In 2021, people are still asking the question: “How do I grow my Instagram audience?”. While other platforms like TikTok have taken off, there are still plenty of aspiring creators and brands trying to figure out how to build their Instagram presence.
With over one billion users on Instagram, it can feel daunting and overwhelming to figure out how to establish and grow your brand on Instagram today. But the truth is, it’s never too late to start and build your Instagram. The best time to start is when you decide to start. And I’m here to tell you that it’s 100% still possible to grow your Instagram audience in 2021.
Most people look for quick tactics to grow their Instagram following. People want to see the number of reels to post each week or the number of hashtags to include in your post. I’m not sharing tactics today; I’m sharing the strategies that drives growth.
Establishing brand clarity
If you’re looking to establish your brand identity for the first time, here are four simple questions to ask yourself:
- Who are you?
- What’s your mission statement?
- What are your content pillars or niches?
- And why should people follow you?
So many creators struggle to answer these four questions, but these four questions are critical in establishing your brand identity. Building a following requires people to understand who you are and what you do in a few scrolls. If people must guess about what type of content you create, your brand identity is unclear.
If you’re experience stagnant growth on Instagram or you’re ready to start taking content creation more seriously, I recommend starting with establishing your brand clarity. Make sure people can answer these four questions when people skim your bio and look at your feed.
My biggest tip for establishing brand identity is to make sure your brand’s mission statement and content pillars/niches are reflected in most of your posts.
For example, if you’re a Seattle foodie, I would expect to see all the different Seattle restaurants, dessert spots, or coffee shops you visit on a weekly or monthly places. I would expect new restaurant openings in the city or if a restaurant has recently revamped their seasonal menu. But remember, there are so many ways to be a food blogger. This is just one example of clarifying your brand identity as a foodie.
Cultivating an engaged community
If you want to build a following, focus on building an engaged community first.
If you’ve answered the fourth question above: “Why should people follow you?”, you have the starting point in building an engaged community.
For example, if you’re a beauty creator and you’ve answered something like, “People follow me because I share easy make up looks for the everyday girl on the go. People follow me because I share beauty products that make their life easy – like products that have multiple uses.” As a beauty creator, I would lean into your mission statement and look to see how your audience is engaging/reacting to the content you’re creating.
Building an engaged community is also about taking the time to develop relationships with your audience. One tactic in building a relationship with your audience is to ask questions in your captions, Instagram stories, and reels.
Posting content consistently across Instagram features
If you’re looking to grow your Instagram audience in 2021, one thing you should consider for your Instagram strategy is to utilize Instagram’s diverse features: IGTVS, reels, In-feed posts, the Shop tab, and IG stories.
You’ll find various recommendations online about how many reels, IGTVs, and in-feed posts you should be sharing each week. My biggest tip is to figure out what a consistent posting schedule looks like to you. And then determine, which features are going to align with your brand and your content pillars.
For example, if you’re a home décor blogger or content creator, you might decide something like this:
- Reels: Showcasing how-to-style videos, like how to style your shelves
- In-feed post: Showcasing before and after room transformations
- Stories: Sharing the bloopers or behind the scenes of styling a room
- IGTV: Sharing lessons you learned updating or renovating your kitchen or bathroom
Once you figure out the types of content you want to create on Instagram, you can continue that strategy and decide what types of content you’ll create per Instagram feature. I recommend starting out with one feature and slowly adding features as you get more comfortable on the app.
Lean into Relatability
One thing new-ish influencers or brands miss when they start their Instagram channel is that people are on social media to connect. There are real human beings behind that Instagram photo and profile. People want to feel connected. People want to know that they can relate to you in some way.
People be interested in joining your community if they feel like they can relate to you. If you’re looking to ways to relate to your audience, I recommend leaning into personal storytelling. You don’t have to tell your entire life story online but can choose personal stories that align with your brand and content pillars.
For example, if you’re a fashion and beauty blogger, you can focus on relatability by incorporating personal stories like:
- What inspired your interest in fashion and beauty?
- Why you finally decided to start your channel?
- What fears did you faced when you started getting into fashion and beauty?
- How has your fashion and beauty interests/passions grown over the last year?
In blog posts, TikTok videos, Instagram posts, YouTube videos, etc. (whatever other platforms you’re on and building). People can relate to interests. People can relate to fears. And people can relate to growth. Personal storytelling should be weaved into your content plan and strategy – even if it’s just one post a week or a monthly video on your page.
What other tips do you have to grow your Instagram audience in 2021?
For other content creation tips, I recommend reading or listening to the Content Creatives Podcast:
Meet Amanda, the Vice President of Influencer Marketing at Edelman + What PR agencies Look for in Influencers
Mini-sode: How to Deal with the Judgement of Being an InLfUenCer
5 Mindfulness Practices for Content Creators & Influencers
Thank you for reading!