So you’ve created your Instagram account, optimised your profile, and you’re ready to engage with your audience … now what?
How do you create an account worth following, when no one knows who you are?
Instagram is a great marketing tool to reach younger audiences, with 25-34 year olds being the largest audience, closely followed by 18-24 year olds. If your target demographic is active on Instagram, and your business can present itself in a visually appealing way, this platform is perfect for you.
But to grow and engage your audience, you have to first create content that people want to see. Each post should be aligned with your goals, personality, and audience interests.
Here’s how you can increase engagement and grow your business by creating an Instagram worth following.
Do you know what type of accounts your audience normally follow? What content do they engage with most? What is their sense of humour online?
Understanding your audience is key to creating content that they’ll follow, share, and engage with. Social media is about building a relationship between your brand and your customer, to develop trust and recognition.
Make sure you know the following about each of your customer personas:
This information will help you to understand what type of content to create, that will connect with your audience.
Social media shows us enough ads already in our newsfeed, we don’t need to be bombarded again by accounts we follow.
It’s okay to promote important or new products and sales, but remember that variety is the spice of life – too much sales content can get repetitive after some time and lose impact.
Mix up your posts with behind the scenes photos, interesting graphics, videos, user-generated content, or a good on-brand meme. Another way to think about this is as humanising your brand – showing the people behind the product.
Collaboration on social media can be an effective tool for growth through exposing you to other accounts’ audiences, via either influencer marketing or joint giveaways.
Influencer marketing involves sending your product to an influencer in your niche or target demographic, and asking them to review it or promote it in exchange for a fee. With proper research and planning this can be effective and profitable, however you do need to ensure that deliverables are agreed and the projected ROAS will be satisfactory.
Joint giveaways involve joining forces with a complementary brand to cross promote your products or services online, with the promise of a prize or discount for followers. Make sure that your collaborator’s audience aligns with your target, to make the most of this type of promotion.
You might have a gut idea of what your audience wants to see, and you might be totally wrong. Which is fine! That’s what analytics are for.
Analytics can tell you what’s working and what’s not, where you should focus more of your attention, and where you’ve gone a bit astray.
This information is available directly through the Instagram app, under “Insights”.
Hashtags help the right users find your account. It’s important to research and monitor your hashtags to ensure you understand their context, the type of audience they attract, and how well they’re reaching your target demographic.
Aim for a mix of high volume and niche hashtags, just like you would keywords for PPC and SEO. Be specific with your hashtags – don’t just settle for #fashion, go for #streetfashion or #vintagefashion.
Hashtags can also be used as part of an engagement campaign, through asking followers to share their own photo, story, or interaction and using a branded hashtag to collate content. A competition or giveaway is a great way to encourage this type of engagement, and in exchange your business gains exposure to your followers’ networks.
Once you have an understanding of your audience, hashtags, and what content works, ads are an important next step to reach new people within your target audience.
Generating quality ad content can lead to an increase in followers, leads, and sales. Ads are displayed similarly to organic posts on the Instagram platform, and should be aligned with the same understanding of your target customer, and informed by the data you’ve collected so far.
In turn, paid advertisements can help you test new audiences and demographics to gain insights that can optimise your organic Instagram strategy while you build your followers.
At Sprocket, we use data-driven strategies to help businesses reach their target audience and to achieve their online business goals.
Finally, with all this effort you’re putting into your posts and engagement, make sure it’s easy for followers to find your website, specials, and featured products with the press of a button.
A link tool such as Linktree provides an easy directory to highlighted webpages, and can be updated as often as you like. Add your home page, landing pages, and any other important links you want your followers to find, so they don’t have to go searching through your website to find the product from your post.
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