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July 11, 2020

How To Build and Grow Your Community On Instagram

marketing

So you want to grow your Instagram community? Building community on Instagram is easily one of my favorite topics. I’m a natural connector and I have so many Instagram friends I’ve never met in real life. I value these relationships just as much as my in-person ones. This is the heart of building a true community on Instagram. Connection is where you will build a community that trusts you and will purchase your products again and again via Instagram.

Why even spend time on building an Instagram community? Do you really need to grow an Instagram community? If you are selling anything then the short answer is a big old YES.  You need an Instagram community to buy from you. But you don’t just want your Instagram community to buy from you. You want them to hype over your products, tell all their friends about you, share your content and consistently engage with you. 

(Not sure why you are where all your likes and engagement are? Check out this post)

Do you feel like you are late to the Instagram game? You’re not! You are never, ever too late to chase your dreams. There is plenty of room (and time!) for you to create and build a community of ideal clients and customers on Instagram.

Let’s dig into my favorite strategies to build your Instagram community whether you are growing your Instagram community from scratch or you’re an OG ‘grammer like me.

1. Optimize Your Instagram Bio

optimized instagram bio

First, let’s talk about why it’s important to have your Instagram bio in tip-top shape. You have less than a second, I’m talking like 0.0008 of a second, before someone decides whether or not they are going to scroll down your profile and check you out. You’ve got to make your very best first impression on your Instagram bio in order to attract your dream Instagram community.

What should your Instagram profile pic be? Should your Instagram profile pic be an image or a logo? If you are the face of your brand (like me!) and working with clients 1:1, then you want it to be an image of you! If you sell products or have a team of experts that serve your clients, then stick with a logo to build brand equity. 

Whether your Instagram profile pic is an image or a logo, make sure it is easy to see and stands out. Color is always going to be more eye catching than neutrals. If your brand is super neutral, try incorporating texture instead – see the daisies in mine here? That’s an example of texture even though my brand is super colorful. If you are using an image of you as your Instagram profile picture, make sure you are smiling at the camera. If you are using your logo as your Instagram profile picture, the logo is clear and easy to read.

It’s also important to make your “Name” in your Instagram profile searchable. Are you a wedding photographer? A coach? An expert at making carrot cake? Claim your expertise here so that when people are searching for your niche on Instagram, your profile pops up! For example, mine is “Casey ? Biz + Habits Coach”. I loved adding the daisy emoji because it’s part of my brand and stands out in a search.

Want to stand out on Instagram and attract your ideal squad? Instead of listing “what” you do twice, think about stating your “why” in your bio text instead. This will make you stand out from the competition and connect more with your audience. For example, in my bio example seen above, I tell people what I do (help entrepreneurs run their biz) and then why I do it (to help them find more time to do what they love). 

Always, always, always, have a call to action (CTA) pointing people to a link. People like an invitation and are much more likely to click your website link if you invite them to. Think about a CTA as a party invite. It’s much more fun to show up to a party you were invited to right?! Invite them to your Instagram community party!

2. Create and Post Content Consistently

great instagram content that connects

Create authentic content from the heart. Here we go with that connection thing again. I’ve built my entire business around connection. Stories and connection are what bring people into your content and therefore into your brand. Making a real connection with your Instagram community requires showing up consistently. If you want results in any aspect of your life, consistency is the only way. 

What does posting consistently to Instagram look like or even mean? The fun part here is that you get to decide what that looks like for you and your business. Does showing up every day or most days sound exciting? Then do that and stick with it. Does showing up twice a week sound doable? Do that and your Instagram community will come to expect your two weekly posts. Heck, they might even start searching for them if they missed them in your feed. The key here is always going to be showing up in a consistent way.

Let’s talk about how to create and write captions that connect with your Instagram community. The hard truth is, if you are bored writing it, your audience will be bored reading it. Find content that you actually enjoy writing about and focus on that. It’s okay if it’s not directly linked to what you sell. For example, my flower garden content goes bananas in stories and in my posts but I don’t sell anything directly related to it. And that’s okay! Not everything you post on Instagram needs to be (or should be) a selling point. Making that personal connection with your Instagram community is the most important piece.

One tip for posting consistently to Instagram is to find content “pillars”. For example, every week I post an Instagram caption that has marketing tips. I make that content look similar every week so my community knows to read that one if they are into my marketing tips. I also post something motherhood related once a week because that’s a huge connection point for my Instagram community and my ideal client. No one has less time to run a business that a mama (I should know!) and I love helping them implement systems and automation to save them time. See the images above as examples of pillars that I use to support my businesses and my personal brand.

The bottom line on creating content is consistency. I know, I know – I sound like a broken record but you can’t try content marketing for 2 weeks and expect it to be an overnight success. You’ve got to commit to 6-10 weeks of consistently showing up for your audience and I promise you, you’ll see the results in consistency.

Read more on creating Instagram content that connects.

3. Implement The Golden Rule of Instagram

Reeeeal quick. Before we talk about the Golden Rule. I feel like this should go without saying but if your truly want to build an Instagram community that will support your business, you have got to REPLY TO EVERY SINGLE COMMENT someone writes on your posts. EVERY SINGLE ONE – promise me okay? Okay now that I’ve got that off my chest, let’s talk the GR.

Ah, the Golden Rule! Do you know it? The OG rule is to treat others as you want to be treated. Are you putting the two together? One of the biggest questions I get about Instagram is “why isn’t anyone liking or commenting on my Instagram posts?” And there are a couple of answers but the biggest, most important reason is because you aren’t engaging with other people’s content.

Engage with others as you want others to engage with you! If you want more likes, get out there and get liking! If you want more comments, you have got to get out there and comment on other content.

One of the best ways to increase your Instagram engagement is to follow relevant hashtags to your business so they naturally show up in your feed. When you see a post that resonates with you or your ideal client’s values, like and comment on that post! If you are a real go-getter (like me!) you’ll go to that person’s profile and like and comment on their past 5 posts. Your comments should be in your brand voice and must be relevant to the post in order to make an impact to potential followers.

How does this help you build an Instagram community? You’ll be putting your name and your brand voice in front of potential followers that are aligned with your brand and values.

“But, that sounds like a lot of work Casey.” It’s really not! It sounds harder than it is. I set aside 20 minutes, M-F to actively like and comment on other people’s content. Put it as a reminder in your phone and set a timer. It’s totally doable! P.S. I find this easier to do on my desktop. Another fun tip – I will do this anytime I’m waiting in line or waiting for something to upload or waiting for my daughter to wake up for a nap. Instead of aimlessly scrolling – make it productive and fun by connecting with your Instagram community!

4. Get Personal in Instagram Stories

how to create better instagram stories

It’s going down in the DMs. Have you heard that from 1,000 other Instagram experts? Yes? It’s because it’s true. Building relationships and connection in your Instagram direct messages is so major for growing an Instagram community.

Instagram Stories is where you can get creative and personal if the majority of your feed is marketing messages. You can share your morning routine, a funny real life moment, your hobbies, share customer reviews, share inspiring posts – the list goes on and on. But the key here is to share things that you love so you can connect with your Instagram community beyond selling and marketing.

It’s really, really important that you are genuine and authentic in direct message on Instagram. This is where you are solidifying connections in a 1:1 environment and in order to really cement connection, your heart has to be in it. It’s got to be deeper than just a post comment. And the Golden Rule applies here too. If you want people to engage with you in DMs and react to your stories – you’ve got to get out there and engage with others!

How do DMs contribute to building your Instagram community? Essentially, the people who consistently show up in your DMs are your super fans. These people are going to be the ones consistently liking, commenting and sharing your posts which therefore translates into more followers like them. It’s super important to nurture these relationships with genuine connection and excitement.

Here’s a couple examples of how I’ve made sales in DMs!

how to engage with community on instagram
how to raise engagement on instagram

You CAN Build an Instagram Community!

We covered so much on growing an Instagram community! Let’s wrap it up. Most importantly, remember that connection is where you will build a community that trusts you and will purchase your products again and again via Instagram.

Do you even need to build an Instagram community? If you’re selling something then the answer is YES. But you don’t just want your Instagram community to buy from you. You want them to hype over your products, tell all their friends about you, share your content and consistently engage with you. 

You are not late to the Instagram game! Remember, you are never, ever too late to chase your dreams. There is plenty of room (and time!) for you to create and build a community of ideal clients and customers on Instagram. And now you have some major knowledge and strategies to not just get you going but to keep your Instagram community growing and growing!

If you loved these tips, you might be interested in checking out my Intentional Instagram Marketing Course! A complete toolbox to help you plan 30 days of Instagram content in 4 hours or less that will connect with and convert your audience. The first module is FREE. Check it out here.

You can also listen to this quickie episode of The Rulebreaker Podcast where I talk about rules that I love to break on Instagram. The Rulebreaker Podcast is available on Spotify and iTunes.

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