Instagram Strategy: How to Grow a Loyal Following With Instagram
Want to develop an engaged following?
To discover how to create an Instagram strategy for your business, I interview Nathan Chan.
More About This Show
The Social Media Marketing podcast is an on-demand talk radio show from Social Media Examiner. It’s designed to help busy marketers and business owners discover what works with social media marketing.
In this episode I interview Nathan Chan, the publisher of Foundr magazine, a digital publication designed to help entrepreneurs succeed. He’s also host of the Foundr podcast. Nathan is also crushing it on Instagram with nearly 400,000 followers.
Nathan will explore how he built a massive following on Instagram.
You’ll discover techniques you can employ right now for your Instagram strategy.
Share your feedback, read the show notes and get the links mentioned in this episode below.
Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this show:
Why Nathan started Foundr
Nathan launched Foundr on March 5, 2013, because he wanted to become an entrepreneur and didn’t know where to start. He realized there weren’t any magazines targeting aspiring or novice entrepreneurs, only magazines aimed at established businesses.
Foundr is a monthly publication, available on iOS and Android mobile devices. Download the app and explore the interactive magazine, which is subscription-based. Once you get inside, Nathan says, it’s like a flipbook, where you click and explore.
Nathan explains why Foundr differs from a traditional print magazine.
Because some people prefer to read and others like to listen, Nathan added a Foundr podcast to the mix after he left his day job. He wanted to share several amazing interviews he’d recorded on Skype. For example, the issue with Tony Robbins on the cover includes a feature article with exclusive material, as well as the audio interview embedded inside the magazine.
Listen to the show to hear how long it took Nathan to leave his job and what he was doing when he started Foundr.
Foundr and Instagram
A year and a half ago, Nathan tried Instagram and was having no success. He shares how a reader from Melbourne who had an entrepreneur page on Instagram with 20,000 followers contacted him. The reader thought if he posted Foundr’s Richard Branson cover, he would get Foundr more readers.
Nathan shares why the tactic didn’t work and what he learned he should have done instead.
Last November, Nathan revisited Instagram. He’d already got about 500 followers organically, since Foundr had 20 or 30 images posted. When Nathan did a couple of posts on the Foundr Instagram page, he saw their magazine sales spike on Google Analytics.
By this time, the guy from Melbourne was up to 80,000 followers, so Nathan reconnected with him and they started battle-testing different combinations on Instagram to see what would get more followers, encourage people to click on his bio and build his email list. Foundr’s email list has since grown considerably, due to traffic from Instagram. Last November, it was around 2,000. Now it’s just about to hit 100,000.
Nathan explains how to use lead magnets on Instagram to get people on your email newsletter list.
Listen to the show to discover why Nathan gave Instagram another try.
Nathan’s Instagram strategy
Nathan says his strategy is to create viral-type content that resonates with Foundr’s target audience and provide it on a consistent basis. The goal of the Instagram account is to build community, raise awareness of the brand and build the email newsletter database.
To get more email subscribers, Foundr currently links to an ebook as a lead magnet in the bio. The link pushes people to a landing page where they can get the “How to Get Your First 10,000 Instagram Followers” ebook when they subscribe.
When they first launched the ebook, it generated 30,000 opt-ins in a month. However, it’s starting to slow down, because they’ve saturated their audience. It’s probably time to change things up, Nathan says.
Nathan believes you can’t be too aggressive when you post on Instagram. He likes Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook model. Foundr usually does a number of jabs and then throws the right hook, so it’s value, value, value and then ask for something.
Find out how often Foundr publishes to Instagram and what types of content they post.
Listen to the show to learn what the self test is and how it helps you decide what to post on Instagram.
Where to find content to post
What Foundr does on Instagram is similar, Nathan explains. They find and share quotes from amazing startup founders and entrepreneurs, and also post startup tips and facts. They constantly test to discover what resonates with their audience.
Nathan shares that finding content that works is all about triggering an emotion, especially when it comes to an image. For example, Foundr posted an image encouraging people to write a comment and @tag their friends. The image read, “Millionaire by age ______.” The caption asked followers to say at what age they will become a millionaire and tag a friend to be held accountable.
Nathan also talks about a video of a panda they posted. Foundr put a spin on it with the caption, “That moment you get a big win with your business.” The caption also had a call for viewers to tag a friend or double-tap if they knew what it meant. Thousands of people engaged with that post.
Listen to the show to discover what Nathan considers the pinnacle of success for an entrepreneur.
Shout-outs for shout-outs
Nathan explains that Instagram success is all about S4S, which stands for “share for share” and “shout-out for shout-out.” He suggests you do whatever you can to get people to mention your images and give you a shout-out: ask other accounts post your image, tag you and mention you in the caption. You can also pay people to share your content or do a trade.
When they first started on Instagram, Founder had a very small budget. They got to 100,000 followers in four months, and only spent about $1,000. Nathan says they’ve probably spent $4,000 to $6,000 on S4S in the past 11 months.
Nathan explains the etiquette around using S4S.
Listen to the podcast to discover why Nathan likes shout-outs for shout-outs so much.
Nathan says the first step is to identity the influencers in your niche on Instagram. Next, narrow that pool down to people who have a similar audience and following. Then start approaching the right people to set up partnerships or broker deals where you post their content and they post yours.
One way to get an influencer’s attention is to take a screenshot of an image from their account, post it on your page and credit them by tagging and mentioning them in the caption.
As long as you mention them, it’s a good way to show appreciation of their content and possibly get them more followers.
Rather than charge for shout-outs, Nathan prefers to broker deals with other accounts to grow his email list. But, he says, people do make financial deals. When you work with Instagram influencers, the price varies, since people can charge what they want.
Nathan shares a potential partnership scenario for a frame of reference. He says if his magazine found an account with 500,000 followers and gave the influencer $1,000, they’d want at least 10 to 15 images posted on their behalf. Plus, they would want the images to last up to 24 hours. They would also want it to be their own images and custom caption. That math relates to $60 to $100 per shout-out.
If you spent $1,000 and got 10 to 15 shout-outs, depending on the account, you’d want to get at least a few thousand engaged followers for it to be worthwhile. Nathan says a tool called Social Blade will tell you how many followers you get a day.
Listen to the show to hear how to apply partnerships to all of your social media platforms.
We recently celebrated the 6th anniversary of Social Media Examiner with a live blab. One of the questions that came up was, “What’s the most important thing necessary to grow today?”
Whether you have or plan to launch a blog, product or podcast, the most important thing for growth is influencers. You can have the best content or product in the world, but if you don’t have a great relationship with someone who has access to your audience, it will take a lot more time to grow.
I touch on this in my second book, Launch. It’s part of what I call “the elevation principle.” Great Content + Other People – Marketing Messages = Growth. The idea is that the Other People component should consist of influencers you’ve built strong relationships with over the years, people you call friends.
This is really key to the growth of Social Media Examiner. In the early days, I went out of my way to help significant people in the world of social media marketing. I would get them on camera, interview them and promote the heck out of the video. I didn’t just go after people who were superstars, I went after people who had amazing potential for success.
The idea is to strategically pick a small group of people to pour yourself into. Ultimately, down the road, when you want a bit of help, you can ask them. These people of influence will help you grow.
Listen to the show to learn more and let us know how you’re connecting with influencers.
Other Show Mentions
Today’s show is sponsored by Social Media Marketing World 2016.
You can now sign up for Social Media Marketing World 2016. It’s the world’s largest social media marketing conference. By attending, you’ll make connections with 100+ of the world’s top social media pros (plus 3,000 of your peers) and you’ll discover amazing ideas that’ll transform your social media marketing.
If you want to meet and connect with influencers in the world of social media marketing, the best place you can do that is Social Media Marketing World. At the conference you can meet and talk to people like Guy Kawasaki, Chris Brogan, Mari Smith, Ann Handley, Jay Baer, Michael Hyatt, Amy Porterfield, Joe Pulizzi, Darren Rowse, Joel Comm and the list goes on and on.
See what attendees experienced at our 2015 conference.
The event takes place in San Diego, California on April 17, 18 and 19, 2016.
Hundreds of people have already purchased their tickets and have committed to coming to the conference. You will never find a more eclectic, yet intriguing and powerful, mix of thought leaders in the world of social media in one place. If you understand the value of networking and building relationships, consider coming to SMMW16.com, and see what it’s all about.
The networking is going to be off the hook. We have our opening-night party on an aircraft carrier, the USS Midway.
We have the best pricing you will ever find going on right now. Click here to check out the speakers and the agenda and grab your early bird discount.
Listen to the show!
Key takeaways mentioned in this episode:
- Learn more about Nathan on his website.
- Check out Foundr’s Instagram Domination course.
- Read Foundr’s “How to Get Your First 10,000 Instagram Followers” ebook.
- Subscribe to Foundr on iTunes or Android.
- Listen to the Foundr podcast.
- Follow Foundr on Instagram and Twitter.
- Read Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk.
- Explore SUCCESS Magazine on Facebook and Twitter.
- Explore Social Blade.
- Read Launch.
- Check out our 6th anniversary blab.
- Follow me, subscribe and listen to the Social Media Examiner weekly blabs.
- Learn more about the 2016 Social Media Marketing World.
- Read the 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report.
Ways to subscribe to the Social Media Marketing podcast:
- Click here to subscribe via iTunes.
- Click here to subscribe via RSS (non-iTunes feed).
- You can also subscribe via Stitcher.
What do you think? What are your thoughts on Instagram strategy? Please leave your comments below.