Reaching Out On Instagram

Once again, just like I explain in the cold email automation outreach campaign, reaching out on Instagram is not my preferred method of getting new clients as it’s always going to be easier to convert someone into a client that is actually looking for the services you sell rather than reaching out to someone just because they fit your target customer. 

In a perfect world, you’ll generally want to try to get in front of people that are actively looking for the services that you offer first (such as on Upwork (these people are specifically looking for freelancers) or if you see job postings on Indeed and Linkedin (but these companies are usually looking for a full-time person but they could be persuaded or might be okay with a part-time person), and then once you feel like you’ve tapped those options out, then you can do 1-on-1 outreach via Instagram and Linkedin. By focusing first on those that are actually looking to purchase services like you offer, this method is having you spend your time first on those that are much more inclined to purchase from you as they are actively searching for services like you offer already so it will take much less convincing from you. 

Side note: If you’re trying to turn your freelance business into a full-on ad agency with employees, in a perfect world, once again, if you want to really scale your business, you’ll generally want to build an automated funnel where you can get in front of people that are actively looking for services that you offer (generally through search ads), get them to click this ad which takes them to your webpage, where you’ll collect their email address in exchange for some giveaway such as a discount coupon, a free consultation, or a how-to guide or something of that nature, and then you’ll retarget them via more ads across various platforms that they are on (such as Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin, Google) as well as email market them so that you can gain their trust and get them back to your website so they convert into a sale. We’re going to get into this in the training videos, but at a high level, this is usually a much more effective way to bring in customers if you’re trying to get a lot of customers and the cool thing about this is, once you have it set up, it can pretty much run on it’s own with you just paying attention to how to further optimize it for even better results. This method is also putting you in front of people that are much more inclined to purchase from you as they are actively searching for products or services like you offer already so it will take much less convincing from you. End of side note

However, if you’re running a freelancing business where you don’t want to take on a ton of clients, I don’t recommend going the ads route. If you’re a solo freelancer, you only need a few clients to start making good money. For instance, if you’re charging $5,000 per client per month for digital marketing help, you just need to get 2 clients and all of a sudden you’re making $120,000 a year as these clients will be paying you every month. So, please keep this in mind. Additionally, as I mention in the cold email marketing outreach campaign, if you are trying to scale your freelancing business to much larger growth to turn into a full ad-agency, once you start making money with this method, try to reinvest that money into more sustainable marketing funnels such as through ads (as I mentioned above) because building out an ad funnel coupled with retargeting ads and email marketing is really going to be most digital marketing agency’s golden ticket to scaling their company into something much much larger. However, I understand that not all freelancers have this goal in mind, so don’t worry about this right now.    

With that being said, let’s get into how to run an Instagram cold outreach campaign so you can get clients. Please note that we are going to teach you all about Instagram marketing in our Social Media section; this is just how to do 1-on-1 outreach via that channel as a sort of hack to get some clients in a less expensive way as a freelancer. Please note that this method will take manual work and a decent amount of rejection because you are reaching out to people that aren’t currently seeking to purchase services you offer, but, this can be an inexpensive way to get some clients especially if you only need a few due to the fact that they’ll be paying you on a recurring basis every month. 

Alright, let’s get into it. 

  1. Know your target audience
    1. We’re going to get into this in the first video training. Just for the sake of understanding what I’m about to go over in this guide though, essentially, it’s important for you to understand who your customer is as this is going to help you understand where to find them online, what their pain points are, and then you can reach out to them talking about how you can help them solve their pain points. So, you need to first clearly identify who these people are and we’ll show you exactly how to do this in the Buyer Persona training videos.
  2. Optimize your Instagram profile and link-in-bio
    1. We’re going to show you exactly how to do this in our social media training videos and what you should have in your bio as well as in your link-in-bio. For your 1-on-1 outreach to have any chance of success (and please do note that this method is a numbers game; but hey, it’s free and you don’t need to get a ton of clients as a freelancer), you need to make sure that your profile is optimized talking about how you help your target audience and your links within your link-in-bio page help drive people to your most compelling material, testimonials, or webpages so that people can quickly and in an user-friendly way see that you are legit and can help make their life easier if they hire you. 
    2. Remember, if your DM to your target is persuasive and can peak their interest, they aren’t going to just agree to get on a call with you or hire you. Instead, they are likely going to take the path of least resistance and click on your IG profile to see if you look legit and can help them with their problem. So, you need to make sure that you have your IG all set up like we’ll show you in our social media training so that when they get to your page, they can instantly see you’re credible as this is what’s to make them actually consider giving you a chance. 
    3. No, you don’t have to have a million followers in order to be credible or be posting on social media daily as a freelancer. But, it would definitely be wise to start getting some content showing off your abilities (if possible) on your page so you don’t look like a brand new freelancer. When doing this, as we’ll go over in the social media training of the course, rather than creating content from scratch, don’t reinvent the wheel and instead, look at what your competitors are doing and analyze what posts of theirs did well as you likely have a very similar target audience and if it’s working for them, then it will likely also work for you. 
    4. I know for some freelancers, it can be a pain to create social media content, but, if you want to go this route by doing 1-on-1 DM outreach, it will help you to get some posts on your feed to show you aren’t brand new. You don’t need a ton (although the more the better). Aim for at least 20 posts. 
    5. When coming up with these 20 posts, you can do 1 of 2 things depending on if you’re planning on creating a lot of social media content daily for your freelance business or not (just fyi, you don’t need to be posting on social media past this 20 post amount in order to be successful as a freelancer).
      1. If you’re planning on creating social media posts regularly
        1. If you’re planning on creating social media organic posts for your freelance business on a daily basis, go ahead and create posts that are similar to your competition in order to grow your following and increase your engagement. Then, being that you are trying to convert people that you are DMing into customers, you’ll want to make sure that you’re pinning any awards, or social proof such as your star rating or testimonials at the top of your feed so that when those people do check out your IG page, they immediately see your credibility. Additionally, you’ll want to utilize the highlights section of your IG page with the first, second, third, or fourth video of this section showing “Your Services”, “Testimonials”, “Awards or Results”, and Case Studies/Portfolio. It doesn’t have to be in this exact order and it’s okay if you don’t have material for all of these sections just yet. However, in a perfect world, you will but if not, do the best you can. Essentially what you are doing here is you are making it as easy as possible for the person you DM’d to see you’re legit without requiring them to take much action. The more steps you require them to take to figure out if you’re legit or not, the more likely they are to drop off and just not deal with looking into you or your services any deeper. So, if you are going this 1-on-1 DM route, think of your IG page sort of as your easily accessible portfolio and then the links in your link-in-bio will help drive your target to whatever webpages or materials you want them seeing in order to further drive them down your marketing funnel into eventually becoming a customer. 
      2. If you’re not planning on doing a lot of social media marketing for your company
        1. Creating organic social media can take a ton of time and is not the best use of many freelancer’s time. There is nothing wrong with that. As a freelancer, you want to do the things that are going to help your freelance business grow the fastest which is all that matters. So, for many freelancers, it doesn’t make financial sense to spend a ton of time creating social media marketing content as they’ll realize there are other ways they can be spending their time that brings in more money for them. If this is the case for you, and you want to implement this 1-on-1 Instagram outreach, then rather than creating 20 IG posts similar to what your competitors are creating, you can really make your IG feel like a social proof page by using these 20 posts as well in your feed to show off more social proof such as testimonials, case studies, your star rating and things of that nature. Remember, your goal here is to make it as easy as possible for the people you DM’d to quickly see how legit you are so this gives you extra space to show this off since you aren’t worried about this type of content cluttering up your feed from your organic social media posts since you’re not focused on creating that type of content. You’ll then of course want to do the same thing I mentioned above when it comes to your Highlights section. Remember, your goal here is just to make it as easy as possible for those people you DM’d to see your abilities and social proof as the easier you make this for them, the better your results will be as they’ll trust you more. 
        2. Just show off as much social proof as possible
      3. We’ll get into how to optimize your IG social media page more in the social media training, but if you’re doing 1-on-1 DM outreach, this how you should be thinking about your page in order to make it as easy as possible for this type of outreach to convert into new clients. 
  3. Finding your target audience on IG
    1. This can be tricky on IG as they don’t have robust filters allowing you to single out certain people based on their criteria the same way Linkedin, for example, does which allows you to search by a person’s job title, company size, state, industry, years of experience and so on. 
    2. For IG, you’ll do this primarily 1 of 3 ways
      1. 1. You can use IG’s search bar and type in your target audience in there and then click accounts
        1. For instance, if your target audience is “hairstylist”, you can type that in and you’ll see a list of hairstylists. You can even type in “hairstylist los angeles” if you only want to see people in this location. If you want to expand to see more hairstylist in more areas, you can just keep typing in hairstylists and then adding a new location. However, as you’ll soon see, the options are relatively limited as they don’t show you all hairstylists that are on IG so this likely won’t get you too far as 1-on-1 IG DM outreach is a numbers game. 
      2. 2. Via Indeed or other job board sites
        1. You can go on indeed or other job board sites (like Upwork) and see who is hiring for the services you provide and then find them on IG. The good thing about this strategy is that you aren’t just reaching out to anyone that happens to be a small business owner for example, but instead, you’re reaching out to small business owners who are actively trying to hire for the services you provide. Remember, it’s always going to be easier to convert someone into a customer that is actively looking for the services you offer as opposed to trying to sell your services to someone merely because they fit your target demographic. When you see this job opening online, you can of course also apply directly on the job board to the company or via email to the hiring manager if that is made available and see if they’d be willing to hire you in a non-employee type role which is sometimes the case. 
      3. 3. Via hashtags
        1. Alternatively, and where you’re going to have much more people show up in the results that you can do outreach for is by searching the phrase by hashtag. If your clients are small business owners, then think of the hashtags they might be using. For instance, they’d probably use the hashtag #smallbusinessowner. Or to be more specific, if your clients are specifically “hair salons”, you might want to search the hashtag “#hairsalon” or “#hairstylist”. So, type that into IG’s search bar and you will quickly see all of the posts that have used that hashtag. 
        2. Or, if you have a wedding photography business, you might want to search #gettingmarried or #engaged as people who posted with this hashtag will likely need a wedding photographer soon. 
      4. Utilize Geotags and Location Tags 
        1. If your business is location-specific, search for posts or accounts using location tags or geotags related to your target area. This allows you to find potential clients who are geographically close to your business and may be more likely to convert into clients.
      5. Once you have your list of people you want to DM, it’s time to warm them up a bit before you do your 1-on-1 DM outreach. 
        1. For the best results in getting responses from your DMs, rather than just DMing them out of the blue with your pitch, I recommend doing a few things first to warm them up to your message.
          1. Follow them
          2. Like a few posts and leave a few comments over the next few days (bonus points if your comment is good so that they actually respond and have a little conversation with you in the comments section as this will make you more memorable so your DM doesn’t seem like it’s out of the blue). 
          3. Please keep in mind that depending on your target demographic, the person you are DMing might not be the decision maker but rather just a social media manager that doesn’t have the power to really make purchasing decisions typically. So, DMing on IG definitely works better when your target demographic is likely handling the social media account so that it doesn’t have to go through several layers of people before getting to the decision maker. So, DMing typically works best when you’re reaching out to small business owners in various industries as small business owners typically don’t have a huge staff and might be handling their social media page themselves or the person that is handling it has direct contact with the owner so they can easily bring this up to them. 
      6. Now onto what to say in your DM:
        1. When reaching out to a company on Instagram to sell your service, it’s important to strike a balance between being persistent and respectful. The number of DMs you send will depend on various factors, including the nature of your service, the company’s responsiveness, and your previous interactions. Here are some guidelines to consider:
        2. Start with a Well-Crafted Initial DM (ideally after you’ve warmed them up a bit as mentioned above and they already have an idea of who you are and that you’re supportive of their social media marketing efforts rather than just cold DMing them out of nowhere): Begin by sending a personalized and compelling DM that illustrates how you can help their company grow or fix a problem they likely have, showing some social proof or a guarantee to make them less risk averse, and then stating how you’ll help them. Make sure to provide a clear call-to-action, such as asking if they would like to learn more or schedule a call.
        3. Have spacing in between your paragraphs and keep your paragraphs as short as possible. The longer your message is, the less likely it will be read.
          1. Here are some examples of what your DM’s could look like. Please do not copy these verbatim as these are not the “perfect” message to send as then all my students would be sending the exact same message which would hurt all of your efforts. Instead, use these as guidance to create your own message. These messages are also in no particular order in terms of favorites to least favorites as you need to choose something that works based on what you’re trying to get your target audience to do. Also, once again, don’t guarantee things you can’t deliver on. It’s better to leave out any guarantees if you can’t fulfill them and instead focus more on social proof as this will make the prospect feel more comfortable with you.  

Example 1


I noticed that your link-in bio is likely not converting people into customers as much as it should be. 

I guarantee I can help you convert more social media followers into customers by making a few simple tweaks as I have made these exact same tweaks with 20+ other (Industry Name) companies that had the exact same issue as your social media page which led to a lot more customers.

If I don’t increase your social media website traffic by at least 20%, you don’t have to pay. 

I have a 4.8-star rating on UpWork and I specialize specifically on getting (Industry Name) companies more customers through Social Media.

Would you like to hop on a quick call so I can share these few easy ways I’ll get you a lot more customers via your social media accounts?

Example 2


I noticed that your social media account and its funnel aren’t fully optimized to convert followers into customers. 

I’ve helped 20+ Industry Name companies convert their followers into more customers and they usually see at least a 20% increase in social media sales within 3 months of me helping them. 

These are some easy tweaks that can be made as I’m seeing the exact same things that I see with most Industry Name companies I’ve helped.  

Would you like to hop on a quick call so I can share these few easy ways I’ll get you a lot more customers via your social media accounts?

Example 3


Reaching out to know if Company Name would like any help growing your Instagram account? 

85% of the companies I work with increase their followers and engagement by 50% within the first 2 months or you don’t pay. 

I’ll do this by: 

1. Creating 2 posts and 1 story per day specifically for your target audience.

2. Increasing your engagement by doing deep competitor analysis on what is working well for your niche. 

3. Using strategic responses to all comments to further increase engagement

If you’d like any help to grow much quicker, just reply and I’ll set up a time to chat so I can show you how I’ll do it for your company. 

Example 4. Complimentary Approach:

Hey [Recipient’s Name]! Your [productservice] is incredible! I admire how you [specific achievement or unique approach].

Looking at your profile, I can increase the amount of sales you get through IG by 50% in just 2 months guaranteed as I specialize in helping Industry Name companies and have a 85% success rate.

I’ll do this by: 

1. Optimizing your IG bio and link-in-bio
2. Creating a high converting highlights section
3. And fixing your landing pages in your link-in-bios for more conversions

If you’d like any help growing much quicker, just reply and we can set up a time to chat so I can show you how I’ll do it for Your Company Name. 

Example 5. Pain Point Solution:

“Hi [Recipient’s Name]! I noticed your recent post about [specific challenge they mentioned]. 

I actually specialize in helping individuals/businesses overcome this issue by

  1. X
  2. Y
  3. Z

I have a 4.8 star rating on Upwork because of my continued success for clients and I’d love to help you too. 

If you’d like any help growing much quicker, just reply and we can set up a time to chat so I can show you how I’ll do it for Your Company Name. 

Example 6. Case Study Approach:

“Hi [Recipient’s Name]! 

I recently worked with one of your competitors who faced similar challenges as you mentioned in your posts. 

I was able to increase their xxx by xxx% as this is a huge reason why I have a 4.8 star Upwork rating. 

I’d love to share how I did it for them as the same method will likely help grow your company just as much.

Would you like me to send that to you?  

Example 7. Mutual Benefit Proposal:

“Hey [Recipient’s Name]! 

I love your content and I believe we can mutually benefit from collaboration. I have some ideas on how we can cross-promote each other and expand both of our reach. 

Would you like me to DM you a quick proposal?

Example 8. Offer a Free Resource:

“Hi [Recipient’s Name]! 

I noticed you’re interested in [specific topic]. I have an exclusive e-book/guide/template that provides actionable strategies so you can quickly excel in that area that has helped over 1,000 business owners. 

Would you like a complimentary copy?”

Example 9. Testimonial Approach:

“Hey [Recipient’s Name]! 

I recently helped one of your competitors (Company Name) grow x% in 3 months.  

They were thrilled with the results and since you have a very similar business, I thought I’d reach out to help you grow just as fast. 

If you’d like any help growing much quicker, just reply and we can set up a time to chat so I can show you how I’ll do it for Your Company Name. 

Example 10. Offer a Free Consultation:

“Hey [Recipient’s Name]! I’m in love with what you’re doing with [specific work/project] at Your Company. 

I’ve actually helped 50 Industry Name companies just like yours grow via xxxx in the last few years and I’d be happy to offer you a complimentary consultation to discuss how I’ll grow your business just like I did for them. 

 Would you like to schedule a call ?”

  1. Allow Time for a Response: 
    1. Give the company a reasonable amount of time to respond to your initial DM. This could range from a few days to a week, depending on their usual response time and their level of activity on Instagram.
    2. Follow Up Once or Twice: If you haven’t received a response after a reasonable period, it’s appropriate to follow up with a polite and friendly message. In your follow-up, remind them of your initial DM and reiterate the value you can provide. Limit your follow-ups to one or two additional messages.
    3. Respect Boundaries: If you still don’t receive a response after your follow-ups, it’s important to respect the company’s boundaries and move on. Continuing to send multiple DMs without any response may come across as intrusive or spammy.
    4. Seek Other Communication Channels: If you haven’t received a response through Instagram DMs, consider exploring other communication channels such as email or Linkedin. Look for contact information on their website or social media profiles to reach out through an alternative method if you feel like you really need to get in contact with that particular business (or just move on as this is a numbers game).
    5. Remember, every company and situation is unique, so it’s crucial to assess the context and adjust your approach accordingly. Focus on providing value, being respectful, and maintaining professionalism throughout your interactions.
    6. Track and Analyze Results: Keep track of your outreach efforts to understand what strategies work best. Monitor response rates for each version of message you send, conversion rates, and adjust your approach accordingly.

Remember, successful 1-on-1 outreach takes time, patience, and a genuine interest in the potential clients. Focus on building relationships, providing value, and demonstrating how your services can solve their problems or fulfill their needs. Remember, this is a numbers game but the good thing is, as a freelancer, you only need to get a few clients at a time to be doing well.