It used to be that the more followers you had on social media, the more successful your business was. Now, the focus is more on valuable followers who will engage with and promote your brand. Remember, you can't deposit followers into the bank! Don't focus on the number of followers, but rather building a community of loyal followers who you can interact with and that will help grow your business.
Here are a few things you can do to grow a valuable audience on Instagram:
Build a powerful profile with a great bio
You have limited space in your bio to grab your audience’s attention and convert them into followers and customers. You have to let people know what your business is about in a few simple words that are concise and engaging. Think about some adjectives you would use to describe your business, or how you want your business to be defined by your customers. Sprinkle some keywords and include some hashtags. Don't be afraid to use emojis! It helps break up the text and people are drawn to emojis. Here are a few more tips we created to help you build a powerful Instagram profile.
Post Engaging Content Consistently
People want to do business with a brand and not a logo. Post content that provides value and gives them an inside look at you and your brand.
Show faces in your images – whether it is you, your team, your customers or people using your products. Take advantage of user-generated content. Ask your audience to post pics using your products or talking about your brand. Share these photos on your page to show both the human side of your brand and to establish brand proof.
Aim to share content that will spark a reaction and encourage people to engage. Ask questions, create polls and always include a call-to-action. Just make sure your call-to-action is relevant to the caption and the photo!
Experiment with IGTV, long-form video that allows for 60 seconds-60 minutes of video content.
Audit your competitors to see what type of content and hashtags your audience may be responding to and use that to inspire your content strategy.
Posting consistently will keep your brand top of mind and in the feed of your target audience. Don’t just build a strong profile and leave it there. Post a story every day, and a new post a minimum of twice per week. (Struggling to find content? We can help.)
If you aren’t utilizing stories for you business, you are missing out on a very effective way to interact with your audience and promote your brand. Posting a story can be a great way to show the human side of your brand. Stories don’t have to be polished and produced. They offer your audience an authentic inside look at you and your brand - without taking up prime real estate in your feed. Encourage engagement by posting a poll or a quiz. Or, provide value by offering a product tutorial. Don’t forget to add hashtags, locations, and tag people when relevant. If you sell products, you can add product stickers so that your audience can purchase directly from your story. You can also set a countdown to announce new updates, events or sales. Stories make your brand more visible and top of mind. Don’t be afraid to have a little fun with your stories!
Now, more than ever, people want to connect with a real person and anything that will remind them of real life. Don't be afraid to jump on IG Live and check in with your customers, host a Q&A, give a quick tutorial or explain a product or service. Here's how to get started with IG Live.
Host a contest and offer a free product, discount code or free tutorial. Require that users follow and tag your account to be entered into the contest. Just make sure you follow through and announce the winner for everyone to see! Ask the winner to post a pic and tag your account.
Write great captions
This is a chance for you to tell a story and drive users to visit your profile and/or drive them to your bio link. Make your captions interesting and relatable. Don’t just promote your business or products, provide value and an inside look at your business.
Break up your text with emojis, bullets or spaces so that long text is easier to digest. It makes it easier for users to skim and read all the way through to your call-to-action.
Hashtags are everything on Instagram. If you are not using them – and using them correctly – you may be missing out on reaching your target audience. But, don't overdo it. Add 10-15 hashtags to every post and make sure they are relevant to your content. Here’s a great tool to check out which hashtags are trending in your industry.
Take some time to develop a strong list of 10 hashtags that you will use consistently and include a branded hashtag. Create one that is specific to your brand and that is not being used already. Encourage your audience to use this hashtag when posting about your brand. Make sure to use it in your bio, so that your audience starts to relate it to your brand.
Create a few sets of hashtag lists that you will use for certain types of posts. For example, create a list you will use when talking about your team, a list for when promoting new products and a different list when talking about your services.
Work with Influencers
Establish a relationship with a current and relevant influencer who is in touch with the audience you wish to target, and understands the needs and desires of your chosen audience.
You can provide free products or pay a fee to have the influencer promote your product to their large audience.
To find an influencer in your industry, start searching for the top accounts in your niche. If their name comes up right away, that may be someone you want to work with. If you’re on the hunt for influencers and you’re needing to find the right ones, Buzzsumo can be a great tool. You can find relevant influencers by topic and even see their follower reach and engagement.
Another fun option is to try account swapping with a business friend. This allows you to post on their account to their audience and vice versa. You have 24 hours to let their audience know who you are as a brand and to encourage them to follow you.
As with any piece of your social media strategy, growing followers takes time. Use your business analytics tool to see what is working and don't be afraid to change things up if something is not working. Most of all - be patient!
Do you struggle to find content for your small business? There is so much noise out there and it's often hard for business owners to develop an effective social media strategy. We've created a series of products and services to help. Click here to learn more about how we can help elevate your brand and grow your business.