but my husband’s hobby is he has the most amazing, huge flower garden that he grows just for me. And I used to do floral design in my past, so it’s a big hobby of mine. I love it. It looks beautiful on my feed, and so it’s one of my categories. And another category is our garden. And again, we don’t sell vegetables, but my husband’s got this huge garden, so that’s a great category that I love to have, and it’s a big part of our life and our brand. Okay. So that’s why that’s important to me as a category.
Another category I have is travel. We love to travel, and it fits into me fulfilling my life’s purpose, so you’ll see travel photos on my account too. Places like Italy, and we just got back from Kentucky horse country this summer, or Niagara Falls, or Mexico. But then another category is the speaking and travel I do for speaking, okay? So it does involve travel, but it’s different than the other travel we do. So for instance, the day this podcast releases, I will have just returned from Chicago last night where I led a marketing workshop for farmers there. And I already know I’m going to meet some of my listeners there, because you guys have been messaging me and we’ve been chatting on Facebook, so I already know that I had a ton of fun meeting some of you. Then a couple weeks after that I head to New Hampshire, I’ll be in New York City, going to be in Kansas City, going to be in San Diego, and you’re going to see all that speaking related travel reflected in my feed.And along with that, there might be photos of me speaking or maybe on stage or conducting a workshop or working one on one with someone.
So those are my eight categories. And again, if you look on my Instagram at the account, which is the nine photo grid, you will see a representation of almost hopefully all of those categories, and that’s what I want to see on your account too, okay? This type of consistency, where every nine photos represent each of your categories, this consistency is what moves you up in the algorithm and helps your reach, which is how you drive those customers to your email list, and then eventually they become buying customers, okay? So this is one of the strategies to make that happen.
So you get to go ahead and choose your categories. What’s going to happen is you’re going to notice a difference in your reach, but you will also notice how much easier it is for you to decide what to post each week. So you’ve got these categories to choose from, and that kind of constraint makes it really easy to know what you should post about. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to have these categories. Your categories can be anything you want. For instance, say you have a cattle ranch, but you’re also a fitness buff and you do yoga and CrossFit. Well, that can totally be one of your categories. Or maybe you are a pastured poultry farmer, but you have a deep love for reading one book a week, and the books you read are one of your categories. What does that have to do with pastured poultry? Nothing, so it seems, but it has everything to do with your brand, which is you, and attracting customers who want to buy from you, and building up trust and relationship. Is this starting to make sense? Okay, I hope so, because it was really freeing once I figured out this strategy, and that’s why I’m sharing it with you too. I want to help you with your time and your stress, and I’ll say your marketing.
Okay. I also want to point out that my categories have changed over time, and I want yours to change too. Sometimes a category no longer makes sense, or you might outgrow a category. For instance, we live in Oregon’s beautiful wine country. We’re surrounded by wineries and vineyards and wine classes, and everything around us is related to wine. So I used to have a category of wine, because we sold wine in our farm store and we went wine tasting a lot with our friends, so it was one of my categories that made sense. But now that we’re older, we no longer really drink much wine. You know, the older we get, we just feel a ton better when we don’t drink wine. We sleep a lot better. So it makes sense that I no longer have that category. It’s no longer relevant to me, and you will find the same goes for you. There are categories that you will outgrow or you will evolve out of over time. So just know there’s that flexibility for you to pick and choose and adjust your categories as time goes on.
Another example of that is I used to have three kids at home. Two have moved out now. They’re older, but when all my kids were at home, my kids category included different photos and variety than today. Today, it’s mostly about my one middle schooler who’s left at home with an occasional shot of all of them, but not so much of three busy kids at home. Then when my daughter got married on the farm a couple years ago, what fell into the category of kids was going wedding dress shopping with her, and choosing the cake with her, and fixing up the yard with her, getting ready for the wedding. That fell within the category of my kids, so I included them there. All right? So just know that your categories will grow and evolve as you and your brand grows and evolves.
The other thing I want you to notice is I could have a ton more categories, and I know you could have a ton more categories too, because we have a lot more interests in life than just these. for instance, eight things that I mentioned. I mean, we have endless hobbies and interests in our house, I think, and probably you too, but these are the categories I’m restraining myself to, so I focus my marketing. What that means, when my marketing is focused and restrained, I will attract more customers, and you will too. So please practice being restrained and it will help you tremendously. Constrain yourself to choosing just six to eight or maybe 10 categories at the very most.
What it does is it helps me to be so decisive when I have these categories. For instance, I notice that some people use their Instagram account and their Facebook account too, a lot of this applies to Facebook, just know that, but they will use their Instagram account as a place to dump all of the random things that happens throughout their day. When you learn to constrain yourself to your own six to eight categories, you know what to post and what not to post, and your brand becomes super clear, and your Instagram account is not just a dumping zone for everything that passes through your mind.
An example of this is, maybe I go out to get a pedicure with a girlfriend. Well, I’m not going to put a photo of that on Instagram, because it doesn’t easily fall within any of my categories. That’s just something I do. Doesn’t have a place on Instagram. Now, unless I was meeting that girlfriend in Paris and we get pedicures there, so that would totally fit within my travel category. Now, that’s a cool dream to have. Wouldn’t that be fun to meet up with a girlfriend in Paris and get pedicures? So if you see that on my Instagram account in the future, just know that the thought started here, but I’m not telling you not to post photos of you having a pedicure with your girlfriends. This is an example of something that doesn’t fit within my categories, but it could totally be one of your categories. Maybe one of your categories is activities you do with friends, or maybe one of your categories is self care, which would be totally awesome probably for most of your customers, and it would fall within that category. So notice how what works for me might not work for you and vice versa, and that’s okay.
Now, I talk a lot about branding. I have so many free resources on branding. We spend a lot of time in my marketing course talking about branding. These categories you choose will help you really fine tune your brand and develop your brand and just represent a clear brand. When people are looking through Instagram, they’re going to be able to immediately identify how you help them, and who you are, and if they can trust you, because you’ve constrained your marketing there to these six to eight categories. So you know that you are your brand. I’ve told you that before, so when you post within your categories you choose, people are really getting to know you and your brand, and you are your brand, through those different categories.
The other thing that having categories does is it makes me know and feel confident that I’m always promoting my brand online. If I post outside of my categories, the algorithm would recognize it’s not really consistent with my brand, and I wouldn’t get shown to as many people. So I feel confident knowing that as long as I’m posting within one of my categories, I am on brand, all right? So really important. What works for my brand may not work for your account, even though maybe we sell the same products, so that’s why it’s important to choose what works for you.
Another example of that is my son just got out of four years in the Marine Corps, and he loves guns and rifles, and he has a collection of them, and he likes to try to explain them to me, and I know nothing about guns and rifles. Every once in a while he’ll say, “Here, hold this.” Now, if I posted a photo of me holding one of his guns on my Instagram account, my reach would drop tremendously, because that is totally off brand for me, and the algorithm would know that due to my engagement, and my whole account would be affected, and it would be affected for weeks following that one post that was way off brand. So if you notice this happening to you, it could because you are posting things that you have not clearly defined as a category that you’re posting within.
Now, in contrast to that example with my son, I follow a woman on Instagram whose account is all about her love for pigs and guns, so most of her photos fall within the categories of pigs and guns, and her followers love that. The algorithm knows it’s part of her brand, so it perfectly aligns with her categories and it’s not going to affect her reach. So just see the difference there between two farmers who, we might sell the exact same products, but what is great marketing for one is off brand and limiting for another farmer, okay? So what you might think is a great idea because it’s working so well for someone else on their Instagram account may not work for you, because it’s not consistent with your categories and your brand. So just make sure you take a look at what you’re doing there and make sure it fits within your categories.
I have another farmer, and she’s actually one of my marketing students, and she’s a coach for her kids’ sports. So one of her categories, I can tell just by looking at her Instagram grid, is sports. So she’s got grass fed beef and she’s got lots of sporting events for her kids, and she’s got photos of her as the coach, and that’s mixed in with all the farm pictures. And you might be thinking, “Well, wait a minute. How does that sell her products?” But because she is her brand and people see her pictures in there of her coaching kids, it fits right in there with the categories she’s chosen. So it’s consistent with her and it’s going to work for her to attract your ideal customer.
So see how it’s not as important what categories you choose, but that you just have categories that you speak to? And then what I try to do, and you’ll notice when you look on my account, charlottesmith3cow, when you click on my account, I will see nine photos show up in the grid all at once, right? Whenever you click on someone’s profile, that’s what you see, the top nine photos. And what I want to see when I look at your account is I want to see each of your categories represented by at least one photo in that nine photo grid, so when I look at your account, I can easily get a feel for your brand. So if you go to my grid, for instance, you’re going to notice a picture that falls within the category of my husband, and one of the nine photos will include my kids, at least one will be flowers, maybe even more, because we’re kind of at the peak of our Dahlia season, and they’re so intensely colorful right now, so I’ve got a few extra flower shots in there. You’re going to see a gardening photo in there. You will see a travel photo in there, because I just got back from Chicago.
So look at my account, see all my categories represented there in the nine photo grid, and then look at your own account, and just it’ll give you an idea of how there will be some consistency and it will just flow nicely when you start to choose categories and post within those categories. I want you to be able to look at all of your nine photo grid and know what your categories are too, and just know that when you can attain that level of focus and constraint in your marketing, you will attract your ideal customer more and more.
So then what I want you to notice is, if you post something outside of your categories, your reach will be affected and it will drop tremendously. Like I mentioned, I would never post a photo of me holding a gun, for instance. Well, maybe that fits in your grid. So my reach would drop if I did post that photo, and yours might be pushed ahead. Another example is, I don’t have any photos in my grid of me posting a picture of my dinner that I get at a restaurant or even dinner that I make at home. I just don’t have meals on a plate, but I know a lot of farmers who that is one of their categories. They do that regularly. So if I had a photo of my dinner I made, either something I made at home or a restaurant, it wouldn’t fit within any of my categories. It would be sensed that way by the algorithm. It would be considered off-brand and it will affect my reach. But the people I follow who that is one of their categories and that’s a regular part of their nine photo grid, it will totally work to help them attract more ideal customers.
Now, I know that you have a lot of different activities in your life, but you will learn to not post everything you’re doing on your Instagram feed. Learn to constrain yourself and focus your photos on the categories you choose, and you will see your reach will grow bigger and broader, and your follower count will increase. And when you’re doing what I talked about last episode, episode 15, the subscribers will find their way to your email list too, where they will become consistent buyers. So that’s what I mean by making sure your categories are you and are your brand.
Okay. The other thing I want to encourage you to do is make sure you have photos of yourself in there. People like to see you. I notice that when I’m in a photo, I get a lot more engagement than those that are just, there’s even no people in them at all. Same with you. Remember, you are your brand, so make sure some of those photos include you in them too. So determine what your categories are, post within those categories, watch your reach grow, and know that posting outside of your categories will dilute your brand and diminish trust with your potential customers.
The other thing I want to make sure you know, I talked about this a lot in the previous episode, is you’re not just posting about your products you have to sell, all right? So you know, Instagram, I’ve said, is not a place to sell. Be sure to listen to episode 15 to be really clear on that, which is why we have a variety of categories that offer you ways to engage with your customers, so you have options of not just talking about what you have to sell, which I explained too, will get you in Instagram jail. If all your posts are about what you sell and trying to get people to buy, you will be penalized for that, and trust me, you don’t want that to happen. That’s really hard to get out of.
But the other part of this is knowing what to say in your captions. And guess what? I like to have categories for knowing what to talk about in my captions, too, which makes it really easy for me to know what to say. And I know you struggle with this, because I get messages and emails and comments from people who say, “I just don’t know what to say.” This way of using categories to constrain your marketing will help make sure you always know what to say. So I also have categories of the different topics that my captions will be about, and I want to touch on each topic throughout my nine photo grid too. Now, there are lots of topics to choose from. You don’t have to do the same ones I do, but these work for me, and again, you want to limit them to six to eight topics, something like that.
So some of those topics that I post about are behind the scenes, like on the farm, actually doing something behind the scenes, and my why. I love posting about my why, and connecting with people on why I do what I do. I also have a category of inspiration. Sometimes that’s something that happened to us, and I got inspired, or sometimes it’s an inspiring quote. And then I have a category of showcasing my product, and I also have a category that shows the benefits of buying the products I sell, and that might include testimonials. Okay, so those are several different categories I’m going to use to determine what I’m going to write about after I’ve chosen the photos. So as you can see, we’ve got the photos falling within a set of categories, and then the captions fall within a set of different categories. It’s about what to post about, what to write about, okay? Like I said, it’s inspiration behind the scenes. What is my why? The products I sell, the benefits of my products, and it’s a way for people to get to know me. Okay?
And these are not the categories that you have to choose. Again, like I said at the beginning, there are no magic categories. You will determine what works best for you, and sometimes it’s trial and error that helps you determine that. So these are the categories I use, but it will inspire you to hopefully that you need to choose categories, so that when I land on your Instagram account or someone else lands on your nine post grid and your nine most recent posts, if they read through them or look at the pictures, they will notice the consistency there, and they will know what you do, who you are, how you help people, and therefore if you can help them and if they feel like they trust you. Okay? It’s so important when you learn to constrain yourself like this, and it works. It’s the best way I know on Instagram to fine tune your account and fine tune your brand and attract customers.
So there you go, you guys. This is your homework for the next week or two. Figure out, what are your six to eight categories that you’ll be posting within on Instagram to find and attract more customers who will pay your prices and be loyal buyers? Okay. Once you figure out those six to eight categories, come over and talk to me. I’m over there on Instagram, charlottesmith3cow. Let me know what you’re posting about. Tag me in there so that I can come see what you’re up to too, and if you want feedback, you can ask me that too and I’ll give you some feedback. I do lots of social media reviews for our students and in my one on one consulting, so we can totally do all of that over there.
And just know that when you follow these steps it will help you tremendously in your reach on social media. And this episode combined with last week’s episode, which was number 15, these two together are going to make you way more of a social media expert and a marketing expert, especially on that platform of Instagram. So know that 15 and 16 go together. They’re going to help you tremendously, and good luck. Okay. So find me on Instagram, please introduce yourself so I can follow you back. Charlottesmith3cow. Get the free download, 10 Steps to Profit on Instagram at 3cowmarketing.com/instagram2019, and just know that you’re going to have a much easier time knowing exactly what to post and discerning what it is you need to write about that day, and you can watch your reach grow over there, and the customers that come to your farm. All right, you guys. Take care and I can’t wait to see you next time right here on The Profitable Mindset.
Thank you so much for tuning in to today’s episode. For more great resources, check out theprofitablemindset.com. See you next time.