I’ve been using Instagram regularly for a few years. However, I just started working on building up our brand on a business Instagram account. Before I really started paying attention to the number of followers, or the number of posts each page had, I thought it was all chalked up to luck, or that the people with all the followers were really just that popular in real life.
The more research I’ve done, and the more I’ve tried to put into practice these tricks that I’ve seen, I’ve come to realize that Instagram is all just a game. It’s all about the posting the right thing at the right time, using the right hashtags, and commenting on the right account. In reality, being famous on Instagram is like Cyber-Networking.
Over the past year here are the top three things that I’ve learned about using Instagram for our small business:
1. Consistency (Actually) Does Matter.
Social media doesn’t go on vacation. If anything, people on social media use it more when they are on vacation. Unfortunately, that means there really isn’t a good reason (sans a family medical emergency) to post on a consistent schedule. It’s like a feedback loop. The more consistent you are the more loyal your followers will be because they see you as being loyal to them for constantly providing new, engaging material.
Let’s take YouTube, as an example. Think about the YouTubers you watch; they are very explicit about the days that they post new videos. They want all of their followers to know there is a routine, and that they can be relied on to produce new content on a regular basis. If a YouTuber has to miss a day, there is a huge apology posted somewhere, and a reason why. They wouldn’t dare just not produce a video that week. The loyalty to their fans is directly related to the loyalty of their fans to them.
While the exact day that you post on Instagram isn’t as important as it is for YouTube, the amount of quality content you produce (emphasis on quality) every week is important for your followers. Like I said earlier, Instagram is a game and the numbers on Instagrammers’ accounts matter.
2. Commenting is a Gold Mine.
I used to think that after I made a post all I needed to do was sit, like some of the people that I follow, and like a bunch of the posts that used the same hashtag as I did.
I. Was. So. Wrong.
Comment. Comment on the photos that you like. And not just “Great post!” No comment something meaningful. Why do you like the post? Was the lighting good? Was the caption funny? Was the location creative?
More times than not, when I give a quality comment on a photo they in turn reply to that comment, look at my page and start a conversation. Starting a conversation is the whole point of social media! It makes connections, where you wouldn’t be able to normally – so commenting, is the way to go.
Connect with others in your niche, or others that you find inspiring. You can always increase your networking circle, and this is a great way to begin, by reaching out.
3. Be Realistic about your Hashtags.
The best way to get noticed is to be the best at something, right? Same goes for hashtags. If you are the most liked photo for a certain hashtag, you are going to get even more attention, because fame breeds fame.
With that being said, hashtags are all about competition. When you think about what hashtags to use in your post, don’t only use the ones that are the most popular with 100K uses, or 5M uses over the past couple of days. If you are a new Instagrammer, or if you have less than 1000 followers, you will get lost in those posts. You would be competing with Instagrammers who have 5M or more followers already.
Start out relative to your fan base. If you have 500 followers, find hashtags that have around that many uses. Focus on those hashtags, and use a few of the more-used hashtags sparingly to gradually increase your exposure.
A lot of these things are constantly talked about on YouTube videos explaining how to get a fan base, but I didn’t really believe that they were as important as they were. Once I put them into practice, however, I noticed that there are some definite patterns to Instagram, and some definite things to get down before you increase your exposure and build your followers.
Do you use Social Media for your small business? What have you found that works for you? Leave a comment below so we can talk about it more!