How to Use Instagram to Find YOUR Customers Online

You need a social media plan… or so they say.


Let me guess? You’re a cookie baker, Etsy seller, or creative business owner with a few thousand things on your to-do list already. You love your products, and you’re excited to get them into the hands of more customers. You just can’t quite figure out how. “They” keep saying you need to share on Instagram more. But what should you post? Also, when and why?


Not to mention: WHO HAS THE TIME?!


That’s why I created this guide with you in mind. The passionate, talented, e-commerce entrepreneur. The craft fair queen. The handmade BOSS. You’re big on goals and short on time. So let’s get started:


In this 6 step guide I’ll talk about the importance of an actual Social Media Plan (versus randomly posting on Instagram when inspiration strikes), explain how to create a Social Media Plan for your Etsy shop, or creative business (in under an hour), and provide a VERY useful bonus you can download and use!

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So real quick, what even is a Social Media Plan, and why does it matter?


A Social Media Plan is simply a roadmap that outlines how you use social media to support the overall Marketing Plan for your Etsy shop (or other e-commerce storefront).


Think of it like this: if you took off on your cute beach cruiser and just started biking your way down the road, odds are you would eventually come across a great coffee shop for your afternoon iced latte. But how long would it take to get there? Are you taking the shortest route? Do they have coconut milk? And if you love it, can you even remember how to get back?


Having a map, or a plan, would have made that bike ride way more enjoyable and productive. Social Media is the exact same way. So how do you make your own Social Media Plan?


Your customers are on Instagram!

How to make your own simple social media plan


1. Always start with your goal in mind.


What’s the plan anyway? Maybe you want to sell out your holiday cookie pre-sale, or increase sales by 10% from last quarter. Only you know what you’re aiming for, but make sure you’re super clear is a very important first step.


Pro tip: If you think you need to start an Instagram because “everyone else has one” it’s time to do a little re-evaluating. Social media can be an incredible tool for small business owners. (Like that time I sold $24,000 worth of cookies in 2 months without paying a single dollar for marketing.) Organic Instagram and Email Marketing legit changed my business (and life) but only because I used it intentionally and with a very clear goal in mind.


Without a goal in mind, social media can have the opposite effect on your creative business. It can become a huge distraction that sucks up your precious time and makes you feel inadequate (comparison is the thief of joy).


If you need help setting goals/ creating a vision for your Etsy shop or creative business, check out this post on How to Find Clarity and Create Clear Goals.


2. Now that your goals are defined, let’s talk about your customers.


WHO are you creating social media content for? You’ll want to spend some time thinking about your ideal customers so you know exactly who you’re trying to reach. The internet is a BIG place…. You don’t need to reach everyone with your killer content. You only need to reach your people. So talk directly to them!


Not sure exactly who your ideal customer is yet? Try this exercise: Get a blank page and set a timer for 5 minutes. Don’t overthink it, just start describing your ideal customer:


  • Are they male or female?

  • How old are they?

  • What do they do for fun?

  • Do they have expendable income?

  • Where do they hang out?


You can literally give this person a name to help you think of them as a real person. When you start writing your social media content, you’ll be writing directly to this person. This helps your ideal customers feel a connection with you. It’s like you’re speaking to them directly!


3. Pick 1-3 social media sites to focus on


Listen, you just can’t do it ALL. Not all at once anyway. I get that somebody else might be all over Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tiktok, and Pinterest. It’s tempting to think that more is better, but I guarantee you this: The businesses you see all over the place have a whole TEAM helping them. They aren’t doing it by themselves.


Please remember this, or you’ll go straight down the path to burnout.

Start with 1-3 social media sites in the beginning. That’s it! I promise it’s better to show up in one space consistently than it is to hop around all over the place.


So go back to your ideal customers from step 2 and think about where they hang out on social media. They might be active in parenting groups or DIY pages on Facebook. Or maybe they’re obsessed with Tiktok trends or Instagram Reels. Some of this might take a little guesswork at first, but the important thing is to pick the 1-3 that you can imagine yourself sticking with in the long run.



4. Set up & optimize profiles


Ok, now we’re really rolling! You’ve got a clear goal, a dream customer, and you’ve identified the 1-3 social media platforms that are best for you. It’s time to get set up for success.


Pro tip: You might be tempted to skip this step. I can see you rolling your eyes and scrolling past to the next step. Please don’t! This doesn’t have to take long, but it will make a HUGE difference in the long run.


Here are some tips for setting up *and optimizing* your profiles (aka making the most of the limited space you’re given, so that MORE CUSTOMER FIND YOU):


  • Choose a username that makes sense & use the same name for all of your profiles. Seriously, I know you want to be cute and express yourself. You’re creative and fun… which is incredible. BUT now is the time to be strategic. Choose a name that matches your business and very clearly shows people what you’re about, and use it everywhere. Bonus points if it includes a keyword, or description of your actual product (ex: @tenthousandcookies incorporated my business mission and main product all in one).

  • Use your “About Me” space to talk about how you can help your customers! Spoiler alert: you usually get a very limited amount of characters in this space. Instead of telling them that you’re a “crafty cat mom who loves coffee” tell them how your “freshly baked and hand decorated sugar cookies make a perfect gift for anyone on their list”

  • Give them a call to action. Include your website, order form, or your contact information. Your goal is to connect with them asap.

  • Bonus tip: If you do most of your business locally, make sure you include your city/ state. If you ship, include that info too!


5. Create a Content Calendar


Honestly, this could be another whole post on its own, but let’s talk about the basics. A content calendar is simply a schedule that lets you plan a bunch of content or posts all at once.


Here, you can even borrow mine!

This step is SO IMPORTANT because planning your content in advance means you’re posting with a goal in mind and telling a cohesive story.


Have you ever been scrolling mindlessly when a post pops up and you know whose it is before you even see the account it came from? Some people/ businesses are so good at creating a brand identity and voice that you can tell it’s them from a mile away.


That’s not an accident! When you plan your content in advance, you can tell a whole story instead of random pieces here and there. Plus, you’re not pulling your hair out trying to come up with something to say every day. So here are the steps to creating your content calendar:


  • Decide how many times you realistically can/ want to post each week. (Hint: remember that consistency is key. It’s better to post 3 times a week for a month straight, than to post 8 days in a row and go radio silent for the next 2 weeks.)

  • Pick 3-5 post types. For example: When I was promoting my cookie business I would share about the process of baking and decorating, my goal of baking 10,000 cookies, the presentation of the cookies (aka fun stickers, cute boxes, how they shipped, etc), and how customers could use the them (birthday gifts, treats for themselves, client gifts). You can use these as pillars and try to rotate between the different post types.

  • Find or create high-quality images or videos to go with your post content.

  • Get organized… and better yet, automated. Finding a scheduling app can be a lifesaver! There are tons of tools out there, but finding one will make a huge difference. (PS I share all my faves right here.)

6. Stop. Evaluate and listen. (Ice is back for a brand new edition.)


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Give it some time. Try your new social media plan for 4-8 weeks and then evaluate.


Remember, you’re not going for an overnight success story, just consistent growth!

When you evaluate, ask yourself if this is sustainable for a longer time period and if it feels worth your time.


Pro tip: Lots of creatives have the visual piece all set. If you have high quality product photos or brand pictures that you’re using for your Etsy shop or e-commerce platform you’re all set with the images… but writing the copy can be a different kind of challenge. Consider outsourcing the content writing to a pro!


Creating a simple social media plan might feel overwhelming at first, but once you have a plan you’ll be so happy not to have to think about it every single day. Essentially, you’re freeing up time and mental space to focus on the aspects of your business that are in your “zone of genius”.


Still not 100% clear on how to put your plan together or how to put it into action? Book a Marketing + Mindset Strategy Session and we can work on it together! This is one of my favorite things to help creative clients with!