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  • Writer's pictureAbigail Ann

Instagram Etiquette: How to Network Online

Updated: Aug 19, 2022

So this strategy has helped me grow my following, but more importantly my business. Let me say though, prioritizing followers over paying clients is a great way to sabotage your dreams. So I need you to go into this not expecting anything to come from it. That may sound counter productive, but you don’t give someone a compliment so you get one back. You give someone a compliment because you genuinely mean it and you just want to be kind. That kind of mindset is what will make this strategy work.

Step 1: Identify your Target Audience

First things first, narrow down who your target audience is aka who you want to connect with. If you're not sure how to do that, How to Find Your Target Audience will help with that. Once you have the type of person in mind that you want to connect with, you'll want to hop on Instagram and send out a minimum of 5 encouragements a day. What does this look like? Let's talk Instagram etiquette first. For instance, this strategy would never work on Facebook, here's why. On Instagram it's 100% normal for someone to come check out your account, like a few pictures, and leave a nice comment on one of them. On Facebook though, if someone you don't know adds you as a friend, you're probably going to look to see if you have any mutual friends. You may even reach out to a mutual friend to ask who this person might be. On Instagram though, it's totally normal to constantly be connecting with new people. Networking with new people is expected and encouraged on Instagram.

So how does sending an encouragement work?

Photo Source: Unsplash

Step 2: Find people in that audience and interact with their content

When you set out to engage with a new person on Instagram it isn't about making a sale right away. It's about sparking curiosity and building trust first. People don't part with dollars unless you're solving a problem for them. Before they can buy or utilize a service though, they need to trust you. So let's say you want to connect with mom's who are also business owners. Think about what hashtags they might be using. Let's take #mompreneur for example. You could search this hashtag on Instagram, click the hashtag, then tap the "recent" tab and it's going to show you every single post that anyone has ever used that hashtag on. I suggest using the "recent" tab instead of the "top" tab because you know these posts were made within the last hour or even sooner. Scroll through that recent tab to look for a photo you could leave a genuinely nice comment on. Once you find one, comment your note of kindness, then like 2-3 other photos that person posted. Boom, that's one done.

Step 3: Keep up with people who engage back with you

Even if you start with finding 1 or 2 people a day to interact with, that’s still 30 - 60 people a month your brand is interacting with! 365-720 a year! I’ve gotten clients and made lifelong friends doing this. If someone I interact with comes back and likes a few pictures and follows me, this shows me that they're open to connecting! One girl I did this with last year came back and followed me so I followed her back. A couple weeks later she reached out because she needed a logo! I designed a logo for her and we meet for coffee and we talk on the phone all the time now! I would have never met her without this strategy.

The biggest thing with this strategy is to figure out the type of person you want to connect with, then search a hashtag that they would use. You can even do this by location. For example, I live just south of Nashville and I like to stay up to date with what's goi