The outdoor brand Cotopaxi posts a careful selection of photos that are inspiring and relevant to its overall vision and values — to get people outside and to “do good” — even if its products aren’t shown.
To make posting great content a little easier, create a content calendar to organize the planning, creation and posting of your content.
Interact with your followers to create a sense of community
Take the time to be social! Manage your brand’s Instagram followers by entering into conversations with your followers and creating a sense of togetherness.
Respond quickly to questions and comments
Don’t leave your followers’ comments and questions unanswered. Engage with what they’re asking. And be sure to do so in a timely way.
Olympic National Park’s Instagram account is a good example of this interaction. Sometimes, the brand answers a question with an informative response. Other times, it shares in its followers’ excitement by commenting back. And other times, it simply likes a comment made by a follower.
Reese’s Book Club often asks questions in its captions. Its followers then answer in the comments. There’s a conversation between the brand and the followers, meaning it’s a chance to show your business’s personality. Plus, back-and-forth dialogue adds a personal element.
Your caption can also encourage followers to use your Instagram content to interact with their friends. Geotags, hashtags and mentions expands the conversation and creates a sense of community.
When the outdoor brand MEC launched a week-long social media campaign encouraging its followers to remember their favourite camping memory, it also inspired users to tag their friends who were there. This brings people together — and might even earn your brand some new followers.
Simply, these are canned responses to common questions. To select a canned response and reply to a follower’s direct message, just type the one-word shortcut. Then the entire canned response will auto-fill.
With Hootsuite, you can make replies even more effective and efficient. You can assign replies and follow ups to different team members. This ensures no comments fall through the cracks, that all direct messages get answered, and that the best person is assigned to answer a question.
In Hootsuite, you can also create Saved Replies to answer common questions.
Welcome new followers
If your brand is new to Instagram, manage your followers with a welcome message. This is a personal introduction to your brand:
That being said, it’s not realistic to personally welcome each new follower if your account has thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of followers.
If you already have a large following, take the time to incorporate an introductory Instagram post into your content calendar to welcome new followers. That post will explain who you are, what you do and what you hope your followers will get out of your social media interactions.
For example, the fitness influencer Michaela North has more than 38,000 Instagram followers and more than 2,500 posts. Despite having a healthy following, she recently shared a personal introductory post to create connection with her new followers:
Track your follower growth and monitor post performance
It’s easier to keep your followers engaged with your content if you know who your followers are and what content they are most interested in.
Tracking data will help you get to know who your core audience is on Instagram and whether your account is gaining new followers. Using Instagram analytics tools, such as Instagram Insights, will help your brand find useful data such as:
Interactions with your account on each day of the week
How many accounts found your Instagram account
How many clicks your website got from Instagram
You can also use data to track which content is most engaging to your audience. See if there is a pattern between the growth in your following and when you post a specific kind of content. For example, does your following increase when you use geotags, or polls or video?
Hootsuite combines the scheduling of Instagram posts and Instagram analytics. The unique Hootsuite Analytics dashboard helps you dive deeper into your Instagram data, showing you information including:
Your response time in customer service conversations
A ranking of Instagram comments by positive or negative sentiment
Find more details on Hootsuite Analytics here:
Use your own branded hashtags
As well as incorporating popular Instagram hashtags into your post, creating a branded hashtag can encourage users to participate in a conversation with your brand.
Branded hashtags can also be an effective way to grow your following. A branded hashtag that encourages action or participation can create a sense of fun and a sense of togetherness.
For example, Patagonia unites a community of outdoor-lovers with its #ComfortIsRelative hashtag:
To be clear: your brand shouldn’t follow back every account that follows you.
To make sure you’re following accounts that are useful to your brand, consider:
Creating brand guidelines. Clearly outline in your brand’s social media strategy what makes an account worth a follow from your brand. For example, do you consider location? The size of the account’s following? Do you only follow back accounts that comment on your posts and have public profiles?
Using Instagram’s Save function. This will help your brand monitor which accounts interact with your account the most and which accounts you should interact with in return.
The potential to collaborate. Following back other brands or social media influencers can begin a conversation about working together.
Make the most of Instagram Highlights
Instagram Highlights, the permanent and grouped Instagram Stories that appear below the bio section of your Instagram profile, are a great way to manage new and current followers.
For example, the baby goods brand Hello Bello uses highlights to post content that is useful for both new followers and current followers:
In its FAQ highlight, common questions are answered. This is useful for new followers looking to learn more about the brand. This is an efficient time management tool — new followers can find the answer to their question without sending a direct message, and employees don’t need to spend time answering the same questions via direct message.
Its other on-brand highlights, like the “Vitamins” and “The Gods” reels, announce new products and are useful to all followers. And the “Camp HB” highlight compiles announcements of its Instagram Live events, useful for its loyal and current followers.
Keeping up with social media trends is important, but keeping up with what’s happening around the world is just as important when it comes to managing Instagram followers well.
For example, the dating app Bumble adapted to the global pandemic by recognizing that dating isn’t “business as usual.” Posting content as normal could feel tone deaf and wouldn’t be useful for its current followers. Instead, it connects with its target demographic and creates a sense of community by posting content that is reflective of current affairs and its impact on its followers:
There are also benefits to cleaning up your list of followers, removing bots and ghost accounts and blocking trolls and spammers. To manage Instagram followers effectively, you can make use of apps to clean up your list of followers and help you determine which accounts to follow back.
This is an app to manage Instagram followers as it allows you to bulk unfollow accounts that are no longer useful to your brand, bulk block followers if you’re noticing spam accounts and bulk delete posts if you’re going through a rebrand.