How to Build Customer Relationships with Instagram
You snap the photo, apply the filter, post, and wait. The pull-to-refresh cycle begins.
Like cranking the lever of a slot machine, the psychological cravings social media evokes are hard to deny. It’s a race to gratification that’s relevant whether you’re using it for personal entertainment or marketing your brand.
The difference is, when you’re marketing your business on Instagram, there’s more than just your ego on the line. You’re driving brand awareness, and ultimately trying to turn followers into customers, one upload at a time.
If you’re starting from square one, the road to having a quadruple-digit (and then some) follower count may feel like a long one. Gone are the days when the reverse-chronological feed and organic reach did the work for you.
Now you have to be strategic to connect with your target audience. In doing so, let’s explore some ways in which you can best approach building customer relationships on Instagram.
Proactively Engage with Relevant Hashtags
Studies have shown that Instagram posts with at least one hashtag get 12.6 percent more engagement than those without. With this in mind, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be using them to increase your content’s chances of being viewed by potential customers.
Similarly, you should search and engage with hashtags related to your industry. Start by creating a list of tags most relevant to your brand.
Then use those hashtags to find accounts similar to yours and interact with their content. This could be in the form of a couple likes or comments, as long as you’re thoughtful in the type of commentary you’re leaving.
As a result, the person behind the account will receive a notification of your interactions with their content. Which can, in turn, lead them to check out your profile, engage with your content — or even follow you if they’re genuinely interested in your posts.
Tactics like these are quite popular. But it’s your job to put methods like this to use, with the core intent on building a community. As opposed to just spamming accounts with vague comments.
Before you can make the sale, you need to establish a connection. That doesn’t mean just asking people to follow you or participating in a one-sided conversation.
When your audience leaves valuable comments on your Instagram posts, take a second to respond. This goes without saying for customer service-type questions and concerns, but it is also worth doing for comments that involve praise and support.
Refer to commenters by their names when applicable and be genuine. The human element is what will ultimately help you in building a following of advocates, not just accounts.
Make Customers a Part of Your Content
One of the easiest ways to connect your customers to the content you’re sharing is to make them part of it. Additionally, it turns into being one of the easiest ways for you to also keep your feed fresh with minimal in-house creative effort.
If your customers are already uploading content featuring your brand, reach out and ask about reposting them to your profile, in Stories, or elsewhere. It essentially becomes free advertising for both your brand and the accounts that are following you, meaning everyone wins.
Give Them a Reason to Follow
To build customer relationships on Instagram, you need to give customers a reason to follow you there. This can be in the form of the types of content you’re creating or more direct incentives.
Instagram may have started as a platform built around photos but it has since transformed into so much more. Nowadays you have a variety of content types to experiment with, such as photos, carousels, videos, Stories, and polls. The more interactive you can make your content as it relates to your brand, the more value your audience will get from following you.
You can also take a more direct approach by incentivizing followers with giveaways and contests. Collaborate with other brands by doing giveaways to tap into their potential audience. Or, ask your followers to tag friends in the comments for a chance to win a product. This will get you in front of new potential customers and help create positive relationships with the ones you already have.
Find Micro-Influencers to Partner with
Using influencers as part of your Instagram customer relationship strategy is not a new concept but focusing on micro-influencers might be. Micro-influencers are creators with anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 followers and they tend to have a much more niche audience.
If you can build a quality relationship with people in your niche with already established Instagram accounts, it becomes a solid foundation for growth.
Their influence and endorsement of your brand can help generate interests from their audience and lead potential customers straight to your page.
Final Thoughts: How to Build Customer Relationships with Instagram
Your customers are out there scrolling through feeds and wandering from one Instagram account to the next. And while it may be easy for them to stumble upon your feed, it’s just as easy for them to move on to the next one.
To keep their attention you need to tap into micro-influencers, so they can see that you have the stamp of approval from the people in your niche that they trust and look to for inspiration.
To then turn those people into a customer, you need to be genuine with your actions. Personalize when possible, be thoughtful in targeting relevant audiences, and provide them with something of value on your feed that can one day translate to purchases made on your website.