The following post was contributed by our friends at G2:
Getting noticed and building an engaged following on social media is the dream for every business.
However, finding that perfectly tailored audience proves to be more and more difficult as the number of users across social media increases, and with 1 billion users and growing, Instagram is a beast all on its own.
At first glance, it might seem almost impossible to find your community within the masses. To make things more complicated, your small business has to battle location limitations and niche offerings. You might be asking, how does a small business even have a chance of growing on social?
How to grow your local Instagram following
Just like your business, you have to start small. The key to successfully connecting with your community is doing so in an authentic way. And that takes time.
The most exciting part of growing your local Instagram following is that you’re exposing your brand to legitimate potential customers. Unlike those large brands you see on Instagram who have a massive international following due to their Instagram aesthetic and popularity, you are able to leverage that special connection you have with your followers. These people live in your area, pass by your storefront often, and want to see the local businesses in their community thrive! Use these similarities to your advantage.
This article will walk you through the top six tips for growing and connecting with your local community on Instagram.
Tip 1: Get your storefront customers on board
Let’s start easy – you don’t have to look very hard for your initial foundation of local followers. Start engaging with the people that come into your store to buy in person, and encourage them to give your profile a follow. You can get creative with this and entice them with exclusive coupons, new product debuts and pre-sales, or even contests that can be entered only by followers to win free products! The possibilities are endless with this, and once you have these people supporting you, you will find it much easier to grow.
Tip 2: Immerse in geotags and hashtags
Instagram makes it easy for its users to locate just about anything and anyone with their geotag feature. This will be your best friend when engaging with potential followers and customers. You should start with the people who are already tagging you. Type in your brand’s name in the ‘Tags’ and ‘Places’ search bar to see who’s engaging with you.
Start following these people and like and comment on the posts that mention your brand. It’s a great idea to invest in hashtag monitoring software to keep you up to date with every post that mentions your brand. In addition to what’s already on Instagram, you should be geotagging and hashtagging your posts too. This will draw greater visibility and brand awareness, and it can also be one of the best ways to find local influencers if you eventually decide to go down that route.
Tip 3: Follow and engage with your future customers
Don’t forget that your greatest advantage is the community in which you conduct business. Start supporting the other local businesses and leaders in your area. They will likely return the favor and give your profile a boost! Take a peek at their following and follower lists. The users on these lists are people who will likely want to follow your brand as well, so make sure they’re exposed to you! Start commenting on their posts, like their content, and give them a follow.
Tip 4: Let them get to know you and build a connection
Tips one through three will help you build a great following, but now that you have them, you have to retain them. This means you have to step up your content. Share your brand story through your posts and allow your followers to get to know you. By doing so, you will build a connection that will keep your customers coming back for more. If you’re doing this part right, your followers will share your posts on their own profile. If you need help getting started, take a look at the best content creation software on the market.
Tip 5: Offer promos and discounts on social
This next tip covers what we discussed in tip one, but this one takes it up a notch. Every brand on Instagram wants to keep their followers engaged and ultimately make a sale, so when you have the opportunity to combine the two you need to jump on it. Offer a social media giveaway with exclusive discounts to those who follow your brand, tag their friends in the comments, and post something from your page to their story. These tactics boost your brand’s awareness and get your name out in front of a new audience who are likely interested in your offerings as well. You can run a contest that encourages your followers to post their own curated images of your brand on their stories. Those who post can be entered to win a free product. What you’re able to give away is dependent on your brand’s unique offerings, but you should be creative with this. Turn your loyal customers into mini brand ambassadors!
Tip 6: Hire local influencers
In the same breath as brand ambassadors, micro-influencers are a great way to grow your local following. Micro-influencers are not mega-popular celebrities. They’re people just like you and me who have built up their own loyal following based on trustworthiness. Influencers are a great way to grow your community in an authentic way. If you can get influencers who live in your area to vouch for your brand, you’ll win over their following as well. There are many options to source these influencers through influencer marketing software, but an easy (and free) way to start this is by going through your tagged content and follower list. See if anyone has a large following and fits the bill of your target customer. If you find a few people that hit the mark and have already engaged with your brand, then it would be a great idea to offer a partnership opportunity. There are so many exciting things that can come out of it.
Grow with your community
Use these top six tips to build out your brand’s Instagram and grow your following of legitimate potential customers. Hard work now will pay off in returns of word-of-mouth marketing and an increased following later on. Remember, you have a natural connection with these people, so use it to your advantage! You will begin to see just how easy it is to build engagement and connect with people who already have a genuine interest in you.
About the author:
Hannah Tow is a Content Marketing Associate at G2. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in Journalism and is very happy to be working in her favorite city, Chicago. In her free time, Hannah enjoys running with her dog, Teddy, traveling to new and exciting places, and capturing the beautiful places she travels to with her DSLR camera.