Recently I have been getting a lot of questions about building your following on social media. So to answer those questions I am going to breakdown the platforms in a series of separate blog posts. To begin I will start with some tips and tricks I have began to use on my Instagram accounts.
Find your Niche
To begin your Instagram account it is important to identify what your pages focus will be, and who your target audience will be. This is very important for creating an account that has lots of engagement which is important to increase the number of people who will see your posts. When identifying your niche the more unique the better. It is also good to target a hobby, geographic area, or interest. For example, if you are an avid mountain biker you will want to create high quality images of you riding in the different spots that you go. This will also help you to identify the people that will want to follow you and which pages you can find your audience. The easiest way to find a niche is to use something you are passionate about as a hobby. Personally I am very big into personal development and travel as you can see on my page @live_like_dylan. This is a more broad audience and not as unique so it is more difficult to stand out due to the number of accounts that have similar content. So the more unique your page the higher traffic you will receive once you begin to gain traction.
@surf_like_a_local | Within this page Allen Bolen shows tutorials, and his experience living away from the ocean but still being able to surf like a local when you travel to the ocean.
@chris_bolen | Within this page Chris shows his fishing trips as an avid fisherman.
@world_is_my_office where he shows his journey traveling the world.
Content is important when building your following, especially on a platform like Instagram. To ensure the best performance you want to create a marketing strategy. This is creating what your ideal demographic is in your mind and then following and engaging with individual Instagram pages of people who fit that demographic. So going back to the mountain bike example you may want to come up with a great handle that captures what your page is about, for example @RideMountains or @Mountain_Rider. Once you have your name you will want to post several high quality images with a great caption on each and a minimum of 20 hashtags. After you have a few posts go follow local mountain bike shops and find pages with similar content as to what your page will encapsulate. Within these individual pages search through their content and see which pages are engaging with their content and go through those individual pages as well.
Hashtags are one of the most important aspects of Instagram. Hashtags are the way people will find your page without clicking through other pages. So to really increase your exposure USE HASHTAGS. If you are not using hashtags you are shooting yourself in the foot. Now the more specific and popular the hashtag the better. So if you post a picture of you mountain biking in the backcountry of Idaho your caption may go something like this.
@localmountainbikeshop @friendsname @popularmountainbikepage #mountainbikes #nature #idaho #rideordie #biking #mtnbiking #mountainbiking #scenic #naturephotography #actionshot #mountains #sports #brandofbike #brandofclothing #otherpopulartags….
Once you have 20 different hashtags that are relateable and popular this will help to get your photo seen.
Engagement is another major aspect to building your following on Instagram. Within Instagram the platform uses an algorithm to assess the number of followers that will see your posts. In order to see your analytics for posts you will need to create a page on Facebook to link as a business account for Instagram. This is important so you can track performance and see if your posts are being seen. The algorithm gauges the engagement on your last 20 posts. This is impressions, comments, and likes on those posts. If you have a higher engagement on those posts people will then see your posts and it won’t be shuffled to the background. Best thing to do is go through your last 20 posts and archive the ones that didn’t perform well. Some key terms that will help you understand your engagement better are below.
Reach is the total number of people who see your content. More specifically reach is number of unique accounts who see your content. In a perfect world, every one of your followers would see every piece of content you posted.
Impressions are the number of times your content is displayed, no matter if it was clicked or not. An impression means that content was delivered to someone’s feed. A viewer doesn’t have to engage with the post in order for it to count as an impression. Also, one person could have multiple impressions for a single piece of content.
These are important and shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you want your posts to perform better and be seen by everyone you want to have a high engagement. If you have 1,000 followers and are only getting 10-20 likes per posts Instagram doesn’t want to have your post clutter peoples feeds. So the algorithm will allow for better engaging content to be shown before yours appears. So if you have someone who follows 500-1000 accounts the higher performing content will be shown on the front page not your friends posts that gets no engagement. In short your posts end up in purgatory where content goes to die. So go through your last 20 posts and make sure the best performers stay within the top 20. That includes archiving and reposting high performing content later so your new followers will engage and increase the engagement overall.
With Instagram you need to follow people in order for them to view your profile and see your content. Not only following individual accounts but to stand out and get your page seen you will want to engage with their content as well. If you aren’t commenting and liking photos before following an account you get mixed in the blur of everyone else that just follows and keeps going. You want the user to see your name pop across their feed 5 or six times. This will make you stand out and increase the chances of them viewing your account. Once you have conversion you will want to cycle through and unfollow people also. This will create a constant flow of people engaging with your content and following you.
It is also important that you are strategically following accounts. If you go out and follow accounts blindly you will end up with followers that don’t care for your content. So to increase the accounts that will actually engage in the future you want to find accounts that post similar content and engage with those accounts so they will follow your account. If your page is about mountain bikes and you are following car pages then when a bicycle pops up on their feed they are unlikely to like/comment on that photo. However, if you engage with a mountain bike repair shop and they follow your page. When you make posts they are likely to engage with your content.
Hopefully this helps you in building your following on Instagram. As you read feel free to make comments and ask questions. I love digital marketing and as I learn new techniques and tricks I will be sure to share. In my next post on this topic I will hit on Facebook advertising tips. Also be sure to check out our other content like my trip to Thailand
or even my other authors pages Alex Costa
and Andrew Terry!
Go check them out!