Nearly everyone I work with wants to build their following on Instagram. After all, we’ve all heard the rumours, Facebook is dying (apparently young people don’t like it because their parents are on it) and Instagram is where it is at, innit.
I don’t see Facebook going anywhere for a long time, but it’s absolutely true that if you have any sort of visual brand or visual story you can tell with your work, or you want to appeal to a trendy, arty, well-heeled crowd, then Instagram is a great place to be.
But when it comes to building a following, it’s not just as simple as posting pictures and hoping for the best.
I’m definitely no Instagram expert compared to many, but I have learned a few things while building some of my clients’ followings by over 300 per cent. And that is mainly that Instagram requires multi-dimensional thought and strategy, which goes like this.
People will only follow you if your content is good. This means both at an individual post level, and in terms of the overall look of the entire feed at a glance.
Your posts should also have words that offer explanation and content to the images.
Yes, this is a visual network, but for businesses, you’ve got to offer value and insight, and that is why the words that accompany the images are important too.
Hashtags allow you to be found and also to find other people. You must therefore do hashtag research to ascertain both:
- The group of hashtags that you must use on each post to allow yourself to be found for what you do – so these will be hashtags that relate to such things as your services, location, expertise, products. You should add the full allowance of 25 hashtags on each post to maximise the chances of those potentially interested finding you
- Simultaneously, you must be interacting with other feeds and people, in particular with users identifying themselves as your target audience via the hashtags they are using. This is not always identical to the hashtags you use when you post. For instance, you might know that your target audience, whilst possibly being purchasers of the shoes you make, enjoy reading Grazia magazine, so you should try interacting with people using the hashtag #grazia.
User generated content strategy
As your brand grows, you will hopefully find other users post images of your brand. If your business is a physical location, this might already be happening. You must repost their posts, and comment on their posts. These users need to be interacted with to enhance their loyalty. Resharing their posts also saves you a load of time and effort in creating or taking your own images.