Instagram Hacks for Startups to Build Early Audiences


This guest column is by Sheraz Saeed, Founder at Websters

Building an early audience for startups is crucial for driving awareness for your new business and launch. No matter what stage your startup is in, it is imperative to start or continue to grow a social media audience. Social media tools can help brands to reach out to more people on social media organically which in turn will drive on-going sales and help create a brand recall.

One such platform, Instagram is widely being used by small businesses to build and engage with early audiences. Instagram is a very powerful platform which when used correctly can help brands and business reach out to a niche and specific audience.

Below are 10 ways Instagram can be used by brands to build early audiences.

  1. #Learnthelingo

Using hashtags is a great way to make your content more visible to your target audience. Unlike other social networks like Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest, you can’t search for keywords in Instagram. Instead, you search by hashtags.In addition to your own specific hashtags, one can also use some universally popular hashtags to drive more visibility. Some poularhastags that can be used are:-

  • #instagood: The hashtag was started by the account @instagood to highlight some of the top photos on Instagram
  • #like4like:  This hashtag signals to other users that if they like your post, you’ll return the favor. It can be used effectively to drive engagement for your posts
  • #photooftheday and #picoftheday: When you’re posting multiple pictures each day, you can use either of these hashtags to highlight your top photo for the day

The key is not to bombard the post with too many hashtags, but use all the relevant hashtags – prioritizing the related trending hashtags supported by individual hashtags that match the essence of the post.

  1. Follow to get followed

The amazing trend on Instagram of people being too generous with their follow-back mojo, makes it easy for startup brands to multiply their followers just with a single click. For instance, a startup ecommerce website foraying into the market can follow big giants of the industry and extract out followers that matches their area of interest.

  1. Pacing up the response rate

Whether it is a product price, event details or a simple query, if the brand is active and spontaneous enough to get back to the follower, half of the job is done. Maintaining a high response time not only helps you to become more aggressive in your approach, but also builds an amazing brand image.

  1. Morning Gyaan or the Evening Masala

Every post that brand makes has a certain amount of motive; and if that motive blends in well with the mood of the viewer, then it certainly sums up to a like, share or a comment. The catch is to identify the right time to make the right post – like motivational quotes in the morning, juicy information in the afternoon to break the work monotony or a simple behind- the-scene video to conclude the day with some fun.

  1. Incorporate the promotion in a concept

While Instagram advertisements (now also managed through Facebook) remain a fantastic space for all startups to get people’s attention, it is highly advisable to go as creative as one can be rather than being direct. Focussing more on incorporating the promotional message in an intriguing video-format ad, conveying with minimal text or incubating the message in a lifestyle image does wonders.

  1. Tag Influencers

Sharing content from other users is a great way to build relationships on social media. Unlike other social platforms like Twitter with Retweets or Pinterest with Repins, Instagram doesn’t have a built-in feature to reshare posts by other users. Instagram apps likeWebsta and Repost for Instagram allow users to repost photos from other users without having to take screenshots and cropping.

While reposting,make sure you tag the original user so that they get a notification as well as credit.

  1. Strike a balance between promotion and content sharing

You might have heard – ‘Too much of anything is bad.’ Following the same thumb rule, only promotional posts might become mundane for a brand to grab the viewer’s attention. It is essential to balance it out with relatable content sharing that may include information about the concerned industry, related videos and more. Anything that is related to your brand and elevates the interest of the associated viewers works best for you.

  1. Post teasers before any new announcements

Teasers are a great way to get your target audiences intrigued and amped up about an upcoming launch. Instead of just creating one post announcing your major news it is more effective to create a series of screenshots and even a countdown to create the right buzz.

  1. Use high quality pictures to attract audience

Instagram is all about the pictures. Businesses which are quick to upload high quality pictures which resonate with their products, employees and business in general, are able to harness the visual power Instagram offers and eventually drives the desire to purchase.

  1. Follow the right brands

While building your own base of followers it is equally important to connect and follow companies and individuals that have similar business interests. This can help you track and analyse brands working in the similar industry and get insights on how they engage with their audiences as well.

Image Credit – Belltime

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