How to grow real followers on Instagram

In the early days of Instagram, it was the norm to buy followers, but although this might boost your followers in the short term, it’s a waste of time, as they aren’t your REAL followers – and they’re usually not your target audience. Real followers on your Instagram account are the people that engage with you and your business – your brand and care about what you post.

There are more than a billion active users on Instagram, which makes it one of the top four social networks worldwide.

The statistics

These stats sourced from https://backlinko.com/instagram-users)

  • Monthly active users (MAUs) – 1 billion globally
  • Instagram daily active users (DAUs) – 500 million globally
  • Instagram stories reach 500 million per day
  • 23.92% of the 4.18 billion active mobile internet users access Instagram monthly – that’s the same amount of people that live in Europe and North America combined!
  • People spend an average of 29 minutes a day on Instagram

These stats are pretty mind-blowing, and in my opinion shout out loud and clear that using Instagram for business is a no-brainer.

As with any social media account, the downside is keeping track of everything, especially if you’re running your Instagram account as only a small part of your business. It can be very time consuming.

How to use Instagram for your business and grow your real followers  

  1. Make sure you are using an Instagram business account. If you’re not yet doing this, either start a new business account or switch from a personal account to a business account.
  2. Have an Instagram strategy. The first part of any strategy is to know your target audience – the people to whom your post and marketing is aimed at.

    – Look at who already buys from you
    – Check the insights on all your social media channels to find out who follows you – what are their age group, their demographics, psychographics and geographics. Read my previous blog on finding your target audience for more information.
    Research your competitors to find out if your audiences vary and why.
  3. Set goals and objectives. You need to think about how Instagram can help you achieve them. Make sure your goals are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.

    Once you know what your goals are, you can focus on the different aspects of your strategy to lead your followers through the various stages of the customer journey.

    – Awareness of your business and brand  
    – Engagement with what you post, which you can measure by the number of likes, comments, and shares.
    – Conversion – how many people click through to your website, follow your CTAs (calls to action), click on your blog posts or your online shop, or subscribe to your email newsletter. This also covers any people who respond by clicking on your paid ads if you use them.
    Customer – this stage is based on the action that customers take, such as buying, repeat customers, retention of existing customer, recommendations etc.
  4. Plan your content in advance. This doesn’t have to be on a particular app, you can just plan it on paper or on a simple word document or spreadsheet.

    Once you know who your target audience is and you know what your goals are and how you want to achieve them, you can plan your posts, stories, reels, and videos in a more structured way. Having a plan means you can include dates or events that interest you – the big ones such as Christmas, Easter, or Halloween, as well as things that interest you, such as Hug your pet day, or National Cupcake Day. Just do a search on Google to find a relevant list of these dates and decide which ones you want to highlight.

    I also plan my content around the 80/20 rule – 80% of posts are about engaging, entertaining, educating and inspiring my audience – and 20% is about selling my services. You could choose to do a series of posts around a particular theme. For example, if you make something, you could run a series of ‘how to’ posts, using short video clips, and instructions with photos. These fall into all the 80% category!

    You can use video, memes, quotes, quizzes, ‘this or that,’ ask questions…the list is endless. And all of them are engaging your real followers and making them want to see more from you.
  5. Publish at the right time. You can look at your insights to find out when your followers are online and looking at Instagram. This tells you what days of the week and what time of day your followers are most active. Post at those times to get the most engagement.
  6. Create a fabulous bio. This is the first impression people get of you and your business, so make sure it tells your audience exactly who you are and what you do. There is very little time to make that good first impression. Show them why they should follow you. You only have 150 characters to do this, so keep it to the point and include some of your personality. Add a CTA, so people know what to do next – this could be a link to your website, blog or to your Linktree, where they have a choice of which link they’d like to go to next.

    For business, you should use the profile image – either a good shot of yourself or your logo – it’s up to you.

    Also, make use of the Story highlights. This is where you can have your stories organised into different collections – this could be one collection of products, about you, FAQs, hints, and tips – again the list is endless.
  7. Always share high quality content. Instagram is a highly visual platform so it’s crucial to organise your posts so that your audience will be able to instantly recognise that it’s you. There are several different grid layouts to choose from. Just search on Google for grid layouts and there are several great articles on the different types you can use. Using your brand colours and a good aesthetic will really help your business stand out from the crowd.

    Look at your competitors, look at businesses that are completely different to you and see what they do and how they organise their posts. Once you have decided, you can batch make posts and schedule them, so you don’t have to think about it too much once it’s done.
  8. Always write a caption. I do see several businesses that post fabulous images, but no caption. To me, the image doesn’t always mean something unless there is a caption. The caption explains your image in greater detail. Even if you’ve done a brilliant carousel post, where people swipe across several posts to find out more and more info, a caption is still needed to give a bit more information, or to ask a question to keep your audience engaged. Captions make your images more meaningful.
  9. Use stories. A survey carried out by Facebook in 2018 found that 58% of the participants became interested in a brand or product after seeing it in a story. It’s a great place to tell your brand stories, share reviews, share a bit about yourself and your business. You can engage your audience by using the many different features of stories, such as stickers, polls, etc. You can also use video and background music. If you’re consistent with your stories, you can get your audience into the habit of watching them regularly…and if they love what you do, they’ll be looking for your stories every day.
  10. Be consistent. You will hear this all the time, but whether you post every day (and you don’t have to), or post three times a week, make sure you are consistent, so your audience knows when you expect your posts.
  11. Always respond to comments, tags, or mentions. If someone takes the time to comment on a post or share your post and tag you in it, it’s only polite to acknowledge that fact. Always reply to comments and always reply to DMs. Taking the time to personally reply makes your audience feel valued. It can be time consuming, but it is so worth it. Another tip is to respond to the person by name if you can – it makes it more personal.
  12. Promote your Instagram account on your other channels. Instagram may not be your most popular channel, so if you have an established following on another channel, promote your Instagram account on that. Your regular followers will want to support you on Instagram as well. Try and vary the content between channels, so you are not constantly posting the same content…or at least do it in a slightly different order!
  13. Collaborate with other businesses. You can agree to engage with each other’s posts and share content to your stories. It does have to be relevant to your business, but this is a good way to get to other followers from a similar business to yours.
  14. Measure your success. When you use Instagram for your business, it’s really important to track your progress. Look at your insights to find out what kind of posts your audience is most interested in – what gives you more engagement.

    Look at how Instagram is helping you achieve your goals, and why some things work, and some don’t. It’s all a learning curve. Instagram’s insights only track the last 30 days, so you need to do this regularly and keep a note so you can compare future figures and facts.

Like all social media channels, Instagram is great for your small business if you use it properly and are consistent in what you do.

If you’d like to have a coaching session on Instagram, or would like a review of your profile, send me a message, or email me at cindymobey@outlook.com

Capture your audience with a fabulous Instagram bio

If you’re on social media for your business, you’ll know that there are millions of similar businesses to yours out there.

Research tells us that someone browsing online will make their mind up about you and your business within seconds. This doesn’t give you much time to impress those browsers. This is where your all-important Instagram profile is crucial – you need to find a way to capture that audience as quickly as possible.

To capture that audience, you need to be both creative and have a strategy.

Here are a few steps you can take to help you grab their attention.

Choose an image

For your business Instagram profile, you can use either a photo of yourself or an image of your logo. Either works well. I prefer to see photos, so I know the person behind the business, but either is acceptable.

Optimise your Instagram name

First of all, your name. Make sure that this is optimised with your name and a searchable keyword.

For example, say you are a photographer and specialise in new-born and family photos. You could include what you do in the name field – Jane Doe, newborn, and family photographer. Then in the category, you may choose to use Photographic Studio. This tells your audience what you do and that you have a dedicated studio for your photography.

Ensure you use a keyword that your audience are likely to search for and what you are known for.

Tell your audience about your skills  

This can be difficult and takes some planning as you only have a limited number of characters to use to get your message across.

This section needs to cover what your business is about and who you are targeting.

Reiterate what you do. You could use a mix of sentences and bullet points to entice people in and giving them a bit more information about you. For example…

Make lasting memories of your newborn & family.

  • 10yrs exp
  • South England
  • Book via website
  • Natural photos to treasure

This is very simple and straightforward but highlights exactly what Jane Doe does on the tin.

In the profile you can add a link, so add one to your website if you have one.

Use relevant keywords/phrases

Although Instagram won’t use these words or phrases in any searches, as searches are conducted on your name and username fields, using keywords can help you connect to your target audience and appeal to emotions. In the example above, think ‘lasting memories,’ ‘newborn,’ ‘family,’ ‘natural photos to treasure.’ They are all things we’re looking for if we want family photos.

You do need to know your target audience, so this is where a bit of work comes in to determine who they are, what they want and how you can give it to them. Your keywords or phrases will address their pain points and give them a solution to what they’re looking for.

Drive traffic to your website

As I mentioned above, your profile can include a link to your website. Although it is planned to be able to use more than one link in future, now, you can only use one.

So how do you choose? You might have a website, a blog, or an Etsy shop. You might also have a link to sign up to your email that you’d like to use. But you can only use one link!

You can opt for just one, or you can sign up to something like Linktree. It’s free to sign up and works by you creating a landing page on the Linktree site, which features multiple links to your other sites. You simply copy and paste your Linktree landing page URL into your Instagram bio and instantly your followers have access to all the things you do.

The only time I would change the link on your bio from Linktree, is if you are running a special promotion or offer. Then I would advise to change the URL to go directly to your shop, landing page or wherever your audience can get instant access to your offer. Sending them to Linktree, and another step in a chain to get to what they want, may put potential customers off. If you have an offer on, they want to get there as soon as possible.

Have a CTA (call to action)

Linked to driving traffic to your chosen link is a CTA (call to action). Put a sentence that tells people what to do…visit my shop, for example with an arrow pointing down to your chosen link.

Add your contact information

You can add your contact details to your business profile on Instagram. This includes your email address, phone number and actual address.

The best part about adding these is that it doesn’t take up any character space in your bio!

Be creative!

Once you have all the information that you want to convey to your audience, use any extra characters to be creative. You can use emojis, either just for fun, or to highlight bullet points or your CTA.

Use hashtags

Instagram always encourages its users to make use of hashtags. A hashtag, such as #newbornphotographer is used to categorise content and make it easier to find. You can click on hashtags and Instagram will show you a page that shows all posts tagged with that hashtag. So, it’s useful for getting your page found.

Instagram tells us that we can use the maximum number of hashtags in every post, which is 30, and up to 10 on a story. If you try to include more, your comment or caption won’t post.

But just because you can use 30 hashtags, it doesn’t mean you have to. There’s no right number, but the general opinion I’ve seen recently is that 10 or 11 is good for posts and just a few on stories. It’s best to do a bit of trial and error to see what works best for you. I tend to use around 10-12.

Conclusion

Who would guess there is so much to think about when doing your bio? As a quick recap, your Instagram bio or profile is the first things visitors see, so it’s important to make a good first impression.

Follow the simple steps I’ve mentioned, and you should be on the road to making that good impression. It’s worth taking your time to get it right.

Once you’re happy with it, show it some of your friends, or ask people in one of your networking groups to have a look and give you some feedback.

And remember, it’s not a ‘do it and that’s it’ thing either. It’s a good idea to revisit your bio every few months to make sure that it is still relevant to what you do, and still aimed at your target audience, as things can change.

Check out my blog page for more marketing help and tips to help you grow your small business.

cindymobey.blog

How to stand out on your Instagram bio

Your bio is the first thing visitors to your Instagram account will see. You have 150 characters to introduce yourself to your audience, let them know exactly what you do and how you can help them, and to engage them. It seems a bit overwhelming to try and so all this in just 150 words, but this blog post will help you…I’ve got your back!

You need to write a bio to create a good first impression and also to give your readers a reason to follow you, like and share your content…and ultimately convert them to customers.

What are the main elements of a good bio?

The main elements and objectives are:

  • Descriptive and keywords in your profile name
  • Tell your readers what they can expect from your page and what’s in it for them
  • Include a good call to action (CTA). This is basically telling your audience what you want them to do next
  • Include a link to your website or blog
  • Use line breaks and emojis, as this makes it much easier to read

Name field

Make sure your name field is optimised with your name and a searchable keyword. For example, my Instagram name field is ‘Cindy Marketing Consultant.’ It gives my name and what I do.

If you were a hairdresser, you could put your name and then ‘hairdresser’ or ‘hair salon.’

This helps with searches that people make.

Highlight your skills

Tell your audience what you do. Keep it concise and to the point. Depending on what you do, you can be creative with this, as well as saying what you do on the tin.

If you were a Social Media Manager, you might put something like..

  • Social Media Management
    Helping beauty, wellness and skincare businesses grow

Or if you do something specific in that field…

  • Social Media Management made easy
  • Videography & photography

Some people include where they are based.

Use relevant keywords

Some people also use keywords in their bio. It won’t necessarily improve your searchability on Instagram, as searches tend to concentrate on your name and username, but it can help you connect with your followers and helps you get across what you do.

Keywords could include your values and interests and those of your target audience, so you attract them into your feed.

If you were a business selling nutrition, for example, you could include keywords such as ‘wellness,’ ‘nutrition,’ ‘self-care’ etc. You get the idea.

Drive traffic to your website

Your Call to Action or CTA is what drives traffic from your Instagram bio to your website or blog, event page, YouTube channel or online store. You are telling people what to do next. As well as using your CTA to point your audience to your website or whatever, you can also tell them to DM you, like, share or you’re your post for later.

The downside with Instagram is that you can only have one link in your bio. However, with apps like Canva, or Later, you can turn your whole Instagram feed into a clickable landing page and drive traffic to everything, with just one link. It’s like having a website built into your profile that every post can be sent to – then your audience has the choice of which option to go to. These apps are free to use and can really help with engagement. You just put a note on your individual posts – for example, if you are posting about products you sell on your website, you can finish your post with ‘Link in bio,’ which encourages your audience to look at your bio and click on the link.

Contact details

You can also add your email address, telephone number and the actual physical address of your business too. Your contact details don’t take up your character space, so that’s a bonus.

Recap

Once you have your Instagram bio set up, it’s worth asking some of your friends, family, and peers to have a look at it. A good bio will create a fabulous first impression and convince your audience to follow you and engage with your posts. So, you need to:

  • Tell who you are and what you do
  • Use keywords to target your ideal audience
  • Add a link to your website or blog
  • Complete the email and telephone fields so your audience have other ways to contact you

And, above all, show your personality. It’s worth spending time and effort into your bio to get it exactly right. The joy of your bio is that you can change it over time – make sure you review it every couple of months and make adjustments, checking your links work, so it’s always up to date and continually improving.