For engagement to increase rapidly, you need to think long-term.
6 min read
The opinions expressed by collaborators are personal.
As a writer, publishing a book has always been one of my goals . But when I started talking to literary agents, the feedback I received was always the same: “The idea of your book is great. But you must increase your number of followers so that we can sell your idea to a publisher. ”
When I started having these meetings I only had 5K followers on Instagram , and I realized that I had to increase my audience before trying again. But I also realized that it is not enough to have a large number of followers, your audience must hook and interact with the content you are creating. If your followers don't know who you are or what you do, chances are they won't buy your book — or product, or music — when it goes on sale.
Since taking that first approach, I have grown my audience more than threefold, and I have done so on purpose, determining what type of content is aligned with my long-term goals. At first it may seem intimidating, but if you use a strategy that has to do with what you are passionate about, growing your number of followers can be quick and effective. Here are three ways to create an authentic audience that interacts with your content.
1. Follow the proper hashtags
Let hashtags guide your way through the process! Hashtags are the best way to discover accounts similar to yours and to users who are interested in things similar to what you do. Work backwards. If your goal is to be a sustainability expert, ask yourself what hashtags sustainability supporters follow. Also, Instagram has a tool that shows you related hashtags, use it!
When you discover user accounts that can be your perfect reader, client or follower, interact with them. Comment on their photos or send them a message. These small efforts translate into great results, because if you publish content with which they feel identified, they are likely to share your publications in their stories or recommend your account to other users with the same likes and interests.
2. Use your profile as your stage
It is not enough to find the ideal follower without changing your Instagram strategy. I stopped publishing only from my personal life and started publishing more content that shows my interests, what I defend and what my book will be about: empowerment and confidence to have a better life. Nor am I ashamed to share my talents. As I am a writer, I accompany the images with texts that reveal my style. This helps my audience recognize me.
The strategic content may vary according to your objectives. One of my friends, Caitlin Quisenberry, is a singer and songwriter. I wanted to get the attention of executives in the music industry, and I knew that like publishers, production houses want you to have a good number of followers interested in what you do. So he began posting videos of her singing, making each Instagram box her personal setting. He also started watching YouTube videos with advice from industry professionals. Over time, his strategy and learning paid off. Her videos caught the attention of a recording studio in Nashville, and invited her to record an album. Her first single, Blue, debuted on February 7. “I realized I had to show the world what I know how to do,” Quisenberry told me. “I developed a content strategy based on sharing my talent, and I kept increasing my audience doing just that.”
3. Focus on creating a community, not just a follower base
Finally you must remember that your followers are more than that. They are a community that thinks like you and you must support it just as it supports you. To create an authentic and loyal audience, you must view your role on instagram in two ways: to entertain and to serve. This means that you should be open to feedback from your community. Ask what it is you want. What interests you? Do you prefer a selfie or a landscape? Do you like your how to podcasts or when guest interviews? Do you prefer to listen to your original music or covers?
Interact with your community using surveys and questions in your stories to find out what they like best. And always take time to reply to their comments and messages, no matter how busy you are. Your engagement is more likely to increase if you reply to your followers. Sharing your talent and experience with people who show they care is an honor and a privilege and you should treat it that way.
As you continue to develop your Instagram presence, you will discover what works to achieve your goals, and what you enjoy sharing the most. Instagram's algorithm favors people who post frequently. And remember: The first step in creating an audience is to share who you really are.