The Instagram marketing coach explains that just as her coaching business came about organically, she leans into her authentic self when it comes to building an online presence that people actually want to follow.
“My journey as a business coach organically started before I started teaching Instagram, actually just, I had so much knowledge and information from my previous businesses,” Instagram marketing coach Sue B. Zimmerman said. “And a lot of people were asking me information all the time about starting a business. And one of my friends said, you know, you could make money selling your knowledge as a coach.”
The social media maven explained that starting the new venture was as simple as that — recognizing a need in the market and going for it.
“The first steps I took really came from validating the concept at my seaside store on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, which I had for seven years,” she explained. “I started using Instagram to drive traffic into my store from targeting geo locations and using the right hashtags and my sales increased so significantly that I wanted to teach other business owners how to do what I did naturally.”
The business of coaching also came naturally to Zimmerman, who said she hadn’t made a plan to become the Instagram expert. “I just simply had passion around helping other people understand what was possible because as a small retailer, I knew how challenging it was to simply get customers in the door.” She explained, “And I was then introduced to this whole online business space at a conference and realized that I could sell my information and knowledge to a global audience teaching Instagram marketing. And this was eight years ago.”
Zimmerman said that there are many different components that make Instagram such a popular social media app. It’s easy to find the things you’re interested in and who you connect with, and it’s easy to gain attention from others through comments and DMs. The key to getting others to find and DM you is all about representing your brand. “Your Instagram bio needs to be a strong representation of who you are, who you want to serve, and how you show up as the authority in your niche, in your industry,” she said. “I just think that Instagram, because it’s visual and because of such large storytelling components, is pretty magical and very opportunistic for anybody in business, it doesn’t matter how big or small your business is.”
Staying true to herself isn’t something Zimmerman compromises on, and she encourages her clients to follow her lead. She explains that just like in real life, people on social media are interested in authentic individuals. “Most people don’t know that at the end of the day, it’s you that people connect to. Either they like your energy, your vibe, your accents,” she said, noting her own Boston accent and that she drops F bombs in her speech often.
“I think people are so afraid of judgment on social and being vulnerable on video and speaking the truth. Often people repeat things that they’ve heard or seen from their competitors thinking that that’s the only way or the best way or the standard,” Zimmerman said. “And I’m always paving the path and really trying to stand out from the pack as I always have. And it has served our business extremely well. And if you search my name and Google my name on the internet, everything that comes up is extremely consistent, not only with my online presence, but my in-person personality. And I think that’s the most important thing.”