If you have recently created a Business Account for your small retail business on Instagram and are now looking for ways to grow your following, to give your account exposure and leverage the power of social proof in your favor, you are reading the right article here. Increasing audience awareness on Instagram requires some meticulous planning on your part. Regardless of whether you are a newbie or a known brand, generating an impactful online presence can be challenging for a brand-new social media account; unless you have done your homework right.
Growing brand awareness on any social media platform is all about building up audience engagement and follower count that work the site’s algorithms in your favor.
Let’s start by understanding how Instagram algorithms work:
The algorithms that keep Instagram’s feeds rolling work primarily by using a few metrics of engagement as a measuring yard. These include Instagram likes, shares, comments, reposts, saves, and views (Stories and Reels). Each Instagrammer’s feed is personalized by the site’s algorithms based on:
1. Who they follow?
2. Whose posts have they previously browsed and left likes or comments on?
3. What have their searches on the site been for?
4. Who do they frequently tag or engage with (by leaving likes and comments on their posts)?
Based on the above, the algorithms push up posts that the user is more likely to “like” on their feed. As you can see, one of the most defining Instagram behaviors here is leaving Instagram likes. Your goal as a brand-new account hence should be to gather followers who will indulge in such audience engagement and leave likes and comments on your posts. Ideally, the best followers will also reshare your posts or tag you in their posts, mainly if they review your services or give you a shout-out for being a great business.
How Can you Successfully Launch Your Small Retail Business on Instagram?
To grow the desire audience awareness and build your brand image on Instagram, follow the following tips:
1. Do Your Research on the Latest Instagram Features
Before you dive headlong into the site, learn about the latest updates on Instagram. The Instagram algorithms push up your feed ranking higher and give you a chance at greater visibility and audience traction if you use all its tools and features. Learn how to use Stories, Reels, and IGTV. Understand what you need to do to go LIVE on Instagram. Carefully study the pros and cons of each feature and tool. Every time you put something up on the site, it sends signals to Instagram’s algorithms about the time of your post, the nature of your post, and the immediate interaction it has received. This, in turn, makes the algorithms push your visibility ranking higher and brings your posts more opportunities for viewer engagement. Your goal here is to improve feed performance to fortify your brand’s image and gather more real-time followers.
2. Launch an Impactful Profile
When you are armed with your research, it is time to begin publishing. But before that, ensure you have a powerful profile page up and ready. Here are a few pointers to making a successful Instagram profile:
• Ensure you have filled out a short but comprehensive bio that tells your target audience who you are and what you sell.
• Fill up contact details for interested parties to be able to reach out to you directly. Use a working email id, a second social media handle, or a working landing page that your audience can click on to learn more about you and your company.
• Include a clear call to action.
• Use a profile photo that you would like your audience to visibly identity our brand with. It could be the image of your office building, your company’s logo, or product image.
3. Schedule Your Instagram Activities and be Consistent
A great marketing strategy plans the little details like:
• How frequently are you going to post? This question does not have a one-size-fits-all answer. How you appear on your target audience’s feed depends on how often they log onto the site and scroll through their feed. Those who check Instagram several times a day find the latest posts up on the feed first. Those who do it less – have their feed arranged to what Instagram thinks they will like and engage with. As a brand, you will need to figure out a way to appear on both types of feed arrangement. In other words, observe and analyze how frequently you should be posting and what kind of posts you should be posting more.
• The best times to post content. For this, too, you must tailor your content as per audience behavior. Use Insights to check and compare what kind of posts are bringing you the most engagement. Is there a period when your posts see maximum attention? Instagram’s algorithms are constantly changing the feed rankings to ensure the users receive the latest posts first.
Consequently, if you can upload content when your target audience is online and most active, your post is likely to get more views, likes, and comments. If you can establish the best time to post by observing your target audience, you will strengthen your reach and get more likes and followers. You can choose to manually upload content or use tools to auto-schedule your posts to make the most of this peak-posting time.
• When and how to respond to comments, DM, tags, and queries. Here too, you can schedule auto-responses or choose to respond to everyone individually. The time you take in answering, the language and tone you use to keep the conversation running are essential factors to consider here. As a brand, you must remember to be professional even while dealing with rude audience behavior. At the same time, you need to humanize your presence. Here too, you must remember organic interactions make your post-climb the feed rankings and thus gain more followed and audience awareness.
• Keep in mind that being consistent is the key here. Stick to a routine so your audience can familiarize themselves with your postings. This builds anticipation for your next round of activities on the site, as well as a sense of predictability. Like one returns for a new episode of a TV series, you will find more real-time audiences returning to check and engage with your posts if you stick to a consistent schedule.
4. Focus on Quality Content
Instagram’s algorithms can only guess who will like your posts and feature your content on their timelines. Keeping them engaged with your post is up to you. Here are some ideas:
• Create content that your target audience wants to see. Whether you post about general social issues or behind the scene stories at work, tailor your content to catch your audience’s attention. You could post content that is documentary in nature, so interviews, co-host sessions, feature reviews. The possibilities are endless here.
• If you have the budget, consider investing in influencers. They will bring your brand to their existing audience’s awareness. Moreover, if they have established themselves as genuine and credible, your brand will also be looked upon with trust.
• Organize contests and giveaways. Create a competition that requires your audience to engage with your feed. You can ask them to tag a friend, leave a comment, participate in a poll, or tag you in their posts. These are ways to reach a wider audience. Remember to announce winners and deliver the promised rewards on time!
5. Use Tags and Captions Advantageously
• A sure way to build brand awareness and to trend on feeds is to use relevant hashtags. You can use several together as long as your post relates to the tags you have chosen. In fact, you can use up to 30 tags in your posts and a maximum of 10 in your Stories.
• Instagram’s hashtags organize your posts into categories. This brings your content to newer audiences when they search using the hashtag as a keyword. The perfect hashtags will bring you more followers and improve your engagement rate and enable you to build a loyal, active community around your business.
• Just like hashtags, you can also use geotags to gain greater visibility among local audiences. As the name specifies, geotags allow you to set your location. You can, of course, also choose to keep this unspecified. Choose what works for your business best.
• In addition to the tags, focus on your captions, too, because what you write – matters. Remember your niche audience as you create your caption. Great captions not only describe what is happening but also invite audience interaction. You can add a call to action, a question, or an invitation to check out a link you provide in your bio to maximize this engagement. Apart from this, use your caption to build a personality for your brand. Use it to provide information and context to your posts. A compelling caption also functions as a link between the post and relative hashtags.
Note: Use captions and tags wisely. Misusing either can make your audience dismiss you as a spammer. This would only negatively impact your account. Using too many irrelevant tags can also get your account reported. Likewise, if you chose to tag another account, ensure you are doing it without offending the other party.
To Sum Up
Building up audience awareness requires planning and effort on your end. It is best to let your account grow in real-time organically. You can speed things up a bit by investing in services that sell likes and other forms of Instagram engagements. If you do so, be sure to invest in small packages to avoid being put under scrutiny for suspicious activities. You must be careful also to check your followers’ activity rates. If your followers are primarily inactive, this could do your account more harm than good in terms of the engagement metrics used by Instagram to figure out your feed ranking.
Growing one’s presence on Instagram takes time and foresight. Play your marketing cards right, and soon you will have the desired audience awareness for your small retail business.
Bottom line: Believe in yourself and plan out your POA!