— August 23, 2017
If there is one thing that all brands (apart from the superstar brands of this world) all suffer with online, it’s follower problems on Instagram. Perhaps the one platform that is hardest to crack, Instagram has developed a reputation.
A brand with a business profile on the platform has a mighty fight ahead of them, and some would say it’s almost a losing battle. However, it doesn’t have to be all about luck and celebrity.
If you work hard at a couple of key principles, you should find that your client’s profile is soon popular enough. Like all things social, it requires a lot of work and a keen eye for your metrics. Get on top of both of these and you should be seeing a significant return on any investment.
Step 1: Start by following your target audience and relevant influencers
The very best piece of advice we can offer is to quickly get to know the right people on the platform. Since you are working with a business profile, you need to treat Instagram as a relationship marketing tool that will bring you leads as things progress. If you don’t have this mindset from the start, it will prove to be very difficult to get anywhere.
Start searching for users with shared interests, and by this we mean interests that will present a problem that your client can solve. If your client creates drinks, look out for users who are working with hashtags that are about going out, having fun, enjoying drinks and so on.
This means hashtags like #party, #bestcocktail and so on. The more you do this, the more you will start to see people out there who are in your market. If they have a substantial following, follow them and they will most likely follow back because you are in a sphere that is meaningful to them.
This is the natural way to start building up followers for your business page. We recommend this as an organic method of building up connections and an audience.
Step 2: Comment and interact with your target audience and relevant influencers
Once you have put the work in to get to know users and profiles that are meaningful to your area of expertise, you need to connect and interact with these profiles. And you need to do it as much as possible.
Find people and influencers who are of benefit to your client, people who can share ideas with you and have meaningful exchanges that position your client as a knowledgeable and helpful brand. Then make sure you interact with them regularly. Like their content. Repost it, and generally get on their radar.
Comment as much as possible without seeming creepy. Find stuff that your client is generally interested in, a discussion they can realistically have a position on, and then comment. But make the comments useful (‘Great post!’ does not work anymore) and detailed enough to propel a conversation forward.
People hate insincerity, and they need to know that you are genuinely wanting to discuss the topic. This shouldn’t be something you have to force. Social media is one-half selling and one half genuine presence. Your client has to be in that second half, and trusted for that reason.
This, of course, takes time. But your client should never feel the need to be impatient. Instagram, like all other social media platforms, rewards those who put in the work, and are still around after a few months.
Step 3: Start posting useful and interesting content regularly
A fundamental aspect of a high quality and popular business profile is the regularity and the overall frequency of posting.
You can’t get away from the fact that you are going to have to post often and regularly to ensure that you build up an audience. The vast majority of followers you are going after want to see a brand that can be trusted to provide regular content. They don’t have a reason to follow a brand that doesn’t do much with its account.
Stick to a schedule, and then your client’s brand will develop a reputation for providing consistent levels of value. If someone is considering to follow, they will be more likely to do so if the brand has a number of useful and interesting posts and no huge gaps between them.
Step 4: Add relevant and popular hashtags to your posts
You may know that hashtags are effective. But what may not be so easy to get your head around is the practice of continuously using hashtags, almost to the point of saturation. Feel free to sprinkle numerous relevant hashtags across your content.
It doesn’t matter if it looks overdone because the beauty of hashtags is that they are there to help get a conversation started, or to help the user get involved in a conversation. So the more the merrier, and it means that if done well your content will pop up into the feeds it needs to.
Step 5: Get your Instagram profile visible everywhere
Don’t hide the fact that your client is on Instagram. Link to it everywhere, the account should get you excited and it should be a visible thing. On the client’s website and all other social media channels, your Instagram account should be front and centre.
There are plenty of apps and widgets that allow you to run the feed via the website and on social. Don’t hide the light under any bushel. Just remember that one of the biggest problems brands face on Instagram is the fact that people genuinely don’t know they are on it.
Step 6: Boost your organic efforts with paid advertising
Social media is becoming a paying arena. On Instagram, things are the same, so you need to help clients by picking the right advertising model and using it seriously. The only way to accurately check to see if ROI is present on the platform is by using string metrics.
Drill down, and see what is actually being clicked on and engaged with. If it isn’t, move to the next approach. If it is, invest more.
Paid ads are absolutely necessary, but your client will benefit from an approach that is informed, and focused on bringing in ROI.