Building your Instagram Audience

Building your Instagram Audience

These days there are tons of companies that promise to grow your Instagram audience; new missives may be landing in your email inbox every day. These companies can deliver large amounts of new followers, but they do so by paying for followers or casting a wide net or, in the most unsavory of cases, employing click farms. The truth is that it’s only worth building your Instagram audience if you’re attracting the RIGHT people: those who are interested in what you offer, who have problems you can solve and who are likely to convert to sales. Today we discuss some of the top ways you can grow your audience organically and reliably.


Using the Right Hashtags

One of the ways potential customers find you is through your use of hashtags. What seems like an overwhelming choice is actually quite easy with a little research. Who are the movers and shakers in your industry? Who has an Instagram feed that you want to emulate? Start by looking at the hashtags those accounts are using and experiment with adding them into your own posts. What are the keywords you associate with your products and services? Do a search on Instagram using those terms as hashtags and see what they generate. Do products like yours come up? Or does that hashtag bring up something totally different? Finally, don’t forget to include location and branding hashtags. Attract followers to your community using location hashtags and start building your brand following and story by using a branded hashtag.


Engaging with the Community

The best way to attract followers is to build a relationship with them wherever they are. Remember those movers and shakers in the industry? Those businesses you want to emulate? Check out who’s following them and start interacting! Leave thoughtful comments on posts, sharing some of your expertise and inviting discussion. As you build the list of folks you’re following and interacting with, those people will in turn become part of your audience. 

Don’t forget to interact with the audience you already have on your own feed. Add questions to your posting style encouraging comments and engagement and be sure to like and respond to the comments you receive. Respond to any DMs you receive promptly and helpfully. Become a resource for your followers!


Share User-Generated Content

The next step beyond engaging with your audience is sharing user-generated content. Sharing what your customers are doing with your products is a great advertising tool and many customers will jump at the chance to be featured. At Stitchcraft Marketing we recommend asking for permission before reposting someone else’s content, but use it liberally to inspire your audience with all the possibilities for your product or service. 


Pay for Sponsored Posts or Advertising

While Instagram is free for you to use, strategically putting a little money behind your posts will help you increase your reach. If you haven’t used advertising on Instagram yet, here’s a quick summary of how to get started. Explore your metrics and experiment with boosting posts with lots of engagement. Got a killer limited-edition product? Why not try a small advertising buy and see what happens? This is the one case where spending a little money will help you reach new audiences, but also give you the ability to target those efforts using location, demographics, interests, behaviors and more!


Instagram Stories and Highlights

We’ve spent plenty of time telling you how important Stories are; Stories are consistently prioritized more highly in the algorithms, giving your content a chance to travel farther and wider. We’ve also got a great video from Heidi Gustad that can help you Master Instagram Stories and Live Video. Once you’ve got these Stories going, repurpose the content and make it work for you in Instagram Highlights. Highlights remain on your profile page instead of disappearing after 24 hours, and Highlights are a great way to introduce your customer to your brand and your offerings. Create a trailer to share what your audience can find on your account, organize previous Stories by theme, explain your products offerings through photos and videos, and (if your audience is over 10,000 – a goal to shoot for!) promote those products with the use of Swipe Up. Your profile page is a great place for potential followers to learn more about you and your brand and decide if they want to join your regular audience!


Run a Giveaway

If you’re able to offer a tempting prize, you can gain a ton of new followers by running a giveaway. As part of the giveaway, ask entrants to follow your account AND tag a friend. All those comments on the giveaway post will boost your standing in the Instagram algorithms which favor audience engagement, and your current followers will introduce you to their friends. People want to follow brands that they know, like and trust and an introduction from a trusted friend is a great way to make that happen. Just make sure that your post meets Instagram guidelines and you’re good to go!


Review Your Metrics

All of the above tips will help you grow your Instagram following, but some may have more impact than others. Regularly review your Instagram analytics to determine what works best for you and do more of that! Which posts got saved and shared the most? Which posts got the most comments or generated the most discussion? Narrow down what might have contributed to the added engagement and test it in future posts to keep building upon your successes.

We hope we’ve given you some ideas on how to build your Instagram audience organically and reliably. If you’d like to discuss your social media strategies and how we can help you grow your Instagram audience, contact us today to get started!

Leanne Pressly
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