Marketing a Community
It’s not about building a business it’s about building a brand.
This is something that is talked about all the time when you are a business owner. It becomes a norm to start thinking about new ways to market. It takes create minds & a drive to really grow a business to grow a business. I spent so much time looking for ways to grow my instagram following and how to grow my email. I wanted that magical formula that would help my business boom over night. The key word of marketing is patience & knowledge. It does take time, but it also can get done!
The key word of marketing is patience & knowledge. It does take time, but it also can get done!
There are many ways to market. You can create targeted ads, you can post daily & be active on your social media. You can create an email thread. You can hire a marketer. The options that are out there are about as endless as your instagram feed. It goes on forever. I’m going to share here what worked best for me in terms of growing my community!
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What didn’t work
First, I can share what didn't work for me... learn from my mistakes! I tried to follow a bunch of people. I found that a lot of people would try to steer you away from this when I was starting my business. & it is true that it is quite annoying to allow someone to follow you & you follow them back to only have them unfollow you a week later.
More importantly, I found that this option although would give me some followers it didn’t give me followers that were truly interested in my page. They were more interested in just gaining another follower, because who doesn’t. Oftentimes I would gain like 15 followers immediately but by the next day I would have lost 20. So learn from my mistake and don’t fall into the trap of wanting to get a bunch of followers immediately. The other problem that comes from this is having a ton of followers but not enough impressions to make your posts worth it for Instagram to boost in the algorithm. The way Instagram has it set it up creates problems for your company if you grow to quickly & don't continue that growth.
Gaining followers is about your impressions. If you have been to my other blog posts you know that creating a business account on Facebook & Instagram is important. Changing to this kind of social media can give you access to a bunch of tools. You want to go to these often to find the prime times for you to post & what kind of people to have your ads target. Look at the analytics, learn when you get the most engagement & then engage!
Look at the analytics, learn when you get the most engagement & then engage!
Aside from these pros having a business site also allows you to see your follower count and how it is growing. It also shows you the number of impressions that each of your posts get. This is important. This number is the number you want to grow. You want your business to be reaching people. The more people you are reaching the better your chances are of finding that person who would be interested in your business.
What DID work
Now onto the good stuff. The best way I found to grow my business is through liking and interacting with other followers. It does take time & I probably spent hours upon hours each week interacting on instagram and facebook. (This is why some people hire a marketer, it’s tedious!)
I would like the first 5 or so posts of the person and then make a genuine compliment or comment on their photos. If I didn’t get their follow I did at least usually get a response. This is so important. Instagram wants to see your interacting with others. Accounts that aren’t doing much get pushed down in the algorithm. & you want to get on that fyp!
Business is about finding the customer that wants your product or your service. They are out there you just need to find them. Commenting & interacting with people also puts your name on their post. These impressions are recorded on instagram but they definitely help. Their followers might see that comment and your name and might go & check you out.
Creating a community of followers that actually interact with your brand and purchase from your brand is far more important than a number of followers. It is true that some businesses people want you to have followers because that shows that you are more “legit”, whatever that means. But trust me if you are following these steps and working on interacting with your community it will grow. Maybe not as quickly as you’d like but it will.
Something else I tried that I felt had success was being active every hour. At the beginning of every hour I would go and interact with some of my followers or with others & this seemed to get my posts to have more impressions and interactions. I know this worked because before I started this I was getting barely any orders weekly through my small boutique and by the end of the first week I had tripled the amount I had made in the previous month.
It’s important to remember though that it takes time. You want your followers to be real. Buying followers, sure takes ten seconds, but spending the time to grow your followers will result in you actually making money not looking like you’re making money. It doesn’t matter what it “looks” like it matters what is actually going on behind the scenes.
This is something else that I stress ALWAYS. But I feel this one really helps depending on your business. For my small boutique I haven’t seen as many benefits come from my hashtag usage. However, for my photography page hashtags were crucial. If people look up #utahweddingphotographer you want them to see and notice your picture. If you constantly use the exact same amount of hashtags & the same hashtags instagram can end up flagging your posts. So MAKE SURE that you change it up every couple days.
Hashtags can help or hinder if you get too lazy.
This is the case with most of marketing! Instagram knows if you're active & the algorithm picks up on over liking or over commenting, even over messaging. They pick up on the exact same hashtags being used over and over. So make sure you are working on being genuine. I have a notes tab on my phone that I have 5 days of hashtags that I rotate through! This is the easiest way I have found to keep using hashtags without have to spend a CENTURY typing them all out.
Posting GOOD content
Depending on your business again your instagram feed is going to draw people to you. When you are liking and commenting and creating a community you want your page to be pleasing to look at.
What I did was I went to a photographers page that I looked up to & that I wanted to be like. I then took note of what she did & how her posts improved and changed over the year. I scrolled way WAY WAY back & I looked at her hashtags & her interactions. She had calls to actions and asked good questions.
If you are constantly creating a community people will comment on your pages and you can comment on theirs! I looked at how she posted too. If you find someone who is succeeding at the thing you want to be succeeding at then GO! Copy them! Copying someone is the biggest form of flattery. Once you feel you have created a good foundation that you can build off of then become your own.
Find someone who you admire & copy their layout. Find a style you like & run with it. Don't copy their photos & don't copy their brand, find your own, but you can learn from them! "Identity theft is not a joke" -Dwight Schrute
I’m not saying create the exact same posts as them or have the same captions, but finding and curating a list of hashtags that you saw them use that you can then too use will be beneficial. Copying them exactly won’t help you stand out & you need to create your brand. It’s the most important part of this whole marketing process.
Make Your Brand YOU!
You want to create a brand that people recognize. This goes along with your brands logo & the colors. Everything about your brand has to be you & it's important because it will become recognizable. If you just try to completely copy someone else you will become a shadow of a different brand & that can completely halt progress. So copy but make it your own. Twist it to fit you!
Basically…. Grow your brand not just your business. It’s about the people who invest in you not the number of people who follow you on social media. Don’t let it discourage you if it takes time! You got this. Constantly be putting in that effort like you’re doing now by taking the time to read this blog! You got this! Apply those marketing tips & tricks!
Comment below if these tips work for you & how you are going to be applying them to your small businesses! Message me for blog posts you want me to write about. I love hearing from you all!