Let’s look at some facts. Did you know that there are roughly 25 million active business profiles on Instagram? And that out of Instagram’s billion-strong user base, 80% follow a business profile? In fact, out of all the top three social media sites on the internet, Instagram ranks 1st when it comes to user-brand engagement: ten times higher than Facebook and 84 times more than Twitter. One look at all these facts and figures and it becomes glaringly obvious that Instagram is the place your brand should be.
Thing is, all your competitors are most likely there, too. So in a saturated space such as Instagram, the game is no longer just about gaining views or traction. It’s about actually getting your followers to stay interested. Read on, and we’ll show you how you can turn your audience into a loyal following.
Be playful with content
No one likes being talked into buying an item like a telemarketer does when they’re selling you insurance over the phone. Or a saleslady, when she’s following you around the store. The same principle applies to your brand on social media.
After all, people are primarily on social media to be social, not to be bombarded with ads and sales talk. So to keep your audience interested, you have to make sure your content is interesting. Keep up with their jokes. Listen to their stories. Stay in tune with their language. Are you a brand that sells camping gear? Try posting bucket-list-worthy pictures of real people while traveling off the beaten path. Do you specialize in sports equipment? Turn your page into a great source of inspiration for all athletes—semi-pros, aspiring newbies, and couch megafans alike.
Let your followers know who you are, and not just what you’re selling. Lure them in with relevant posts and interesting visuals that allow them to see the lifestyle and culture that comes with your brand. Follow the 80-20 rule: keep hardsell posts down to 20% of your weekly content, leaving the rest free for posts that spark engagement with your audience.
Create eye candy
Check it: a whopping 67% of consumers reported to have preferred relying on detailed images over product information when it comes to shopping online. That means that with an average of 70 million photos posted on Instagram per day, your post has to rise above the clutter. While your audience mindlessly scrolls away on their feed, make sure that when they come across your photo, it’ll make them stop, like, and buy. Instagram is all about visuals, and your brand has to keep up.
Start by playing around with filters. And you don’t have to stay with the ones that are built-in with Instagram. Try downloading photo-editing apps that will allow you to enhance the colors of your images and match them with the rest on your page, like Instasize. This app has over 50 artistic filters, all crafted and curated to help you bring out the best with each photo. Try one of their top performing filters then adjust brightness, saturation, colors, and hues as you see fit to turn any product image into a stunning picture, all with the touch of a button on your screen.
While you’re at it, discover other ways to jazz up your photo. Layer photos on top of another to add interesting borders to your image. Or add beautiful typography-style text to your images. Use this app to play around and create one-of-a-kind visuals that are totally unique to your brand.
Engage, engage, engage
One-sided conversations are boring. And after a point, they’re actually really unsustainable. So when it comes to keeping your followers interested, don’t do all the talking. Let your audience’s voices be heard and you stand a better chance at keeping them engaged.
Never keep a question hanging. Whether it’s a follower asking if they have an item in their size, or a rhetorical one like if you’ll ever sell it at 90% off, or if what they want ships to a country your post clearly says it doesn’t—always answer back. You have nothing to lose but time. And at the very least, you have their gratitude to gain.
See an interesting comment posted on your picture? Respond in a way that will garner positive reactions. Are they declaring their undying love for you? Tell them you love them back! Are they airing their frustrations at the lack of stocks in their area? Acknowledge and apologize. Whether you’re trying to be funny or comforting, always answer in a way that’s smart, witty, and genuine. Keep these tips in mind, and your audience is sure to keep your brand in theirs.
Remember: don’t ignore your followers. Use each response from your audience as an opportunity to engage.
Ride on trending topics
When it comes to trending topics, there really is one cardinal rule: treat each one like a moving train. Hop on the right one, and your brand is sure to get some talk and traction. So when you see the chance, take it. Use what’s relevant in the internet to keep conversations about your brand going.
One surefire way is to pay attention to popular memes going around on social media. Memes are a funny representation of what’s current in culture, which is why they tend to be highly shareable. So if you find a meme that fits your brand and audience, take advantage and have fun.
Just make sure that you’re not forcing your brand to fit the meme—otherwise your post runs the risk of becoming cringe-worthy.
You can also keep track of holidays happening around the world and create content around it. Add a relevant hashtag while you’re at it. By celebrating a day that means something to people, you’re building an affinity with your audience and strengthening your relationship with your followers.
Spark interesting collaborations
There’s a reason endorsers exist. When used correctly, a celebrity’s character and influence can do wonders to your brand. Take the collaboration of Puma and Rihanna for example: the cool R&B singer, known for her urban and edgy street style, was able to freshen up the retro sportswear brand—leading to a spike in sales worldwide.
This meant a spike in following to Puma’s brand as well. Rihanna’s followers naturally pledged loyalty to the songstress by supporting the brand she was currently endorsing.
Collaborations don’t always have to be this big. The most important thing is to pay attention to the needs and wants of your followers. Know an influencer they love? Try collaborating with him or her. Or collaborate with your audience instead! Take their opinions into consideration each time you plan to come out with something new.
Share (Instagram) Stories
What’s great about Instagram Stories is that it allows you to connect with your audience on a more personal level.
Unlike the rest of your feed, whatever you post on IG Stories will only be up for 24 hours (unless you actually add it to your page using Highlights). This means you can share pictures and videos without disrupting the current content plan of your page. So post previews of a photoshoot. Excite people with an exclusive sneak peak before a product launch. Use your IG Stories to give your audience a behind-the-scenes look on what goes on in your day.
You can also use it to talk to your audience. One great thing you can do with this feature is create polls and ask questions, allowing you to see and keep track of your audience’s responses in real time.
But just because you’re posting something that’ll be gone in 24 hours, doesn’t mean aesthetic goes out the window. Always remember to check if what you’re posting is visually aligned with your brand! An easy fix is to apply an awesome filter before sharing.
Empower your audience
If there’s one thing to remember, it’s that building a loyal following really is about empowering your audience. Make them feel like you’re talking to them each time you post. Make them realize you’re listening to them by planning and curating your brand’s content.
Hold promos and contests that keep your following excited about what’s in store for them. Ask for their opinion when it matters. Feature them in some of your posts. Establishing a strong influence on Instagram starts into getting insight into what makes your audience happy—then keep doing it, and always challenge yourself to do even better.
About the Author:
Natasha Ponomaroff is the Senior Marketing Director of Instasize – a content creating tool kit for anyone editing photos and online content on mobile. A weekly contributor on the site’s blog, Natasha tracks social media trends and updates the millions of “creatives” who are currently using Instasize to curate awesome online content. When she isn’t writing up the latest trend, Natasha is overseeing a team of 10 over at the Instasize HQ – ensuring that the marketing content on the apps various social platforms is ready to go.