Asking the experts: Instagram marketing for coaches

Updated: Apr 7, 2020

My go-to social media platform these days is LinkedIn. But for my daily inspiration I still use Instagram quite a lot. To throw in some numbers:

· 1 billion people use Instagram

· 500 million people use Instagram stories daily

· 200 million users visit at least one business profile daily

· 1/3 of the most viewed stories are from businesses

A lot of coaches I know don’t use Instagram (yet) to connect with their audience. They often want to but it also can feel like a daunting extra task. So how can we make it fun and worthwhile? Reach the people you are here to help. Especially when your audience age under 40 big chance they can be found on Instagram and they are looking to be inspired.

So I had a chat with Instagram marketing expert Sharona Bolander. And I asked: What if you are a coach and you want to start using Instagram to reach your audience and spread your message, where to start? How can we make it easy, fun and worthwhile?

Before you start randomly sharing things ask yourself: ‘What is your message/your story?’ Find your ‘Why’. If there is a common thread in your content people will start recognising what you are talking about. You start telling a story instead of sharing random messages.

Sharona recognises just like me that Coaches do not always realize that they have a lot of valuable content to offer. So how can we help them create good content?

First: Do not underestimate what you have to share. You are in the business of helping people so it’s impossible you don’t have value to offer!

· Write little bits of inspiration down during the day. It will make you more and more aware of the fact that you have a lot of interesting things to share. Maybe you just had a coach sessions or an inspiring chat with someone: often there is something there that is interesting for other people. Or you just read something or had an insight. Do this regularly and it will become your default mode.

· Write down all the questions you ever where asked by clients. You will probably not only see a common thread but also lots of possible content.

· Prepare content when you feel inspired. So rather than having to write NOW because I need to post now, take time when you feel inspiration and write 10 posts at once.

· Think about the themes and questions people ask your help with. And realize there are many more people who have similar questions. People love finding out their struggles are not weird and they are not alone.

(Sometimes it is not about the content but coaches don’t share because they have no visuals. Tip: Set aside the shyness and invest in professional photo’s twice a year. It will be worth the investment and make it much easier the rest of the year)

There are 3 kinds of content:

· Sales: Sharing products and services. This should be about 10% of what you share.

· Value: Helping people with your knowledge. This should be about 40% of what you share.

· Your personal life/you as a brand: People start working with a coach based on a feeling and based on trust. Show who you are and what you stand for. This should be about 50% of what you share. Instagram Stories are the perfect feature for this. (TIP: Lose the imperfection. Make some pictures and vlogs during the day and than take one moment to make a story. That will help you tell stories in stead of sharing loose fragments.)

Before you start sharing understand the algorithm, 3 things you should know that are important:

1. Relevancy. Use hashtags so people find your message when it is relevant to them. In stead of using #coach (that will most likely make other coaches find you) ask yourself which hashtags do the people I want to reach follow? Take some time to think about this.

2. Relationship. Just like any other social media platform it should be about building relationships and creating interaction. If someone takes the effort to respond: respond back! Sharona is surprised how often this does not happen. And ask questions but make it simple to answer! So don’t ask ‘Why….?’ But ask ‘What do you think A or B?’ Or leave a heart in comments if you recognize this’

3. Timing. Your post will only be shown for max 24 hours, and only to a % of your followers. So post regularly (although quality above quantity. Make it realistic: rather make it your goal to post 3 times a week and stick to that than 7 times a week which is daunting and makes you post nothing at all.

How to set up your profile page in a smart way?


· Don’t just mention you are a coach: for who are you there?

· Add a call to action: Use a link in your bio to your website or another relevant space.

Use the Highlights feature:

As a coach you could for instance add the following highlights:

· Your services as a coach,

· About you: who are you, what do you stand for, show yourself

· Testimonials/ reviews from clients

· Show the space where you coach

· Share what a coaching sessions looks like

Do you see people getting clients through Instagram?

For sure! But I see people with over 10.000 followers who don’t get any clients at all. And people with 400 followers that consistently get clients. Make sure:

· You focus on building a relationship/ being interactive. Nurture the connections that are already there.

· Be real, ditch the perfectionisms. People connect with real people and when they recognize themselves.

· You keep your follower list ‘clean’: Delete fake accounts or other accounts that just do not seem genuinely interested in what you have to say. Than chances are bigger that people who really want to hear from you actually see you message!

· You don’t focus on numbers. If you ‘only’ have 200 followers: imagine a room filled with 200 people and you are in front of them to share your message. That’s a lot of people listening! You rather have a room filled with 200 active and engaged people than a 1000 unengaged people watching their phone.

Last but not least: Be persistent. If nobody responds to your question don’t quite after 3 messages. Set your ego aside and keeping on focusing on your message and your intention for sharing. Focus on why you are a coach: you want to help people. So even if you reach 1 person and influenced one person today, focus on that!

Looking for some inspiration?

Some coaches I like following on Instagram because they share value, are professional but also keep it real:



@doriensuntjens (dutch)


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