Everyone wants to know the secret to Instagram growth. It’s like an elusive fairy tale that few people ever see come true. But it doesn’t have to be.
Like everything else, Instagram is one of those platforms that needs a solid strategy and foundation. With the right content strategy, you will start to attract and engage with your ideal audience. And that is the Instagram growth that you want and need in your business.
Getting huge numbers for the sake of vanity is not the key to a successful business. In fact, I’ve worked with huge influencers with hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers. Often, these audiences are massive, and posts get a few hundred or thousand likes, but when it comes to actually become leads and purchasers, they just don’t convert.
Reality is: it doesn’t matter how huge your audience is if they will never buy from you.
Instagram growth needs a solid foundation
So, to set your business up the right way for engagement and growth let’s go through an audit of your Instagram profile.
Before we do the audit, download my handy Instagram audit workbook to jot your notes down and save you time!
Workbook downloaded? Yes, okay, let’s begin!
If you prefer video to written posts, check out my video that walks you through the same steps!
The Profile Audit for Instagram Growth
Do you have a clear idea of who your ideal target audience is, what they like and who they’re currently following on Instagram?
Knowing who your ideal target audience is will help you understand what type of content your ideal follower interacts with and enjoys seeing in their feed. This will allow you to easily locate them on Instagram (to engage with them) and will help you create content specifically for them.
Instagram Target Audience
Understanding the demographics of your target audience is critical for marketing. The first component of the Instagram audit is to make sure you know exactly who your target audience is. This will help you make sure that your messaging stays on point every time.
Age: 0-17 | 18-24 | 25-34 | 35-44 | 45-54 | 55-65+
Gender: Male Female
Industry / Job / Occupation
WHAT PERSONALITY TRAITS DOES YOUR TARGET MARKET HAVE? (hard-working, honest, family-oriented, cares about appearance, etc)
These answers tell you what’s important to your target market.
WHAT HOBBIES / INTERESTS DOES YOUR TARGET MARKET HAVE? (art, sports, gym, tv shows, shopping, etc ):
These answers tell you what your target market responds positively to
WHAT ATTITUDE / BEHAVIOR DOES YOUR TARGET MARKET HAVE? (confident, shy, egotistical, spiritual, quick to react, easily upset, etc):
These answers tell you how to relate to your target market
WHY DOES THIS PERSON NEED YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE? (to learn, solve a problem, make them feel better, etc)
These answers tell you how to communicate the benefit of your product
WHO ARE HIS/HER MENTORS OR IDOLS?
WHAT PUBLICATIONS DO THEY READ REGULARLY?
WHAT INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS DO THEY FOLLOW?
WHAT TYPE OF CONTENT DO THEY SHARE? (SELFIES, QUOTES, PHOTOGRAPHY, ETC)
HOW DO THEY DECIDE TO BUY? (IMPULSE, RECOMMENDATION, LOGICAL)
WHERE DO THEY SHOP? (IN-STORE, ONLINE, CATALOG)
WHERE DO THEY MAKE MOST PURCHASES?
WHAT HASHTAGS BEST DESCRIBE THEM?
WHAT ARE THEIR PERSONAL GOALS?
WHAT ARE THEIR PROFESSIONAL GOALS?
WHAT ARE THEIR ‘PAIN POINTS’?
WHAT ARE THEIR STRUGGLES?
Does your Instagram photo and username reflect who you are as a brand?
Elements to consider when choosing a profile picture:
- Photo of the face of the brand, or logo
- Clear, high-quality image
- Ideally on a solid background
- Friendly, approachable picture
- Logo should be obvious what type of business you’re in
Elements to consider when choosing a username:
- Keep it short and sweet
- Legible – you should be able to see where one word ends and one begins quickly
- Your username should be descriptive of you or your biz
- Don’t’ add any extra punctuation like periods, underscores or numbers
- Make sure it’s unique
- Your username should match your other social handles and domain, if possible
Is your Instagram bio optimized for increased traffic and followers?
Headline: The name section of your bio. Put the most important keywords that describe your account. This line is searchable within Instagram, so this line will help you show up in search results.
Website: Choose a link that’s going to something specific – a blog post, opt-in, product page, etc.
Bio Text: describes what your account is about. Tell people exactly what you do, and how you help them. Include social proof if you have it, like tagging an account you’ve grown. Include contact info to make it easy for people to contact you, email is the way to go. Also include a call to action to help your followers take an action that you want them to take. Don’t stuff your bio with hashtags, stick to branded hashtags that you want your profile to see and use.
Business information: connect your Facebook page, choose your contact options and category for your business.
Category: choose a relevant one for your business
Is your bio link optimized to take visitors to a location that further proves your authority or provides value to your audience?
Instagram gives you one link in your bio, so you need to make the very most of it. Avoid linking to your homepage – instead, choose a specific page so that your visitor doesn’t get lost. An opt-in works great, so does a blog post, product page, or survey.
If you want to take your user to multiple value-added links you can use tools like making an Instagram specific landing page on your website, Later’s link in bio page, Linktree or other similar services.
Are you using a business account for Instagram?
A business account will help you build up your audience through Facebook’s business tools, which can help you grow your audience now and be ready for when you want to run ads later. It’ll also provide you with some handy metrics that can give you feedback about your audience and how well your posts performed.
Do you have a specific theme or feeling of cohesion in your Instagram account?
Having a clear theme and a sense of cohesion will help you gain followers and build an engaged audience quicker. When your images have a thread holding them together it creates a visually aesthetic feed that people can’t help but scroll through.
Pro Tip: create a visual branding guide that you can reference to make sure that your feed has a strong sense of cohesion and aligns to your brand colors, fonts and feel.
Are you using Instagram stories to reach your audience in different ways?
Instagram stories are a great way to humanize your Instagram presence and help people get to know you in a more personable way. You can add text, do polls, use stickers and filters to create content that attracts attention and engages your audience.
Do you use Instagram highlights?
Instagram highlights are little pieces of information you can add to your profile to help people learn more about you, your brand and what you do.
Are you using hashtags in your Instagram posts that are relevant to your audience?
Hashtags that are relevant to your audience and your business will help you get discovered faster. Do your research and work to find hashtags that your audience is using and engaging with on Instagram.
Do not use hashtags that are prohibited, like profanity, sexual content, or body-related content.
Do you know what type of content your audience responds best to?
Choosing the content to post on Instagram will be dependent on what you’re most comfortable producing and what you think your audience will respond best to (or what you know they will respond best to based on how they are interacting with your posts). Content can include photos, videos, graphics or albums that combine these items in different ways.
Are your captions capturing the attention of your audience and engaging them?
Your captions should capture the attention of your audience and encourage them to engage with you. They should be reflective of the photo or video, and your overall account. The caption should provide additional context to your photo, add value, invoke emotion, and encourage your audience to take action.
Are you measuring your Instagram performance by tracking your analytics?
If you haven’t switched to a business profile you won’t have the internal Instagram insights.
I recommend monitoring and tracking your analytics weekly or monthly, on the same day each time to be able to track your account’s performance over time.
If you sell physical products, are you tagging your products on Instagram?
To tag products you must meet the following qualifications:
- Be in a country that allows product tagging
- Have a business profile enabled
- Have a Facebook business page connected to your Instagram account
- You can only tag physical products, not digital ones
Other things to consider for Instagram growth
Audiences are craving something different from brands. They’re getting savvy to marketing tactics that have been over-used, like hype marketing and bro marketing.
People want more from brands. They want to have real relationships. People to people relationships.
Think about how you prefer to be treated. I’m guessing it’s as a unique individual instead of as a cha-ching sound as you purchase things, right?
Treat your audience the way YOU want to be treated. Get to know them. Like really know them.
What makes them tick? What does each person worry about most? How can you help them solve some of those worries?