You can’t scroll through Instagram nowadays without seeing a slightly dimmed photo of a luxury car or a mansion on the beach with a motivational quote in bright white text placed over it.
But a few years ago, this was nowhere near as common of a content strategy as it is today. In fact, one of the first to bring this sort of “vision board” approach to the Instagram community was Jason Stone, co-founder of Local Door Coupons.
He started an Instagram page called @millionaire_mentor where he would share inspirational photos and motivational quotes with the intention of encouraging other aspiring entrepreneurs.
Stone, a seasoned entrepreneur himself, treated the page like a micro-blog, pairing his own stories and thoughts along with these motivational quote graphics, and ultimately ended up building one of the biggest pages in the entrepreneurial Instagram community.
Today, the page boasts over 2.4 million followers.
Having a popular Instagram account is impressive in itself. But what is even more impressive is how Stone ended up leveraging this platform he originally started to share his wisdom with others, to ultimately becoming a co-founder in a growing company called Local Door Coupons and using his online influence to market the business to millions.
“The company had been running in Miami for about two years and was generating six figures a year. I was approached by a friend within Local Door Coupons for a loan and equity deal, and I accepted. Our plan was to expand the business through franchising,” Stone said.
“So my role was to use my online influence to attract potential franchisees. Little did we know that after two posts we had gotten over a hundred franchise applications,” said Stone. “We saw huge potential there.”
This is a prime example of not only the correct way to build an online community or presence, but what an effective ROI can look like down the road.
See, the problem with building true influence on social media is that most people go into it with the wrong intentions. They try to build something while immediately trying to capitalize on it. The result is almost always the same.
The community doesn’t grow very fast. Followers feel like you’re trying to sell to them too much. Nobody feels like they are deriving any real value from what you’re sharing because you aren’t sharing for the right reasons. You’re really just trying to advertise for yourself, instead of sharing valuable information and teaching others.
Stone did the complete opposite. He invested years into building a community around entrepreneurial knowledge. He didn’t build an Instagram profile with the purpose of immediately monetizing it. Instead, he focused on building what he knew could benefit others.
The result, then, is a rare but case-in-point example of what kind of ROI you can get down the road by building something of value. When the time was right, Stone had an opportunity that was the perfect fit for the community he had built on the Internet, and after already establishing himself as a “media channel,” he then presented the opportunity to his following.
“Honestly? I started my Instagram account to teach entrepreneurs how to start their businesses. I wanted to help them succeed. I never had a mentor growing up so I decided I was going to be that person for others, just on a broader scale,” said Stone.
“I treated my Instagram page like a mini blog and built it like a vision board for entrepreneurs, somewhere they could find inspiration to keep going—since we all know how tough of a journey it is. It really ended up just being serendipity, having built this massive community of entrepreneurs and then getting involved in a franchise business looking for entrepreneurial candidates. That’s how we sling-shotted Local Door Coupons to a seven figure business very fast,” he explained.
This is, of course, a long road that many people don’t have the patience for—building a community first and then waiting until much further down the road to “sell” to them.
But Stone’s example really is the right way to do it. If for no other reason than the fact that when you build something the right way from the beginning, by the time you “sell” anything to your followers, they trust you and welcome it. They love your page, your brand, and as seen with Local Door Coupons, willingly want to be part of what you’re building.
Social media is a tricky beast, and many people fail because they get into it for the wrong reasons. They aren’t focused on value. They’re focused on monetizing too early.
Read More: www.huffingtonpost.com