You’ve set up your shiny new Instagram account – or dusted off the one you’ve had for years but have barely used.
Perhaps you’ve got a bunch of followers, but they don’t really seem to fit your target market. You might only get a few comments and likes when you post, or worse, irrelevant spam in response to your photos.
Having the right audience matters: buying followers, or mass-following people in the hopes they’ll follow back, isn’t going to improve your bottom line.
So how do you attract the right audience on Instagram?
1. Figure Out Who Your Target Audience Is
All companies need a target audience: the group of people at whom their products and/or services are aimed.
Some products might have quite a clear target audience. Eco-friendly baby wipes are aimed at parents of young children who have a strong environmental concern.
But other products may be considerably less clear. Let’s say you make handcrafted Christmas decorations; those could be aimed at pretty much anyone who celebrates Christmas.
If your product or service doesn’t have an obvious target audience, you need to figure out who exactly you want to sell to. Think about:
- Demographics: What age is your target customer? What gender? Where in the world do they live?
- Income: Is your product a budget-friendly buy, or a luxury product?
- Values: What values do your target customers support? (You might think about your values and the type of business you’d like to build.)
- Interests: What do your customers enjoy doing in their spare time?
- Social media use: Do your customers love giveaways? Want to create their own content and see it shared? Or do they use social media more as a tool for making purchases and accessing customer support?
Step 2. Optimize Your Instagram Profile
Your next step is to make sure your Instagram profile is designed to attract the right audience. Think about:
- Using key terms that people might search for when looking for your type of business.
- Using a slightly different name in your bio from your username (especially if your company name was too long to use as your username).
- Including emojis if that suits your brand and your target audience. These can add more visual appeal to your bio.
- Using a clear profile picture – either your brand logo or a photo of you, whichever is most likely to appeal to your target audience.
Here’s an example from Whole Foods Market. Notice how they use their full name in the bio section of the profile, encourage people to use their hashtag, and have a clear logo using their brand colors as their profile image.
Step 3. Use the Right Hashtags to Reach Your Audience
Once you’ve figured out what your target audience is interested in, the simplest way to bring them to you is to use relevant hashtags in your content.
For instance, if your brand sells cleaning products, #cleaningmotivation is a huge tag to get in on. If you sell craft items, then #craftersofinstagram is where you need to be. And pretty much any brand could get in on #TBT (Throwback Thursday) or #MondayBlues.
You can (and probably should!) add multiple hashtags to each post. However, don’t get carried away: you want all your hashtags to be highly relevant not only to your post itself but also to your intended target audience.
Step 4. Make Use of Your Existing Audience
Building an audience on Instagram – or any social media platform – can feel daunting. Even if you’ve been in business for a while, it may seem like you’re starting over from scratch.
However, you likely already have an existing audience on your blog, email list, or both. Plenty of those people will be on Instagram and might love to follow you there. Being in touch with your customers across multiple channels gives you more potential customer touchpoints. You’ll be more often in your customers’ minds, and they’ll be more likely to buy.
So how do you get your existing audience to follow you on Instagram?
First, make sure your Instagram details are on every page of your website (the top right is a good location, but you could also consider your footer or sidebar).
Second, include your Instagram profile link at the bottom of every email you send, and mention it more prominently in your emails from time to time, too.
Third, make it really easy for your existing audience to help out! Using share buttons for a website means that they can share a blog post (or a page on your site) on Instagram with just a couple of clicks. This can help you find lots more people in your target audience.
What if you don’t have an existing audience at all? Then you might want to collaborate with a similar brand to yours on Instagram, so you can both help one another grow your audience. Ideally, you want to find a brand with the same target audience as you, but that isn’t a direct competitor.
Step 5. Create Share-Worthy Instagram Posts
Once you’ve started to attract a good target audience, there’s a high chance that some of your audience will have Instagram followers of their own who’d be a great fit for your product or service.
To reach these followers of followers, you want to create share-worthy content. Depending on who you’re targeting, that might mean:
- Funny memes or gifs
- Useful “how-to” videos or hacks
- Before and after photos
- Posts that tackle political or social themes
- Inspirational quotes
- Cute animals
- Engaging product videos
- Behind-the-scenes photos
… or pretty much anything else that your target audience will think is cool enough to share. Remember, as well as great photos, it’s important to use your captions well.
Attracting the right audience on Instagram may take some time. It might seem quicker and much easier to turn to quick hacks for getting followers instead. But by building the right audience, you’ll get much better results: more qualified leads, more customers, and more lifelong fans. By following the simple steps above, you can start growing your target audience today.