How can you cultivate an audience
It's all well and good to grow your Instagram career, but once your audience follows you, you need to connect with them and start maintaining the funnel. So how do you connect with Instagram followers? Here is a hint…. It doesn't happen automatically, despite a perfect feed.
Instagram Storytelling: How To Connect With Your Audience
As the legendary Seth Godin puts it: "Marketing is no longer about what you do, but about the stories you tell."
In other words, it's time to stop using Instagram to promote your products and instead focus on using Instagram storytelling to connect with your audience. Because that's a hell of a lot more important than any vanity metric. The number of followers you have is irrelevant if none of you hold anything.
Hard love, but true.
If you're only here for Instafame and you can't worry about whether your successor translates into real cash, then please stop reading - I don't want to waste your time. This post is not going to tell you how to grow your followers / fan base overnight.
(Pssst! I'll create a free Instagram hashtag cheat sheet for you, which you can then download for free from www.freidenka.at!)
However, what Instagram storytelling will do is make your Instagram audience know, love, and trust you. Hell, you can even call these your "loyal companions" if you want. Audiences like this really care about your content, waiting with bated breath to see what your next post will be. And when you finally sell to your audience, they'll pull out their credit cards faster than you can say “buy from me”.
Do not believe me? Here's an example: The incredibly talented people at Smack Bang Designs tell such compelling stories that they have built an incredibly passionate audience. I wouldn't be surprised if these people started getting their Harley Davidson logo tattooed on them.
When they launched their eBook late last year, their website crashed because the anticipation was just so crazy. I was so keen on buying the eBook that I accidentally bought it twice, and I still can't remember how much it cost because I just wanted it and I wanted it right away.
Lufthansa also tells incredible stories. They are not the cheapest - but neither do they try to be. Rather than constantly marketing cheap airfares like many other airlines do, their social media posts are about building connections. They tell fantastic stories, combined with a large portion of wanderlust that really enchants you.
The magic about storytelling is that once you start showing your followers why you are different, you stop doing the gross "sell" thing. You stop competing on price alone.
So, I convinced you to use Instagram to tell stories…. But when do you start? What do you write in your captions?
1. Go back to the beginning - this is a very good time to start.
What made you decide to start your company? Was there a big, life-changing event or was it a culmination of small events?
Here's an example: I started HGP because I was tired of seeing fraudulent brands using buzzwords to trick uneducated consumers into believing their products were healthy when, in fact, they weren't.
2. Focus on your why.
What's behind your brand? What is your vision What is your biggest goal that you want to achieve?
Dreaming big is terrifying, and even more terrifying to share with thousands of your closest social media friends. But your audience that connects with your brand becomes their biggest fan.
3. Talk about the people behind your brand.
When you're at the table of the big as a small company, it can be tempting to pretend to be bigger than you are. When you're a small business, it's time to stop pretending to be a big company. Post a photo on Instagram where you smile and say “A big, warm hello” to your followers.
Do you work with other small businesses? Perhaps one of your suppliers or employees is doing an exceptionally good job and deserves a mention. Share this too, because these people will help make your company great.
4. Show us your process.
What's going on behind the scenes? Is there something special that helps make the goals come true?
Maybe everyone else in your industry is following the same process, but you do things differently. Use Instagram storytelling to show your audience how your process is different and tell them what that means for them.
5. Tell us about your values. You have brand values, don't you?
If you don't, that's another day's talk. But for the sake of this blog post, I'm assuming you do.
Share your values with your audience and talk a little about what they mean to you and what your values mean to your audience.
For example, one of our values is "honest marketing" - we will not be working with a brand that we are not good at supporting or that we believe to be deceptive in any way.
We incorporate this into our Instagram strategy by highlighting a brand that we believe is targeted during our #GoodBrandAppreciation each week.
6. Share your customer stories.
Testimonials are good for sure, but stories are better.
How did you change a customer's life? Or how did a customer use your product in innovative ways? Or is there something cool that a long-time customer has achieved from you?
7. Chat about what inspires you.
Of course, Instagram is visual, but you could get inspiration from a specific playlist, from the latest Tim Ferris book, or by staring into your dog's gorgeous hazel eyes.
Share these things with your audience - chances are there are others who share similar inspirations.
The biggest takeaway of this post? Be human and focus not only on building your followers but also connecting with Instagram storytelling. When you're two meters underground, nobody will care how many followers you had or how many likes you got - they will remember the feeling you made in their followers.
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