Remember the times when Instagram was a new innocent platform for sharing images of lattes, sneakers, and selfies? While the overall quality of content wasn’t that amazing at first, it was designed to do one thing: to instantly share little snapshots of our day.
This core idea is what attracted the first marketers to it. Then, when the troves of advertisers, artists, and other content creators moved into the space, the platform has lost its initial appeal. Don’t get me wrong, I love Instagram’s artistic side and the aspirational feel that comes with it, but Instagram is anything but instant these days.
While I am not suggesting going back to blurry or pixelated images with questionable filters slapped onto them, you need to bring a sense of immediacy back; because a feeling of being “in the moment” is what creates a sense of “a special club” to your followers. And whether we admit it or not, people like to feel special and belong to cool clubs.
Besides, a sense of exclusivity not only gives your customers a reason to follow you on Instagram, but it also creates a sense of deeper connection.
It is easy to find a stock image and slap your logo on it, but it doesn’t tell your story and it doesn’t add anything exciting to it. It also doesn’t add any value to your followers.
Your Content Doesn’t Always Have to Be Perfect
While the competition is strong on Instagram, it’s not only about perfect images. In fact, Instagram users get noticeably tired of flawless appearances.
Instead, once in a while, opt for something perfectly imperfect. People connect much better with other humans instead of flawless robots.
Get personal and share a story of how your business began, share your fears or insecurities, tell a story of a failure and how you’ve come back from it. Ask people for advice on some topics you know very little about. You will be amazed at how many responses you can get to a simple question because people love to share their tips.
Plus, you can always pull away the curtain on the inner workings of your business. What makes it interesting to follow founders and company insiders is an ability to see some behind-the-scenes action. While you may not have the funds to hire a professional photographer to follow you around, you could snap some selfies or ask employees to take just a few photos of you. Latest social media trends like Stories and live broadcasting enable you as a business owner to pull the curtain on the inner workings of your company in a very cool and social way.
Show them your processes, your production line, or share the stories of your team. Even something as simple as office celebrations or “bring your dog to work” day make your brand more approachable, and thus, likeable.
When doing this, make sure to keep in mind the overall aesthetics of your Instagram feed and try not to ruin the cohesiveness of your brand with one badly-lit, blurry image. Don’t be afraid to depart from the perfectly-orchestrated images you usually post. Give your Instagram followers access to some bits of your brand they wouldn’t see otherwise.
Want to Play It Safer? Experiment with Stories
Instagram Stories is the tool you need to leverage if you want to create a sense of exclusivity. Because, conventionally, Stories are up for just 24 hours, your followers feel like they’re in on something fun and less-known than the traditional content you’re putting out there. At this point, people are pretty accustomed to watching Stories from handles they love, because of this urgency factor.
Plus, Stories make it very simple to go “unfiltered” without ruining the vibe of the traditional feed. So, if you’re not quite sure yet how to balance the editorial and the raw in your profile, experiment with the content you publish to Stories.
What’s a better way to use this new ephemeral feature than to draw a curtain on your business? Amplify the feeling of exclusivity by creating Stories instead of sharing it permanently on your feed.
You can really take this one creatively. On one hand, you might do sneak peeks of new products and heighten their interest with a sense of curiosity.
You might let your employees take over an account for a day. Again, it will be fun and engaging and let the personality of your company shine through.
People like to do business with people, so show them your human side! If you are a one-man band, or if you are the face of your brand, get a bit personal. Show them your fun side and what you do outside of work. Maybe you’ll want to introduce your followers to your dog or cat, or share a beautiful foam drawing on your cappuccino.
The rise of the Stories feature, is at least partly due to the informational overload. We are bombarded with ads, news, articles, and friends’ posts everywhere we go. So, Instagram Stories go back to the roots. They make conversations feel intimate again, even though you may have hundreds of thousands of followers who will watch your Story.
Use Stories as a way to get personal and intimate. Don’t just shove your content down their throats. Be organic. Be human.
Of course, pay attention to the reception this content gets from your followers. Do they love it? Do they engage with it? Does it prompt them to send you a DM? Those are all great indicators that you should try these techniques in the feed.
We all love giveaways, sales, and coupon codes (even if we don’t want to confess it!). So, what’s a better way to show your appreciation for your followers than with special deals or codes?
You don’t have to do it all the time or break the bank to show them your gratitude, but an occasional exclusive coupon code that’s only published on Instagram will do wonders. Want to take it a step further? Share a coupon code in Stories and see how many times it will be redeemed on your website! This will give people plenty of incentives to not only follow you on Instagram but to also to pay special attention to your content.
Instagram is known for its aspirational content. Why not make your followers feel like the insiders of a special club or a community? This will only make them feel so much more loyal to your brand, converting them into ambassadors for your company.
How do you create a sense of exclusivity and build an Instagram community around your brand? What different tactics did you use? I’d like to know your tips! Share in the comment section below or head over to Instagram @lesyaliu to continue the conversation!
I don’t really understand Instagram as a community… I understand you can rally folks around what you’re saying, but because there isn’t an easy way to share others’ work, it’s hard to build a comraderie. Thanks for giving me a few ideas to try.
Well, it is not about creating a community around your Instagram handle per se, it is about creating a community around your brand and your message.
I totally agree and personally enjoy the raw, unfiltered, behind the scenes images on Instagram! As Simon Sinek said- the sunset is not as bright as it looks on filtered Instagram pics! Being authentic always wins!
I like that the perception begins to shift, because Instagram perfection was getting out of hand.