Welcome To Instagram!
In the last post we left you with the same advice I was given back in my college advertising classes. Content is king. Now, this applies to more than just having a pretty photo, it applies to relevancy. The example that sticks out in my mind is pets.com. This was a wildly popular advertising campaign for a new website where pet owners could congregate and talk about their pets. It featured an adorable sock puppet dog and was extremely high profile. Just in case you were too young, or too old, or I don’t know fishing in Alaska throughout the year 2000, here’s a medley of the highly entertaining advertisements.
Everyone knew about pets.com and the ad agency even won awards for the campaign, but the company lasted a whopping two years. Why? Well, no one needed a website where they could talk about their pets. Such a website gave no real value to potential customers.
Similarly, when you post on instagram you want your content to both look good and offer value to those who follow you. Without that foundation, you won’t build a following no matter how perfectly you execute every other Instagram strategy.
On the other hand, amazing content is useless to your cause without an audience to see it. So, let’s get into the meat of how to gain a following.
- Become Part of the Community: We’ve talked a bit about relevant content, another way to describe that is niched. Your cause is probably associated with a specific niche, and chances are you aren’t the only one interested in it. Start following others and liking and commenting on their stuff, and not just generic comments like, “Nice!” “Great” “Cool Picture”. Take a minute to look at their post and write a genuine comment that sparks conversation. The best kind of comment is a question. Make a goal to ask five questions a day and watch as many of the people you interact with follow your account and become genuine friends.
- Post Consistently: Figure out which time of the day your followers are on instagram and post at that time, every day. This makes Instagram’s algorithm more likely to put your stuff in front of your followers.
- Be purposeful with your hashtags: We already went into a lot of detail about hashtags and how to find the right ones for you, but it can’t be said enough, hashtags are important. They’re how new people discover your account, so keep up with hashtag research and be careful to post only hashtags that are relevant to your post. You don’t want someone tagging you as a spammer.
- Link with your other social Media Accounts: If you haven’t already linked up with your other social media accounts, do it! And when you post on instagram, also post on facebook, on your blog, on twitter, etc. You can increase your following across platforms simply by cross-posting, and then linking between profiles.
- Engage with Current Fans: You can do this by asking a question when you post, hosting contests, starting your own hashtags, or starting a challenge of sorts. Get creative and find ways to interact. Reposting fan created content is a great way to encourage engagement and can be done using any number of third party apps, just search repost Instagram on your phone and pick from the plethora of reposting apps. When someone comments on a post, respond! When Instagram sees comments (including your own) on a post, the algorithm is more likely to feature that post on the explore page or label the post as a top post under the hashtags you’ve tagged it with, this leads to more followers, and even more engagement.
You’ll notice that most of these hints have to do with basic social skills. Contrary to popular belief the old rules still apply in the digital age. You get what you give, and if you’re being disingenuous or focusing only on yourself rather than your community, people will see it and reward you with… nothing. On the other hand, if you help others out, they’ll want to help you out. Think of it like a party. You could stand on a chair and say, “Look at me and my new clothes and awesome hair, follow me!” or you could go around complimenting others on their party clothes and hair. You don’t win friends by demanding attention, you win them by giving attention. So, go ahead, curate good content, make it valuable to others, and then take some time to appreciate the content others have created and your following will grow in a natural organic way.
Now that you are working IG, don’t let your other social media sites slip! Check out our tutorials on Facebook and Pinterest! See you there!