ORGANIC GROWTH STRATEGIES FOR BUILDING YOUR BRAND ON INSTAGRAM IN 2022
There’s no better time than the present, to connect with potential customers and grow your business online using Instagram. Studies have shown that people on this particular social media platform (Instagram) are more engaged than average users on other platforms.
People that use Instagram are more engaged, with recent studies showing 72% of the people on the social network sharing they had made a purchasing decision after seeing something on Instagram; with the most popular categories being clothing, makeup, shoes, and jewelry.
If you have been active on Instagram, but haven’t been able to grow your following or get your audience to engage with your content, a growth strategy is what you need to create and implement, to increase your visibility and get people more aware of your brand.
There are 2 ways to grow on Instagram - organically (free) and paid advertisements.
The organic method means getting people to see and engage with your page by sharing quality content that's informative, entertaining and engaging and works to help develop an authentic relationship between your brand and your audience.
If you’re new to Instagram and just starting out with social media marketing, you may be hesitant to jump into paid ads, or maybe you’ve been around for some time, but don’t have the budget yet, then you’re in the right place.
You won’t have to spend a penny if you follow this guide, but you will need patience and consistency. It takes time to see results with organic marketing, but the slow and steady approach has proven to build audiences that are interested, authentic and cares about you and what you have to offer; as the time allows you to connect with them and build a relationship.
Before we dive into how exactly you can grow your brand on the ‘gram, you first need to understand how Instagram’s algorithm works. You need to understand the lay of the land before you can build on it - this strategic thinking is what will set you apart.
What is the Algorithm and how can you work with it?
The Instagram algorithm is the automated system that decides which posts people see when they are on the platform, whether its on their home feed or their explore feed. With so much content being shared every day, Instagram’s algorithm works to show people what they find most interesting - and it does this by using key signals to serve each person content that is similar to what they have previously consumed and are likely to enjoy and engage with.
So, which factors does the algorithm care about? It’s important to note that the Instagram algorithm is always evolving, but it currently relies on these three primary ranking signals:
1. Relationship with the user
If a certain user has interacted with a lot of your past content, they are more likely to see your future content. This makes continual, repeat engagement on your posts important for building a loyal audience.
2. Interest the user has conveyed
This signal is based on whether the user interacts with other, similar posts and accounts when they explore Instagram. Users who engage with similar content from accounts like yours are more likely to see your posts.
3. Recency of the post
While Instagram's simple chronological feed is a thing of the past, timeliness is still relevant. More recent posts will be favored and pushed to the top of the feed, while older posts will show up a little further down. So sharing new posts on a regular basis increases your chances of being seen, and consistency is key.
There were also other, more general considerations that Instagram has shared, which you should make note of:
If people follow a lot of accounts, there’s more competition for the top spot in their feed.
If people either don’t spend a long time on Instagram or don’t open the app that often, that decreases the chances of your content being seen if you aren’t in one of the top slots.
Business accounts on Instagram are not immediately at a disadvantage in terms of organic reach compared to personal accounts.
In a way, the algorithm rewards accounts that take the time to understand their audience and produce content that is appealing to them on a regular basis. You will need to be clear on who you are looking to attract and connect with, with the content you create and share, so you can make sure it resonates with those people when they see it, so they will engage and follow, to ensure they see more of your content in future.
If you are still unsure about who your ideal customer audience is then no worries, I suggest you read my recent article on How to build a brand, not a business here first.
Now that you are clear on the basics, let’s get into what you need to focus on when building your strategy.
1. Focus on relationship not reach
You read earlier how the algorithm will show your content to people who have consumed and engaged with previous posts you have shared (if they don’t follow you then your content will be suggested to them on their Explore page.) So it will serve you best if you create content that people have previously reacted well to and you can see that through your Insights.
If you’re starting a new account then your aim should be to create content your audience [or those you are looking to attract] will enjoy and love. Centering your content around the interests of your target audience will bring you greater results, because the truth is, if you’re going to post just for the sake of posting, you won’t get far.
Here are some ways to build that relationship with your followers:
Use humor: Everybody loves a laugh.
Speak your audience’s lingo: It’s all about being more relatable and easy to understand.
Share posts that encourage users to share their thoughts: Getting them to comment will allow you to connect with your audience and learn more about them, but it will also help your posts rank higher and ensure that those who commented see your future posts.
2. Comment on posts from relevant users and brands
Commenting on relevant pages (bloggers, brands and people that have a similar audience) gives you an audience base outside of your own and can drive the right audience to your profile. Make sure your comment isn’t spammy (and not just emojis), but rather speaks to the caption at hand and shares value or information where possible; in a genuine or authentic way - this can make your comment stand out and get people interested and tapping through to your profile.
Pro Tip: Turn on post notifications for key accounts to get notified when they post, so you can comment early and increase the chances of your being seen by more people. You will need to be following the account to use this function.
3. Post when your followers are most active
Share your new posts when your audience is most active, because [as mentioned earlier] more recent posts tend to get pushed to the top of the feed for your audience to see. Not saying your post won’t get seen if you share it at 2am when they are sleeping, but there is a high chance there will be new posts shared in the morning that will get prioritized over yours when your audience does come online.
You can see when your followers are most active [each day] through your insights.
4. Respond to comments while they’re new
Replying to comments whilst they’re still new (within the first hour) will not only help jump start conversations with your audience, but it will also incentivize more people to engage with your content and help it to get seen by more people.
Make sure you respond to each and every single comment left under your post, as this will increase your engagement rate. When you respond to every comment left on your posts, you are increasing the size of the engagement on your posts. And while your own comments don’t carry as much weight as comments by other people, they still count.
Especially when you consider that Instagram considers comments and shares as the most influential kinds of engagement.
By the way, if you are an influencer looking to get noticed by brands and advertisers, then comments make great social proof. When advertisers come onto your page and see that you consistently get a lot of comments on your posts, it not only shows that your followers are engaged, but that you also care what they have to say enough to reply to them. Both of these are traits that advertisers looking to sponsor influencers are looking for.
5. Use hashtags to drive traffic to your account
Use community hashtags to target people outside of your audience. With Instagram allowing people to follow hashtags, adding relevant niche hashtags on your post will increase the eyes that see your content, while ensuring the people seeing it are aligned to your ideal customer.
Posting relevant content that adds value, consistently, is a sure way to ensure your content is seen and grow your audience, while keeping your brand top of mind.
Staying mindful of the points shared and you will be well on your way to growing an audience that is interested, engages with your content and converts into paying customers.
If you’re committed to the process and you want to build a reliable brand in 2021, don’t hesitate to book a consultation call here.