Time for a trick question.
Imagine you’re a fitness expert. You’re trying to sell your personal training services for $100 per hour (not unreasonable in a big city like Miami, New York, Toronto, London, or Los Angeles).
…But there are dozens of other trainers at your gym, and thousands in the city.
Now imagine you’re Jillian Michaels, the famous personal trainer from “The Biggest Loser.”
All else being equal, who is going to have an easier time selling the $100-per-hour sessions?
Now I know what you’re thinking. Jillian is the TV star. She’s the celebrity.
Celebrity gives you the freedom to charge more for what you offer—and prospects will buy because they automatically know and trust you, even if they haven’t met you.
But here’s the twist.
And you can do it a lot faster than you ever thought possible.
These days, the tools are available to all of us.
Instagram (aka IG), the fastest growing social media network, offers proof.
While Jillian Michaels has 1.2 million followers on IG, a young fitness expert from New York named Jen Selter has over 12 million followers. That’s right, a woman who has never had her own TV show now has built up 10X the celebrity of Jillian Michaels, a fitness expert who was on prime time for a decade. More people follow Jen daily than watched the weekly episodes of “The Biggest Loser.”
In today’s world, you don’t have to be on television to become a celebrity and generate massive influence over your audience. You can manufacture celebrity from the comfort of your home while wearing your underwear and using an iPhone.
I’ve done it (although I wore shorts). And when I did, I became famous. (One of my homemade YouTube videos recently reached 3 million views.)
Through the creation of value-driven content, my manufactured celebrity earned me the trust and respect of my viewers, and made it easier for me to sell my exercise programs.
And the best part? The formula for manufactured celebrity and an endless stream of “phone money” is a lot easier than you might think.
Here’s how I did it, and how you can, too:
*Note: Although this is written primarily for Instagram Marketing, many of the tools and strategies I share can be used on any social media platform.
1. Authenticity + Consistency = Success
I see so many entrepreneurs today who attempt to mimic and copy other successful influencers on Instagram. They’ll post the same infographics, record the same videos, share the same quotes and even emulate other people’s personalities in their Instagram stories.
But, in the long run, this strategy never works.
Your followers don’t want a toned down version of Gary Vaynerchuk. They want you to show up authentically.
For example, unlike most of the popular Instagrammers out there (think Bedros Keuilian, Gary V, Jason Capital, Grant Cardone, etc.) I don’t use profanity in my videos.
Sure, if the mood strikes me you might hear me utter a solitary “badass” or “no way in hell”, but I made a commitment long ago to be the type of person who doesn’t use excessive profanity to get their point across.
Not because I believe there’s anything wrong with an f-bomb barrage to wake your audience up…because excess profanity is inauthentic and misaligned with the man I want to be.
But what about you? What are the unique elements of your personality that make you, ‘you’? What does it mean for you to be authentic.
- Do you love corny or dark jokes? Use them in your stories.
- Are you a philosophy nut who could argue Kantian ethics for hours without getting bored? Weave that into your posts.
- Do you love ridiculously overpriced coffee, zebra print snuggies, and keto pizza? Then talk about it!
Be authentic and go all in on yourself. Because at the end of the day, YOU are the reason people are following your Instagram.
But in addition to authenticity, you must also have a high degree of consistency inside of your Instagram strategy.
You can’t post one type of content this week and another type the next or post five days a week and then post only five days a month.
You must create and implement a consistent strategy where the messaging, frequency, and style of your content all follows the same general guidelines and rules.
When you look at my Instagram, you’ll see that I post specific posts on specific days at specific times and with a specific aesthetic.
By showing up consistently in your follower’s feeds, you will start to build more KLT (know love and trust factor) and that is when the money can be made.
2. Use Every Feature Available
Instagram, like every other major online platform, uses a specific algorithm to determine whose content gets seen and whose doesn’t.
However, their alogorithm is a lot more complicated than simply, “Post great content and get likes.”
Although they do place a premium on quality content–content that is valuable, purposeful, and shareable, the ‘algo’ goes way beyond that.
In fact, one of my friends a guy some people refer to as “The Influencer Whisperer” and who spent literally hundreds of millions of dollars on the Instagram platform told me this…
“Your content is important. You need to have plenty of shares, saves, and comments for Instagram to share your stuff…but they also want to see that you are using every feature on their platform–many of them daily.”
This means, to make phone money as fast as possible, you must be using every feature Instagram has to offer.
Specifically, you must:
- Post photos/videos daily
- Use IGTV 2-3 times a week
- Share stories daily
- Go live once or twice a week
- DM your followers
- And comment on your posts
Instagram promotes and encourages users who are fully engaged with their platform and penalizes those who appear to be “gaming” their social media channel for profits.
Just as importantly, you need to be on Instagram every single day if possible.
Even if you aren’t posting anything, take 10-minutes to scroll, like, and comment on a few videos to show the algorithm that you’re a real person (or better yet, pay someone else to do this for you).
I promise, this will go a long way in keeping your content visible to your audience and keeping the sales rolling in.
3. Avoid “Reach Killing” Copy
In the same way that Instagram has a specific algorithm that determines what content to promote and push, it also has an algorithm to decide what content to penalize and restrict.
And recently, I’ve learned that Instagram will reduce the reach of your posts by 80-90% if you use specific words and phrases.
- Flash sale
- Link in bio
- Buy now
- 20% off
And any other “salesy” lingo.
Find creative ways to get your message across without using words like these, and you’ll notice a massive spike in the performance of your promotional posts.
Suggested: The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Marketing
4. Leverage “Reciprocal Marketing”
And easy, and relatively simple way to quickly increase the exposure of your content and grow your brand is to identify other Instagrammers in your industry with a following size similar to your own and exchange reposts.
Much like guest blogging or sharing a link to someone else’s website in an email, this strategy allows you to organically grow your audience by piggy backing off someone else’s audience.
This simplest way to execute this tactic is to search for hashtags that you regularly use in your posts and find 15-20 other influencers who have a following size similar to your own.
Spark up a conversation in the direct message and ask them if they would be willing to do a repost for a repost. About 60% of the time, they will agree and you can gain 500+ new followers in a single day.
It’s important to note, however, that many Instagram “celebrities” buy followers from other countries or target demographics that are not congruent with your own.
To ensure that you’re getting the best results possible from this strategy, I suggest that you ask for a screenshot of the other ‘grammers’ demographics before agreeing to repost their content.
Although the data is fairly limited, a quick screenshot from their Instagram Insights will let you make sure that most of their followers are from the country in which you operate and match your target demographic.
5. Pay NOT to Play
Just like you’ll never make your first 7-figures if you waste all of your time on $10/hour tasks…you’ll never build a 6-figure phone money machine if you’re doing all of the heavy lifting yourself.
Trust me. I’ve been there.
For the first 18 months of my Instagram “career” I did EVERYTHING myself. Every post, every video, every upload, every hashtag.
Each morning I would start my day by posting an Instagram story, scrolling for “just a second” and then…waste 30-45 minutes getting lost in the sea of content and new posts.
Now, not only was this a terrible way to begin my days, but it was an unnecessary distraction that prevented me from doing my most important work.
Today, however, I will rarely open my Instagram until after 10 am.
My new assistant uploads all of my stories, creates most of my new posts, and analyzes the performance of every piece of content to ensure we’re making positive progress.
And by doing so, he saves me 10-15 hours a week.
Although she works for me full time and is paid a competitive salary to handle all of my social media marketing, you don’t need a full time social media manager to quickly grow your Instagram following without selling your soul to do so.
For about $1,000 a month (potentially less) you can find an amazing assistant on Upwork, Freelancer, or even Craigslist.
And whether you pay someone simply to upload your stories or create post graphics or write your captions (or all three), the more you can effectively outsource, the faster you will be able to grow.
Want my step-by-step system to DOMINATE Instagram and build a 6-figure “Phone Money” machine?
Then click here to get a copy of my best-selling program the Social Story Selling System.
I’ll take you behind the scenes of my $2.4 million Instagram accounta and give you my exact strategy to help you replicate my results.