What Startups Really Need To Know About Instagram For Growth

In terms of growth, Instagram is a powerful channel. It boasts a daily active user base of more than a billion, an array of creative features, and plenty of opportunities for brands to connect with customers.

But for startups, Instagram is especially effective for growth. It’s possible to build an organic growth strategy that helps you find new clients and strengthen your relationships with your existing ones.

If you’re a startup looking to use Instagram for growth in 2021, read on to learn the essentials.

Give your followers the content they want and need

The bedrock of a solid Instagram growth strategy is excellent and engaging content.

You need to provide prospective followers with a reason to follow your account. If you want to get this right, you need to deliver what your prospective clients genuinely want. This means creating a value-led strategy that appeals to your audience’s pain points.

While you can lean on your buyer personas here, if you want a quick solution, check out your competitors instead. Every startup has its competition, so highlight your key business rivals and check out their Instagram to see what works well for them.

It’s also worth noting that Instagram favours accounts that post content that users have engaged with before. This means it’s important to drive repeated engagement in your content. Encourage your followers to return to your feed by creating a sequence of posts that build on the previous ones — a regular how-to feature is a good example of this.

Implement a regular posting schedule

For startups, your Instagram strategy can be a chore. If you want to see genuine growth from Instagram, you need to regularly and frequently post high-quality content. The platform’s algorithm looks favorably upon those accounts that provide fresh content on a regular basis, so it’s worth doing.

It pays to do a little planning here. Create an editorial calendar for your Instagram and plan each post ahead of time. As well as highlighting what content goes out on which day, it should also stipulate what time the post goes out too. The visibility of each post varies depending on audience, region, niche, and so on, so do your research beforehand to find the right time for your own content.

Another essential for startups seeking growth on Instagram is a solid scheduling tool. Apps like Planoly let you automate your posting, saving you time as a result — vital for any growing startup.

Embrace Instagram Stories for dynamic growth

While it’s important to regularly post fresh content on your startup’s Instagram, it’s equally vital that you keep your Stories updated too.

Stories are ephemeral visual content of either still images or videos that stay on your account avatar for up to 24 hours before disappearing completely (unless you save them to your Highlights reel).

Stories also provide a wide creative scope for you to engage your followers. Behind-the-scenes clips, real-time product beta testing, staff Q&As — these all make for interesting content that prospective clients will be drawn to.

There is also an array of unique Stickers that let you encourage engagement with your Stories. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Polls
  • Location
  • Music
  • Hashtags
  • Mentions
  • Products
  • Questions

Use these to drive engagement with your Stories. Questions and polls, for instance, are an effective way to source user feedback and connect with prospective customers.

As well as offering a creative way to connect with your audience, Stories have the added advantage of letting you get around the Instagram algorithm too. When you update your Story, it gets pushed to the front of your followers’ Stories queue. This lets you get urgent updates and content out to your audience in a pinch.

Lean on your satisfied clients for powerful UGC

Like influencers, user-generated content (UGC) is a popular growth strategy employed by a variety of businesses.

Put simply, it is content — photos, videos, reviews, and so on — provided by customers rather than a business. This gives it greater value to your audience because it is produced by real people, rather than your own marketing team. This is especially useful for tech startups pushing a new, relatively unknown kind of product, such as a SaaS product.

Engaging prospective customers who are not familiar with the kind of SaaS product you sell can be tricky. But when existing satisfied customers provide authentic reviews of your offering, you can better engage these prospective leads with an otherwise obscure product.

Not only does UGC engage your audience and make your startup more approachable, but it also helps fill up your content calendar when your back is against the wall.

There are myriad ways to achieve this, but as a startup, it’s worth reaching out to your existing clients directly. Startups typically have a small but intimate client roster, so lean on your relationships and invite your customers to share their experience of using your product.

Collaborate with influencers for far-reaching growth

The power of influencers is well-established in the marketing world. Connecting with popular social stars to expand reach and influence is employed by a range of brands in virtually every industry. From Pepsi to Nike, influencers are a stalwart strategy for business growth.

But what does influencer marketing look like for startups? In lieu of macro-influencers (those individuals with 10K followers or above), look to micro-influencers instead.

Micro-influencers typically have between 500-10K followers, and as such enjoy a more personal relationship with their followers. This offers you a ripe opportunity to gradually but sustainably see growth for your startup.

It’s important to choose micro-influencers that your target customers are likely to already engage with. Think about public speakers, thought leaders, or writers who regularly contribute to industry publications.

Reach out to these individuals and offer them a free trial or your product or service. Some may require payment, but many will be happy with just a freebie. Be polite and honest about your collaboration and seek to make it mutually beneficial — it is this that builds a lasting relationship.

Instagram is an effective growth channel and one that startups would do well to consider. Follow the tips above and build a solid Instagram presence that gets your startup growth and engagement time and again in 2021.

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