At this point, this isn’t news, but DO NOT buy Instagram followers. This used to be a common practice at the beginning of influencer marketing. In today’s world (and honestly, even back then) buying followers might be the worst move for your brand. Firstly, you will get very little engagement despite your large following.
Second, it is very obvious that your followers are fake. Their accounts will have few posts or none. They will likely have no profile picture, which is a dead giveaway of a nonactive user. Finally, they will have few followers but follow a lot of other accounts. A quick look at your followers will show a large amount of these bot accounts, and you will not be taken seriously.
It’s important to gain a following organically. Not only do you want relatively high engagement – about 20% follower engagement – but you also want your brand to have a solid market on social media. The purpose of your brand’s profile is to increase brand awareness and generate leads. Having fake followers serves no purpose.
Here’s how to create a following, organically.
Step 1: Fully Optimize Your Page
Your Instagram profile is your social marketing tool. That means it needs to be fully set up before you begin gaining followers, and attention. Add a profile picture that signifies your brand, like a logo or commonly used marketing photo. Your handle should be your brand’s name or as close to it as you can get (since Instagram is pretty cluttered at this point). Of course, you must add a website to the link section, and a short business description, or slogan, to your bio. If possible, add a location, phone number, and email for easy customer contact.
Once your profile has all of those necessary parts, add a few posts to show activity. Even though the page was just created, adding three to six posts will help drive some early engagement. Using one or two pictures that have appeared elsewhere, like your website or print marketing can help build brand identity, but try to use more original/new content after first starting. Then, add some hashtags.
Step 2: Build a Following by Being an Instagram Follower
One of the best ways to get attention on social media is actually to give attention. Like in real life, people love to be complimented. By following, liking, and commenting on someone’s content, you are flattering them and getting their attention. You may not get a response from every single account you interact with, but you will get some Instagram followers, and increase your brand awareness in the process.
Interacting with similar brands can also help. If another company has a solid following and you engage with their social media, you may find leads by attracting your target audience subliminally. Even engaging with influencers can help you! Sending a message or commenting on a celebrity’s account can help your visibility on the platform.
Step 3: Post Consistent, and On-Brand, Content
Having a sense of consistency is key to a successful digital strategy. Using a content calendar can be a brand’s life-saver. A big mistake new brands make is displaying a lack of consistency in content, and it is definitely obvious. A swimwear brand should not be posting random memes about a TV show, and a comedy account suddenly sharing a very serious post is off-putting. Diversity of content is certainly important, but brand consistency is even more vital.
The type of content you post also matters. Images and videos garner the most engagement, while Instagram stories, live videos, and links to branded content perform pretty low. Text-heavy posts do OK but at very specific intervals. While they may look good and provide some inspiration on your follower’s feed along with posts from other accounts, text-based content all over your profile looks sloppy, boring, and displeasing to the eye. Ranked third in most engaging content, these posts should be used sparingly, but with consistent design. Use the same font, color, background, and word count in these posts in order to establish a brand aesthetic.
The recommended posting scheduling is roughly once per day, but every other day is also acceptable. Smaller brands can post up to three times per day in the beginning, but more than that can be overwhelming to your followers once you gain traction. The best days and times to post for optimal engagement are Wednesday from 9 am to 3 pm and Friday from 9 am to 12 pm. Other good times to post include Tuesday early afternoons, Thursday late mornings, and Saturday mornings.
Step 4: Implement Affiliate Marketing, if Possible
Paying for posts may not seem “organic,” but it is another important form of marketing that can help your brand grow quickly.
While influencer marketing has become a bit outdated due to the clarity of paid advertising and a lack of authenticity in Insta-models leading to mistrust, affiliate marketing can be a great tool to get a brand on the map! Finding a small-scale celebrity to actually try your product and then vouch for you can do wonders to increase brand awareness and trust. While influencers are required to use #ad on any posts that they are paid to create, if they can genuinely attest to the product or service and explain it in a way that is both attention-grabbing and real, it can be valuable. Even if it doesn’t appear super authentic, your brand’s name will still be heard across the web.
Some bloggers are very serious about what they promote and therefore have a lot of trust. Finding those niche influencers work well because they also drive quality leads, not just brand awareness. To find these potential affiliates, scour YouTube, TikTok, Instagram itself, and even search relevant terms into Google to find popular industry blogs. Digital Bombers can help you find the right affiliate marketer for your brand!
All these steps may appear overwhelming to a small business owner, and it can be a time-consuming process. The good news is, Digital Bombers can do all of these things for you. From creating and optimizing your Instagram account to engaging with other users to affiliate marketing strategy, we’ve got your back. Fill out the form on our contact page, or feel free to send us an email directly at [email protected].