Want to grow your small business Instagram account, but you don’t have the budget for ads? Are you wondering if it’s even possible to grow on Instagram while juggling all your responsibilities and having limited hours to dedicate to social media?
You are in the right place. Within the last year, I grew over 150k followers on Instagram with only a few hours a week, no ads and no assistant. My account didn’t grow with random viral videos. It grew with a lot of deliberate work and strategy behind it. This means that organic Instagram growth is still possible for busy working small business owners!
Today, I am here to share with you the three key things I implemented to grow my account, so you can embark on your Instagram journey with a sense of empowerment.
01 – Created content strategy
Content strategy is a plan for what kind of helpful and interesting things you want to share with your potential customers.
Think of it like a roadmap that guides you in creating your content so you are not just creating random posts based on what you see others posting, but instead, you have an intentional plan designed for your business and your ideal audience.
To create your content strategy, you will need to:
1. Get clear on who your ideal audience is and spend time learning about them
Knowing who your ideal audience is before you start posting on Instagram is really important because it helps you understand who you want to reach and what THEY are interested in.
If you don’t spend time defining who your target audience is and what type of content they are already consuming online, it will be very difficult to capture their attention.
On the other hand, if you do this, you can create content that is targeted to the people who are most likely to be interested in your business, which means you are attracting quality followers (people who are most likely to become your customers).
2. Define WHAT you are going to be posting
- style of imagery, videos & aesthetics
- messages, stories and important information you need and want to share with your ideal audience to build social media relationships with them and trust in your business
- variations of posts considering your follower journey that take your audience from follower to customer
Your content strategy should include:
1️⃣ Types of posts that brings people to your account
51% of people are more likely to share videos with friends and family over any other content type. That means if you are still not making reels to create shareable content, you are missing out on huuuuge opportunity for your content to be discovered.
When planning my content strategy, I was not only thinking about topics and types of posts I would need to create, but I was also thinking about the format.
If we know that reels are being pushed out, then the type of content we need to create when we want to grow on the platform, right?
2️⃣ Types of posts that give people a reason to pay attention to your account
This is the type of content your target audience is already looking for online and allows them to discover your account.
For example: short educational/entertaining/inspirational videos in your niche
I brainstormed and researched what questions and problems my ideal customers might have so that I could address them in my content.
A lot of small business owners struggle with this because they think that there isn’t any helpful content they could create around their product. If you feel that way, you probably haven’t taken the time to really understand your ideal audience.
Let’s take a look at an example of the candle business. Sure, candles may not solve any “real” problems for your customers. But they help them feel the way your customers want to feel.
- Problem in customer’s mind: Limited relaxation time
- Desire: Customers may desire a candle that helps them unwind and create a calm atmosphere to escape from their busy lives.
- Problem in customer’s mind: Difficulty to relax after a long day at work.
- Desire: Customers may desire a candle that creates a warm and cozy atmosphere, enhancing their comfort and creating a sense of hygge.
- Problem in customer’s mind: Inadequate gift options
- Desire: Customers may want candles that are not only beautifully designed and packaged but also serve as thoughtful gifts for special occasions or as a way to show appreciation to loved ones.
- Problem in customer’s mind: Limited eco-friendly options
- Desire: Customers may have a desire for candles that are made from sustainable materials, use natural and non-toxic ingredients, and are produced in an environmentally responsible manner.
If you create content around the desires of your ideal customers, they are much more likely to pay attention to your posts compared to when you just create content showcasing your products.
3️⃣ Types of posts that build trust
For example: behind the scenes of your business or storytelling about your product/service, such as why you do things the way you do and how your customers can benefit from it.
These types of posts help them to connect with you on a personal level and understand the effort you put into your business.
4️⃣ Types of post that converts
These are promotional types of posts & stories. These types of posts need to be combined with nurturing type of content, because if you are only creating promotional posts, it doesn’t give your audience a reason to pay attention to your account. It feels salesy and they become uninterested in your posts.
02 – Created a consistency plan
I knew that social media marketing is a long-term game. It isn’t something we do for one month. It becomes an ongoing part of the business. Which means I needed a long-term plan that would allow me to stick with it.
I know it can sound scary because if you are like most people, you don’t have any time left in your week. But being consistent doesn’t mean you have to post 7x a week. It means choosing a posting schedule that you can commit to and show up. Same time, same place, every week.
If you can now only commit to posting and engaging on Tuesday and Thursday during lunchtime – that’s a great place to start and build your social media muscle!
In this case, you would need to include it in your weekly calendar, so you won’t forget to post & engage Tuesday and Thursday during lunchtime.
But consistency is not just about sticking to your posting schedule. Being consistent also means sticking to your content topics, brand voice and aesthetics so your audience knows what to expect from your account and wants to come back for your content.
Why is it so important?
By showing up consistently, your audience will build trust in your business. But more importantly, they will remember you.
This increases the likelihood that your brand will be the first one they think of when they are ready to make a purchase. Think about which brands you shop from on social media. Most likely, people/brands you are familiar with it, right? The ones that keep showing up again and again and again. And you find their content enticing.
Plus, the algorithm loves it when we are consistent. We know that Instagram prioritizes recent and relevant content, so by posting consistently, you increase your visibility and likelihood for your posts to be seen.
How often should you post?
I know, you are wondering how often you need to post. I like to take a holistic and realistic approach to everything in business.
I think it’s important to get clear on your current goals and priorities and consider how important social media is in the current stage of your business.
If you need to build your online presence and audience, then you need to treat it that way and commit to posting more often (4-7x a week). The more you post, the faster you get better in your content creation, which means the faster you will grow.
Once you grow your audience, you can focus on growing relationships with your community and post less frequently.
During my Instagram growth stage, I committed to posting seven times a week. I was batch-creating and pre-recording my content for 1-2 weeks in advance, which was much more time efficient.
03 – Analyzed weekly what worked and what didn’t
Before I recorded the next batch of posts, I made sure to reflect on my previous posts and pay attention to which posts got the most views, likes and shares. I also compared my posts to some of my favourite creators and picked 1-2 things I wanted to focus on improving for my next batch of posts.
It’s so much easier to stick through the slow growth at the beginning when you are focusing on your progress than focusing on likes and follows from each post. With your progress, results will come! Unfortunately, is isn’t usually not the other way around.
If you’d like to dive deeper to this topic, I invite you to tune in to today’s podcast episode here ?.
- FREE TRIAL of my Instagram helper Flick (affiliate link)
- Instagram profile makeover – FREE GUIDE
- Listen to Episode 3 & give your Instagram Profile Makeover
- Branding checklist for your small business – FREE GUIDE
- Listen to Episode 2 to define your marketing foundation