We’ll talk about how to grow your Instagram followers in this blog, yes. But before we do that, let’s talk a bit about business first.
They say that the best way to be rich is to build a business. You’ve probably heard it all before you started: you can be your own boss, returns are exponentially bigger, and you have more leisure time for you and your family. This is all true, but new businesses have it rough in today’s market.
Startups often find themselves dumbfounded after the first year or so. One example of this is Nox, a nightlife booking app turned liquor e-commerce platform. Jeremiah Lam, founder of Nox, shared one of his biggest lessons in this failure.
“For me, the speed of growth and scale of operation that I felt inspired by had started feeling out of reach. New competitors were popping up and it was getting harder to maintain our competitive advantage,” he wrote in an article on failory.com. Hundreds of failed business stories litter the purple website of failory.com, but most of it can be attributed to one thing: failure to pivot.
The Elephant In The (Conference) Room
An interesting book I’ve been reading is Hug Your Haters by Jay Baer. A lesson I want to share today is one of the fastest ways your business can get ahead of the competition. It’s not exactly a secret, but not many businesses take it into consideration.
It’s something that you may not even think is a problem worth discussing: customer service.
Did you know that over 80% of businesses believe that they deliver astounding customer service? Well isn’t that fine and dandy? Surely this confidence from companies are established through actual data… Or is it?
The same study has shown that only 8% of customers think companies mentioned above deliver great customer service. Yikes. In the same book, Jay Baer shared that the technique he uses right now is “hugging your haters”. He claims that the real battle is no longer about the low prices because clients are willing to pay for stellar service. This service deluxe starts from somewhere, and one of the cheapest ways you can fulfill excellent customer service is through Instagram.
Want To Grow Instagram Followers? Let’s Discuss Shopping First
Instagram is one of the top platforms for brands and customers to interact in. I know what you’re thinking: “I’m selling my products like hotcakes already! My shelves get empty faster than I can fill them. Why do I need this social media thing anyway?” That’s a valid question. Traditional business models and local marketing is efficient, and it gets the job done. However, if you plan to go global and go out of your comfort zone as a business, you might want to consider Instagram, or social media in general, to map out your future successes.
Did you know that according to NASDAQ, 95% of purchases are projected to be online by 2040?
Slowly, the market force is changing directions. Malls and stalls were once the totems of purchases, towering above shoppers with promos and racks and salespersons. Now, the “in” thing is online shopping.
With a few clicks, browsing, and checking of reviews, the public can now purchase in the comfort of their home. This e-commerce sweep is most likely to happen through mobile. According to Statista, 72% of e-commerce will be smartphone-based.
What The E-Commerce Boom Spells For Businesses
There are different angles we can assume when interpreting this shift. Let’s start with the good news first: if the market is moving online, that means we are also shifting gears–no more overhead expenses, our manpower will most likely be reduced, and space rentals will be limited to warehouses, at best. Your main communication tool will be your online channels (emails, social media accounts, etc) so that means customer engagement literally takes seconds to cultivate. You can have branching reach and brand presence while barely spending a dime. Your products suddenly unlock the power of scaling where growth only stops when you do. This is a huge boon, especially for struggling start-ups.
But then again, when we think about what we gain, we also have a responsibility. Failing to ride the challenges in the online shift can threaten the benefits we reap, and even introduce new ones. For starters, the logistical nightmare of order processing, payment validation, product shipping, and solicitation of reviews can set you back depending on how big the process hiccup was. Most of all, the more businesses migrating to e-commerce, the more they take up more space and grab your customers. Think big fish in a small pond. Or moons orbiting a giant planet.
Your best friend is in the power of exponential scaling in e-commerce. I think this more than outweighs the short-term difficulties. If you’re late to the digital party, your business will stagger until it’s too late. That’s why we have to start small, and flip the right buttons.
Grow Your Instagram Followers: Start Small, But Make Waves
You can make customers on social media with what you currently have: your products, your happy customers, and your local presence. Even if you’re just a start-up, it’s totally fine. The asset in winning in social media marketing is not just the campaigns, but the time you invest to build your empire.
Social media’s role in getting you sales through e-commerce can be summarized in three categories:
1) User Interconnectedness and Fear of Missing Out (FOMO);
2) Feedback response and customer advocacy; and
3) Brand discovery.
Let’s discuss these advantages below.
User Interconnectedness And FOMO
Social media operates like a specialized net. The more people share their views, like other pages, and manifest interactions, the more social media algorithms home in on them. This interconnectedness starts ripples to their own networks. Others can eventually learn about you, and in turn, they also get caught in the net (no pun intended). This interconnectedness could get you more followers, and your brand’s presence magnifies.
Now, let’s talk about FOMO. This phenomenon is why we have thousands of “influencers” online. When people post about a product or when they share reviews about stellar service, their friends feel inclined to try you out. Every niche has a popular member, and once you get to tap into their networks and delight them as customers, you become a beacon of impressiveness. People will naturally want in. They want to watch that movie, too. Or dine in that restaurant where all their other friends already dined in. This fear of missing out is, in a different perspective, merely the satisfaction we feel in experiencing recommendations. This is amplified in social media, especially in picture-based ones like Twitter and Instagram.
Feedback Response And Customer Advocacy
In traditional businesses, feedback response was barely existent outside of store complaining. This is because there was no other stage where they can air out their complaint through a conversation. With the advent of social media, now they have a stage… and the whole world’s watching. According to Jay Baer, customer service is a spectator sport. When one complaint makes it out of the email and into the (comment) fray, the world bates its breath, passing popcorn around until the disgruntled customer offers a ceasefire.
There is a chance that these customers who are already one foot out the door will come back and even rally support for you, and this is through quality customer service. In Instagram for example, if you receive a complaint from a customer through a comment and was able to solve it for them on the spot, odds are that they will thank you and praise you then and there… all while the whole world’s watching. This raises customer trust and advocacy to your brand.
While this is happening, you also get to wear the shoes of your clients that are genuinely disappointed at your brand. When someone doesn’t like your service, the less stressful response is to just stop using your brand. The complaints you receive in your new online stage are investments. You can use these to improve your services and set yourself apart from competitors.
According to Dan Gingiss, customer service expert: “We firmly believe that customer service is the new marketing… If someone is having an issue with their product or their card that I know can be fixed, to me, it’s an opportunity.”
Social media has been the springboard for many start-ups and small businesses. According to Social Media Today, 95% of adults aged 18-34 are likely to follow a brand through social media. Brand discovery is the first step. Once you have gathered enough of a following results follow. Content like product shots, client testimonials, and memorable trivia eventually translate to sales, especially since 75% of customers say they use social media to purchase things.
Where are my Instagram followers? How do I get them to notice me?
Your page is your garden, and your followers are your pretty flowers. Like any good gardener, you’ll need to make sure you choose the right followers that impact your business the most. Sure, you can get as many as you want, but they might not be too concerned about your services. For this part, we’re going to focus on Instagram since this is one of the most-used and most cost-effective ways to grow your market influence.
Did you know that on Instagram, 72% of users report purchasing decisions? If you can make a solid following, you can ensure that those followers are driven to sales. Here are some of the most common strategies you can employ.
How To Get More Instagram Followers
Tip #1: Use the right hashtags
Hashtags are the #WordsSpelledLikeThis that makes it easier to track your posts, follower comments, and the like. So when you make a viral post and you use hashtags, you can blend your brand with the topic, attracting more Instagram followers. Here are some #hashtags you can use based on Instagram use popularity:
Pro tip: You can seamlessly #sync them in between your sentences, like so! If you have more than four hashtags, you can put the remaining ones after the text so it doesn’t look too messy. Also, get noticed more by using up to 11 hashtags. Research shows that brands that use 11 hashtags get as much as 79% user interaction!
Tip #2: Follow profiles that share your brand’s service or product
This one is a bit technical and you might need specialized tools for this. One strategy is to follow your Instagram followers as well; basically, follow those who follow your brand. Note: It’s better if you follow actual user profiles vs. spam accounts because spam accounts just share, well, spam. You don’t want to be associated with all of that, do you?
Another strategy is to check the #hashtags of your competitors or market. Check out the users that are active, then add them. Say you sell shoes; look at users that post regularly with the #shoe or #shopping hashtag and follow them. Chances are, they will follow you back since you are relevant to them.
Tip #3: Engage with customers
If someone comments on your post, engage them in conversation. And if they share your content, thank them!
Meanwhile, if you get complaints, go ahead and acknowledge these and resolve it via DM, if necessary. Many brands nowadays lack that human connection, and showing that you’re not just a hulking machine of a corporation can add bonus points to your Instagram rep.
And those are some quick and easy tips to get more followers on Instagram! Make sure that your brand always makes itself heard, and always reaches out when it matters. Here’s to you getting more sales starting today!