Given that Instagram can generate 4x more engagement for brands than Facebook, and that 80% of Instagrammers decide whether to buy a product or service on the platform, it’s important for brands to start stepping up their Instagram game.
Not only is Instagram influential in driving purchase decisions but it’s an incredible platform on which to build relationships.
Instagram is one of the strongest social media platforms for creating connections. In fact, the duo Amy Tischler and Caitlin Jenkins behind Simply Social Media can vouch personally for that. The two FIRST connected on the platform.
These ladies are our go-to Instagram experts, so we sat down with them to find out what are their best practices when it comes to how to build your influence on Instagram.
Why Instagram Is Important:
Before diving into the best practices for brands to build influence and post on Instagram, it’s important to first understand why the platform matters.
Let’s consider the following statistics:
- More than 50% of Instagram accounts use the explore feature every month
- There are 500 million daily active InstaStories users
- 58% of people say they’ve become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Stories
- 71% of US businesses claim to use Instagram
- The average instagram user posts once a day
- 83% of people discover new products or services through Instagram
There’s no doubt that if used well, brands can grow their awareness, drive purchases and build relationships with customers on Instagram.
For brands, it comes down to using the platform well and understanding the best practices.
Oftentimes, businesses are in the mindset of ‘set it and forget it' but it’s called social media for a reason! It’s meant to be social. In fact, that’s the only way to create community and build relationships.
Here’s a quick tip for brands before we even dive into it >> make sure the hours for your business are up-to-date on your Instagram profile.
How To Build Your Influence On Instagram:
When thinking about how to build your influence on Instagram, it’s important to focus less on influence and more on connection.
Think about it as the magnet vs. bullhorn analogy. We want to be a magnet, which means showing up with value that drives people to us vs. being a bullhorn, which means just shouting our message out.
For brands looking to get started, the most important thing we can recommend is to go back to basics and be social! Focus on building relationships.
Make sure that there is a human component to your presence. While you don’t have to respond to every comment within seconds, it’s important to acknowledge people’s comments and take the time to respond to them.
Engaging with our community is not only what shows them that we care, but it’s how we truly get to know them and build relationships with them. It’s how we establish their trust AND let them into our world.
A little Instagram-influencer terminology:
- Micro-influencer: Think of these as savvier Instagrammers. They usually have followers under 100k but are well-versed with using the platform and taking advantage of the opportunities available to the Creator accounts.
- Nano-influencer: Think of these are smaller and a little less savvy, but influential nonetheless.
Posting regularly and engaging with others on the platform will be hugely beneficial in growing relationships and being seen on Instagram.
We love Amy and Caitlin’s motto that everybody is an influencer! It reminds us that it’s not about the size of our audience but rather the quality of the conversations that we’re having with them.
Instagram is about showing up and sharing about our life experiences. Those that are skilled at doing that are the ones that are growing their influence and creating a strong sense of community.
“Because influencers already have this trusted community, we can align and collaborate with them. These opportunities are truly what expand our reach without it feeling forced or salesy.” @jessikaphillips (click to tweet)
The most important thing to remember >> It’s not about selling. We follow people because of their lifestyle.
We trust individuals that show up as their true selves because that is what is believable and relatable.
Those who show their personality behind the brand… those are the people that we are going to trust first when it comes to product and brand recommendations.
Where To Post On Instagram:
It can be easy for brands to get overwhelmed when it comes to where to post on Instagram.
With the feed, Stories, Reels, IGTV, and Guides, there are a lot of options for where to create content on the platform.
If you’re just getting started, start simple. Tackle things one at a time.
Our top tips for the different places to post:
- Instagram Feed: This is your profile grid. That 3x3 layout.
- Stories: Bring people along the way/behind-the-scenes. It’s real people doing real things in real time. (If you’re not making stories yet, it’s time to get started!)
- IGTV: Videos that are 1+ minute long. Think: a mini YouTube channel inside of your Instagram. Playlists, and all!
- Reels: Videos that are 30 seconds or less. A place to have fun and be creative. Think: TikTok on Instagram.
- Guides: These are relatively new and there are 3 types: Place (location), Product and Post. From Local City guides to gift guides to featuring your team/doing an “About Us” or featuring your favorite apps, there are essentially limitless ways that you can use this feature!
A tip for brands using Guides >> Share your guides in your InstaStories to enhance its visibility. Since guides don’t appear in the feed, sharing them to Stories is a great way to drive more eyeballs.
While there are a lot of options, the most important thing is to not get overwhelmed. Instagram is supposed to be fun!
“This is a marathon. This is not a sprint. You can’t just do everything at once and expect to have success, so just get solid and comfortable and figure out what you like to do because that’s where the REAL magic comes through!” @tischleramy (click to tweet)
You don’t HAVE to post to the feed, Stories, IGTV, Reels, and Guides! In fact, we think if you try to do everything at once you’re going to set yourself up for burnout.
“Do the thing that brings you joy because your audience will really feel that!” - Amy Tischler
Be thoughtful and intentional about where you’re putting your content creation efforts so that you can preserve your energy for the content that matters most both to you AND your audience!
One big tip for brands >> Be willing to play around with the different types of content Instagram offers!
It’s much more important to focus on the right FIT than the specific type of content. Making sure that the content truly fits the tone and style of the brand, and has the right core message, is crucial.
“Sometimes the things that you try once are super successful! So long as you’re intentional about it and make sure that it fits your brand style, have fun playing with the tools that Instagram offers!” @caitlinephoto (click to tweet)
How To Take Action Today:
As brands, the more we learn and implement, the better chance we have to use these platforms to create meaningful connections to our audience.
That’s why we recommend doing the following:
- Create a strong bio: There’s the username, AND you’ve got your Name spot on Instagram. If your username IS your business name, don’t just repeat it for your name! Use that space to be creative and share a descriptor about your business. It’s a great way to capture attention and speak to what you do. Also, be sure to have a strong, keyword-rich description that includes relevant hashtags. Oh, and make sure that your bio link works. (It never hurts to double-check!)
- Perform a mini content audit: Go through your old posts and archive ones that aren’t relevant anymore. Clean up your profile and make it more appealing. Also, ask for feedback from others on how your profile looks and sounds!
- Have a strategy: Yep, we said it, You need a roadmap for what you’re doing on the platform. Create some content pillars to post about and have a framework without being too rigid. It’s important to create a strategy that has wiggle room embedded into it so that there is an opportunity for timely content that is reflective of what’s going on in your inner and outer world. Not to mention, you want to be able to adapt the strategy based on what’s working and driving engagement as well as what’s bringing you joy as a content creator!
By crafting a strong bio, doing a content audit, and crafting a strategy, we can feel confident in our efforts moving forward on the platform!
This confidence comes through in our content AND helps inspire creativity. That willingness to try new things is crucial in order to continue to expand our influence as the platform evolves.
Putting It All Together:
By showing up consistently and strategically, with the goal of building relationships with our audience, we truly have the ability to grow our influence on Instagram.
Whether we are growing a personal or business brand, it’s important to remember that everyone is an influencer. We all have a unique voice and style and it’s worth showing up and sharing that because that is how we can truly connect to others!
Regardless of whether we create content for the feed, Stories, IGTV, Guides, or Reels, by showing up as a human and focusing on building relationships, we have the ability to grow our influence on Instagram.
The best part? >> You can get started for free with this live workshop on Guides from Amy and Caitlin! Sign up to get creative and learn all of the steps to take your guide from creation to publication! You'll also have opportunities to ask questions and get feedback on creative ways in which this Instagram sub-platform can be used for your brand or business!
What do you think? Who are some of your favorite Instagrammers? Share with us in the comments below and go check out Simply Social Media's Guide to Instagram Guides!