With over 1 billion monthly active users at the end of 2018, Instagram is the virtual place everyone wants to be!
The social network is a fantastic environment for creative ads, out-of-the-box campaigns, and impressive connections with customers. However, while the system looks simple many businesses seem to fail at creating a real connection with the communities that could be representative for their products or services.
This tends to happen when the only thing you care about is your campaign. When you’re not people-oriented and you don’t value the customer-brand connection, it can be difficult to grow on any platform.
Still, there are other factors to hinder your success, such as the avid competition. With so many users, brands fight over exposure, so it can get pretty tight, especially if your niche is popular among big brands.
So how do other businesses do it?
As it turns out, there is enough room to start your own loyal following. You just need to know a few tips and tricks to get you started.
Create Content that’s a Good Fit
The content is your leverage when it comes to the online world. It is the hook that attracts viewers on your account and the main line of communication between your brand and your following.
But, in order to attract real people, who are interested in communicating and connecting with your posts, you must make sure it is a good fit for the audience you are addressing. Furthermore, you need a unique style, that (in time) will become your signature brand.
True, there are shortcuts such as inspirational quotes or posters that work with most industries, but you can’t rely heavily on them if you want to stand out. You need to find your own voice.
A good example of such an account is the Nifty account from BuzzFeed (@buzzfeednifty). They used the video feature on Instagram to create easy-to-recognize content that’s being shared by thousands of people.
The secret behind their success is a well-established niche (DIY tips & tricks) that appeals to anyone. They also share projects that are easy to do with usual tools, so it’s rather easy to follow their instructions.
So, they constantly share a specific type of content that’s recognizable and makes users want to engage and share.
Stand Out From the Crowd
The human brain is wired to process images and videos 60,000 times faster than text. This means an Instagram user, scrolling through their feed, will only need a split second to decide if your post is worth your time.
So, to attract attention, you need to stand out from the crowd by creating original content that is relatable to your target audience. Sadly, there is no shortcut or trick that will get you there faster; you just need to keep trying until you get the response you want.
For this, you can draw inspiration from big brands in the niche, follow influencers you like, and even implement content strategies you’ve seen working before. We also recommend doing hashtags research, which is very similar to the keywords research you do for SEO.
This is a step that requires time and effort, but once you find your voice, it’s a lot easier to stay consistent, which is another important ingredient of the Instagram success recipe.
Quick tip: Animated images (or GIFs) are extremely trendy on Instagram nowadays!
Connect, Connect, Connect!
Never forget that behind Instagram handlers there are real people with thoughts and feelings!
Sadly, many marketers only see their following as numbers that reflect their own popularity. However, the moment you forget to connect to your community as a human being is the moment you lose your followers’ attention.
So how do you know if your posts truly make an impact?
Have a look at your engagement metrics (likes each post gets, comments, shares, and so on) and see if people actually care about your content. Also, comments represent users’ feedback on the things you post, so make sure to take them under consideration.
Furthermore, users’ engagement should go beyond the standard ‘nice pic!’ or double-tap. Find ways to strike a conversation with your users and treat them with the respect they deserve – after all, they are your main leads.
At the end of the day, having a huge following is not as important as having an engage community supporting your product!
Networking is Important
Besides connecting with your audience, it’s just as important to connect with other players in the game. Find accounts that share the same view of the world as you do (either as a business or an individual) and try to connect with them. You can do so by sharing their content (if it is relevant to your niche), sending shoutouts, or simply sending them a direct message (dm) where you let them know why you would like to connect.
Keep in mind: Networking is not necessarily something you do for your account’s benefit, so don’t start the conversation with “I’ll give you a shoutout if you …”. Simply state why you would want to connect and how their content has inspired you.
Such connections show your audience you are open to recognizing new talent and you embrace a community with similar interests, even if it’s not yours. They also give you the chance to expose your followers to a different type of content, which may keep thing interesting on your account.
As you can see, the type of content you share and the type of connections you create play an important role in your business’s success on Instagram. But the platform has a lot more to offer, so make sure you keep a curious mind when it comes to challenging your followers.
Consistency is an important factor as well because it creates an expectancy from the community. It’s just like creating a habit – people get to crave your content, even though it’s not the most important news of the day.
What we’re trying to say is that success on Instagram is more a matter of doing than a matter of waiting for the right moment. Try various approaches, be active and make sure to respect your community, and success will come!