There's so much Instagram advice out there, and a lot of it is really complicated. We're here to keep it simple. We're giving you 3 basic steps for Instagram success and how to achieve them. We all want to level up in this new year, so let's do it together.
1. Reach New Audiences
If you want to grow on Instagram, you can't just wish and hope that people will stumble across your profile. You have to be creating content that will draw people in and gain the largest reach possible.
Here are some clear, actionable ways you can begin to meet new audiences.
Reels: While reels aren't quite the golden ticket they were at the beginning of 2021, they're still easily the best way to gain reach outside of your followers on Instagram. Hop on a trending soundbite, and watch your reach grow. As Instagram continues to prioritize video content over static photos, it's time you start prioritizing reels creation over traditional feed posts.
Utilize Keywords in Your Username: If you don't already, you need to add a keyword to your username. Your username field is one of the only searchable parts of your Instagram profile, so be sure to include a word related to your niche. Our username contains "Social Media Agency" to boost our search-ability and get our company in front of new audiences.
Instagram Collabs: Did you know you can co-author posts with other Instagram users? This is an easy way to get your content in front of a whole new audience by collaborating with other creators in your niche. This is a newer feature on Instagram. See below for an example.
Carousel Posts: Carousel posts are highly shareable. They're the ideal format to pack in educational content. When you create a quality carousel and encourage your followers to share it to their stories, you're getting account in front of many new eyes.
2. Make Your New Audience Tap the Follow Button
So now that you've reached new audiences by creating the content we suggested above, how do you convert that audience into followers? It's all about the first impression. We all know how short Instagram users' attention spans are, so you have limited time when they land on your profile to draw them in.
Make sure you're doing these things to get users to tap the follow button.
Make Your Niche Clear: This advice is all over social media, and it's accurate. If you want to grow, you need to niche down your content and be very clear and intentional about what topics you'll be sharing about on your account. Followers want to know what they're getting into before they tap follow. If they land on your profile and see that your content is all over the place, their confusion will keep them from engaging with you.
Quality Profile Picture: If you have a profile picture that doesn't support your brand - users will be confused immediately. If you run a landscaping business, make sure that the profile picture isn't a photo of you at a bar. Instead, choose a photo of you surrounded by greenery and dressed in your brand colors ... you get it.
Make Every Character in Your Bio Count: You have 150 characters in your Instagram bio - use them. Your bio should always include a solution to your users' problems. What can you provide that they're looking for? End your bio with a strong CTA calling them to interact with the link in your bio. Always have a link in your bio and please, please, please don't let it be LinkTree. Read why here.
Your Highlights Better POP: Before anyone gets to your perfectly curated grid, they see your highlights. Because we're conditioned to swipe through stories before we scroll our feeds, the same applies to highlights. Users are going to tap through your highlights before they get to your grid. Make sure your highlights support your brand pillars and quickly tell potential followers about your brand. It's best to keep your most brand building highlights at the front of your highlights list. This means you need to reorder your highlights whenever you share new content to a less important highlight. Learn how to reorder your highlights here.
3. Cultivate Community With Your Followers
After you earn your followers, the work begins on keeping them. The easiest way to keep your followers is to create a community that they consistently want to engage with. How do you do this?
Show Up on Your Stories: Sharing posts to your stories is a great start, but if you want to cultivate trust and community with your followers - you'v got to start showing your face. Talk to your followers like you're chatting with a friend, and they'll start to think of you as a friend. When you share content to your stories, use every feature available to drive engagement on your stories: emoji slider, question box, poll, etc.
Always Respond to Comments: If you said something to someone and they didn't respond at all, you might feel a bit offended, right? That's what it's like when you don't reply to comments on your profile. Take the time to make sure your audience feels heard on your page.
Engage on Your Followers' Profiles: Even if you don't follow all of your followers back, try to engage with their content when possible. If they tag you in something, leave a comment. If a loyal follower is always commenting and sharing your content, head to their profile and hype up their most recent post. No harm in sharing the love.
Memes: Memes 👏build 👏community👏. Why? Because memes are highly relatable content. We have lots of social media managers in our community on Instagram, so we try to post a relatable meme for them once every couple of weeks. We always get a great response, and get to share laughs with our community.
Guides: Guides are the forgotten feature of Instagram, but they're a great way to care for your community. Instead of making them scroll through your entire feed to find content about a particular topic, you can create Guides focused on separate topics. In your captions, tell followers to check out a Guide related to the post for information.
Go Live: When you go Live, you're showing your audience the most authentic you. Nothing's scripted or planned, and they get to engage with a real, live person. You can also use lives to reach new audiences by collaborating with other creators. This is a great idea if you're a little camera shy and don't love the idea of talking alone to your iPhone screen for 30 minutes. Check out the Live below that we did with our brand designer, White and Salt.
Keep it simple. Reach new audiences, convert those audiences into followers, and then cultivate community. Worry less about the numbers game of creating "x" pieces of content per week. Focus on consistent quality and achieving the steps above, and you're sure to gain Instagram success in 2022.
If you're looking for more support on socials, book a consultation with Media À La Carte here.