Why You're Struggling To Get Sales On Instagram & How To Fix It

So, you've been running your small business for some time now, whether it's a few months or years. You feel as though you're putting in every ounce of your effort, but... *tumbleweed* nothing. No matter how many products you launch, posts you upload or sales you run, your sales just won't pick up. If this sounds like you, keep reading.

Your mindset is all wrong. This is so important. If you fall at this hurdle, you won't get back up to finish the race. If your mindset is in the wrong place, nothing else you do will matter.

Have you ever been walking through your local town and been (what feels like) chased by somebody in a uniform, asking for charitable donations? If you haven't, just imagine it... They're often in a small team, dispersed across an area outside of the shops where the footfall is high. They carry a clipboard and bring people to a halt in order to ask them to sign up for some sort of charity campaign. These people are pushy with a capital P. Not only that, but they enter your pathway so abruptly, with zero introduction or explanation as to what they are doing and who they are. Now, I'm a very generous person and I'll give to charities at any given opportunity, but these people are very easy to say no to. In fact, I'd go as far as saying they're quite irritating. When you become familiar with them, you often find yourself doing a little de-tour on your route so you can avoid them, or you pretend to be on the phone.

This is similar to how you're currently promoting your products on social media. You have a product, and as beautiful as it may be, you're not giving anyone the chance to get to know you or your brand first. It's a simple process of posting a product photo, with zero context and asking people to click the link in your bio to buy it. It's so easily ignored by most people. Humans already have a ridiculously small attention span, so throwing something in front of us that gives no emotion, value, thought or energy just goes one ear and out the other.


Let me explain why this routine is harming your business more than you realise...

 1. You spend your time taking photos / videos of your product for content

 2. You post it on social media with no context

 3. Your audience ignore it, therefore your engagement rate drops and your content doesn't get pushed out to new people, preventing follower growth

 4. Some people will even unfollow you after so many times of seeing your posts as they don't want to be bombarded with meaningless promotions

 5. You begin getting frustrated that these people aren't engaging, following or buying, so you have no motivation to create better content

 6. You continue with this routine and your business continues to slowly spiral downwards, making you more and more unmotivated


So, let's gather that all together:

 1. You're wasting your time

 2. You're losing followers

 3. You're preventing new people from following you

 4. Your engagement is decreasing so you can't reach new people

 5. You're in an unmotivated slump, lacking creativity

Well, it sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn't it?!


If that's the case, why do people continue to do it? Honestly, it's because of your mindset. You are fixated on what others are doing. You see another business post a product reel which goes viral, then believe the same will happen for you. Let me tell you, the chances of that happening are miniscule. Plus, that product reel didn't go viral by chance, it doesn't work like that. There would've been something in that reel that triggered a lot of comments, saves, shares, or encouraged people to watch it more than once. In fact, I bet you'll find they have a really strong brand presence. So, the worst thing you can do is expect the exact same results as somebody else's. 

I'm not here to say that content including your product won't ever go viral. I'm here to say:

 1. It will go viral if it has some context

 2. But, you shouldn't ever aim to go viral


A person needs to see a product 7 times on average before they buy it. So, when your content goes viral, you may actually find you don't get an influx in sales. That's the case for most businesses. I can speak from my own experience and my client's experiences, and say that my videos with the lowest views often gained the most sales.

How is that possible?

Viral videos appeal to a lot of people. When you sell to everybody, you sell to nobody. The message isn't direct enough for people to get hooked in. But, when you speak to a specific group of people, your audience is smaller, but they're more likely to convert.


If your content goes viral, that's great! But, it should never be your aim. Your aim should be to serve a specific target audience. This requires a big mindset shift. You must begin thinking with passion and care, rather than chasing sales. It's evident when people are selling with desperation, and it's easy to ignore it. Do you know what's difficult to ignore?

 1. Content that feels as though it was made for you

 2. Content that sparks emotion and thought

 3. Content that tells an intriguing story

 4. Content that inspires you

 5. Content that educates you


So, what type of content should you be making in order to gain more followers and ultimately convert them to paying customers?



The aim of this is to teach your customers so much about your product and niche that they want to buy. If they don't know anything about it, you can't expect them to hand over their hard earned money.

Example: If I was selling a candle, I'd educate people on the mental and stress-reducing benefits of lighting candles. People may not know this, but will be inclined to purchase after learning.



The aim of this is to inspire your audience to make a purchase, rather than bombard them with pointless promotions. This is all about making them understand why they should care.

Example: If I was selling personalised gifts, I'd tell people how many gifts end up in landfill every year to inspire them to make smarter gifting choices, and gift things people will actually keep.



The aim of this is to drive the right people toward your account. Ensure the content is relatable specifically to your target audience.

Example: If I was selling clothing, I'd create a relatable meme about having a clothes shopping addiction, or retail therapy.



The aim of this is to build a strong brand presence, which makes you stand out. It also sparks emotions in your audience, which drives buying behaviour.

Example: If I was selling handmade products, I'd tell a story of a customer asking for a custom item, how it was made, how they reacted, etc.



The aim of this is again, to build a strong brand presence. It also drives in the right target audience without specifically promoting a product.

Example: If I was selling make up, I'd raise my opinion on how bad animal testing is, and something about all of the nasties put into mass-produced make up by big companies.



Be careful with this. Your promotional content should still have some context. You'll find that all of the mentioned types of content can easily merge with promotional.

Example: If I was selling wax melts, I'd create a product recommendation flowchart. It'd ask questions about their personality and favourite scents to lead them to a recommended scent based on their answers.


In order to grow, you must step out of this obsessive mindset of feeling as though you NEED sales and they MUST come to you now. When you think this way, you block out all creativity and passion, and it shows. Take a step back, reevaluate and step back into your creative side.


After growing a multi 6-figure business myself, I'm here to help you do the same. I recall the pain of searching for help and advice, but being asked to pay £100s, if not £1,000s for it. We ain't about that here. The Small Business Handbook offers free and affordable help to product-based small businesses wanting to grow from the ground upwards.


Free Tips & Advice:

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You got this,

Olivia x


  • Cat Rogers

    I totally needed to read this today <3 you’ve just given me the nudge to change my mindset, I’m now sat on my lunchbreak in the day job planning content for my artist business. thank youuuuu

  • Jules Hutton

    Great post and I totally get what you are saying. Prior to this business I actually freelanced for years writing social media content for others. I’m pretty good at writing about the benefits of other people’s products etc, so why can’t I do my own?!!
    I sell mugs and wall prints plus I’ve just set up a separate shop doing nursery wall prints and I find it so hard to see past them being pieces of card to brighten up a wall or a room 😂😂 🤦🤦 Looking forward to receiving your Business Content Book 🤞🤞

  • OLIACE Children

    Loved this Olivia, it felt as though you were speaking directly to me.. so helpful.. it’s something I’m definitely going to start giving my attention to.. it makes complete sense! Thank you ❤️

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