Written by Ashlyn Brooks

April 15, 2022

Last week at Instagram Summit, we were graced with the wisdom of multiple experts on the “how” behind growing your Instagram following and ultimately using it to grow your business. If you missed out on Instagram Summit, not to worry: you can catch up on what you missed through our Day 1 and Day 2 summaries. 

While each day held nuggets of gold pertaining to growth and engagement, one conversation in particular stuck out from the women’s panel. Natalie Ellis, co-founder, and CEO of BossBabe, was one of the reps who sat on the panel. Among her pearls of wisdom, she honed in on an exceptional piece of advice known as owning your audience. 

Owning vs. renting your audience

There are two separate types of audiences, and many business owners make the mistake of confusing the two. Only when they have lost their entire audience do they quickly realize their mistake and scramble to try and remedy the situation. Here’s the breakdown. 

A rented audience is not truly yours, but rather one you simply possess access to. For example, many would assume that followers on Instagram are their “audience,” and they would be correct in a sense. Through Instagram, you are able to market your business, engage with potential customers, and convert them to lifetime buyers. However, they don’t belong to you. They are the property of Instagram, and if Instagram so chooses, it can easily have you removed from its platform, thus separating you from your audience and the cash flow that comes with it. This is why an owned audience is so desirable. 

An owned audience is one that you control and have direct access to (generally via email). With an owned audience, you can do all you were able to do through a rented audience, without the hassle of having to worry that you will be separated from them without notice. 

How do you own your audience? 

Owning your audience requires several steps: baiting, nurturing, and securing. 

Baiting an audience

Baiting an audience can be done in multiple ways, but the easiest would be converting those with an existing interest into devoted followers. For example, say you have a prosperous Instagram account that increases in followers month over month. The ultimate goal would be to secure those followers as your “owned audience.” 

To bait your followers you’ll want to be an active user—someone they trust and find value in. Once you’ve built a solid relationship as a foundation, then you can go in for “the big ask,” which is usually requesting their contact information to add to your email list. This can be done by:

  • Offering an incentive like a freebie
  • Offering “subscriber-only” content 

Nurturing an audience 

Once you’ve managed to bait them and retrieve their contact info, you need to practice nurturing those that aren’t quite ready to commit. Keep in mind there are three types of people that subscribe to your email list: 

  • Primed and ready to buy: These are known as “hot leads”—ones that are committed and know they are ready to make a purchase.
  • Interested but not convinced: These are known as “warm leads”—ones that are interested in hearing more but just aren’t at the buying stage yet.
  • Accidental opt-ins: These are “trash leads”—ones that aren’t interested in your products or services and, thus, are a waste of your time to pursue. 

The nurturing phase is mainly for the warm leads but can also be used for the hot leads once they’ve made a purchase, to keep them returning as a repeat customer. Nurturing involves:

  • Offering value: something that they may need to grow their business, for example, or engage their customers
  • Offering insight: this could be like insider information or forecasting in your industry’s sector
  • Offering incentives: like discount codes and promotions retained only for your subscribers

Securing your audience 

Many confuse potential customers as “secured” simply because their contact information has been obtained. In reality, a lead is only as good as the income it produces for your business. A secured customer has not only found your product useful and interesting but is committed to reading your newsletter, downloading your ebooks, and ultimately making a purchase from you. 

If you’re practicing a good email marketing campaign, one offering value, and incentives, then securing your audience should come swiftly after the nurturing phase. 

How ManyChat can help you own your audience 

Moving from a rented audience to an owned audience requires some strategy and intuitive tools to make your job easier in the long run. ManyChat has several advantages to its services that outdo the traditional ways of collecting emails and help avoid the hassle of transferring them over to a database. Here’s how ManyChat can help you own your audience:

  1. Customer engagement. ManyChat can assist you in setting up multiple ways to engage with your existing Instagram followers, through resources such as conversation starters, triggers, and personalized chatbots. Using these tools you can not only get your followers in your DMs, but also offer incentives, personalize the responses, and build trust. 
  1. Information capture. ManyChat lets you seamlessly integrate questions to capture user information such as names, addresses, and emails.
  1. Data transfer. Once you’ve captured the information you need, ManyChat can integrate with tools like Google Sheets, MailChimp, or Klaviyo to store information for future customer campaigns.

Takeaways: Owning your audience 

Owning your audience allows you the comfort of knowing you have complete control of your subscribers and how/when you choose to communicate with them. Renting your audience is great for building a following and drawing in new customers, but fails when it comes to scaling your business. 

ManyChat allows you to better convert rented audiences into owned audiences through:

  • Customer engagement 
  • Personalized conversations
  • Information capture
  • Data transfer

For access to the chat automation tool that can help you grow and scale your business, get started for free today with ManyChat!

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The contents of this blog were independently prepared and are for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ManyChat or any other party. Individual results may vary.