Why Instagram Doesn't Matter as Much as You Think it Does

Many will tell you receiving “likes” for their photos or getting new followers on Instagram is a real rush of immediate gratification.  It’s called “insta” for reason.  Here’s the problem: Your social media account is a poor substitute for the legitimate importance of gaining new clients for your business. 

Too many of us put so much effort and time into our social media campaigns and not enough into where we source our clients and what we can do to get more business through these proven channels. 

If you’re like pretty much everyone else in the hospitatlity industry, more than 60% of your revenue comes from former clients booking new business, referrals from current and former clients, or referrals from professional colleagues.

(If you don’t know your source of business numbers, stop reading and go and learn them.  Seriously.  Stop.  Learn them.)

Retaining current clients and getting them and your professional network to refer you new clients is the surest source of business, and you should put more resources into making this happen. 

Studies show focusing on what’s working well is far superior than expending energy on finding out what is not.  Chip and Dan Heath made this famous with their approach to “find the bright spots” rather than focus on the problems.

I hear from many solopreneuers their first hire is someone to do the social media.  That’s certainly one route to follow.  However, my recommendation is to hire someone to do nothing by work on the referral marketing strategy you should have implemented months ago.  Here’s why.

Let’s look at Joe Girard, famed car salesman who’s sold more cars than anyone in history.  He sold over 13,000 cars in a 15-year period, averaging 4.5 sales/day for six days/week – and those numbers don’t include any fleet sales, so he sold them one by one.  He did it by connecting with people every month through what has to be the most epic (and simplest) drip campaign ever. 

Each month he sent a greeting card to every person who had ever bought a vehicle from him.  On the front it said, “I like you!” and on the inside was a simple message, like, “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!” or “Happy 4th of July!”  That was it.  He actually employed a staff of people on his own dime to do this for him every month. 

Oh, did I forget to mention he did this in the 60s and 70s?  Joe had his team go through and manually order, print, receive, write, sign, stuff, address, stamp and mail over 400 cards/day to his previous clients.

What’s so ironic about Joe’s approach is how similar it is to today’s Instagram.  We go through our “rolodex” of friends/colleagues/family and “like” them by double-tapping a photo.  We do the same thing on all other social media platforms – like, like, like.  It’s the common denominator, because it’s at the core of the social media experience: getting people to like us.   

But it doesn’t mean you should do the same thing as Joe, hiring a team of people to go around telling people you like them.

Joe Girard was trendsetting 50 years ago, but not so much today.  Paying someone to “like” everyone you know was an original idea that made people feel special and connected and appreciated.  You’re a fool if you think double-tapping some photos is going to get you the kind of relationship where you’ll get referral business regularly enough to keep your company thriving.

Instead, go out and do something interesting and meaningful to remind people you’re around.  Really connect with them.  Make those you reach feel relevant in ways that are important to them.  It’s not going to be with a double-tap or single word comment or silly emoji.  You’re going to have to do more to set yourself apart.  Joe did it 50 years ago…what are you going to do, today?