I am @amyjeancreative on Instagram and have recently just opened a new account for the accessories brand that I am in the early stages of developing called Cruel Summer @cruelsummeraccessories . As Instagram is one of the top five social media platforms I figured it would be a great place to start to find my community and start to market my new brand. I was intrigued to learn more information on how to use this platform to my advantage.
As part of the Go To Girl networking that I take part in, I am also enrolled in the 'Go To Girl Online Membership'. Through this I was given the opportunity to join a discussion with Natalie Cutler-Welsh (the Go To Girl) and Zoe Bright both social media experts. We were given some great tips on how to grow your following on Instagram and from this discussion I was intrigued and inspired to get my list together on the top five ways in which you can increase your community and reach on Instagram. There are so many tips out there from a range of amazing experts. I have picked five that I feel are realistic for me to maintain a focus on in my weekly scheduleThere are so many tips out there from a range of amazing experts however the five I have picked are ones that I feel are realistic for me to maintain a focus on. Here goes:
Hashtags are used to help organise and categorise the vast collection of image and video content on Instagram. The hashtags you use help to get your content in from of people and in particular your target market.
One strategy discussed by experts is that you should use all of your hashtags and you have an allowance of 30. This way you are getting your brand in front of as many people as possible each time. However, choose your hashtags carefully and don’t overuse them or list hash tags that aren’t relevant to your product image so you don’t come across desperate and irrelevant.
Another approach is to create your own hashtag, check that it isn’t already being used, and encourage your followers to use it. This is a great way to build a community and also to gain new content for your account! For example, you might have a certain colour & theme. You can ask your followers to post pictures considering your theme and to use your unique hashtag when posting the image. This way you build up a community, gain new content for your own account and you are showing your followers that you appreciate them giving them credit (of course!).
Instagram has a Snapchat-like feature that allows you to post images and/ or videos that expire after a day. According to Instagram over 200 million users use the Stories feature every day.
In addition to the usual posting of carefully chosen and edited photos, Stories allows you to upload a short video and/ or a range of photos that play like a slide show. After they have been live for 24 hours they disappear.
The idea behind using the Stories method is because amazing or fascinating posts aren’t the only ways to increase the engagement you have with your followers. A more ‘average’ post, and frequently used, encourages followers to check out your profile for more information. Being able to have fun on Instagram I think is the most important thing and Stories gives you a chance to take a break from the more detailed and planned out content posts. Use stories to have fun and let loose!!
Create a theme for your photos and give people something to fall in love with. What is the story behind your brand, what do you sell, what do you want people to associate with your brand account and importantly what would your target market want to see!?
Check through your current feed and see which photos have the most likes or comments and also the ones that didn’t and apply this to your theme.
Once you have settled on a theme try your best to stick to it. The consistency of the theme makes your account pop! A few accounts that I love visiting at the moment are @ryanmeta, @ohjoy and @catleexox
One of the great tips I picked up from Zoe Bright and Natalie Cutler-Welsh was on ‘Sharing’.
Between the two of them they suggested a couple of ways in which Sharing can help you build your community and give you extra exposure.
The tip from Zoe was to build your community and share other people pictures and ask them to share yours. Socialise with other people that have similar focus or themes to you, which don’t compete with your brand of course, and ask them if they would be interest in a ‘Share for Share’ where you both agree to credit each other with your tags detailed in the description of the photo used. This gives you the opportunity to get the exposure to an audience you are interested in targeting.
A great tip I have already used from Natalie Cutler-Welsh was in relation to my @amyjeancreative account. I have a webstore on Society6 selling my prints on a selection of product. These prints range from abstract to animal. Natalie suggested that I search for the animal lovers specific to my prints and ask them if they would share an image of my product. I went ahead and contacted an account @dalmatians_of_instagram . This account has over 50K followers and lots of gorgeous pictures of spotty Dalmatian dogs. I put this question to them and they were super sweet in replying ‘Of course. Great products!’. Straight away I noticed an increase in followers to my account and had over 600 likes to the photo they posted and sold four products! This was so exciting for me as I only joined Instagram in 2016 (and am new to the techniques to using this platform) and actually it was really great to see the results of this first hand.
5. Find your audience
It is important to be able to find your audience on Instagram. After all, that is why you are there apart from having fun it’s to connect with people so build a community and get them interested in what you do.
Check hashtags relating to your product, business or account to find people. Check out the followers of your favourite Instagrammers. Check out these peoples accounts, 'like' their pictures and socialise! Leave genuine comments and be authentic in your approach.
Don’t forget to respond to comments you receive too!
This is not called ‘Social Media’ for nothing so start socialising and most of all HAVE FUN!!