I am on a quest to create more content – written, audio and video, expand my audience and give as much value why growing the projects I am involved with. Is it easy? No! Sometimes it is so hard that I am not sure if tomorrow will come. But … I keep grinding! The subject for today is “How to Build a Successful Instagram from Scratch and was initially published on my Medium profile. You can follow me on Medium BTW!
On Instagram you might think of opening your first account or open a new one besides what you already have. In both situations, this article is for you.
Instagram is an absolute no-brainer platform to adopt these days. It is mostly organic, is visual and today it is used by so many people so if you are not on Instagram is like you don’t ever exist :). And it seems to be a great medium to actually launch a new business. To build an Instagram account from scratch is hard work and of course, I want to recommend to avoid buying followers, as this is a bad strategy and could hurt you long term.
While Instagram has a neverending list of advantages, its biggest disadvantage is that it is very crowded. It presents incredible opportunities for the brands to perform niche domination rituals, with +700 million users posting pictures and movies it may seem like an already saturated medium.
Maybe if you are still in the 20’s it may come naturally to use Instagram. As I mentioned in other posts, no matter your age you should transform yourself into a perpetual millennial. This could make a huge difference in your life and business.
1. Start with an awesome Bio
Your Profile page on Insta will be a very visited place. If it doesn’t look good it will hurt you. As simple as that!
Profile pic — Many brands are using their logo which is in sync with their overall branding but they can use something else like a symbol used in a certain recent commercial or something else which is usually associated with the brand.
Your website — This is actually the only place on Instagram where you can add a hyperlink (aka a clickable link). This can be swiping up in Stories. Use it wisely so it will matter for visitors to learn more about your organization. Later, after you become established on Instagram you can use what is called a “link in bio solution”. But for the beginning, the discovery mode mindset will serve you well.
A simple, yet concise description — Write in few words briefly who you so people could understand in seconds what you are saying. People have a very short attention span (which on Instagram is even shorter) and don’t have any second to lose.
Create either a regular or business account — this is totally your decision, ideally, for a brand, it should be a business account, not personal. This will also bring you the basic accolades on Instagram, it will be like your business passport.
2. Identify Your Target Audience
The whole purpose on being on Instagram is to develop a community of members, a tribe in sync with your brand and content. In order to create a content plan (aka editorial plan) and keep the users engaged you need to know your purpose on Instagram — what you want to achieve by publishing these materials there. Determining who is your audience is a crucial step because once you know that it will help you to adapt your brand’s tone and voice to the way your audience digest information.
3. Tune Your Voice and Tone
The voice and tone are part of who you are as a company or brand, and even as your own personality. Are you soft, hard authoritative, cool, sassy, classy … you will decide on this. This is not 100% fixed without the ability to be changed, they will be in a constant change but in the framework dictated by the way, your audience digests the information. As you will figure out the best tone to hook your audience and make it grow it will become like a DNA imprint and one of the brand’s assets. Over time this will become one of the key elements for the followers’ loyalty.
4. Create a Content Plan (aka Editorial Plan)
Building a strong content plan is a strategic decision which will pay high dividends over time. You could decide to spread the content in a few key categories and be consistent there. They will function like pillars for your content to build your whole Instagram account on. Be as creative as possible. You can model what you see working on your competitors’ accounts but don’t copy. Be creative as creativity is always rewarding but at the same time don’t try to reinvent the wheel! By planning and scheduling content in advance using any of the tools available on the market today (check before if it is approved by Instagram, not to have troubles with your account) you will have a contact flow of content to feed your audience.
5. Consistency is the Key
As in everything, consistency is very, very important. You are the one who will train your tribe. You will form new habits for your followers in what to expect from you over time. This will be seen in:
The look of your graphics and posts
The tone of your brand’s voice
The posting frequency
6. Create an Incentives Program
Word of mouth is the best form of almost free advertising. Create an Incentives program also called gifting and look for small-medium influencers on a rise so they will do a lot of work for usual low pay. Find the influencers who are already in sync with your brand’s values and don’t force anything. Repurpose any great content generated by the influencers and use it more than once so you will never run out of content ideas.
7. Invest Little by Little in Advertising
With Instagram, the organic reach is still very good but to push the gas pedal why not putting some money in advertising? Always, before starting to advertise establish yourself a goal for advertising on Insta.
8. Monitor, Adjust, Optimize
Take a daily or at least weekly of the results you are getting from your Instagram work. Look if people are interacting with your content, what kind of content makes your audience do something, what performs and what doesn’t and take appropriate measures based on this. You need to have patience and don’t expect the great things to happen overnight because this strategy will not work. Also take into consideration that Instagram has buyer traffic which is very important, people are ready to buy right from Instagram which is pretty cool.
9. Create Stories
Stories are the #1 way now on Instagram to engage with your followers get attention, awareness, leads and sales. The best way to create stories is using software, here is one I created with this software in less than one minute.