Being a content creator has changed. Communities on Instagram now want more than just selfies from those they follow. The profound shift on the popular photo-sharing app towards more value-driven content indicates that users now crave something more meaningful.
Content creators are making a change and using their influence to promote their values and charitable causes. But creating a meaningful community isn’t so simple. To help, I'm here to share 5 hacks that you can use to create a meaningful community for your own on Instagram.
1. Voice your Values
The most important, yet commonly overlooked detail is to focus on something you believe in. Authenticity is achieved when your values are aligned with every piece of content you post and with every engagement with your community.
While this may seem obvious, there are many benefits of taking a stand on something you’re passionate about. Your authenticity will resonate with others who share your values and they will be more likely to engage with you. Instagram users love to interact with those who share their own beliefs and morals. Furthermore, creating content that you believe in is a lot easier than trying to be convincing on a topic you don’t care about.
Once you’ve got this part clear, define yourself to others. Make sure your bio communicates your values as this makes it easier for like-minded people to discover your profile.
2. Use Emotion
Use storytelling to create authenticity and establish an emotional connection with your audience. Storytelling helps to solidify abstract concepts and simplify complex messages. It also has the power of giving readers a sense of commonality and community. Stories can inspire, motivate and entertain – but most importantly, stories are memorable.
Experts believe that there are five main reasons why we share content:
To bring valuable & entertaining content to others
To define ourselves to others
To grow and nurture existing relationships
To feel better about ourselves
To get the word out about something we believe in
Understanding these triggers is key to creating content that is most likely to resonate. If you can create content that fits any of these reasons, your followers are much more likely to share and engage with your content.
Recent modifications to Facebook and Instagram’s algorithms have put a focus on user experience through personal connections and community. These changes mean that content that motivates people to like, share, save, and comment is now more valued, so it’s ultimately seen by more people.
3. Engage Intelligently
Engagement is the key to growing any community on Instagram. A good rule of thumb for distributing your efforts when growing a meaningful community is one part sharing to three parts engaging. Engagement is imperative to your strategy and it’s necessary to put the hard work in here to grow your audience.
Rather than getting lost in follower numbers and trying to collect as many followers as you can, focus on nurturing the followers you already have. Find content that resonates with you and aligns with your values. Keep your engagement authentic and like, comment, and share the content that you’re genuinely interested in.
You should also actively look for new potential followers. Like and comment on things they have shared with you, respond to their Instagram stories and aim to develop a relationship with them as a unique content creator.
Make sure you’re responding to any engagements from others on your posts in a timely manner, as any replies to comments on a post that you have shared will add extra weight to your content in Instagram’s algorithms.
While the Instagram Analytics dashboard for Instagram Business accounts offers some useful insights, there are some game-changing analytics tools that connect the dots where Instagram can’t.
Learn from your community. The intelligence you acquire from this will also allow you to see what content your audience responds to best, and diagnose what you can improve in your own strategy. Look for patterns in the types of content generating the most engagement from your most engaged followers and optimize your strategy to include more of the content they will like in the future.
4. Have a hashtag strategy
Hashtags and tagging are the best ways to get discovered by new people. By incorporating hashtags and tags into your strategy, Instagram will share your content with others that are interested in the same topics.
Make sure to note how popular each hashtag is by the number of posts using that hashtag. Using smaller hashtags will help with initial discovery as competition is lower. As your engagement on a specific post increases, so will your weight in the algorithm to enable you to compete for visibility amongst more competitive hashtags.
You should find hashtags that fall into a mix of the following categories, to increase your chances of engagement and discovery. You’ll want to ideally find around 5 - 7 for each:
Easy To Rank 10k posts to 100k posts -> Use 3 to 5 hashtags from this group
Average To Rank 100k - 500k -> Use 5 to 8 hashtags
Hard To Rank 500k - 1M -> Use 5 to 8 hashtags
Difficult To Rank > 1M -> Use 3 to 5 hashtags (but try not to use hashtags that have more than 5M posts unless you have an account with an audience bigger than 100k followers)
It’s important not to repeat the same hashtags for every post as they will lose their weight in Instagram’s algorithm.
Give your post the best chances at success by also using geo-locations and tagging up to 20 accounts that regularly share other users’ posts. Using hashtags and geo-locations in stories can help you be discovered by people too.
5. Share what you've learned!
Nowadays sharing what you know with your community is probably one of the most valuable things you can do. By sharing your knowledge and experience, you're motivating members of your community not only to learn but inspiring them to be better and reach their goals.
Furthermore, Instagram is favoring content that educates, so try to focus your content strategy on this kind of content. People love it! This could be in the form of:
Growing a meaningful community takes time, patience, dedication, and hard work. It’s not going to happen overnight, so you must be prepared to put in the effort until you see the fruits of your labor.
The great thing about building a value-driven community is that you’re creating authentic content about something that you believe in. This makes it much easier to keep up as it’s likely to be something you’re already interested in.