Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when building a community on Instagram. Whether you are starting from scratch or are already on Instagram but find it a waste of time and do NOT look forward to checking your feed, these tips will help you make the most of your time on the site.Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when building a community on #Instagram Click To Tweet
Instagram is a VISUAL platform, great for establishing and reinforcing your brand, for selling products, getting the word out about an event and getting found by potential customers, clients and patients. It can also be a great way to monitor your competition, find inspiration and to do research. But like any social platform, it can be a huge waste of time if you haven’t spent time building and nurturing your community.
BEFORE YOU START be sure to:
- Include a link to your website, blog or the landing page for conversion, in your Instagram bio.
- Include a link to your Instagram profile in your email signature so people know they can find you there.
- Include a link, or at least the Instagram icon, on your business cards and any collateral (digital or printed).
- Have a plan in place and upload ‘branded’ content on a regular basis – at least once a day if not multiple times a day. Branding can be literal (get a logo into your images) or by using similar colors, themes or imagery.
FIND HASHTAGS and ACCOUNTS to follow:
Start with the search bar at the top of your Instagram feed. Type in relevant, industry specific terms and see what comes up as suggestions. Visit any accounts that seem appropriate and FOLLOW any that look interesting. Always check the account first as some labels are misleading and some accounts haven’t posted since they opened the account years ago. Remember that we are building a community – a group of people and companies that we are interested in seeing regularly.
Following an account is as easy as clicking on the ‘Follow’ button. If you find that an account is posting content that is irrelevant, spammy or posting too frequently, you can UNfollow them just as quickly!
Say you are an architect. Start with ‘Architecture’ to find the relevant hashtags and accounts with the word ‘architecture’ in them. Then, when visiting those accounts, check the HASHTAGS they are using in their posts. Click on any hashtag to see OTHER accounts and posts that use that hashtag. Follow any accounts that are interesting and start a list of hashtags that YOU can use.
Instagram is a platform that is teeming with inspiring imagery. If you are an architect, don’t limit yourself to just architecture related hashtags. Photographers and designers of all types can be very inspiring as well as nature and scientific content.
MAKE THE TIME TO BUILD YOUR COMMUNITY:
Frequently, community building can feel like a ‘black hole’ task, as you follow tangents and end up light years from the terms you started with. But it is time well spent if you find interesting accounts and specific hashtags that are relevant to YOUR community. Niche hashtags are like ‘longtail’ keywords – words that narrow your results to the people who are REALLY interested in what you do. Yes, the #Architecture hashtag has 88,498,656 posts but if you specialize in #Underwaterarchitecture, there are only 51 posts and you can be sure that people searching on that term are looking for YOU and the type of work YOU do!
I suggest using multiple hashtags in your posts so keep a running list, adding to it as you find new ones and deleting the ones that seem irrelevant. Note that you should always double check that the hashtags you use relate to your community. Sometimes they are used by a different industry or mean something you did not intend.
As for the task being time consuming, I suggest that you set aside a specific amount of time, anything from 10 minutes a day to two hours once a month, set yourself to the task and then CLOSE THE BROWSER when that time is up. Building your community initially does take a bit of time, but once you are up and running, it will be easy to add people as you find them and unfollow those that are not adding value to your stream. I recommend re-visiting this task every few months or any time you find yourself NOT looking forward to checking your stream.
MAKE THIS A PLACE YOU WANT TO VISIT:
Just because you are using this for business does not mean that you need to only follow work related accounts and hashtags. We want to make this a place worth visiting so if you are a foodie, follow at least a few food related accounts so you look forward to opening the app. Unlike many of the other platforms, you can follow ANYONE – no invitations or reciprocation required. Think of this as a party and you can invite ANYONE you want!
FOLLOW YOUR EXISTING CLIENTS, CUSTOMERS and PATIENTS as well as those in your TARGET AUDIENCE:
Following accounts does not ensure that they will follow you back but by following them, at least you will SEE their content. Then you have the opportunity to LIKE and COMMENT on it. DO THAT! It will allow for real engagement and may prompt them to check out and follow YOUR account.
Also, by following them, you can see what they like and comment on. This can be helpful research! Observe, take note of any hashtags you may be able to use and use these insights to plan your posts.
This platform, when used correctly, is a great fit for any business that can brand itself VISUALLY. It is perfect for architects and designers but don’t rule it out for other professions. If you are a dentist, you might share before and after photos of your patients. Ditto for a plastic surgeon. Realtors have a very strong presence on the platform as do wine enthusiasts and foodies. The accounts are free – open one and see if it might be a good fit for YOU. And be sure to implement these tips when building YOUR community on Instagram.
SOUND LIKE TOO MUCH WORK?
If this sounds like more work than you are up for or if you know you will not do it, give me a call (212.664.1872) – I can do the legwork to get your community up and running for you!