Instagram Etiquette: How to Network Online
Updated: Aug 19
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 going on downtown. If I want to make a few new connection with people in Nashville, without actually getting out of my house and going downtown, I interact on the hashtag #nashvilletn. Not only that, but I can be anywhere in the world and network with people in specific city's if I use that city's hashtag.
Photo Source: Unsplash
Having a social media account for your business allows your business to directly interact with potential leads. Your goal in your content should be to add value, build trust, and retain those followers. As your following grows don't forget to interact with them so they continue to like and trust you. One of the biggest benefits to having social media for your business is the engagement side. Think about how other brands interact with you and how that makes you feel. Now think about how you want your brand to make people feel. Direct engagement with new people takes time, but if you're just getting your business started, utilize the extra time you have to network with new people online.
Want to strategize together one on one? I offer coaching/consulting on social media for small business owners. If you're looking to book a one on one strategy call, tap the "Request a Quote" button on the top right and we can schedule a call together.