If LinkedIn is like office and Facebook is like home, then Instagram is your fun zone where you showcase your lifestyle and hang out with like-minded friends!
Over the years I have been able to grow my Instagram profile to reach out to more relevant audiences and also convert that visibility into profits!
Instagram is one of the major social media channels as it is only behind Facebook and YouTube as far as the number of people uses the platform. Still not convinced about the power of Instagram? Here is an explanation for you.
Why Should I Care About Instagram
Instagram has been a prominent online platform. The mobile app that was just meant to be sharing photos and videos has now become a thriving channel for individuals, advertisers, and brands to scale their business by genuinely building an audience for the consumers.
Here’s why you should Instagram a serious thought.
1. It is Free
Owned by Facebook, Instagram is free for use, and you don’t have to pay any subscription fee to the platform. You can connect with billions of users by just publishing relevant and quality content on the platform.
2. It is Engaging
Instagram is a platform where more than 1 billion people are active each month. The number is more compared to Twitter and Pinterest. As per last year, there are 500 million active users on the platform.
3. It can Generate Traffic
The layout of the Instagram profile makes the bio and the link of the website prominent. Your information will rise into the occasion to your prospects and bring visitors to third-party landing pages where you can place your products, portfolio, personal website, etc.
4. You can Sell Products
With the features of Instagram shopping, your prospects can know more about your products and have a smooth shopping experience from your Instagram posts. Furthermore, Instagram direct messaging is an interactive platform to entertain consumers by setting auto-responses to reply to your prospects instantly.
5. Showcase Yourself
Our mind comprehends visual content 60k times faster compared to textual content. With the Instagram stories, IGTV, live video, boomerang, etc. you get the full-screen to utilize your communication for your audience.
These are the primary and legitimate reasons to use Instagram for the business. However, to achieve your business goals and to build a growing audience on Instagram, you will need followers who continuously engage with your content.
However, building followership is not an easy task; here’s the step by step guide you can follow to do that.
1. Optimize Your Instagram Profile
This is the fundamental step for your Instagram activities. After signing up and verifying your Instagram account, upload your logo as a profile picture. Remember, your profile picture would work as an identity in everything you do on the platform, so choose a related image which could be identified instantly.
Moreover, if you are a local store, you should give the email address and phone number of your company so that users can have buttons of “Email address” and “Call” to reach to your physical location or call your business respectively. Consider the example below.
This way, your prospects can contact you by just tapping a button on your profile.
2. Publish a Few Posts First
Before you start outreaching about promoting your new Instagram account, ensure that your timeline is not empty.
Otherwise, your audience will redirect to your new Instagram account and end up seeing only the bio and profile picture. Instead, publish a series of interactive and informational posts, so the people do have something to look at once they visit your account.
There is no specific number of posts you should upload before requesting people to follow you. A series of 10-12 posts should allow you to entertain your audience once they visit your account for the first time.
3. Put The Word Out about New Your Instagram Account
To get initial followers, you can tell your family and friends that your business has an Instagram account and it’d be great if they are following. You can also send emails to your connections to announce that you are now available on Instagram too.
In the introductory email, you can request your prospects to follow your Instagram account. If you can also segment your initial email by announcing a giveaway to first followers, results can be great!
- Say you can give a 40% discount to first 50 followers
- 30% discount to the next 100 followers
- Moreover, a 20% discount to the next 100 followers
This way, you would have around 400-500 followers for your Instagram account instantly. If you are an e-commerce company, giving discounts to your initial followers is a great way to build instant followers list.
You can also share the news of your Instagram account using other social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or even a blog post on your website; these are great ways to attract more eyes to your Instagram profile.
If you are using Instagram personally, you can upload a story or share a dedicated post related to your new account and tag the handle. This way, your immediate circle of Instagram can comfortably navigate to the new account and follow it.
4. Try to be As Active As Possible
How do you let other people know that you exist on Instagram? You can engage with their posts or follow them on Instagram to let them know about your account. It is a great way to reach a new audience and more accounts by interacting with their content.
The more important question is how would you find the account whom you should engage and follow. The best way to find them is through your the industry leaders. Check their following and see the profiles who are following the account.
Then, hit the follow button or you can check their posts and like, comment or even re-share if possible.
After following other accounts, wait for their response. You need to be patient because not everyone would like your posts to giving a follow-back to you instantly. You can wait for the response, and if you don’t get any reaction, you can unfollow those profiles.
It would help if you were the first to engage whenever few accounts share a new post on Instagram. Instagram allows you to turn on the post notifications so you will be notified whenever the desired accounts of others publish a new Instagram post.
This way, you could be the first to interact with the new posts. A word of caution is while commenting, always be genuine. Don’t sound too pushy or unrealistic while sharing your views for the new post.
To turn on post notifications of some profiles, you will have to tap on the three buttons on your desired profile, as shown below.
After tapping, you will see a pop-window like below, where you can tap on “Turn on Post Notifications”, as shown below.
5. Publish Relevant Content for The Audience
Content is the only thing that separates Instagram users from each other. Content will be the reason people would visit your Instagram profile, engage with your content, follow your account and perform subsequent steps for conversion if required.
First, you need to know the expectations of your ideal audience and how can you use your resource to give them the best Instagram posts of your niche. You can use stories, IGTV, and live videos which are unique ways to upload longer, real-time and big-sized videos, photos, GIF, etc.
To publish relevant and engaging content for your audience, you need rigorous market research and understand the current topic to connect with your demographics. The research will let you strike the right chord and incite the interest of the prospects for your brand.
For example, if you are running a technology and electronics review blog, your Instagram posts would revolve around sharing the images of new smartphones or a DSLR camera. You would encourage your audience to read the reviews and share their views in comments through your Instagram stories, pictures, etc.
In this, if you start publishing pictures of fashion and lifestyle, you would lose your authority by breaking the consistency of your timeline. Except for special occasions, you should always publish relevant and industry-related Instagram posts.
6. Write Descriptive Captions for Better Communication
People love reading if you have something exciting and unique to say because they understand the context behind the words and react to your captions. In Instagram too, convey more about the photo/video through descriptive captions.
This way, your audience will be able to know that you know your stuff and have done a detailed researched for that particular post.
Moreover, users won’t have to go anywhere else to find more about the post as your descriptive caption would be the one-stop destination for all their curiosity. Long and genuine captions make people feel that you are serious about your Instagram post and believe in the power of storytelling.
7. Schedule Your Post for a Specific Time
After you use Instagram for a specific time and have generated enough followers for your account, Instagram will show you when most of your readers are online. It will show you the time and day on which your users are most active on the platform. You can publish on that particular time to ensure maximum engagement on your profile.
However, if you are multitasking, it would be hard for you to publish your post at a particular time. That’s why you must schedule your posts to not miss the right time of publishing.
There are tons of tools available online which can help you schedule your Instagram posts. You can also develop a queue of the scheduled post so that you can publish your post at the right time and get the best possible exposure for your post.
Furthermore, it can also show the gender, location, and age of the audience who engages with your content. Once you get the data, you can edit your posts to suit the demographics’ needs to get more engagement and followers in your Instagram profile.
8. Consider Investing in Instagram Ads
Instagram ad platform would help you cover a broader audience and target people who do not follow you. It is a lucrative way to pitch your services and products through Instagram and show it to people who would be interested in learning more about your brand by following your Instagram account.
The platform allows you to set demographics of your audience like age, interest, location, time, etc. If you can set aside some bucks for paid ads, the returns will give you a significant boost in your follower count.
You can run Instagram ads to showcase upcoming product, a new blog or upcoming live QnA sessions to notify people and encourage them to follow your profile.
9. Switch to Business Profiles
Always use business profiles so that anyone who lands on your Instagram profiles can check your Instagram posts, story highlights, current stories, etc. This way, they can know better about your brand, understand what you post and follow instantly.
The main reason behind making your business profile is to become accessible to all Instagram users. Your posts will be hidden to the Instagram audience, who do not follow you, if your profile is not business, and you will have to approve users follow requests.
As a business, if more accounts follow you, it would be great. So, it is a productive option to make a business profile, and auto-approve follow requests.
10. Use Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is a trending way to be viral and generate more engagement and followers on Instagram. Based on your niche, you can pick other Instagram accounts which are generating decent engagement in the post to have a few thousand followers. You can connect with them and run a campaign in a collaboration.
An excellent way to leverage influencer marketing is to run a contest or a giveaway where the influencer mentions in the caption that the participants have to follow your Instagram account as one of the mandatory rules. This way, you get a diverse and relevant audience as your followers.
11. Host Live Sessions
Live sessions are a great way to broadcast whatever is happening in your surrounding without any filters. You can host live QnA sessions where users would ask questions related to your niche, and you would entertain those questions.
Moreover, you can ask industry leaders or another relevant account to join in your live session. This way you can develop an authority of your brand and encourage people to follow your account to stay updated.
Instagram is super hot right now! If you are not active yet, then better start today.
Remember that building genuine follower list on an online platform is a game of patience. You need to publish relevant and excellent content consistently and timely on Instagram to attract more users.
Let me know what do you think about this unique and interactive platform and how are you planning to leverage it in due time.