We all know how important Instagram is for businesses these days. There’s also a lot of competition, as over 70% of all US brands are on the platform. Add to that the fact that people are literally following thousands of accounts and the changes in algorithm and running your social efforts can be quite frustrating.
I promise you can do better if you stop making the biggest mistake brands are making on Instagram: obsessing about your number of followers.
We get it! The are many reasons why it’s great to have a large following. It gives a brand status, accounts with over 10k followers can add links to their stories (which is amazing!), and more followers = more business, right? In theory, yes. Then why is it so bad to focus on growing followers, you ask? Here’s why:
- Because content comes first! If you don’t have a solid content strategy and execution, your followers won’t stay and won’t engage. Even worse: you can cause a bad impression and lose a customer. When you throw a party, you clean the house, buy flowers, set up a nice table and only after that you have your guests arrive. On Instagram it should be the same way. First you get your content looking great, consistent and professional. After that you can do things that will drive a new audience to you, such as an influencer campaign, or a collaboration.
- Because without a strategy it will actually lead you to losing followers. Some of the things people do to grow followers will actually have the opposite effect. For example, posting more often. Posting more often can be great when you have solid content. But when your content still needs work, you will have to create more content, which means you wouldn’t be posting only your best. That will make people disengage, which will make your posts get lost in the algorithm. Also, the people that do see your posts or visit your page, can be quite annoyed with the amount of posts on their feeds and unfollow you.
- Because it may tempt you to use automation. Automation of any kind is the worst thing you can do to your Instagram account! And by that we mean buying followers (which is done with stolen identities, FYI!), buying likes, automatically liking or commenting on a post with a certain hashtag, using tools that post on your behalf (except Hootsuite and other Instagram partners, which are allowed to do so by Instagram), or even use apps that follow and unfollow people in bulks. All those types of automation can make you get shadow banned or even deleted by Instagram or have your account hacked! It’s also pretty likely you will loose credibility amongst many customers and potential partners (yes, it’s very easy to spot accounts that do this). It can hurt your business. So when you get those messages from so-called digital marketing agencies asking if you “want to put your content in front of more people and generate more leads organically”, RUN!
What to do Instead? Invest in content! When you have a solid content strategy and execution, even you don’t have a big number of followers, you can grow your business. People who are directed to your Instagram by yourself or others, will have a great impression and be more likely to do business with you. If you have great content, your ads or influencer campaigns will also actually generate results, because people will visit your profile and want to stick around.
Popularity isn’t everything! Sometimes it’s better to have a few great friends, than a big group who doesn’t care about you. Amiright?
-Manu Muraro, founder of Your Social Team.