Instagram is huge. Your potential customers, partners, employees and industry influencers are most likely there. If we have learned anything from managing our own Instagram account, it’s that what matters is finding these people and building strong relationships with them.
In just the last 6 months, we’ve increased our Instagram community by 3x, and befriended some amazing people along the way. Interested in getting similar results?
1. Find your community
Let everyone know that you are on Instagram. Announce it on all your channels: website, e-mail, other social media platforms, etc. If you own a physical location (like brick and mortar store or office), you can place the message there.
Export your customer e-mail database to a smartphone and then to the Instagram app to follow your existing customers.
Search for your fans using the hashtag of your company/product and geolocation.
Follow your team and employees.
Follow your partners and industry influencers.
2. Expand your reach
Use your own branded hashtag and encourage your community to use it (we have #insidebakers, for example).
Use several of the best hashtags for your topic or industry. Research and update them regularly. These should be the ones that your target audience searches for and looks through. They are usually more specific and not universally popular.
Use geolocation for your shots and always tag people that are on your Instagram photos.
Ask your followers to tag their friends if they liked your content or found it useful.
Partner with loyal influencers – you can do a mutual repost, for example.
Ask your employees to use a company hashtag or tag your account.
Consider paid Instagram advertising.
Make sure that each post and your feed in general look great, and your content provides value for your audience. Only then people will follow you back and spread the word.
Maintain relationships with your followers every day: like and comment on the photos of your community members.
Most importantly, engage with users who do not follow you (yet) every day and on a regular basis. Find them through the communities of people who are interested in the topics you cover. These could be followers of an influencer or the media outlet for your industry. Like, comment, and follow if you like their content. Use your brand’s tone of voice, be human and honest.
Send personalized content to members of your community through Direct Messages. This is a good and underused tool allowing you to engage beyond your posts.
4. Track your performance with data.
It’s important to get a feel of how your work is going and whether you’re reaching your goals by tracking your performance on Instagram using a tool like Socialbakers’ Instagram Tracker, or with the fully-featured Instagram Analytics in Socialbakers Analytics.
Just like we promised, 4 simple steps. And they are indeed simple. But it does take a couple of months of dedicated work until you start to see tangible results. So show up everyday, don’t give up and have fun!