If it seems like everyone is on Instagram these days, that’s because they are. The visual social network has 1 billion active monthly users, and more than 500 million people use the platform every single day.
If you’ve yet to create an Instagram account, now is a good time to start. But in order to succeed, you need to know how to find and connect with your audience.
Determine Your Target Audience
You can’t reach your target audience if you don’t know who they are. Sure, you could throw content at the wall to see what sticks, but you’ll waste a lot of time and potential sales.
Knowing your audience means that you can create content that appeals to them, earn free Instagram followers, and ultimately, boost your bottom line.
Start with your larger marketing personas. You can add more detail and nuance to these profiles once you have more social data.
Social listening tools can help you determine what each persona: talks about, loves, and dislikes. You may want to go beyond just looking at brand-related topics to see what your audience cares about on a more general level.
Personas should serve as your guide when creating content on Instagram, or any other social platform. But how can you actually reach each persona?
Follow Best Practices
It’s important to target each persona individually, but you also want to make sure that you’re targeting your audience as a whole.
Start with determining the best time to post on Instagram. Ideally, you want to post when your audience is most active on the platform. According to Sprout Social, the best times to post on Instagram are Wednesday at 11 am and Friday at 10-11 am.
Overall, Wednesday is the best day to post on the platform. Sunday is the worst day to post. Content gets the least amount of engagement when it’s posted late at night or early in the morning between 11 pm and 3 am.
Start taking advantage of Instagram Stories. More than half of the platform’s daily active users are posting to Instagram Stories, so leverage this feature to interact with your audience on a deeper level.
Start following the appropriate hashtags using the follow hashtag feature. Doing so will help you target more niche communities while increasing your following.
Connect with Influencers
Influencers can help you reach your target audience in new ways and also reach communities that you’re not reaching right now.
Brands use influencers for a variety of reasons. They may want to extend their reach, promote products and offerings, or share their branded content. Instagram is highly effective for influencer marketing. In fact, Instagram influencers are the sixth most-effective at influencing purchases.
Typically, you’ll have to pay for influencer posts, but the return is often worth the investment. If you offer a unique product, you might consider sending your product to influencers and having them review it.
Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need an influencer with a high follower rate. It’s more important to choose someone who has a high engagement rate.
Use the Right Hashtags
Ultimately, your goal is to expand your reach and grow your following in a natural, organic way. Adding hashtags to your photos will make it easy for people to find your posts. To find the right hashtags, you’ll need to do some research.
Sure, you can use popular hashtags, and you’ll get some engagement and new followers. But if you’re looking for long-term engagement, you need to choose hashtags that are relevant and appropriate for your brand and content.
There are many online tools that you can use to find relevant and popular hashtags, such as Websta and IconoSquare.
Connect with Competitor Followers
Take a look at your competitors’ followers, and start engaging with them. These are people who are already interested in the types of products or services that you offer.
There are a few ways to engage with these followers, including:
- Following users
- Liking photos
- Commenting on photos
You may be surprised by how many people will follow you back and engage with your brand. Just make sure that you’re posting consistently and trying to engage with your followers on a regular basis.
Use Highlights to Your Advantage
When users land on your profile page, you have just a few seconds to grab their attention. One way to grab and hold their attention is to use the Highlights feature. This feature allows you to organize your Instagram Stories in whichever way you please.
Your Highlights can communicate what your profile is all about. Remember that Stories only have a 24-hour lifespan. Highlights allow those stories to live on and even encourage people to follow you so that they don’t miss future Stories.
Highlights allows you to organize your Stories into themes, let users know what your account is all about, promote your products using swipe-up links, and even explain your products through videos and pictures.