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Want more business from Instagram? Looking for a proven process to follow?

In this article, you’ll learn three steps to attract and engage your Instagram audience, and convert them into leads and customers.

How to Attract and Nurture Quality Instagram Followers by Rafaella Aguiar on Social Media Examiner.

#1: Attracting the Right Audience on Instagram

At the top of the funnel, your job is simple: You need to grow your number of Instagram followers and make sure they’re engaged with your content. It’s important to have only high-quality followers; inflating your numbers by buying followers will skew your data further down the funnel, resulting in lower link clicks and conversion rates.

So how do you make sure you’re getting engaged followers? You can have thousands of Instagram followers but if they don’t engage with your account, they’re not doing you any good. Put your effort into gaining real followers so your data doesn’t get skewed as you move leads further down the funnel.

Brands get real Instagram followers through methods such as:

These are just a few effective ways to ensure you’re getting real followers. Your account’s growth might be slow at first, but if you keep working at it, you’ll start seeing steady growth. By using these tactics, you can see sustained growth in your Instagram account, giving you more leads that you can move into your Instagram sales funnel.

Organic Tactics to Establish and Build Brand Awareness

In digital marketing, growth hacking is a term that refers to the process of experimenting with different marketing tactics to see what works—and more importantly, figuring it out fast. You try a marketing method, quickly decide whether it worked, and either keep it or scrap it and move to the next strategy. The focus of your experiments is on growth and trying to find the best ways to quickly grow your Instagram followers and your business.

So what growth hacking methods can you use to grow your Instagram account in preparation for moving people through your sales funnel? Let’s break down a few ideas to try.

Brand awareness refers to how easily people recognize your brand. To visualize this, just about everyone recognizes Twitter’s little blue bird. Another good example is the golden arches of McDonald’s. But these are well-established businesses that have been marketing themselves for years. Small businesses have a little more work to do before their brand is easy to recognize.

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You can establish brand awareness by optimizing your Instagram business profile to help people understand what you do. In your bio, add your company name, a brief description of what you do, and your website. Also consider using your logo as your profile picture.

The Instagram bio for clothing company Posh Peanut explains what they sell and shares their values, location, and an on-brand profile photo. Optimizing your profile like this will help anyone who comes across your account to immediately understand who you are.

You can also grow brand awareness by carefully crafting your social media posts. Consistently post photos and captions that are a good representation of your brand and include testimonials and on-brand graphics. Don’t be too salesy, though. Instead, simply use a consistent posting strategy and your brand awareness will gradually begin to grow.

Hashtags are yet another way to increase brand awareness. What sort of hashtags should you use on Instagram? Begin by thinking about what someone would type into the search bar to find your profile. If you’re a clothing retailer, descriptive hashtags such as #fashioncompany (which only has 19K uses) or #teenstyle (which has 219K) could help your account be found. It’s best to stick with hashtags that have fewer than 300K posts or your content won’t be seen.

Search through the hashtags your competitors are using to get some inspiration. Also experiment with different types of tags including your own branded hashtags.

Use Influencer Campaigns to Grow Your Followers

At the top of the Instagram sales funnel, you’re still trying to grow your account, and influencer marketing is an excellent method for growing brand awareness and your following. When you ask an influencer to post about your business, you’re exposing your company to a large number of people who may not have known about it before.

Getting started with influencer marketing is fairly easy. First, decide whether you’d like to work with macro- or micro-influencers.

Macro-influencers typically have anywhere from 10,000 to 1 million followers. Micro-influencers, on the other hand, have fewer than 10,000 followers. While macro-influencers might seem like the better option at first glance, micro-influencers have a lot of benefits too. They’re less expensive and they often receive more engagement on their posts.

Once you’ve decided what type of influencer you want to target, start identifying specific influencers who might be a good fit for your brand. You can find influencers within the Instagram app by searching for specific hashtags or scrolling through the Explore tab. Look for influencers in your niche who post high-quality content that gets decent engagement.

In addition to using Instagram, you can also search for influencers using a third-party tool, which makes it easy to narrow your search criteria.

After creating a list of potential influencers, reach out to them via email or direct message to see if they’d be interested in collaborating. Craft a short, conversational email that states what you like about the influencer’s account, explains what your brand does, and asks if they would be interested in discussing a collaboration.

For compensation, you might send the influencer a free product in exchange for a post, or for a more long-term partnership, pay the influencer cash in return for consistent promotion. Whatever type of collaboration you decide to do, make sure to send the influencer a list of the deliverables you’ll need up front. That way, they can gauge how much time the project will take and decide if they want to take it on.

Influencer marketing is a powerful tool that offers exposure and brings more Instagram followers your way. Once your account has grown, it’s time to move to the middle of the funnel: keeping those followers around.

#2: Interacting With Your Instagram Followers

The next step is to keep your new followers highly engaged, which is the middle of your funnel.

Social media engagement has a lot of benefits, from providing social proof to boosting brand awareness and expanding your reach. In the context of your Instagram sales funnel, engagement is a way to measure whether your audience is tuned into what you have to say. Likes, comments, and shares on your posts are the precursor to what’s next—hopefully making sales.

So how do you keep your followers engaged? Here are some tactics to try.

Tell Your Brand Story

First, you need to create a story for your brandthat entices people. Be authentic and tell the true backstory of how your company got started. And don’t be afraid to add an emotional hook and put a spin on things. Your brand story should also encompass your business goal

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