Instagram Content Strategy - How to grow your Instagram to 1000 followers and promote your business on IG?

Instagram Content Strategy – How to grow your Instagram and promote your business on IG?

What is the number one reason why your Instagram Content Strategy doesn’t work?

…you don’t have any.

Terya Serucco, Founder of Social Media Marketing Agency ‘Social Valkyries’ explains how you can create an Instagram Content Strategy to get *real* results on Instagram.

How to grow your Instagram and promote your business on IG – Instagram Content Strategy by Terya Serucco

Founder of Social Valkyrie – Helping you win the battle for attention on social media

In June 2018, the number of active users on Instagram passed the 1 billion mark. This means that no matter which kind of business you run, making it on Instagram gives you the chance to reach a LOT of people. At the same time, this popularity also means that competition on Instagram is very high. While the promise of attention is great, actually getting that attention takes some effort.

Instagram is the platform that people not only turn to when they want to connect with friends and family (as with Facebook), but also when they are in search of inspiration and motivation, to find out more about a celebrity or brand or to simply browse during some idle time. This means they are open to new information… and willing to buy.

Instagram Content Strategy – understanding the why

Between all the social platforms, Instagram takes the crown when it comes to engagement. Engagement with brands on Instagram is 10 times higher than on Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest and 84 times higher than on Twitter. Combine the high engagement with the power of visual storytelling, and you understand why Instagram is particularly suitable to build an emotional connection and gain clients.

Now, there is an art to getting the best results from Instagram, and I explain them below in four steps. However, if you’re only just starting out, I can understand you might just want to have the core activities needed to get your first 1000 followers. If that’s you, make sure to read the bonus after the four steps to help you focus on just that.

If you are ready to get it right from the start, here are the top strategies to start winning fans and gaining clients using Instagram:

 

#1 Have great visuals

Instagram is all about visually appealing images. Bright colours, sharp images, and videos are particularly popular. If you don’t want to spend your time taking photos, ask your employees to take photos or better yet: hire a photographer. Let him/her walk around your company for an hour or two and shoot as many photos as possible: your workspace, your product in really good lighting, you having a meeting, having a coffee, having a really good laugh at something funny someone just said. Then let them tweak a bit with filters and photoshop, add your logo to it and voilá. You look stunning on Instagram. You just got your photo supply for the whole month done in one day.  It doesn’t have to be a professional photographer either. I am sure that somewhere in your network, someone’s niece/son/ sibling/cousin is an amateur photographer or selfie queen eager for a chance to make money with social media.

Here are some DIY tips for great photos that get results:

  • Provide context. Don’t post pictures of your product on its own, post a photo of someone using your product. Show your followers what their life could look like if they use your product or service.
  • Learn from others. If you’re not sure what kind of photos would work, look up the top ranked photos of others in your industry. Write down what they have in common: do bright colours work well in your industry? Quotes? People? Nature? Videos? Then set out to create photos that have those characteristics as well.
  • Have consistent branding. This makes it easy for followers to recognize your photos. You can add a border in your company colours, a certain filter or, if you use text, always use the same font.
  • Mark it. Add your logo, URL or @ handle somewhere on the photo. It is common practice on Instagram to repost good-looking photos, but not everyone has the manners to credit the original poster. If you add your (water)mark, you still benefit from the extra exposure.
  • Think mobile. Take photos in portrait rather than landscape. This uses a larger part of the screen when people scroll through their feed and will therefore get you more attention.

 

#2 Tell an interesting story

The next step is to write an interesting caption with each post. This is not strictly necessary, but storytelling is innately human and a powerful way to get your potential client to care about you. The more they get to know you, the more they’ll trust you and the more likely they are to buy from you.

Here are some tips to write a caption that catches the attention:

  • Be interesting.

    • Realize that your account is about your follower, not about you. Put yourself in their shoes, and consider what they would find interesting to read about.
  • Don’t just sell.

    • Your Instagram account can lead to sales, but not if you only use it to sell. Make sure you’re showing the passion and the human(s) behind the business. A good guideline is to make sure every post serves one of the following purposes, and mix them up: inspire, educate, entertain, connect, or convert.
  • Experiment with what you write

    • Keep some short and make others longer (like a microblog). You can write an appealing message, share a funny anecdote or ask a good question to increase engagement from your audience.
  • Talk about the benefits, not the features.

    • The features focus on the product, while the benefits describe what a product/service will do for your client. Benefits are much more powerful and appealing. For example, compare these two sentences:
      A) “Social Valkyrie provides social media marketing services using the latest insights, hottest trends and cutting-edge posting, tracking, and optimization software”; or
      B) “Social Valkyrie provides social media services that attract fans and win clients for you as busy entrepreneur and business owner, so you can focus on running your business and serving your clients”.
      Sentence A describes features, it is about my service, while B describes benefits for the client.
  • Dare to be vulnerable.

    • Share your victories and milestones, but also open up about your failures. This gives people the chance to relate to you and strengthens your connection.

#3 Increase your engagement

Once your content is up to par, it’s time to get people to notice you. Here are the top strategies to increase engagement.

  • Use hashtags. Use all 30 you are allowed, and don’t use exactly the same ones for every post. Mix it up. Also mix up the extremely popular ones with more niche hashtags, so you’ve got a better chance to be found (Instagram shows how often a hashtag is used when you type it in).
  • Use all Instagram options. Post photos, stories, set up your highlight reel and go live. The more different options you use, the higher you will rank and the more visibility you will create.
  • Include a call to action. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, to ask people to tag a friend, visit your website, download your e-book, etc.
  • Interact with others. Like posts you like, leave honest comments and build relationships. This is what Instagram was designed for, and many people will reach back out to you. Warning: do NOT use automated comments from apps. Not only are they considered spam by users, it can also get your account banned since these apps are not allowed by Instagram.
  • Geotag your images. Posts with location included generally perform up to 79% better.
  • Use trending topics. Create posts specifically for (inter)national holidays or festivities that always get a lot of attention. This can really boost your views and introduce you to an audience that otherwise wouldn’t have seen you.
  • Time your activity. Instagram’s algorithm decides how visible they’ll make your post based on the engagement in the first 15 minutes after you post. So like as many posts as posts as possible (with similar hashtags) right after you post.

 

#4 Convert followers into clients

Customer Journey Video Marketing

  • Determine your goal.

    • Is it to increase brand awareness? Build your email list? Get bookings? Become an authority in your field? Write your profile in a way that it supports your goal. What are you about? What’s in it for them? You have 6-8 seconds to hook your audience.
  • Create a clear Call to Action.

    • Post a link in your bio which takes your audience to a page designed to capture their contact information – this can be a lead page where they can download something for free if they leave their email address, or a booking page. And don’t be shy to direct people towards the link in your posts.
  • Consider the customer journey. 

    • Tell a story with both words and visuals that shows what they want, and leads to how you can help them get that.

sales funnel

  • Be consistent.

    • The old saying “out of sight, out mind” is truer now than it ever was. You can post 1x per day, or 1x per week, but whatever you pick: stick to it.
  • Dare to invest.

    • Organic growth is possible, but much slower than paid growth. If you had a machine that you could put $1 in and get back a multiplication thereof, wouldn’t you put as much money as possible in it? That’s social media advertising now. A good ad can get you a great return on investment. And it’s still affordable. One year from now, as more and more businesses flock to the platform, advertising costs will go through the roof.
  • Focus on results.

    • People don’t buy the thing you sell, they buy the result. You’re not selling “an online course with XYZ hours of videos and XY strategies”; you are selling “the fast track to starting your own successful jewelry shop on Etsy”. Similarly, you’re not selling “coaching”; you’re selling “guidance to grow your business 3x faster than you could on your own”, or “a proven system to overcome overwhelm, prioritize like a pro and get stuff done”.

 

Bonus: How to Get Your First 1000 followers organically

 

The above steps describe the foundation upon which you can build your following, win fans and gain clients. But if you’re really starting from scratch and eager for the quick wins, the following actions will help you get your first 1000 followers as fast as possible.

The keyword to fast organic growth? Engagement.

Not from others on your account, but from you on the accounts of people that are likely to be interested in you (r newsfeed). Every time you interact with another account, it’s like you’re giving them a small nudge to let them know you exist. Logically, the more accounts you interact with, the more people find out you exist and the more can follow you. Here is some practical guidance:

  • Be consistent.

    • Schedule a certain amount of time every day to take the actions necessary to grow your account. Try to incorporate a mix of the below tips, or pick your favorite. Write it in your calendar if you have to. But whatever you do: It. Every. Day.
  • Like other posts.

    • Like posts using the hashtags you use as well. Then click on a hashtag that Instagram suggests as “related”, and like posts with those hashtags too. Note: always focus on the recent posts, not the most popular ones. The most popular ones are probably getting so much attention that your like doesn’t interest them as much anymore.
    • Like posts from the followers of your competitor (or of a similar account). This is a bit more work, but if you have the right target audience it could increase the percentage of people that follow you back compared to the hashtag-follow method.
  • Comment on other people’s posts using the same hashtags you do.

    • But here’s the catch: if you want comments to work, they have to be genuine comments that specifically refer to the post. Don’t use generic phrases, one word comments, or comments composed of smileys only. That’s what spambots do, and regular Instagram users instantly see through that.
  • Reply to every comment you receive.

    • This lets your commenters know you are really listening. In addition, Instagram counts the total number of comments to see how popular a post is and will show it more often if it considers it more popular.
  • Follow your audience 

    • Follow the followers of similar accounts. If you have your Ideal Client identified, you should also have a good idea what kind of other accounts they are following on Instagram. If you’re a personal coach, that could be people interested in personal development, Tony Robbins etc. It could also be your competitor. Follow their followers and you’ll find many follow you back.
    • Follow people who have interacted with you. As soon as anyone likes or comments on your post, follow them. Their interactions shows they are interested, so make sure to get them in before they forget who you are.
    • Follow people that have posted something in your This works especially well for local businesses.
    • Last but not least, follow the rules. Don’t follow more than 150 accounts per hour, or you can get temporarily blocked from following anyone. And keep in mind that you can only follow 7500 users max. So use those wisely and be laser focused on your target audience.
  • Tag influencers

    • Tagging may feel uneasy in the beginning, but it helps attract attention of big accounts and can give your account a big boost if they repost something from you. You can tag up to 20 accounts in your posts, just make sure you don’t tag the same account so often that it becomes annoying.
    • Tag feature accounts and repost accounts. They often have a lot of followers and encourage tagging them for a repost, so don’t be shy! These guys expect to be tagged.
    • Tag the local tourism board of whatever location you are in. They are always looking for good content of their location, and you will again get extra exposure if you’re reposted.
    • Tag brands or influencers in your Insta Stories. Brands and influencers make money based on the social proof of other people. Reaching out to them could result in a tag back, or in them posting a screenshot of your story. (Ideally, you are already building a relationship with them by following and frequently liking or commenting on their posts).

About Terya

Founder of Social Valkyrie – Helping you win the battle for attention on social media

Terya graduated with honours from her Master degree in Business. After several years of walking the beaten path up the career ladder, she found her feet itching to wander in other directions. She discovered her calling in social media. It combines her passion for writing and creativity with her keen business insight and geeky love of statistics. She founded her social media agency Social Valkyrie – named after the fierce Valkyrie warriors from Norsk mythology – to help business owners win the battle for attention on social media. Terya is convinced that social media is by far the best and most fun way to reach people and win clients, no matter what kind of business you’re in.

Find out more at www.socialvalkyrie.com

Facebook: @SocialValkyrie fb.me/SocialValkyrie

Twitter: @SocialValkyrie twitter.com/socialvalkyrie