‘Hi everyone, I’m trying to grow my following on Instagram to get more customers, can you follow my page and I’ll follow you back?’.
Does this sound like you?
Don’t worry, I see this a lot on Facebook. But here’s why following others in your industry just to get more followers is not necessarily going to help you build up a paying clientele.
Now before I dive in, I need to make it clear that I’m all for supporting my follow business owners. We’ve built our business on just that, helping businesses across a range of sectors and industries get seen and heard by their ideal customers.
Notice the emphasis on the paying and ideal. These are really important things to consider before you start marketing your business.
You’re a beauty salon based in Manchester offering in-person treatments. If you have a tonne of followers on your page who live in London, these are not your ideal customer.
Why? They are hardly likely to travel over 200 miles to pay you to do their nails or lashes.
The same can be said for having following full of other beauty salons.
Are they your customer?
Will they buy from you?
If you supply products to other salons, then yes, but if you are a beautician offering similar services, then no.
Ask yourself these two questions when you’re building any type of audience for your business.
Better to have 50 relevant followers, those that will buy from you, than 1000 irrelevant ones, those that will not.
Okay, so how do you grow a relevant audience to increase your customer base using Instagram?
I’ve put together 5 easy steps you can implement today to raise your Instagram game and find more customers.
1. Be searchable
Make sure your business can be found using the search function on Instagram. This involves both your Instagram username and the use of relevant (there’s that word again!) hashtags.
Your username needs to be memorable and easily searchable for your customers.
If there are a few businesses with the same name, try and incorporate your location into your username instead of adding a boat load of underscores, dashes or emojis. Maybe it’s the designer in me, but it just looks untidy and won’t help your customers find you.
Including your location will let your regular customers know it’s you and new customers instantly know where you are base
When using hashtags think about what your customers would search for if they were looking for your business or services on Instagram. This is called ‘Search Intent’ and involves you stepping into your customers shoes. The most popular Instagram hashtags aren’t necessarily the best ones to use for your business.
Once you’ve settled on the hashtags you want to use you need to check them. Search each hashtag on Instagram and make sure the content that shows up in the search results is relevant to what you are posting about and what you’d expect your customers to find.
For example, if I wanted to find someone to do my nails near me, as a potential customer on Instagram I might search #nailtechmanchester.
The results bring up over 5000 posts.
So, if you’re a nail technician based in Manchester, simply putting a little thought and effort into your Instagram strategy could put your business in front of more local new customers.
2. Start a two-way Conversation
Instagram is all about the conversation and having a relationship with your followers.
Social media is meant to be social, and that involves a two-way relationship, not endless posts about buying your products and services.
Relationships help you to build trust, and trust equals more customers. Talk about things your audience understands and can relate to but be authentic. Emotion is one of the biggest tools you can use to help you grow a relevant following. Making your followers feel something makes you relatable. Relatability equals more likes. We like people like us.
So, ask open ended questions to get the conversation started. Make it less about you and more about your followers. Take time to interact with your followers, comment and like their posts and make sure you reply to their comments and keep the conversation going.
3. Be consistent
Consistency builds trust.
One of the main things I come across working with small businesses is the lack of consistency.
Trying something for a week or two on social media and deciding it’s not working is not being consistent.
Most just don’t have the time to focus on their social media game and I get it.
But it doesn’t need to be like this.
You can now schedule Instagram posts and stories ahead of time using Facebook Business Suite.
So, you can plan and create content ahead of time to support your real time posting.
Also, have a consistent look and feel on your Instagram page and posts so your followers instantly recognise your content and engage with it. This can be in the way you style your posts, the colours you use, fonts, and filters.
With many affordable design apps and software, this has never been easier.
Not got the time? Check out our online shop stocked with helpful ‘done for you’ ready to post social media graphic packs, fully customisable in Canva.
4. Have a plan
To help you be consistent, you need a plan.
Think about what content you want to post over a week, or a month and plan ahead. But be realistic about how much time you have to create, plan and schedule your content. Also, make sure you post when your audience is online.
If you’re using Instagram, Instagram Stories and Reels, or a different combo of these, each will need its own plan. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to create totally different content for each channel, just different variations to match the features of these tools.
So, Valentine’s Day is approaching, and you run a clothes shop. You might want to post an image carousel of some clothing inspiration ideas for date night on your Instagram feed. Then the next day you could use Instagram stories to run a ‘this or that’ poll on various accessory options for a chosen outfit or product line. Next, follow this up with a video on Reels of what your followers actually chose.
Same theme, different content.
This way your followers aren’t seeing the same content on the same day on different Instagram channels.
So, keep a look out for seasonal trends or a social media ‘holiday’s you can use for your social media content plan.
5. Measure your results
Last, but by no means least, measure your results.
Marketing isn’t an exact science. What works for one business doesn’t necessarily work for another.
Be clear about the purpose of a campaign or post before you start. This way you’ll know what to measure.
If you wanted product sales, you could run an Instagram Story campaign using the link sticker directing your audience to a particular item on your website. For this goal you’ll need to measure how many people clicked it. Did anyone buy the product? If yes, can you repeat this for other campaigns? If not, you need to find out why?
If people clicked through but didn’t buy it could be a problem with your landing page or pricing, rather than your campaign.
If you want to raise awareness of your brand then you’d need to measure reach, follower count and engagement.
Without measurement you simply don’t know what is or isn’t working.
So set yourself small achievable goals and build from there.
Did you find this helpful? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below 🙂
Need help with your social media marketing? Get in touch with me today and let’s chat.