Building a community on Instagram is quite different from building a community on Facebook. Some businesses aren’t even sure why they need Instagram. Let me help you understand why Instagram is important and how to build and grow an engaging community on Instagram for your business.
Instagram is an amazing tool to inspire an audience with stunning images and minimal words. The truth of the matter is that Instagram’s candid content and striking images make it one of the best social media platforms to get your brand out to a community.
This world is fast-paced and constantly changing. Instagram gets your point across quickly and visually to an audience that grabs their attention.
Did you know that at last calculation a whopping 31.8% of social media users use IG as their primary platform? Also, according to Social Media Examiner, IG jumped from the 4th most popular platform in 2017 to the 2nd most used platform in 2018.
It is undeniable, IG is growing, especially among the younger generations.
It takes footwork and dedication to build a community on Instagram. There are huge rewards for companies that can put in the work organically to build and engage often with their Instagram audience.
Instagram is such an important part of growing your business that without it, you might attract visitors, but you won’t develop fans. This is why you want to be intentional when building a community on Instagram.
It is great to have an audience who reads your content, but you NEED an audience who engages with your content to bring about a positive return.
Here are a few things you can do to build a community on Instagram that actively engages with your business profile:
Design an appealing Instagram feed
Many Instagrammers manage to grow a following with mediocre images. However, concentrating on making an attractive page will help people want to be a part of your community. Your feed should be cohesive in nature.
I do not advise every photo to have a similar background or graphic. I do advise to use some accent colors or similar types of photographs. Your images can create a feeling that many people will want to be a part of.
After you have read this post and have taken some notes, look at some famous influencer profiles on Instagram. Look at how their selected images are assembled on their profile page, often called the layout of their grid.
Get an idea of what you like and don’t like, and how images can complement each other. Since Instagram is such a highly visual platform, it will benefit you greatly to make it appealing to your audience.
Search for people who might already be part of your target market
This is where hashtags come into play. Hashtags are used to make it easy for people to find photos related to the term they are looking for.
For instance, a massage therapy blogger may hashtag their images with words like #massagetherapy, #acupuncture, #aromatherapy, or #deeptissuemassage. The images of all people who have “hashtagged” these words will come up in search results.
You can reach out to people who showed interest in those hashtags. Chances are, they will be interested in your business as well.
There are common hashtags you can comment within your own photos to attract a wider range of audiences like #follow, #nature, #peace, or #picoftheday. These common hashtags will allow your photo to appear in Instagram common searches.
I recommend that you Google which hashtags are popular in your area of expertise, then start using those tags on your Instagram images. Many online sources can help you like InstagramTags and HashtagsForLikes.
Intriguing or thought-provoking images on your page insight curiosity, but hashtagging allows your target market to visit and find your Instagram page. Hashtags become increasingly important when you want to build a community on Instagram.
Note: Here is a short trick to help you not look spammy! Hide hashtags by using “.” and entering about ten spaces down, THEN type in your hashtags. The preview will not show your hashtags to viewers, BUT you still get the engagement you want from your photo.
Engage with your target community
Once you know who your community is on Instagram and how to find them, engagement is the next step. There are three ways that people can typically engage on Instagram. Users can:
- Like a photo
- “Follow” someone
- Comment on a photo
The more you put into engaging with others, the more you will get them to engage with you. Sharing a photo, created by your community members, creates a sense of trust and mutual respect. Inevitably, members of your community are incentivized to share your photos.
“Shout outs” to larger companies work really well to engage a community as well. For instance, if you are a food blogger and you post a photo of you at a large grocery store chain that had every ingredient you needed for a recipe, you might comment on the photo with something like, “Shout out to @Maldie’s for having all ingredients to make my Special Apple Pie!” You are getting that grocery chain out in front of followers, who may follow you in return.
Be proactive in boosting engagement
Be consistent with your Instagram posts and post often. You will have to drive engagement yourself to build a community on Instagram that is thriving and engaged. When you post an image, request that people double tap on your picture if they agree with a statement on the image.
You can ask people to tag someone whom they think may like the image or who can use encouragement. Ask your audience questions and respond to their comments. Yes, all the comments.
Another clever action to take is to run giveaways. If you run a giveaway, you will notice people tagging their friends or anyone they know that may be interested. You can even state in the giveaway to “tag a friend and follow your account”.
Show emotion and be vulnerable. Studies show the main reasons people want to share content on Instagram or any other social media outlet is to bring value to others, define themselves to a community, grow relationships, feel better about themselves, or get the word out about something they believe in. Therefore, being relatable and passionate about your interests will help keep your community engaged.
Don’t be afraid to focus on the products or services you offer. It may be unprofessional to self-promote in other social media networks but Instagram is a perfect platform to showcase your brand. Your community wants to support you in your journey.
Remember that to build a community on Instagram, you are not solely looking for followers. Posting quality content and making a great looking grid is only part of building a community on Instagram. Building a vibrant Instagram community takes time and effort, but the rewards make the challenge worthwhile.
Share your Instagram business names in the comments below and be a part of another entrepreneur’s community.