Building an online following isn’t often a priority for businesses because it can be time-consuming and difficult to measure direct return on investment. We would like to make the argument that there is immense long term value in building up an online presence for almost any company, acting as an additional intake for either new clients or building up a culture to attract great talent. The sought after rewards of social media are won with having loyal followers, navigating how to attain them contributes largely to businesses not wanting to create their accounts.
Understand the Market (Analyze Competitors)
If you’re not active or with an account on Instagram, chances are, your competition is. Building a strong follower presence on Instagram isn’t just about proving to your customers that you widely understand their needs, it is giving your business a platform to outshine your competition. You don’t want just any follower on Instagram, you want those that are interested in what you offer.
Instagram removes international barriers and makes products or services easier to find for customers, lengthening the market. In sections of the market defined as “niche,” there are now hundreds of products to choose from. If you want to find those loyal followers on Instagram, you cannot just speak to anyone, you must advertise to them. Do not broadcast, blindly falling into a net of potential customers who won’t be interested or who won’t stay. You need to be specific about who you want to talk to on Instagram through those you follow to the message your posts convey and the short description of your company in your bio. Insert specific hashtags as an additional comment after your post. Hashtagging your photos makes it easy for followers looking for the content you provide to find you. Your hashtags must be relevant, with brand keywords, product category keywords and location-specific keywords.
Customers can follow whoever they wish on Instagram – there is no limit to their following. You should not be disappointed that your competitors have such a high volume of customers – they could be your clients too. Are your competitors collaborating with other accounts to promote their business? Take advantage of influencer marketing. Instagram is about staying connected. Followers like knowing about other products or services that embody similar traits to the accounts they already follow. Finding marketing collaborations with other company accounts generates true followers.
Loyal followers on Instagram require loyalty from you. To followers, there is nothing worse than an account they could come to love that sporadically posts on Instagram. Consistency does more than just keep the followers you have as loyal but drives higher engagement that leads to increased sharing about your platform to other potential loyal customers.
Never allow a follower to forget who you are and why they followed you in the first place. When this occurs, the unfollow button looks pretty appealing. Your Instagram feed is like your personal portfolio, if you stick to a theme, followers will easily identify you when scrolling and come to expect what you provide. People misconstrue an Instagram theme as sticking to the same colours whenever you post. Your photos should be uniform, if the content is simple and bright, keep it that way. Focus on the subject of your account and the story behind the photo. Look at each post as an opportunity to continue to tell your followers what you do. A theme heightens your credibility as a company and makes followers want to stay.
Create Unique Content
People get bored easily – so do followers. If your content isn’t diverse, followers will see no need to remain loyal to your account. Although they follow brands, those brands are connected to people and they want to see that. Don’t post pictures pertaining only to your product or service, provide new content mixed within. You don’t always need to post photos that show your product or service to promote your brand. Show followers a little bit more about yourself and give them a chance to connect with you by posting:
- Inspirational Quotes
- Product Experience
- Customer Content
- Real-Time Trends
- Video Stories
Invest in a Professional Photographer
We agree, smartphone cameras do take very quality photos these days, but those still aren’t sufficient enough to gain loyal Instagram followers. In Instagram terms, a picture is worth a thousand words and content is king. Having high-quality photos contributes to your branding, if your photos are quality, then so is your company. Followers will follow your account for the content, but a large majority of that is for the visuals. Investing in a professional photographer should be within your company’s top priority. If you’re already going to invest in a photographer, you should consider photography within a digital marketing agency, who’s photographers already understand the pictures needed to provide exceptional content.
Instagram provides so many new opportunities, but its main purpose is to share. What’s the point in having a platform where your followers can comment if you don’t socialize with them? Prioritize your followers whenever you can, it will let them know how much you care about them. People want to be heard and they stay loyal to accounts that show their opinions are valid.
Respond to your followers’ comments and questions. If you find that your posts do not allow the opportunity for you or your followers to make personal connections, keep your posts positive, talk about your passion and what you aspire towards when you post, be genuine and authentic.