Marketing March 4, 2020 Last updated March 16th, 2020 1,278 Reads share

Top Tips to Build an Audience on Instagram

Image Credit: DepositPhotos

Big Instagram pages rule the eyeballs of the masses on Instagram, and behind those pages are people like Laurence. Laurence Moss is the owner of the social media marketing agency Greedy Growth, an agency that services B2C brands of all sizes, and today I had the pleasure of asking him a few questions about how he grew his own Instagram pages to a combined following of over 350,000 while maintaining a positive impact and ensuring his audience had a voice.

What do you think of online courses that promise to reveal secret strategies?

Laurence: I for one can say that I have not bought a single course to get where I am today. Concerning Instagram marketing, all the information you need can be found on youtube and on blog posts scattered around on google. Courses are just a collection and summary of this information, so really you’re not paying for the value, you’re paying for someone to spoonfeed you information that’s already free. As an Instagram marketer, my job is to stay on top of trends and updates so I can leverage them to my advantage, and buying courses is just a bad habit that will discourage you from making your responsibility to find out new strategies youself, which is ultimately one of the most important things.

How can content creators and brands use Instagram to find out about updates that they can leverage?

Laurence: Whenever there’s an Instagram update with new features guarantee it’ll be tweeted on Instagram Twitter page, so check back from time to time. Let me give you an example. A few months ago Instagram tweeted that the release of IGTV, a way for people to upload longer-form content to Instagram. It took most users a couple of weeks to even realize the feature existed, but Instagram was heavily promoting any IGTV video regardless of how good the content was, just to push new eyeballs to the IGTV feature. People posting IGTV videos at the very start would have found that their content was gaining a substantially higher engagement rate than their normal feed posts. So the takeaway is to just know what is going on so when the opportunity does arise you can jump on it.

Finally, do engagement groups still work, and what’s a more positive and meaningful alternative to help your Instagram account thrive?

Laurence: Engagement groups are essentially a group of Instagram users that will like and comment on each others’ posts when they post, in a bid to trick the Instagram algorithm into thinking that their posts are highly engaging and therefore should be distributed to new people. However, while Instagram used to decide whether or not a post was well-performing within the first hour of it being posted, it is now much different. Instagram can now take days after your post is live for it to finally start gaining traction, which is the primary reason why engagement groups are no longer so much of a viable solution. Instead, treat your followers like they’re people. If every conversation you have with one of your followers secures one extra like per post for the future, then you’re bound to succeed. Putting out content is not enough. You need to let people know you’re human.

What do fake followers do and can they help?

Laurence: I always strongly advise anyone to stay away from fake followers, unless your only goal in buying them is for social proof. Aside from them killing your engagement ratio, and completely limiting your organic reach, it also decreases the trust score of your account and there’s a good explanation for this. Nowadays, Instagram has clamped down on bots so they regularly get banned. If an account following you gets banned, they’ll auto-remove themselves from your followers list because they don’t exist anymore. Therefore, if you bought thousands of fake followers, within a week you would have already lost the majority of the fake followers you’d gained from them getting banned. However, Instagram sees this as people unfollowing you because your content is bad, and as such your content is also bad, so it limits and regulates the amount of new people that see your content, greatly affecting your account’s performance. So in the short term, it may look appealing, but the long term consequences are severely damaging to your account.

What do you think about paying for shoutouts?

Laurence: Making sure shoutouts succeed, either for getting sales for your products or even gaining new followers, depends entirely on your due diligence. The standard checks would be to use an online tool to check if their followers are real, and the engagement ratio of their likes and comments, both matter. In addition, you won’t get any results with bad ad content, so despite however much you might think you know it all, look at what the account who is posting the shout-out is already posting to their followers, so you can get an idea of exactly what their audience wants to see, every audience is different.

Any closing remarks or anything else you wanted to mention?

Laurence: Yes, lastly I wanted to talk about the importance of networking. A lot of people under-estimate the value of reaching out to and becoming friends with industry leaders in your niche, as you can gain valuable insights about what they’re specifically doing to succeed in their niche on Instagram. Furthermore, if they happen to be going viral and exploding their page, you can virtually replicate their success by looking at how they write their captions, what sort of hashtags they use, what sort of content they post, and when they post. The best way to find out how to grow your own page is to study how someone similar is already having success and replicate exactly what they’re doing, possibly with your own twist. When I started out, I had no choice but to network with people who already owned big Instagram pages, because I simply didn’t know the base knowledge about building an audience, so hopefully, this article will take the grunt work out of that, and help whoever is reading this article get there more easily.

Instagram user – DepositPhotos

Mariia Lvovych

Mariia Lvovych

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