Instagram is unlike any other social media platform we use, and there’s a reason online entrepreneurs flock to it as a haven for community and an incubator for audience growth.
Instagram by nature is visual, intimate and personal, changing the landscape of content marketing and the way brands connect with communities.
By understanding what makes this platform so unique - by understanding its unique strengths and advantages - we as entrepreneurs can set our brand up for success, connection and growth on Instagram.
Instagram is Naturally Community-Oriented
The shining strength of Instagram lies in its ability to serve as a community-building platform.
Instagram is uniquely designed to keep users engaged within the app - hence, only one clickable link is allowed on your profile. Because of this, we as content creators must harness Instagram’s community-oriented features and design in order to reap the most benefit for our brand.
Fortunately for us entrepreneurs and brand leaders, however, community is what our audiences crave the most. A win for us, a win for our audience, and a win for Instagram!
So, what do we need to keep in mind as we seek to set our brands up for success on Instagram?
Key #1: See Yourself as a Community Leader
The culture of Instagram is not one of fast-paced updates (like Twitter), or primarily one-way broadcasts (like Facebook), but rather a sense of community and inclusion.
If you’re interested in cultivating a strong, loyal community (who isn’t?) and making genuine connections that result in relationships and loyal clients (a no-brainer), then Instagram is worth your while.
The number one thing you can do right now for a successful Instagram account is this - recognize and step into the fact that you are a community leader.
You’re here to guide, nurture and serve a community of people. Knowing, accepting and leaning into this simple fact is your first step toward success.
Key #2: Share Your Unique Content Confidently
You’ll notice that Instagram is not a platform where reposting and sharing others’ content is abundant. With no “share” or “retweet” button, Instagram encourages and empowers each user to step into their own creativity.
Because of that, it’s accepted and expected that on Instagram you’re going to be primarily sharing your own unique content.
This is something that is actually frowned upon on other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, which have buttons and functionalities to promote the frequent sharing of others’ content.
Because of this, it’s ok to promote your business/share your knowledge most of the time!
Key #3: Be Authentic, Be Yourself
People log on to Instagram to see a snapshot of what’s going on in the lives of other humans and to feel connected to them.
Think about your personal Instagram and those of family and friends - it’s basically a highlight reel of wedding and engagement celebrations, graduations, new baby announcements, new cars/homes/other material objects, and selfies galore.
These images usually aren’t doctored up with filters or have perfect lighting and angles. They’re authentic, real.
It’s ok to be authentic on Instagram. You don’t have to rely heavily on stock photos or obsess about taking the perfect image - your audience wants to connect with you.
Key #4: Leverage Your Brand as a Thought Leader
Because Instagram is focused on cultivating community in-app, we have a unique opportunity to engage a captive audience.
Not only do we have the opportunity, but as community leaders we have a responsibility and obligation to pour out value into each piece of content we create within the platform. It’s our job to continually give our audience members a reason to keep on following us and keep engaging with our content.
How do we do that? By positioning ourselves as thought leaders, by providing actionable and insightful content that changes our readers for the better each time they engage with our posts.
So, think about your brand and how you serve your clients. What kind of action items, advice, pieces of insight or motivation can you provide to your audience that reflects the value of your brand and shows the benefits of working with you?
Key #5: Engage in Community
It’s not enough for each of us to simply lead and pour into our community - we have to be engaged.
This is the beauty of Instagram. It encourages us to network, connect with others on the platform, learn from each other and share ideas, thoughts and encouragement.
Merely creating posts without engaging yourself is like yelling from a loudspeaker without getting out into the crowd and shaking hands, saying hello, learning names and having conversations.
Ways we can be intentional in engaging with others include:
Curate, use and follow hashtags that house communities that align with our brand mission and heart.
Get out of our own feeds and comment thoughtfully and genuinely on the content of others.
Reach out personally via direct messages, sparking 1-on-1 conversation and relationships!
Now, we want to hear from you! What has your community building experience been like on Instagram? Tell us in the comments below!