If you’ve ever taken one of my workshops or online courses you have definitely heard me say the phrase “Quality over quantity.” It’s something I stress to both students and clients when it comes to most aspects of social media, but it is especially true when it comes to your follower size.
It’s easy to get hung up on numbers, and although a large audience can be nice, it does not have a direct correlation on, well, much of anything. Even your ability to become an influencer is no longer determined exclusively by follower size because brands are also recognizing that it’s the quality of the follower, not the quantity of followers, that really matters.
The days of follower farming and follow-for-follow are hopefully behind us. I think that the future is all about organic growth and ethical social media. We already know that beautiful, high-quality content will get you more followers. The more appealing your images are, the more exposure it is likely to gain on Instagram and the more your reach expands. We know that hosting contests can help us gain new followers, but does it really move the needle in our business to have people follow us simply because they want to win something for free?
Aside from creating high-quality content (If this is an area you struggle in, check out my online course Content Creation for Small Business) engagement is the other aspect that can help us reach new people and grow our audience. If you aren’t sure what Account Moderation or Community Engagement are, be sure to check out the full blog post and video tutorial I created about it.
But, those aren’t the only ways to grow your following, and in today’s post I’m going to identify some of the places that I commonly see business owners leaving potential fans in the dust. Go through my checklist below to see how many of these you are actively using in your business. You don’t have to utilize all of them, some of these might not make sense for your business. So, focus on the ones that fit your business structure or seem like they’d make the most sense with your audience and go from there. Try to implement as many as you can, the more ways you are leading people to your account, the more followers you will gain.
🗹 If you sell a physical product, be sure to include a cute card with each order that clearly identifies your Instagram information and gives customers a way to interact with you (tag us, use this hashtag, etc). I order customized postcards through VistaPrint and include one with each of my Etsy Orders.
🗹 If you sell a digital product make sure your order notifications and shipping notifications include links to your Instagram account.
🗹 Make sure your Instagram Handle is on your business cards and anything you physically provide to people (menus, pamphlets, receipts etc).
🗹 Create a custom footer or graphic promoting your Instagram content and plug it into the content of your top 20-30 blog posts.
🗹 Manually upload some of your most popular Instagram Posts to your Pinterest account and add a link back to your Instagram Post or account.
🗹 If you send out regular emails or newsletters make sure you are encouraging your mailing list to follow you on Instagram.
🗹 If you have a physical location for your business (shop, restaurant) create a space that encourages social interaction (selfie station, mirror quotes, mural wall) and make sure your Instagram Handle is on display nearby.
🗹 Make sure that your email signature has links to where people can connect with you, including Instagram.
🗹 Cross-promote your Instagram account in posts to your other audiences (share an Instagram Post to Facebook with a call to follow you there, etc.)
🗹 If you have an Etsy Shop, Society6 Shop, or YouTube Channel, make sure your Instagram Account is connected or that your handle is visible somewhere in each profile.
🗹 Answer questions about your industry or area of expertise on crowd-sourcing platforms like Quora or Reddit, and make sure your profile displays your Instagram Handle or link.
🗹 Make sure your website has social media icons, including Instagram, in obvious, easy-to-find places.
🗹 Ensure that the social icons on your website are working and link to the correct account (they should go directly to your profile on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc.).
🗹 Place the social icons on your website in obvious places (header, footer, sidebar, prominently on your about page, maybe somewhere on your contact page, etc).
🗹 Ensure that the mobile version of your website also has social icons in optimized places and are easy to click with your finger (aren’t too small or close together).
🗹 Connect your Instagram Account to your personal Facebook profile so that a link displays below your profile photo (especially important if you are active in Facebook groups).
🗹 Put a link to your website and social accounts in the caption area of your Facebook profile photo, so that people see if it if they click on your Profile Photo.
🗹 Get in your feed! Research shows that photos containing a human element (your face, your hands, your entire body) perform better and get more engagement. Try to include yourself at least once every 5 posts. Check out my free iPhone Photography eBook for all my tips on getting professional self-portraits).
Once again, these suggestions are meant as a sort of compliment to some of the basics that we have all heard before like creating better content, writing good captions, using the right hashtags, interacting with your audience and so on. These definitely do not replace those fundamentals but are just places that I frequently see business owners kind of dropping the ball, instead of leading their customer to their account.
Are any of my suggestions above confusing? Not sure what they mean? Need a tutorial to show you how to do it? Leave a comment below or drop me a message. Your feedback could help inspire a future tutorial, blog post, or podcast episode.
RESOURCES FROM THIS EPISODE:
My Online Course: Content Creation for Small Business
My Free eBook: Mastering iPhone Photography
My FREE Video Tutorials: Thyme is Honey Training
I order postcards from VistaPrint to include with my physical Etsy Orders.