Are you using Instagram for business? If so have you put a plan in place for building relationships with customers and influencers? Have you found the right people to follow and are the right people following you?
Relationship building is as important on Instagram as any other network. Like Twitter you can go out and find potential customers, you don’t have to rely on them coming to you.
In this post I’m going to discuss:
- How hashtags can help you find people to follow and interact with
- How to connect with these people
- Creating follower lists with Iconosquare
- Regram etiquette
Hashtags are the glue that holds Instagram together. Search a hashtag and you will find an album of images matching it.
Searching hashtags should be the first thing you do to find customers on Instagram. When you find relevant users like and comment on their content.
Before you start define what makes a follow-worthy user. For me, I’m looking for small businesses and bloggers based in Ireland. I’m also looking for tourism, food and dentistry businesses in Ireland as they are the type of clients I work with more frequently.
So my checklist is:
- Are they based in Ireland
- Are they a small business
- Are they tourism, food or dentistry related?
- Are they a blogger?
- Would their content be good inspiration for my clients?
Instagrammers have to fit at least two of these categories for me to want to follow them. Make your own checklist and set some rules, you’ll find it makes it easier to connect with the right people.
Later on I’ll show you a tool that can help you group these different kinds of users together.
Now it’s time to start searching
Start with a broad tag. In the example below I am searching #Ireland as this is where most of my customers will come from.
When you get the results, switch to list view as this makes it easier to see usernames. Scroll through, looking at photographs and liking any that strike you. Keep your eyes open for any usernames or images that relate to your target customers. I’m looking for small businesses so it’s the username I focus on first.
When you find a user that fits your criteria follow them and look at their images liking and commenting as necessary.
How To Connect
It’s very easy to slip into bad habits on Instagram. You will find that when you use broad hashtags a lot of people will follow you and like your posts. This is great for the ego, but you will notice that many of these people have no relevance to your business.
It’s painful, but you need to take the time to investigate each one to see if they fall into your target market. Refer back to your checklist to do this. If they match follow them back. If they don’t, don’t. Don’t worry about people unfollowing, most of these will be the irrelevant people who followed you in the hope you’d follow back.
Now you are following a good, targeted customer base it’s time to start interacting. Spend 10 minutes a day scrolling through your feed, liking photos that appeal to you and leaving comments where necessary.
Avoid generic comments like ‘nice’ and comments purely designed to promote your business ‘we sell…’. These don’t start a conversation and are easily overlooked or at worse will irritate people. Instead find something in the photo to start a conversation about. The more someone interacts with you the more memorable you will become.
Creating Follower Lists With Iconosquare
Iconosquare is one of the best web-based tools for managing your Instagram accounts. Its best feature by far is the ability to create ‘groups’ of users similar to the way you can create lists in Twitter.
This allows you to filter your Instagram feed on Iconosquare to just the people in these groups.
Here’s how to create and add people to groups:
Set up a free account with Iconosquare.
Select ‘My followings’. This will display a chronological list of all the people you follow on Instagram.
Click the small circle under a user. This will give you a drop-down menu of lists. By default you will be offered ‘friends’, ‘followers’ and ‘pro’.
Underneath you have the option to create a new group. Now select all the groups you want to add that user to.
I’d recommend creating a group for each of your checklist items. You could also create lists for people you want to interact with once a month, once a week or more frequently. It’s a good way to remind yourself to stay in touch.
To view group members click ‘feed’ and select the group you want to view from the drop-down. Now you can quickly and easily view content from those groups and interact with it.
Unlike other social networks, there is no easy way to share posts from users within the Instagram app. There is no re-gram or share button. In order to reshare you will need to use an app to download or re-gram pictures.
There is a strict etiquette for those who want to do this.
- You need to ask permission to re-gram the post. Leave a comment underneath the picture you want to share asking for permission to re-gram and wait for a response.
- If you get a yes use an app like re-post, re-gram or Phonegram (iOS) (Android) to grab the photo from the web. I like Phonegram as it lets me download the picture without watermarking.
- Repost the photo and any caption that accompanied it. Make sure you tag the user whose post you are sharing.
- Here’s an infographic we made for We Teach Social showing you how to re-gram using Phonegram
Regramming the easy way
This process is quite cumbersome, but the good news is that once you’ve started building a good following you can start asking people for content. Create a hashtag, ask people to share photos including it and tell them you will re-gram the best ones.
See this example from Visit Dublin asking users to tag their posts #lovedublin
Whichever method you choose this is a great way to build relationships. People enjoy getting showcased on your page and it is a great conversation opener.
What techniques do you use to connect with your target market?
Have you used any of the techniques above? How did you find them?