Below are three tips for growing your business’ Instagram following.
Know Your Brand’s Social Identity
Before you can begin racking up Instagram followers, the first step is to figure out your brand’s social identity. After all, if you don’t know what your brand is about online, how will your followers? Ask yourself, if my brand were a person, what would he or she be like?” Use the answer along with a profile of your key customers â€” as the starting point to begin to figure out what your brand should look, sound, and feel like on social media.
Continuity is key when it comes to building a social strategy. Decide how often you’ll post, and plan content in advance. For most businesses, one post per day is more than enough. Mix in videos and photos to keep content interesting â€” especially if you’re making your posts shoppable. Keep short (your photos or videos should speak for themselves), use no more than two hashtags in your copy, and use similar filters and colors for every post to hone your brand’s look.”
Keep in mind that, as with most new platforms, Instagram regulations are ever-evolving. The FCC has issued guidelines on rules brands should follow when engaging with influencers and celebrities. All entrepreneurs should familiarize themselves with current regulations before engaging in influencer campaigns to ensure all regulatory guidelines are being followed.
How to use Hashtags on Instagram Without Being #Annoying
Hashtags can be a great way to grow your following organically, invite your customers into a conversation and weigh in on topics; however, used incorrectly, hashtags can make your team look like social-media novices… Or worse, #thirsty for attention.
Generally speaking, there are two types of hashtags: community hashtags, which are used to catalog posts by topic (#food), and brand hashtags, which are unique to your company and designed to engage consumers in conversation or promote a marketing campaign (#yourbrandtag). Your brand hashtag can be used in every post, along with one or two community hashtags. Use a service like Hashtagify to research and track the most effective tags. To invite even more Instagram non-followers to find your content, comment on your original post with up to 10 additional community hashtags. Including these as a comment instead of with your original post will still lead new users to your account, but without your original post looking like a minefield of hashtags. This will allow your social identity to take center stage.
How to win over Competitors’ Followers
When you’re trying to build your Instagram following, one of the first places you should look is at your competitors’ social accounts. Do their businesses have more followers than yours? If so, what are they doing differently to engage fans?
Take note of the hashtags your competitors use, and begin to incorporate them (appropriately!) into your own posts. Look at the public profiles of your competitors’ followers. Like posts that are relevant to your brand, and comment when it feels appropriate and organic. For example, if you operate a sporting goods store, you might comment on how delicious a user’s campfire meal looks. You can also make special offers: if you operate a restaurant, you can search #food in your zip code and comment, “looks delicious, but we think you’ll love our breakfast even more! Come visit us any time this week and save 15% off your bill when you show this post.”