3 Ways to Grow an Instagram Community

social media toolsIs your business effectively using Instagram?

Are you making the most of your community on Instagram?

Forty percent of top brands have adopted Instagram as part of their marketing strategy.

Instagram helps give your business a personal touch through visuals, so it’s important to bolster your community as best you can for continued growth and interaction from your audience.

Here are three tips on how to strengthen your community management efforts on Instagram.

#1: Use Tools to Manage Your Account

Instagram’s interface, whether on mobile or web, doesn’t offer the best options for brands to effectively engage with their community. Before the launch of the web version of Instagram, many tools were developed to fill in the gaps left by the network.

There’s Statigram, Instagrid, Webstagram, Nitrogram, Simply Measured and many other helpful tools for making the most of your Instagram community.

Let’s focus on just two, Statigram for community and giveaway management, and Nitrogram for measurement.

Statigram

Statigram is most helpful to monitor your community and engage in a variety of ways. The tool allows you to view your Instagram photos and feed, track the metrics of your account, host contests and respond to comments from your audience.

statigram comment moderator

View and reply to all of your comments on your Instagram photos from Statigram. Each photo lists unread comments awaiting moderation.

It lets you quickly scroll through your photos to check which comments are unread, giving you the opportunity to read, respond to or remove them right from the Statigram platform.

Hosting contests is an important way to build your community on any platform, and doing so on Statigram can help quickly grow your relevant Instagram following.

When you host a contest or giveaway on Statigram, you’re able to have a landing page for your promotion, promote it on Statigram and monitor its success with extensive metrics. Statigram also allows a business to announce the winner of an Instagram contest hosted on their platform.

Having a landing page for your Instagram contest is important, mostly because it allows you to list the official rules of the promotion that your followers must adhere to.

martha stewart instagram contest

Martha Stewart hosted her Instagram contest on Statigram to ensure the rules were clear and to ensure the initiative got the most possible visibility.

Martha Stewart is hosting an Instagram contest on Statigram, calling for users to share their holiday decor with the hashtag #marthastwartholiday for a chance to win limited edition ornament sets. This brand promotion would have been difficult to measure and manage properly without Statigram.

Statigram is a turnkey solution for managing your Instagram account and improving its relevancy with your audience.

Nitrogram

Nitrogram‘s main purpose is to effectively measure Instagram accounts—mostly the use of hashtags surrounding your business. Many tools focus on the followers of the account, but it’s always more important to dive into how your audience is engaging with your content.

nitrogram graph

Nitrogram's graphs are simple visual representations of the data from your account, including photos taken, likes, comments and potential impressions. All of this data is exportable to Excel.

Measuring the hashtags related to your business is important because it allows you to see the number of people posting photos about your company from their own accounts and at what frequency.

Your community is an important indicator of customer satisfaction and brand appeal when it comes to the uploads of their own photos, which are a different data set from the content your company uploads to Instagram itself.

#2: Respond to Comments to Grow Your Community

The most important thing you can do for your Instagram community is to remain active, engaged and provide value by responding to comments.

There are 81 comments on Instagram posted every second (according to Digital Buzz), which is a lot of comments to keep up with. That’s where the tools discussed above can really come in handy to bolster your community outreach efforts.

modcloth instagram comments

ModCloth monitors their community on Instagram by responding to compliments and questions and chiming into conversations with valuable insights.

Monitor your hashtags and the photos shared from your account for feedback from your audience. Respond to comments in a timely fashion, and always aim to add value to the conversation so your follower walks away feeling connected with and respected by your brand.

When you answer questions and respond to comments, you will help build a loyal audience, and also help give your account more visibility on Instagram.

If your photos appear on the Explore page—dedicated to the most interesting photos on Instagram—they’ll be seen by users outside of your following and thus provide a new level of visibility to your account.

instagram explore page

Instagram's Explore page allows for the discovery of new images on the network, giving businesses the opportunity to grow their following dramatically once they get a photo featured on this page.

An Instagram photo makes it to the Explore page through a combination of two factors: the amount of engagement on that photo in likes and comments, and the amount of time it takes to get that engagement from when the photo was posted.

When you actively comment on your photos to incite engaging conversations, you help increase the amount of comments on your photo. This leads to a higher likelihood your photo will make it onto the Explore page and gain more followers for your account.

#3: Use Hashtags to Track Engagement Over Time

Hashtags are an often-overlooked way to monitor and measure the growth of your community over time. Similar to their use on Twitter and Google+, hashtags help aggregate photos of a particular subject based on the words used in the hashtag.

It’s important to look at the number of photos being uploaded about your brand to measure its growth over time, as well as your audience’s impression of your business.

instagram hashtags

Use the Explore tab to search and view all photos uploaded with a particular hashtag.

Visit the Explore tab on Instagram and search the name of your business. From here you can see how many photos the Instagram community has uploaded about your brand. View individual photos for opportunities to leave comments and feedback.

By occasionally liking and commenting on photos about your business, you can gain followers from users already sharing photos of your products, services and more.

Hashtags are also helpful when you host giveaways, sweepstakes and promotions on Instagram to organize your entries and calculate the success of your promotion.

Lastly, continue to use tools like Nitrogram to monitor the number of photos about your business on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis to help determine the growth of your community on Instagram over time.

What do you think? Are you actively managing your community on Instagram? If so, what strategies have worked best for your business? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author, Brian Honigman

Brian Honigman is a freelance writer, a marketing consultant and a social media enthusiast focused on stregthening relationships with brands, startups and their customers. Follow him on Twitter @BrianHonigman. Other posts by »




More Info







Check out the Social Media Marketing Podcast!
Check out our Blogging workshop!
Join our Social Media Marketing Networking Club
Download the free Social Media Marketing Industry Report