Instagram is probably the social media platform I use the most, besides Pinterest. It’s a wonderful app for Life Coaches ( for all coaches) and a great way to connect with your Ideal Clients and to grow your personal brand.
But it can also be a place that can make you feel inadequate. Know what I mean? Or at least, I can find myself scrolling through other people’s photos and wondering why mine don’t look like theirs. The reality is that like all social media ( and blogs), what people post on Instagram is an edited version of reality. Their lives are NOT perfect. They aren’t going to post the lowest moments of their day, and if they do post that, they may do it in moderation.
What I always tell my clients is that Life Coaches can use Instagram for many different purposes, but no matter how you choose to use it, the key is to give a balanced view of who you are and what you do, instead of striving for perfection.
In today’s training/blog post, I’m going to give you tips into how I personally use Instagram as a digital strategist, writer, and Life Coach, and give you some suggestions so you can start using Instagram intentionally to grow your personal brand as a coach. If you want even more tips, feel free to check out my super affordable audiocourse, Thrive on Instagram.
Know Yourself: Honing in on your Personal Brand
One of the keys to successfully being yourself and creating a strong personal brand on Instagram ( and on your other online platforms) is to know yourself. Yup, you need to do some self-inquiry in order to really craft an authentic personal brand of any kind. Why is that? As I mentioned earlier, the way that you can give a balanced view of who you are as a Life Coach & awesome human being is by sharing an accurate but polished view of your life and/or biz. It’s really up to you how much of your personal life you share, as well as how much of your struggles you share.
Once you get clear on who you are and your goals ( which will be the next step), figuring out what to post on Instagram to promote your Life Coaching biz is easy.
Let’s give a few examples here of what some coaches choose to share on Instagram, starting with yours truly!
I run a few different blogs & brands, and I share bits and pieces of what I do as a travel writer here on this site and on Instagram. I’ve chosen to let my coaching clients know that I write not only for holisticpreneurs, but for travel publications.
Now, I didn’t have to do this. I could have kept my digital strategy, coaching, and writing separate, but I chose not to. Why? Because sharing what I do comes naturally to me, even with my clients who are not in the same industry.
A great example of a Biz Coach who also shares her other brand with her readers is Hayley Richardson. She’s not only an incredible Health & Biz Coach, but she’s a professional photographer for wellness businesses. And she talks about and showcases her photo sessions on her Biz Coaching Instagram profile.
A few questions to get you pondering about yourself & your Life Coaching biz that can help you figure out what to post on Instagram:
+ What am I the most passionate about?
+ What causes mean the most to me?
+ What’s my favorite hobby?
+ What’s on my bucket list?
+ My favorite things to do on the weekend are……
+ The top five things I can’t live without are…..
+ My goals for this year are….
+ My goals for the next 5 years are….
+ List the top 10 people you want to meet ( and why you want to meet them)
+ Photos that inspire me are about…
+ List 10 Instagram accounts that resonate with you
+ List your favorite local haunts/places to eat and hang out
+ If I was taking you out for a drink, where would you want to go?
+ List your favorite clothing brands and why you like them
+ List the 5 latest books you’ve read or are planning to read
Once you’ve finished writing down your answers in your journal, spend some time looking over what you’ve written about yourself and your interests, and write down the top 5 common themes or keywords that best represent yourself & your passions.
Next, write down how you can incorporate those keywords into your Instagram posts.
What Do Your Clients Want To See in Their Feed?
Let me say something that you can ponder: you don’t have to use Instagram to directly promote your coaching services. You can use it as a way to best connect with your clients by showing them what you’re like as a human being. I personally really like this strategy, and it’s what I do on Instagram.
My good friend Regina does something similar. While she does mention her courses and workshops time to time, she mainly gives followers & potential customers a glimpse into her daily life as a solopreneur who is transitioning into living abroad & becoming a digital nomad. She also shares her passion for vegan food and fitness. I’m not only Regina’s friend, but I’m a customer and student of her courses, and I personally love that she shares her personal life on Instagram and mainly promotes her upcoming workshops and such through blog posts and in her newsletter. This is something for you to really ponder because you’ve got to know what your Ideal Clients want to see from you on Instagram.
What I suggest is to have a balance ( I’m using that term once again eh?) between promoting your upcoming coaching program or speaking event and sharing photos from your daily life and behind the scenes.
To help you find out what the right ratio is for your Life Coaching biz and personal brand, answer the following questions in your journal:
+ How does my fav entrepreneur use Instagram? Do I like what they post?
+ What types of Instagram photos get more engagement from followers?
+ Would my Ideal Client like it if I promoted my programs in each post or would they mainly like to hear about them time to time on Instagram?
+ What types of posts feel right to me to put on Instagram?
Huge bonus point: do some market research and find out what your ICA thinks! Get on the phone with friends that match your ICA and ask them what they think.
At the end of the day, what you post on any social media platform needs to both be enjoyable for you ( and worth your time) and enjoyable for your Ideal Clients.
Want a great example of a Biz Coach that has found out exactly what her ICA likes to see and that best represents her personal brand? My client and friend Kate does an excellent job of posting onbrand quotes her ICA loves. This is what Kate prefers to post too, so it’s a great match!
Know How You Help Your Clients
If you’ve made the decision to post about your coaching services regularly or occasionally on Instagram, it’s time to get clear on how exactly your coaching services benefit your Ideal Client. You know, why they want to hire you!
Chances are you’ve already done some work on this topic when you did your coaching training, or you took a course like B School and knew you needed to get crystal clear on your offer. If you’ve done this already, great! If not, you’ll need to do this now.
You see, social media at the end of the day is outreach. It’s a form of marketing that can show prospects different elements of our coaching business or blog, or personal brand. Because your time is precious and taking this to heart, you need to be intentional about what you post, and if you will be sharing info about your business and coaching services at all on Instagram, you’ve got to gather all the work you’ve done during coaching or business training and see how it fits into your social media strategy.
If you will be doing promotion on Instagram, think about your copywriting and how you can best get the attention of your Ideal Clients and pique their interest so that they sign up for a Discovery Session with you, or take the next step to working with you.
Again, you do not have to use Instagram to directly promote your offer, but even if you don’t, your copywriting and what you post about your life may affect how people perceive you and may inspire them to become a client. Yes, even if you’re just posting about your daily life and mention here and there you’re also a Holistic Health Coach!
In your journal, write down what problems you help your ICA solve, and how you can best convey what you do into a photo caption or an actual photo. For example, if you’re a Holistic Life Coach that helps corcporate women in their 50s make more time for themselves and their wellbeing, you could post a behind the scenes photo of a client at a spa ( if you have their permission) or a pic of some of the goal planning worksheets your clients get when they sign up for your coaching intensive.
Know Your Ideal Clients: How do they use Instagram?
Now that you have a good idea of what you want to post on Instagram, think about how your ICA uses the app. What types of accounts do they enjoy following? What hashtags do they use?
I’m proud to be the pioneer of proclaiming people follow hashtags when trying to find Ideal Clients to engage with on Instagram. You can read this post about my tips here that I did a while back about the topic. And I talk more about this in Thrive On Instagram, but let’s delve into it here for a sec.
Your Ideal Clients aren’t where you’re at right now. Aka, they aren’t you at this moment in time. Maybe they aren’t even a coach at all! So…why would they use the same hashtags as you’re using?! Unless your ICA is a fellow coach in your niche, they aren’t going to be using the hashtags you’re using.
For example, I do digital strategy and help coaches with write rockin’ blog posts and create doable social media strategies. MY ICAS ARE NOT IN MY INDUSTRY. THEY ARE NOT DIGITAL STRATEGISTS, so heck no, they are not using hashtags like #socialmediastrategy or something like that.
They are coaches, like you my friend. So chances are they are using hashtags in their industry, like #healthcoach #desiremap #LifeCoach #integrativenutrition etc.
If you’re a Health Coach helping women lose weight, you won’t find your ICA using the hashtag #HealthCoach
If you’re a Biz Coach helping single mothers work from home, those Mamas aren’t using #bizcoach ( they may look for something like #workfromhome or #workfromhometips or maybe follow #bizcoach to look for you, but they are not using that hashtag in their photos)
Think about what your ICA enjoys and is overcoming. What hashtags would they use? Find out and follow them. Click on the hashtag and boom, if you’ve found the right tag, you’ll find a bunch of people you could potentially help.
Note: we’re not talking here about hashtags you use, we’re talking about finding your ICA on Instagram. The hastags you use in your Instagram photos needs to best represent your post and you. I do use hashtags that my ICA also uses because like them, I too enjoy wellness and things like Desire Mapping. So…is there a crossover? There absolutely can be, but not for everyone.
This all comes down to knowing yourself and knowing your ICA. If they are indeed in your coaching niche, then by all means, use the same hashtags as you follow! But if they aren’t, you’re wasting your time following the wrong tags.
Improve Your Photography
If you’ve decided your Ideal Clients love photos and you love to post them, you’ll need to take decent photos. They don’t have to be fantastic or perfect, and you do not need to use your DSLR to take them. Although if you’d like to, by all means do it. You’ll also want to use photos of yourself from time to time, whether in selfie form or a professional pic. The above photo was taken by my husband with my camera at our friend’s restaurant. He shoots most of my ‘pro’ pics because I still haven’t managed to buy a tripod and take shots of yours truly. I’m not that technical yet, sadly.
But you don’t really need every photo on your feed to be of you. Ideally, it should be a balance between you, your interests, behind the scenes shots, and a dash of promo or news.
For me, I’ve discovered that the best way for me both to connect with my Ideal Clients ( Life & Health Coaches) while also talking about my daily life in Thailand as a writer & Digital Strategy Coach is to treat Instagram as a type of journal. This isn’t what everyone does so I’m not saying you should do this, but I want you to have examples of what can work for you.
How can you improve your photos on Instagram? For starters, think about lighting. Never shoot with your phone in super low lighting. You need enough light on your subject so that it looks good. Follow the light, and put your subject in front of it, whether you’re shooting a book or coffee cup.
Apps like Vsco Cam and afterlight can help you crop your photos and adjust the lighting, and they also have cool filters you can put on your photos to give them a certain feel.
My good friend and fellow coach Sarah Jensen uses curation and quotes to connect with your Idea Clients and also promote her local events in Australia. She does an amazing job finding photos that are on brand and look great in her feed, and she always of course credits the photos she shares. You can find out more about Sarah and how she grew her Instagram following in this post.
Engage But NEVER Automate Comments
As I discuss in Thrive on Instagram, you can choose to use automation services to help you grow your account. I have tested a few different ones but initially grew my accounts without them. Now however, because I have limited time managing multiple accounts and having found what works for me, I do use Instagress. However, I have one rule:
NEVER automate comments. EVER.
Why not, you ask? For starters, as an Instagrammer, I HATE getting auto comments from bots that don’t make sense. They make the accounts that posted the ‘comment’ look like total idiots or spammers. They do more harm than good friend! But I’m guessing you know this already and maybe have already been a victim of auto-comments.
If you’ve tried this yourself, please know I’m not mad at you lol. Years ago, I did try auto commenting a heart emoji on one of my test accounts and I just couldn’t keep it up. My rationale was that hey, it was a heart emoji so could be inferred as positive on almost all photos. But then I realized this was an asinine decision and quickly stopped.
A question that’s probably going through your mind right now is should you try using software to grow your account?
The reality is that most large accounts do use it, or they have hired a VA to do it for them. We can all bury our head in the sand and pretend this isn’t the case but it is. Unless you have a post that goes viral or gets media attention, it’s very challenging to grow your account. With a service like Instagress, it makes it a whole lot easier to do it.
Does that mean you should? Nope! The goal of Instagram is to connect with your Ideal Clients but it isn’t to get a ton of followers!! Which would mean more: a heartfelt comment on an ICA’s photo, or 1K followers? If you say 1K followers, remember that who knows if that 1K is all your ICA! Maybe they aren’t targeted.
This is why earlier I mentioned you follow hashtags your Ideal Coaching Client is using. That way, you can follow them and/or leave a heart-felt comment.
However, if you do decide to use an automation service, please know there isn’t anything wrong with it if you take control and make sure you don’t unfollow everyone who follows you or use auto-comments. Follow your intuition and do what works for you.
I hope this post has been helpful in giving you ideas about how to use Instagram as a Life Coach! While I get more ROI from Pinterest and my group board strategy, I enjoy Instagram the most. This is why I use it more as journal and personal branding tool to show people what I’m like IRL. But every coaching business is different, and you could get much more ROI from Instagram than other platforms. Find what works for you and do that!