Yes You Can Find Qualified Followers using one of the fastest growing social media platforms!
Instagram is easily one of the fastest growing social media platforms on the internet today. According to Sprout Social there are over 300 million users on Instagram, and over 60 million photos posted every day. Photos range from what someone ate for dinner to the full moon or sunset all the way to cars, sports and pretty much anything you can think of. A common theme is to use image quotes as a photo, and if it fits your business then by all means do it.
The demographics are astoundingly in favor of 18-29 year olds who make up 53% of the users on Instagram. Is this your target demographic? 30-49 year olds make up 25% of the users on Instagram. 25% of 300 million is still a large number of people at 75 million. I should note here that the younger generations do tend to adopt new platforms quicker but the older generations eventually catch up. Using Facebook and Twitter as the examples were once both primarily used by the same age group that dominates Instagram today. Facebook and Twitter are no longer only used by younger generations but used by all age groups almost equally.
Instagram is a photo, and short video, sharing platform. Text posts are not really the purpose of this platform however as I mentioned earlier posting a quote on an image is fairly common. You upload an image or 15 second video from a mobile device and then add a brief description/comment to the upload..that’s all there really is to posting to Instagram. You cannot post to Instagram natively from a desktop or laptop. There are however third party apps that you can use to manage posts from your computer. Hootsuite has recently added the ability to post to Instagram (sort of) so that will be my focus. There are other apps but I have yet to really find one that is stable.
Grow Your Following
It can seem like a daunting task trying to grow your following, especially with qualified followers, on Instagram but it doesn’t have to be. It can also be exhausting to a business owner who spent so much time and effort building up their audience on Twitter and Facebook only to do it again on Instagram. If time, or the lack of desire to learn a new platform while trying to run your business is a concern then hiring a professional social media marketer is the way to go.
Here are a few tips to growing your audience on Instagram:
- Hashtags: I know, I know…you hate hashtags, or you just don’t understand them. Well I have just the right blog post for you then. Hashtags are formatted using the # symbol in front of a keyword or short phrase. They should be somewhat commonly used and relevant to your post. The nice thing about Instagram is when you add a hashtag it will actually show how many times it has been used. Here’s an example of how hashtags should be used.
Read my newest #Blog post on how to build your #Instagram Audience for #SmallBusiness #InstagramForBusiness
Short and sweet with #’s in front of keywords or phrases. Notice there are no long drawn out hashtags.
So you might be wondering why you should use hashtags. It really is pretty simple. Users of Instagram search for what interests them using hashtags. Using my previous example if someone is interested in learning more about Small Business or Instagram for Business then you will show up in the search. If your post is relevant and of interest to the person performing the search then you might just gain a new follower.
- Crowdfire-Crowdfire is a great tool to help you grow your audience, and it can be used for Twitter as well. Here’s the thought process behind it. It’s sort of an unspoken rule that when someone follows you that you will follow back. That doesn’t mean you have to follow all followers, especially spammy accounts or accounts that will obviously have no benefit to your business.Using Crowdfire you can search for followers based on keywords, or of another follower. It will build a list for you to follow. Carefully select accounts that match your target demographic. If they follow Instagram etiquette they will likely follow you back.You can also watch for accounts that follow only to unfollow, a practice that some marketers use to give the impression of organic growth.
- Ensure your profile is complete and your account is active. This seems so simple but I often see incomplete profiles, or profiles with very little info. An appropriate profile image is also important. Your profile should include a short blurb about you/your business, and any relevant contact information.Just as much of turn off to Instagram users is an account that doesn’t post on a regular basis. That doesn’t mean you have to post 20 times a day, in fact I would recommend you don’t. It simply means post on a consistent basis with a consistent theme.
- Use the video feature. You can record a 15 second video to upload to Instagram. People love short videos and this is a great way to organically grow your account, of course using hashtags. I have recorded 15 second videos to introduce longer videos that are uploaded to YouTube and Facebook. I will likely record a video to tell you about this blog post. It’s quick and easy and there’s no need for a production crew.
- Be Yourself. Sometimes I get pushback on this one but I say include some of your personality and personal life in your posts. Your audience wants to know you’re a human and people do business with people they know, like and trust. Short of getting to know you in the real world what better way to do this than adding some of your personal touch to your posts. Let your personality shine through ad let your audience get to know you.
With all the ways to grow your following, and if you search the internet you will likely find more, let me also introduce a couple of things not to do on Instagram.
- Do Not Buy Followers. If you buy followers they are likely ghost accounts or just spam. You will end up wasting your money and Instagram has a history of deleting those ghost accounts so you will eventually lose your followers. There are some well known and documented accounts that have been victimized by this practice.
- Do Not Be The Pushy Sales Person. I have said it before and I am saying it again. Follow the 80/20 rule. Instagram, like every other social media account, should be for sharing information, growing your community and cultivating potential clients. If you just shove sales pitch after sales pitch down your audience’s throat they will leave for your competition.
Gram Your Way to Success
Instagram should be an essential part of your marketing plan if your business is one that can tell a story visually, and I would venture to say the majority of businesses can. That doesn’t mean abandon your other channels but if you have the resources you should include Instagram as part of your marketing. Follow these steps, put some time and effort into your account and success can be yours!