How can you build an engaged community around your brand on Instagram? Through good community management! In the following guide, we have put together six tips that can help you grow your Instagram community and get people to engage more with your brand.
How does a customer choose to buy a certain product? Why are shoppers loyal to a brand for years? What makes customers recommend a business to their friends?
Of course, the customer journey is complex, and there are many reasons why a person might prefer a certain brand. However, one factor is becoming more and more important for purchasing choices: the relationship a customer has with a brand.
Modern customers don’t just look for a good quality product or the best deal. A brand’s image and values are equally important to them. Research shows that brands that are able to build emotional connections with their target audience will be rewarded with very loyal long-term customers.
Similar to other relationships, nowadays, customers want to get to know a brand first before committing to it. Does a business respond to them when they have an issue with a product they bought? Does a brand communicate its values clearly? And, does a business understand customers’ needs?
In order to turn new customers into long-term customers, businesses have to focus on building a good relationship with them. That’s why social media platforms, such as Instagram, have become so important for businesses.
With 500 million daily active users, Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. It is also a platform where users love to engage with brands. 90% of Instagram users follow a brand, so Instagram is the perfect starting point for your business to reach out to your customers and interact with them.
However, good community management on Instagram goes beyond posting generic comments or hitting a like button every once in a while. Ideally, it means creating meaningful relationships with your followers. The following tips can help you to create an engaged community around your brand.
In order to create a relationship with your target audience on Instagram, you need to engage in conversations with users. This means: react to their posts when they mention you!
You could thank them, answer a question, help out with an issue, or ask them questions about your brand. Essentially, responding to people’s posts about you is a perfect way to start a conversation and interact with your target audience.
In terms of effective community management, the easiest way not to miss a post is to check your notifications frequently. As life on social media moves quickly, the general rule is: the faster you respond, the better. Obviously, as a business, you also have other things to do besides check your Instagram, so set designated times each day for looking at your notifications and responding to your followers.
As mentioned before, effective community management on Instagram has to be based on meaningful interactions. When you reply to comments, you should make sure that you don’t just post something generic. If somebody posts a picture from their recent Italy trip, don’t just write “nice” as a comment.
This would mean absolutely nothing to the person and wouldn’t leave them a lasting impression of your brand either. Instead, you can write: “Beautiful! What was your favorite food in Italy?” This shows that you are interested, and asking questions is also a great conversation starter.
Also: re-post story mentions and posts! It doesn’t take a lot of time, but it’s a very effective way of spreading user-generated content about your brand, and it shows your followers that you care about what they have to say.
The scooter sharing company Lime, for example, uses screenshots of user comments and embeds them in new, humorous posts.
Following relevant hashtags is one of the most effective ways to engage with your community and grow your following. Since tags represent topics of interest on Instagram, if users talk about something that is important to them, they will include relevant hashtags.
So, once you identify the topics that your target audience is interested in, you can follow their discussions by using the hashtag following function on Instagram. Make sure to identify the most relevant niche hashtags for your brand. Your hashtags should be neither so general that they are meaningless for your brand nor so specific that they limit too much the number of people you can talk to.
Whenever you see a conversation or a post that includes one of the hashtags you are following, engage with the users by asking them questions, posting something funny or offering them help, depending on the context. Be careful to really post useful comments and not just promote your brand. Users might interpret promotional posts as spammy, and this will leave a negative impression of your brand. So, make sure to take the time to post thoughtful content.
Another option is to monitor which of the hashtags you follow are currently trending and build posts based on them to inspire your followers, like the home decoration company Mica did in their post using the hashtag #gogreen.
Shopping online has taken off, and with “shoppable” tags, Instagram lets you take advantage of the trend. You can tag your products in a post with a shopping tag which will take users directly to a web page where they can buy the products.
Shoppable tags are not only a way to direct more traffic to your website and increase your sales, they also streamline your community management. First, when users can buy a product directly when they see it, it improves the user experience. Second, shoppable tags save you time because you no longer have to write “find the link to shop for these products in our bio” under the posts and then continuously update your bio link.
Nothing will generate engagement like the chance to win a free product! Especially if you want to promote a new product or service, starting a contest on Instagram is a great way to create some buzz. It certainly gets users to interact with your brand, so it’s a very useful method to start connecting with your target audience.
However, don’t just give away freebies. Think about ways to create a contest that will increase user engagement with your brand, such as having users tag their friends in order to win. This is a smart hack to get more people to learn about your company and increase your brand’s visibility. Check out our tips for creating interesting contests on Instagram to get inspired!
With 500 million daily active users, Instagram Stories is one of the most popular features on the platform. Users don’t just like to watch stories though, they also love to engage with fun and spontaneous posts, so being active on Instagram Stories is a great way for your business to interact with its community.
Even though Stories is meant for spontaneous content, as a business, it helps to come up with a content strategy and plan your stories in advance. This will ensure a high quality standard for your posts and help make sure they are tied in with your brand’s overall strategy. Unfortunately, you can’t schedule stories from the Instagram app. However, there are some very useful web tools that you can use to schedule Instagram stories.
Storrito, for example, is a free scheduling tool for Instagram stories. Storrito lets you upload content to your profile, edit it, and even add story features, such as interactive emojis.
You can use it on any device and even collaborate on a story with multiple users so your team can come up with the best content to engage your community. And the best part is: you can schedule stories in advance, even in bulk, which can save you a lot of time and work and make your community management even more effective.
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