As of February 2017, Instagram has 400 million daily active viewers. 400 million people scroll through Instagram EVERY SINGLE DAY. If that doesn’t scream marketing opportunity, I don’t know what does.
Instagram is unique from other social media platforms in that they keep it SIMPLE. You aren’t bombarded with multiple ads fighting for your attention at one time. There are no pop-ups or random links coming from random places constantly trying to redirect you. Instagram utilizes simple colors, minimal distractions, and only one post appears on the screen at a given time.
Instagram plays a unique role in the fitness industry. It has quickly become the go-to for “fitspiration” — fitness-inspiration — and an easy place for fitness models to flaunt their physique and brand. Instagram provides an opportunity to clearly communicate a message to a huge audience. But with 400 millions people looking at Instagram every day, how does one get their posts to the forefront?
1. FOCUS ON YOUR CONTENT, NOT SELLING YOUR PRODUCT
While Instagram can be utilized for direct marketing, don’t be “that guy” who comments on everyone’s photos relentlessly to get a sale. It’s annoying and while it may be effective to get noticed, it’s not effective for getting (and keeping) customers. You may recall that in our transparency blog that consumers respond best and are likely to pursue business with a person or company they feel genuinely connects and cares for them. Instead of putting your primary focus on getting sales, shift your focus to actually connecting with your target audience. Put time into researching and creating content that would be interesting and helpful for them.
Amanda Bucci is a great example of this. She is a fitness model, entrepreneur, YouTuber, Podcaster and a well established influencer on Instagram. Sitting at almost 500,000 followers, she revealed her number one secret on her podcast. She encourages people to create content around questions people are asking. Before you post a picture, ask yourself: Who do I want to reach? What message do I want my audience to receive? Is this message valuable for them?
With intentional posts and quality pictures, your target audience will take notice.
2. HASHTAG INTENTIONALLY
This may be the most obvious, but the key here is to be strategic. Instagram allows you to add up to 30 hashtags, but that probably isn’t necessary. Identify the right hashtags to use instead of mindlessly throwing a bunch of random ones on at the end of your caption.
To find the most effective hashtags to promote your brand, do a search on keywords relevant to your business. See what your competitors are utilizing and ensure all of the hashtags are aligned with your niche. For example, when you type in “yoga” into the search engine you’ll notice the other trending tags relevant to yoga appear. “#yogachallenge, #yogaeverydamnday and #yogainspiration pop up just to name a few.
It may be a good idea incorporate these trending hashtags rather than just hashtagging a very broad “yoga.” People are likely to search trendy hashtags that are popular at the moment.
3. DO YOUR PART
It would be nice if when you posted a picture, tossed in a few hashtags, maybe tag a location that it would be enough to generate numerous leads. Unfortunately, that’s usually not enough. If you want people to engage with your posts, you should be doing the same! Follow brands that have the same target audience as you, and actively like and comment on their recent posts. BUT WAIT, hear me out. I DON’T mean comments asking for a follow back. I mean genuine, nice comments acknowledging their content or caption. The idea is that others will see your comment, find it engaging enough and click on your profile. By “engaging enough”, I mean avoiding vague comments like “cool” or “nice pic” like the plague. Instead, make an effort to leave genuine comments that others may find funny or interesting.
Think of your comments as you would your instagram captions, they should be engaging, show off your personality and encourage people to take action. Don’t think of it as gaining followers, but building a community within your niche.
4. UTILIZE INSTAGRAM STORIES
Instagram stories have been a hit since they got their start. With a very similar idea to Snapchat, they provide a fun and versatile way to foster more meaningful connections with your audience. They basically give your followers a glimpse into your personality and daily life that still photos simply can’t capture.
Take a moment and head to the explore page on Instagram. There is a row of Instagram stories at the top of the page. The reason those specific stories appear is because Instagram selected them based on the accounts you follow and the posts you like. If you follow majority health and fitness instagrammers, you will likely see the same trend on the explore page.
Instagram may also show you stories that accounts you follow have liked, or even were liked by a large number of people. This can give you an idea of the kind of stories your target audience is the most engaged with. It would be ideal to get featured on the explore page, but not necessary in gaining and maintaining loyal followers. Just simply adding in a personal touch that others will see could be enough to persuade someone to continue following you and tell their other like minded friends to do the same.
Utilize these tips along with posting consistently, and you are well on your way to growing your Instagram following.