Instagram is a powerful platform for brands of all sizes. It’s becoming more common to hear stories about businesses or influencers with millions of followers becoming Instagram Famous. But… What about brands with smaller communities? Can you building a thriving brand on Instagram even with a small community? To answer this question, we asked a few successful brands how they are using Instagram to build a thriving business with a small community. Let’s see what they brands had to say.
Low Engagement due to Fake Followers
According to Gerrid Smith, Chief Marketing Officer at Joy Organics, fake followers are pointless because they don’t engage with your material. Gerrid has been quoted on INC.com, Forbes.com, Entrepreneur.com, and CIO.com. His former company, Black Fin, was featured on the 2017 INC 5000 list at #821 and specializes in high-end digital marketing strategies. Take a look at Gerrid’s opinion on fake followers:
Purchasing fake followers is very inexpensive. They’re also incredibly straightforward to find and purchase. Additionally, the increased number of followers will offer you a sense of legitimacy and worth, which is something that every creative desire. Right? Wrong.
This is a phony sense of worth and credibility. Fake followers are pointless because they don’t engage with your material. Your posts will not be liked, commented on, saved, or shared by bots. They’ll just stay put, lowering your engagement rate. They won’t help you increase your reach or impressions, which are two important criteria marketers look for when working with creators. This can make it difficult for you to secure brand collaborations, harm your prospects of being a Vamp creator, and cause your actual followers to lose faith in you, potentially leading to a loss of real followers.
Include your Location
According to Amber Theurer, Chief Marketing Officer of ivee, including their location(s) in the bio section allows them to maintain a strong and loyal following on their Instagram page. ivee is a platform that removes the friction of traditional care and allows patients to receive health and wellness services at their location, on their own time. Our mission is to make care more accessible by bringing it in-home. Amber uses her background in early-stage companies, she spearheads partnership relations, branding, communications, and public relations strategy. Here’s Amber’s community-building tip:
Know who our audience is. For example, at this time we’re only able to offer our IV services to those in several cities across the U.S., so we only target people in those cities when we’re coming up with paid ad campaigns on Instagram. We also normally include our location(s) in the bio section so that those simply viewing our page are aware of where we operate so that there’s no confusion. This allows us to maintain a strong and loyal following on our Instagram page.
Work on Improving Engagement
According to Michael Humphreys, Director and Founder of Z Grills Australia, you should work on improving engagement and never buy followers. Here is Michael’s community-building tip below:
When it comes to Instagram, I frown upon those who buy followers. This is actually my most valuable community-building tip — never, ever buy followers. What you should work on is improving engagement. If you have 100 followers and only 10 of them regularly engage with you, then this isn’t a win for your brand. If you have 10 followers and all 10 of them engage with you regularly, then this is a big success for you. Engagement from my example is 10% and 100% when compared and you should already know which is better.
Take care of your community by always posting updates and useful information regularly. Captioning your content with open-ended questions should drive them to engage with you. Posting something hilarious and relatable can also drive engagement.
Making Instagram Community Personal
According to Tanya Zhang, Co-founder of Nimble Made, making an Instagram community personal is the first step toward building a great community. Tanya has 6+ years of experience in advertising, tech, and consulting as an art director and designer. Previously at TBWA and EY, she co-founded Nimble Made, a men’s shirt brand, in 2018 to strive for size inclusion and Asian American Pacific Islander representation in the clothing industry. Tanya has been been featured by Huffington Post, Money.com, and Forbes. Take a look at Tanya’s community-building tip below:
Making an Instagram community personal is the first step toward building a great community. Because everyone understands that behind every Instagram account is at least one real-life human, removing the anonymity and revealing your brand’s faces is a no-brainer. It can help humanize your brand and assist you and your community form a stronger, more emotional bond. Consider how you would connect with your customers in real life if you’re not sure how to make your brand more personable on Instagram. Whether it’s through conversational captions, a series of chatty Instagram Stories or a new IGTV series, the advice, suggestions, recommendations, and small talk you’d provide naturally are all key components of your brand identity that you can apply to your Instagram approach.
Organic vs. Paid Followers
According to Simon Brisk, CEO of Click Intelligence, organic followers are better since they can be turned into customers. Click Intelligence helps businesses optimize their services through digital marketing. Social media marketing is the most common service in their company. Take a look at Simon’s opinion below:
Organic is better. The reason why we focus on organic views and engagement is that they are the potential followers which can be turned into customers. Paid reactions are only good for visuals and have no real benefits.
Develop Personal Relationships
According to Brian Dean, Founder of Exploding Topics, you must be willing to get personal if you want a
commitment. Exploding Topics uncovers trends before they take off. Thousands of companies (including Shopify, Google, Apple, and Netflix) use Exploding Topics data to inform decisions on products, investments, and more. Brian and Exploding Topics have been featured in Top Authority Websites like Forbes, CNET, Mashable, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, and Business Insider. Take a look at Brian’s community-building tip below:
I strongly believe that commenting, direct messaging, and sharing other people’s stories or articles are all great ways to build community, but don’t be afraid to take a step further. Consider your engagement as if it were a relationship… You must be willing to get personal if you want a commitment.
In my early days, what I did that’s started to gain traction is placing my phone number in your bio. Whether it’s through texting or Instagram DMs, people seek that personal connection. The more you use these features, the more favorable Instagram’s algorithm becomes. Your content will be more visible to your audience as a result of the algorithm’s boost.
Be an Ice-Breaker
According to Mike Dragan, COO of Oveit, starting discussions naturally appears to be the best place to begin. Oveit helps in bringing communities together with virtual and in-person experiences. Here is Mikes’s community-building tip:
Be an Ice-Breaker! Starting discussions naturally appears to be the best place to begin. However, here is where a large number of Instagram users fail.
There are two methods to begin a discussion. The first is on your personal website. Ask a question or incorporate engaging information in your photo or video to elicit a response from your followers. The other option is to leave comments on blogs that have been tagged with your name or that are relevant to your industry.
You can’t start a discussion with a one-liner and then leave, just like in real life. Use follow up inquiries and maintain eye contact with the other individual. This may appear to be a waste of time, but if done correctly, it will help to nurture your followers and their engagement with your company.
If you want your business to thrive on Instagram, then you need a small but engaged community that is willing to share and engage with the content. And by keeping the above-mentioned points in mind your engagement goals can easily be achieved. So keep moving forward and you will surely succeed!