Neha Awasthi

Most people ruin the masala chai.

Masala chai that is inherent to every Indian.

An integral part of Indian life.  

People make it too weak or dip a tea bag from the store in a cup of boiling water with a hint of cinnamon maybe, and call it a Masala chai.

What irks me more than that is Starbucks selling Masala tea. 

What truly upsets me is – that Starbucks calling the potion of Chai – Chai Tea Latte. Now that seems like the whole acuity has been taken away – it’s not Latte – it is not tea. It’s Chai Tea Latte. 

“Chai” translates to “tea” in Hindi and several other Indian languages (so Starbucks is redundant—Chai Tea just means “tea tea”).

It’s neither East nor West. 

I am super fussy about my tea (like a lot of Indians) and maybe that’s where this irk originates from. 

Every morning I make masala chai, and I like it a certain way. 

A cup of water on the boil. 

I grinds the piece of ginger down with the handle of my favourite big knife or grater. Throw in a cinnamon stick like a circus artist waving my hand pretending to have mastered the art. Pound 2 cloves of cardamom and add them to the water.

Let it simmer and add about 1/2 cup of full cream (never fat-free milk) – and let it simmer for a while, until it is reduced by a third. I usually add a small piece of jaggery (as a substitute for sugar). 

Then slowly and meticulously pour it in one of my favourite cups with blue paisley design. 

But you were here for the Instagram and not masala chai. 

Or maybe both. 

Making masala chai and making Instagram are very similar. 

Instagram and brewing Chai are very similar. 

They are both like a slow, beautiful brew. They are both not like Starbucks fast lane neither-here-nor-there chai tea latte. It’s a 4.41-ounce drink in your favourite cup served with love and intention. It is not a drink in the foam cup slid over the counter without even looking in your eyes. 

In the culture of too much advice to make fast money, fast tea, fast everything – we fall into the traps and pipe dreams. We think we must grow Instagram fast and there must really be a trick that we are missing. We start looking for tactics and hacks without ever understanding how Instagram actually serves our business? 

How does it get us clients in the first place?

Here are three things you must consider if you are using Instagram as a tool to build your community and clients.


1. Valuable clients versus a lot of followers. 

These are two different things. A lot of followers can feel great for your ego. Like a bucket full of chai for the day. You will not be able to drink it, but somehow getting it for free feels great. You might even notice other accounts with thousands of Instagram followers, but what they may not show you – is that those followers were interested in the content of travel and fashion before they switched over to doing business. 

This creates a lot of pressure on your mind and you are missing the full picture, mostly because you are not shown the whole picture. They flaunt their number of followers to you, and you feel like that must really be the key to success. More and more followers.  

Instead of building a community of engaged and interested people, you focus on the big numbers. So my first advice is to change the mindset of growing your Instagram numbers to focusing on getting valuable people following your account. 

This avoids you falling in the traps of using tactics like follow and unfollow people.

This may be effective in the short term to grow your audience, but they may not necessarily be the people who’ll buy your stuff. Remember a bucket full of chai, you can’t drink. 

This also damages your brand’s look.

When you have so many followers with very little engagement. Because there are people present, but they are not interested in what you have to say and offer. 

People who are already following you start to expect more engagement with the more following to. But when you don’t get it, they lose momentum, and that builds distrust in their minds. 

They may get turned off they don’t see much audience engagement.

To avoid these type of things, it’s better to have a small community. A small number of followers who are genuinely invested and interested in your work. It’s best to focus more on the small number of people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say and your work than having a large number of people on your list. 

The question becomes what you should focus on then to get clients from Instagram?

2. How to find the right audience on Instagram

The first step is to know and get some knowledge about who your audience is. It’s important to know what type of audience are you looking for. You don’t have to get it perfect or have a crystal clear understanding of this. You only need some knowledge of who your target audience may be. 

If you understand their worldview and what their problems are, that can be a good starting point. Do they match the type of solution you offer and do they resonate in a way that you offer?

If they are an excellent value match and if they are interested in your kind of solution, they will likely do business with you. Those people are already interested in topics as your business offers. So you should focus your efforts on finding audiences that resemble your description on Instagram.  

You can look up pages they are likely to follow and start building a relationship with them. There are a lot of pages and people on Instagram who can be a good match for your business. 

On this, a note – don’t let the scarcity mindset of “I don’t have my audience on Instagram.” stop you. Instagram is one of the biggest growing platforms, and there are a lot of profiles where you can find the right audience. Once you find your audience, you have to help them to see how you can help them and foster the relationship. 

3. Help your audience to take the relationship further 

I always wanted to see him up close. It was almost like I had touched a star. I fell in love with my husband in the first sight. And then more and moreover the years. 

When I met him first, I wanted to see him every day and sit and chat with him for hours. I’d often invite him to the coffee. I’d plan exciting activities to get his attention and for him to come and see me. I indeed was head over heels for him. 

If I had met him for the first time, and left it at that point hoping he’d one day turn into my husband. That’d be foolish of me to think that way. I know you’d say the same thing – of course, it would be.”

But we forget this simple psychology when we do business with other humans.

It happens because we are continually thinking of them as someone we need to get something from. We make it too much about ourselves. We obsess over everything they can do for us and buy from us. Not enough on how we can help them to move further along from where they are now. 

We forget that we need to (almost) fall in love with those people and their problems. And really tap into that place within our hearts that genuinely wants to help them. 

Once we do that, we can take the relationship further. We keep in touch with those people, we plan things, we invite them over to talk to us, we like to spend time with them. We don’t get hung up in our own minds, our own doubts and fears. 

It’s the same thing on Instagram as well.

Once someone follows you, it’s merely the first meeting. You need to take that relationship further, a step ahead. That happens when you give them something of value. Lead them with your expertise. You also need to guide them gently what should be their next step in this new relationship – where should they come and hang out more with you? You shouldn’t make it a guess work for them or rely on others to do that on their own. People are busy and they are not thinking about you or your Instagram. So you need to offer a variety of steps they can take to foster this relationship. 

On Instagram, you could do it in a variety of ways like: 

Asking them to comment

Like or comment on the post

Inviting them to check our your page  

Sign up for your new program

Tag a friend in your post and spread the word 

Download a free gift from your link 

Buy your new program or product

It’s essential to think of people as humans, and putting their needs and desires first. This means if you are always merely asking without giving anything of value to them, people get put off and fair enough. You know that, if you are needy in any relationship without thinking of what joy, help, the contribution you can bring to someone’s life – those relationships don’t sustain for long. 

The point is to do things in a way you like to experience them. This seems oh-so-obvious, yet, when in our business world or when we put on our that-fancy-feather-business-hat – that’s precisely what many of us do on our Instagram accounts. So brew the tea slowly, use quality ingredients, make it with presence, let it simmer and then pour it in a nice cup and drink it with gratitude. I told you, drinking tea and Instagram has a lot of similarities. 


Go make your tea now.

If you are a tea-lover and get stuck making tea, simply email me and ask for the recipe. Along with that, I will also send you a set of tea photos you can use in your marketing – without any credits. Tea Lovers Unite!