If you don't have time to read, here is a short video summary :)
Do you want to grow your Instagram influence and personal brand? Social media has proven to be a valuable tool when it comes to reaching the masses. Your product and service is only a phone swipe away to connect you to those interested in what you offer. But there's a hurdle you must cross before you can really get things going: exposure.
In other words, you need people to know who you are, what you are about and most importantly, how you will benefit them. The best way to get that on Instagram (or any social network) is through followers. What might seem easy at first can be quite the feat. But it doesn't have to be, as long as you are clear on your outcomes and clear in your strategy. To help you get started or give you a refresher here are some easy ways you can natively boost your numbers and grow your influence one follower at a time.
Before we start you must have a Business Account
This sounds so obvious but it is something I see all the time, businesses operating business accounts that are still set as personal. Furthermore, if you would like to use your personal account professionally, you may also want to consider flicking the switch to a business account.
Benefits of an Instagram business account include linking to your Facebook business page, Instagram insights, ability to promote posts, contact button to call, email or give directions to your business. Another great feature when you build your audience to 10,000 followers is the ability to add links to your Instagram stories.
If you are not sure if your account is set to personal or business go to your settings and scroll down to find it under 'Business Settings'.
When you create a post, always optimise your efforts by using hashtags. And not just one or two, you have the option to include up to thirty per post. The beauty of these short tags is that they're basically the search engines of Instagram. Your posts will have far more reach and engagement simply by making your content more accessible through the correct use of hashtags.
Whatever it is that you're selling or promoting, look up popular hashtags by simply using the search function on Instagram. Go to the search feature and start typing in a keyword that has to do with your post. The most popular ones will show up first as suggestions, so you can get an idea what terms are the best to use.
For example, "#seeaustralia" brings up an image library of posts in the millions. Underneath this highly popular hashtag, you can be inspired to use other popular user-generated tags like "#seeaustralia_wa" and “#seeaustralia_vic”.
2. Engaging your audience
In order to grow your influence, and audience for that matter, you can't just sit back and watch your feed with no work involved. Givers gain. People like Instagram accounts where they feel invested in some way, be it emotionally, spiritually, through family, or through friends. You, as the account creator, have an opportunity to connect and add value to the people you most want to serve.
A call to action is a great way to engage. Ask people to offer suggestions, share experiences, express opinions or comment with an emoji. When someone comments, always good practice to acknowledge and reply back where possible. Like with any social media platform, getting social is a key element.
3. Smart Collaborations
Another great way to start building your Instagram influence is to find the official accounts of your national, state and regional destination accounts and the accompanying preferred hashtags they have chosen to promote these regions.
Other ways you can collaborate is with your preferred partners, influencers and industry friends. It’s important to note that collaborating is not just following, it’s engaging with your partners by liking, commenting and sharing.
Another excellent way to engage with your region and business community is to set your notifications so that you are pinged (receive a notification on your socials) every time they post. By setting your notifications you will be prompted to give them some Insta love and continue to build a strong relationship with them.
Take this a step further and be strategic in your partnership so that you can exchange a shout-out swap together. What this means is that you'll promote their account if they'll promote yours. Setting up a reciprocal sharing strategy is a great way to build your followers, add value and variety to your content and most importantly nurture your relationships.
4. Offer something of value
Do you have something valuable you can offer your audience for FREE? Top 10 guide, recipes, free pass or exclusive discounts are a few ideas to consider giving away that will add value to your growing tribe.
When doing this make sure to clearly spell out what you're offering, how they can get it, and where to go (your website, YouTube, etc.). Offering something of value is a great way to also build your email list. There are many third-party providers out there that can facilitate this process for you. Some of these include Gleam Shortstack and WooBox that can facilitate the competition process and data collection for you.
5. Mix it up
Make your account enjoyable. Whether you have an accommodation property or a fitness feed or an account with funny memes, nobody wants the same content every single day. Mix up your content and your brand variety to showcase not only what you do but who you are.
You can use a text-only quote, then make sure you've got a picture with people in it. Promote your product, then post something engaging with a partner post. Show a video, share in your stories, go live. You get it. Mix it Up. Keep your followers engaged and entertained so they'll want to come back and remain fans of your page. And more importantly, they'll tell others to follow you.
A side note mention of what you should not do if you want to grow an authentic audience is buying your followers. This never ends well. There is nothing worse than audiences doing a Sandra Dee when they discover the brand they love is a fake and a phoney and they wished they never lay eyes on them.
Growing an engaged, authentic community takes time and patience. You are in this for the long haul. Buying fake followers will only do your brand more harm than good.
Be valuable, be diligent, be persistent, be brave, be creative, work with your partners and community and don't worry - everyone who's 'making it' big on Instagram started just like you.
The next Instituteofexcellence.com Live Online Training Intensive is Instagram for Tourism.
This training kicks off Wednesday, May 9th to Friday, 11th May. It will be all delivered online over these three consecutive days starting 10.30am to 12 pm each day covering Insta GOLD, including all the new Instagram updates that Facebook announced this week at the annual F8 conference!
Follow Instagram for Tourism link for more info on what you will learn and to register your place.
Until next time here's to your excellence always,
Thank you so much for reading this post.
Igniting excellence in people is the reason I get out of bed every morning. It is also the reason why I started InstituteOfExcellence.com in 2014.
Developing industry training and development programs to help the tourism business community thrive is how I serve and support experience and place makers. Training and development programs delivered specialise in the power of digital, social media and tourism-specific marketing strategies. Connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
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