Being an influencer 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 fans 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, we’re here to share 5 hacks that you can use to create a meaningful community of 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 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 respond 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 optimise your strategy to include more of the content they will like in the future.
4. Drive your Traffic
Creating a community normally involves a multichannel strategy. Many influencers have an active presence across different social networks. Cross-pollination is to encourage individuals that follow you on one social network to follow and engage with you on another.
Allowing your followers deeper insight into your life online will strengthen your relationships. Many influencers that adopt a multichannel strategy use Instagram as one of the best ways to get initially discovered and then lead followers to their content on other sources.
Instagram seriously limits users – especially those with under 10k followers – when it comes to driving traffic to a link. As links included in comments aren’t clickable, a link in bio is the only option for most influencer accounts. Even those with more than 10k followers who can include swipe up links in stories can only link to one URL at a time.
This can become quite complicated if you are running multiple campaigns at the same time, causing you to have to change your bio link regularly. Once you do, you have to go in and edit any previous mentions of the previous link as it’s no longer available.
Link aggregation tools like LinkTr.ee or Tap.Bio act as mini landing pages where you can share multiple sources of content in one place. This allows you to run multiple campaigns at the same time and provide a variety of ways for your fans to engage with you. It’s also a perfect place to share your other profiles and encourage cross-pollination of fans with your accounts on other social networks.
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 to others that are interested in the same topics.
The optimum number of hashtags to use per post is 20-25. 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 for each:
Low Usage Hashtags Below 10k Posts
Mid Usage 10k to 50k Posts
High Usage 50k to 500k Posts
Extremely High 500k to 1M Posts
Viral Usage 1M and Higher Posts
It’s important not to repeat the same hashtags for every post as they will lose their weight in Instagram’s algorithm. Instead, mix it up with variations of the same families of hashtags.
Try also using hashtags in the comments of your latest post. This will have the best effect if commented within 15 minutes of posting your picture or video and has the added benefit of increasing the number of comments on your post – another factor that Instagram awards you for. For the puritans, this could be an alternative to cluttering your original post with unsightly hashtags.
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.
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 effort until you see the fruits of your labour.
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.