Instagram

Training 4

How To Keep Your Followers Engaged

Getting followers is just the first milestone. It is like convincing a shopper to stop at your window and check the display. But the display will not generate into sales if the content inside is not worth checking out. Hence, you will need to dress it up and keep offering a variety of items and displays so the shopper remains engaged and ready to take it to the next level – sales.

Selling your products and services with the help of images and videos is not a new concept; it has been in play for a very long time, pretty much since the beginning of advertising. Whether in newspapers or TV ads, visuals have had a major impact on consumers decision-making, but the consumers needs and habits are evolving, which means your strategies need to evolve too. Instagram is that evolution, rather than knocking on a potential consumers doorstep you invite them into your own space and then gradually turn them from followers to customers.

But that transition is not an easy one. Once you have your followers you will need to constantly keep on developing interesting visual content that targets your audience at the right time and in the right manner.

Know Your Followers and Fans

The first step will be to know your followers and fans. This might seem similar to knowing your target audience, but it differs in the sense that you need to be very specific and cater to those who have already shown interest in your brand by following you. Be sure to research what their preferences are, what they seem to be purchasing and what kind of content they are most interested in.

Analyse which pictures and videos create the biggest ripple, what kind of posts increase your website traffic and what videos and photos your followers are talking about. Understanding your audience is your first step to entertaining and inspiring them, so make sure that you keep a constant check through and through.

The fact that you have a decent amount of followers does not say much if they are not interested in the content you are posting. It is only through engagement that those followers will convert, and the first step towards that is to understand them.

What to Post

You know you need to be posting interesting photos and images, but how do you come up with content that can compete against over 40 million new pictures every day? That is a lot of pictures, but that does not mean you cannot come up with another unique one each day to engage your targeted audience with.

The following are a few tips and tricks to make your photos and videos worth a second look:

  •   Primarily you will need to show your products so that your followers can identify your company with the products that you promote. But these product photos or videos do not necessarily need to be boring. For instance, these images from the Nike Instagram page show their products in a way that is both promotional and inspirational. Be creative.
  •   Allow your followers to see how your products are made, whether through photos or videos. Make a small video of a muffin at your coffee shop or a photo of a designer at work for your web development firm. There is a story behind every product and service, and by sharing it with your followers you will be letting them in on it.
  •   Show the usability of your products and services by posting pictures or videos of people using them. You can also ask your followers to share photos using a designated hashtag to do the same.
  •   Make your Instagram followers feel valuable. They are a special bunch thattook the time out to follow you and stay updated with your posts. They need to be given attention. Offer exclusive content, or announce new offerings, deals or products on your Instagram page before it is announced elsewhere.
  •   Give them previews of exclusive content like a new product in the making, office renovations or even preparations for an office party. There is nothing more personal and engaging then giving your followers a sneak peek into what actually goes on behind the curtains.

 

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Show how it is made, users love this!

 

  •   Introduce your employees. This will humanize your brand and will encourage your employees to work better knowing that they are being acknowledged and appreciated. You can also use it as an ongoing campaign to post the picture of the employee of the week or something like the best picture taken by an employee.
  •   There is nothing more interesting than a celebrity sighting.. Of course, you shouldn’t stalk Beyoncé with a Smartphone in hand, but simply being on the lookout for local and known celebrities to see if they are using your brand or endorsing something that is related to your industry is a good idea.
  •   Let them know where you have been, as it will help followers connect with you on a more personal level. If you have been at a trade fair, a promotional event, press conference or even at the airport, let your followers know. Make sure that you post a picture with a location and invite them to join you.
  •   Animals and babies almost always sell. A cute picture will almost always get a like or comment. Post pictures of a stray dog in front of your office or a baby checking your products out, as long as it is cute; make sure you capitalize on it!

Just like most forms of art, pictures and videos need to be thought provoking. Otherwise, the purpose is lost. Try to set a theme or tone with your photos. If you are keeping it light and funny, don’t change the tone abruptly, or you could risk losing your followers.

What You Need to Offer

According to eMarketer, one in four people around the world are using social media. It is no wonder why businesses have turned to social media to promote their brand. However, this also means there are plenty of businesses offering plenty of great opportunities to keep their audiences engaged and educated.

You will need to fight for their attention each time you post a photo or video. The best way to do that is to make offers that are hard to ignore and harder to refuse. Here are a few ways you can get your followers involved by offering something in return for their time and effort:

Photo Contests

Everyone loves a photo contest. You get to showcase your photography skills to a larger audience, and get rewarded for it too. Photo contests are also a good way to spike up your followers. You can ask users to post photos of themselves using your products with your companys hashtag, along with an interesting caption. Or, they can post their favorite piece of furniture, or an item that reminds them of their first pet.

The ideas are endless. Be sure to offer an attractive prize as a reward. It can be a subscription to your own services, a goody bag, tickets to a concert, or a popular product like a Smart phone or a tablet, depending on your niche, market and budget.

Photo a Day Contests

Photo a Day contests have become widely popular on Instagram. All you need to do is offer a 30-day challenge to post a picture with a different theme each day. The ideas can be as specific or as general as you would like them to be. Simply make a thirty-day plan and post a picture of it on your blog or Instagram along with the start and end date.

There can be a theme for the whole contest such as winter. Each day can be a little more specific like Christmas, snowflakes, fireplaces, reflection, snowman etc. You can have a random Picture Photo a Day contest as well. The closer the theme is to the industry that you cater to, the more relevant and productive the outcome. Do not forget to offer desirable prizes and ask your followers to tag the photos appropriately.

You Do Not HAVE To Give Away A Prize

You do not necessarily need to offer prizes to make your followers feel special. Simply ask them to hashtag your product, brand or company name every time they use it, along with a good picture. Post a picture of the most interesting picture each week. Just the acknowledgment can go a long way when it comes to engagement on social media.

Unique Hashtags

Unique hashtags are another way to make lasting impressions on Instagram. Many businesses use special hashtags to promote events or new products on Instagram and on Twitter. For instance, Red Bull #givesyouwings, General Electric  #GEinspiredme and Jason Marz  #IWONTGIVEUP are some examples of how you can use unique hashtags to make contests. Ask followers to get involved using specific themes. Each unique hashtag comes with its own associated RSS Feed, making it easier to subscribe to relevant photos.