So you have a brand. You have a great product or service that you’ve worked on for a while, and although you know how amazing it is, you want everyone else to know as well. Now you’re looking for a way to get your voice and your message out to the world where it belongs.
If you have a killer website already, then it’s time to branch out more of your online presence. Obviously, this includes social media, where your customers are already (hopefully) waiting.
It goes without saying that you need an Instagram presence. Instagram is the most engaged social media platform in the world with hundreds of millions of users every day spending billions of minutes looking for great content. If you have a product or service the people want, you are guaranteed to find an audience for it on Instagram based on the sheer number of people who use the platform.
But having an Instagram account on its own won’t guarantee that you’ll get the views you want, much less the conversions you need. Instagram isn’t a platform where you can set it and forget it with a couple cute pictures here and there. If you want to really grow on Instagram, you have to put in some effort and use some calculated strategy.
Here are five ways you can grow on Instagram starting today.
1. Determine Your Niche
If you try to chase two rabbits, you’ll probably not catch either one of them. But if you focus on one rabbit, you have a chance. The same goes for finding your niche, and serving your niche well, on Instagram.
One of the best things about Instagram is that the audience is so large that there’s literally a niche for everything. The problem is, because there are so many niches and sub-niches, it can be tempting to try to reach too many people and spread yourself in. The fact is, if you want to grow and Instagram, don’t use the shotgun method of trying to reach as many people as possible and hope that some stick with you. Instead, focus on a very specific audience characterized by specific interests, specific types of images and videos, specific accounts they tend to follow, and so on. Determine how your product or service serves a certain niche of people, and make content that fits well in that niche.
Some will assume that focusing in on a particular niche limits their potential business reach. This is an illusion, and it’s counterintuitive, because the people who drive your business will ultimately be a handful of people who are passionate about your product or service because you came to them and gave them what they needed. And usually this happens after they followed you for a while, as your content has resonated with them. None of that could happen if you simply made random content designed for as wide and general an audience as possible.
Find your niche, start small, create trust and loyalty with a few people, and watch your brand grow.
2. Create Great Content… Consistently
Content is king, plain and simple. There are millions of pieces of content uploaded to Instagram every day, from words to comments to, of course, images and videos. The amount of data Instagram receives through content every day is simply staggering.
In order to grow on Instagram, you need to create compelling content that reflects your brand well and speaks to your niche. Not only this, you need to do it consistently. There’s nothing worse then and Instagram account with one piece of content every six months… And nothing else.
There are two types of content you can create on Instagram: textbased content and visual content. These are the two main categories, and it’s important to figure out how to provide value to your market and engage your market with each. Maybe you’re more of the word person and not so great with the camera. That’s okay; build consistent content that showcases your verbal message, and create partnerships with photographers who can help put your brand and products in the best light. Or, maybe your brand and your skills are more visual in nature, like baking or letting photography. If so, try brainstorming some verbal content to go along with what you’re showcasing visually, and higher a writer or editor to help you make it pop.
Whatever your strengths are in creating content, it’s important to be consistent both in terms of frequency and in terms of quality. You simply need great visual content, great verbal content, consistently updated so that your audience is always just a little bit hungry for more, never oversaturated, and gets a little piece of value out of everything you post.
This is easier said than done, for sure. But one of the best ways to learn what kinds of content to create for your audience is to study people in your industry or niche that have a large following and have consistent engagement from their audience. Watch the types of content they create, both visually and verbally. You’ll learn what you should post, and more importantly, what you shouldn’t, as you get to know the leaders in your niche.
Don’t be too shy; while it’s good to be selective about the content you put up, don’t be so selective or perfectionistic that you end up boring your audience and losing their interest by not putting anything at all. Consistency is key for growing on Instagram.
3. Get Personal
In our digital world it’s easy forget that every single person who looks at your account is, well, a person. The people who browse your content and engage with you are human beings who are looking for connection and meaning in their lives. Why not show your personal side to give them what they’re looking for?
The truth is, people are looking for authenticity, genuineness, and even vulnerability from the people behind the products or services they’re interested in. People connect with people first and product second. If you put out your products or services without ever giving your audience an insight to who you are as a person, you’ll lose significant opportunities to build deep connections and grow your brand. The truth is, there are probably many products and services like you, but there is only one you. If you can bring your unique personality and life experiences to the table to blend in with your products and services, you will skyrocket your brands value.
This doesn’t mean you have to be excessively personal or share your deepest darkest secrets. Not at all! But it does mean that because people are very interested in connecting with the human side of the products and services they’re interested in, it’s in your best interest to bring this out a little bit.
One of the best ways to grow on Instagram is to be the type of user that you would want to have in your audience. What do I mean by this? Simply put, use the golden rule: do unto others as you would have done unto you.
Spend time liking content that you like, from creators that you like or audience members that you like. Comment frequently and often; comments will create more attention and engagement with you then likes, because much less people comment on a post compared to those who like the post.
If your content fits in a certain hashtag, do some reverse research and search for all posts under the hashtag your connected with, and like and comment on posts under that hashtag, especially popular posts that are receiving high amounts of engagement already. This creates an internal feedback loop of engagement based on a certain topic or hashtag within your niche.
Whatever you do, never use bots or programs that auto-comment or auto-like for you. This is an absolutely terrible idea, because people will be able to see right through the fakeness of these programs. Take the time to write real, from-the-heart responses to people’s content, and like content that you actually like. A good rule of thumb is, you should spend at least three times as much time engaging with other people’s content as you do creating your own. This is one of the most effective ways to grow on Instagram.
5. Utilize Video
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth 10,000. Instagram is perfectly built for not only picture content, but video content. Not only is video content more engaging to watch, but it allows you to show off elements of your brand that simply can’t be done in single images.
Great video content allows you to record yourself or your brand in action, and engage with people in a much more vivid way. Sometimes it’s easier to record yourself talking then it is to post a picture and write a long caption. Plus, it’s easier for people to watch a video of something than to watch a series of pictures about it.
Make sure you’re using a good camera with good sound capture for making quality video. The quality of your content reflects on you and your brand, and it’s important to make sure that your recording is up to standard.