Having a loyal audience on Instagram is becoming increasingly important, which is why we welcomed Maine-based influencers Hannah Rheaume of @HannahRheaume, Frances Mahoney of @FrannieEatsMaine, Tara Evelyn of @TaraEvelync, Julie O'Boyle of @orchidgrey, and Kat Cynewski of @katcynewski to share their favorite strategies with some of our favorite local brands. In this blog post, we’ve assembled five actionable takeaways from the event that you too can use to grow your business’s following and win big on Instagram.
1. You have to provide valuable content in order to grow.
Quality content is more important than ever before when trying to grow and maintain an Instagram audience. Not only is there more competition on Instagram than ever before, but users are also more focused on curating their feeds to serve only what they’re interested in most. This makes quality and consistency two of the most important aspects of any strategy. It’s also important to remember that users aren’t necessarily looking for pictures of your product – they’re looking for compelling imagery that brings value to their lives.
2. People want realness! Your audience wants to know your authentic voice.
Posting to social media may often feel like shouting into the void. That’s because making your voice heard in a seemingly endless scrolling feed can be a real challenge. While it won’t happen overnight, finding your voice online is what will create a genuine connection that will keep potential customers (and existing ones) coming back for more. Humanize your social presence by maintaining a positive and genuine tone, while avoiding canned answers and spammy hashtags.
3. Story posts are huge. Don't forget about posting on stories in addition to your feed.
Why Stories? Not only are Instagram stories are prioritized at the top of users’ feeds but they also receive more engagement than feed posts. These posts are more authentic because they are in the moment and only last 24 hours. Utilizing the stickers feature in Stories makes it easy to interact with your audience. All sticker responses will get sent to you as a direct message. 1 out of 3 of the most viewed Stories are from businesses. This makes stories a great feature for influencers to use when promoting your product. When working with influencers be sure that they are not only promoting your product via posts on their main feed but also in their Instagram stories, as they will receive much more visibility. Depending on their follower count, they can add a link to your website or product on the “Swipe Up” feature!
4. Consistently engaging with your audience is almost as important as posting.
Engagement is huge! This is how you build a relationship with your social audience. Replying to your followers’ comments and direct messages will help fuel the interactions on your social account. When working with influencers, it is important to not only look at their follower count but also the engagement they are receiving on their posts. Influencers with high engagement are reaching their audience effectively. A highly engaged audience is more likely to take action in making a purchase or inquiring about the brand being promoted.
5. Track your success to better understand what works and what doesn't.
There are a number of ways that you can track analytics on your Instagram account - but the important part is that you are! It’s crucial that you are looking at your account’s Insights. Insights will give you a breakdown of your audience per post and what posts resonated with your audience. There is also useful information like best post times and the best days of the week to share content. Paying attention to your audience and demographics will help you create content that will make an impact on them. Instagram recently rolled out the “Branded Content” feature allowing Influencers and Brands to collab on posts. Once your brand is tagged in the post, the brand will have access to insights and permissions to boost the content.