Do you ever feel like Instagram is a bit too much like middle school? Those awkward years where your frizzy hair and messy locker don’t quite feel up to par with the “cool kids?” Where they all are at the best parties wearing the newest, trendiest outfits, and you’re still in hand-me-downs snuggling your dog at home? You feel like you have something to offer, but don’t really know if anyone cares, much less have the confidence to put yourself out into the world.
Guess what, Instagram doesn’t actually have to feel so lonely or pointless or like a time suck that reaps no rewards.
What if I told you that building a loyal community is possible – a loyal group of “friends” exists out there that not only wants to see you for who you really are, but also cares about what you have to share.
I used to feel like I had to hide my “7th-grade self” to fit in with the “cool kids.” If you’re feeling that too… I’d love to offer a few tips today that can help you build a loyal following of people who are ready to engage with you and actually buy what you’re selling. Plus, each tip features an action item and your “Recipe for Success” you can do today to take the next step toward growing an engaged Instagram following. You got this, friend. Let’s roll!
3 Things You Should be Doing on Instagram to Build a Loyal Following
Show up as your (real)self.
Ever tried to be something you aren’t?
I’m not talking imposter syndrome here. Let’s debunk that right quick. You, friend, have a SKILL – a talent – that no one else has. Other people may be farther along in their business journey, but they aren’t you. They don’t have your unique skill sets and processes and personality. Only you have that. So, what you’re doing… it’s needed. Ok, thanks for coming to my TED Talk.
Now, back to being something you aren’t… picture this: your house is a disaster, your kids are screaming in the background, and you’re just plain tired (who isn’t these days?!). But you planned in your perfectly organized content calendar that today – yes today! – would be the day that you put your face on Instagram Stories. You spend a billion hours doing your hair for the first time in weeks and setting up the perfect background while bribing your kids with one more pack of Oreos, only to sit down to finally turn that camera around and hit record, and you come up BLANK with words. You’re so tired from prepping that you literally can’t even do what you’ve been working so hard to accomplish!
Instead, what if you just didn’t do all that stuff. Didn’t try to be something you’re not just to “fit in.” Just left the mess &, heck, even showed the mess in the background. Spent your mental energy stepping out of your comfort zone and just getting your face on IG. Sharing with your audience. Offering up a bit of vulnerability and realness and the reminder that while yes, you are a boss, you also are a ___wife, mama, friend, side-hustler, closet chef, whatever you are___. You’re a normal human, with a “normal” life, and perhaps it’s curated in moments for the ‘gram, but also, loyal followings and connection via that weird “digital middle school universe” begin with finding your people… the ones who love you for you and are there not because you’re perfect, but in fact, because you’re not. Vulnerability, honesty, and realness – all done in your signature brand voice – are the name of the game for connecting with your following.
Recipe for Success: Take Action
- Figure out your ideal client here
- Open up IG Stories, turn that camera around, & share a video of what you’re doing right in this moment & why that’s important for your ideal client. This is perfect practice to connect with your ideal client and build YOUR loyal IG community. Be sure to tag @LaurenLCarnes and @SocialSquares – we’d love to cheer you on! If this feels hard you are on the right track! The more you share your real-normal-messy-unpolished self the easier it will become and the more your true fans will love you for showing up as yourself!
Show up to serve them.
The next step after getting “real” with your following to build a loyal community is finding what they need and giving them that! Our goal to keep people coming back again and again is to do one of the following with every bit of content we create.
If you don’t know where to begin in serving your audience, start with your story. It’s that one thing that you uniquely know! Quick ways you can use your story to build a loyal Instagram community:
Connect about your day-to-day life & what you have in common
Educate your ideal client about how you do your job differently than others in your industry
Entertain the audience with funny anecdotes or experiences you alone have
Inspire people by how you uniquely see life
Equip them to take the next step in purchasing what you have to offer by showing them the time and expertise you put in to create it
Wondering what else you can share on Instagram to serve & sell well. Here are 3 best content creation tips when you’re not quite sure what to share.
Recipe for Success: Take Action
- Write down a list of 3 things you’re uniquely good at that pertain to your ideal client – these can be big or little – but you’re the expert here!
- Open up Instagram Stories and choose one to Educate others on in a series of a few Stories. Then take that same content & share an IG Feed post about it!
- Finally, ask in Stories (you can even use the Questions box!), what other things your audience would love to learn about! Use that as your guide for how you can continue to serve well! Remember, building a loyal IG community is about the long-game and making sure your audience has a reason to stick around! Remember, when you’re the expert… sales are easy!
Show up in a surprising IRL way.
Of course, everyone knows that in order to maintain & grow your IG community you need to engage with followers. But what if engaging wasn’t just responding to post comments and going and double-tapping a few times on your favorite hashtag feeds? I’m talking, no more generic responses, or even worse, bot responses. (BLEH nope nothanks) What if you could take it to the next level to actually build real relationships and community with people in the digital app.
Let’s go back to that IG is like middle school analogy. You know that one girl who seems like she’d like to hang out? Sometimes she waves at you (or maybe pops into your DMs on occasion). Maybe she seems like she’d fit in pretty well with your group (or maybe she’s your ideal client!). Sounds like it’s time to get to know her better! Have a picture of her in your head?
Next time you see her in those DMs, consider that your opportunity to take your loyal following one step deeper. Connect one-on-one. I’d bet that you’re not using the absolute best feature on Instagram in the best way. Challenge: send a Video Direct Message or Audio Message back.
- It makes it so they feel a deeper, more personal connection with you (and on video they can see your face, which builds trust!)
- It saves your thumbs from the phone typing ache (you know what I’m talking about!). Win/win!
Remember, social media can feel like a lonely awkward place trying to find where you fit in… or it can be an opportunity to dive deeper with someone, connecting and entertaining them in a way that makes them come back again and again for friendship and what you’re selling. People want to buy from people they know, like, and trust, so if you can build a one-on-one friendship with someone via Instagram DMs, you are one step closer to your loyal community. Plus, on Instagram DMs, you can literally send a direct URL to people ready to buy for when it’s time to sell!
Be consistent in your personalized engagement, and you’ll build a loyal community for life.
Recipe for Success: Take Action
- Write down the one person who you always see in your DM inbox. Next time they show up, respond with a Video DM personalized to them!
- Ask that person for one thing they’d love to learn from you – create a blog post on that topic!
- Go back to your feed & send them the direct link to that blog post paired with a little Audio Message that you created it just for them! Guess what you just did… you heard, you served, you educated, and you got your people to your website – which is the ultimate goal! Build your loyal community on Instagram so you can get people to engage beyond the app, connect further, build relationships, and ultimately grow your business!
Now that we’ve covered 3 key tips to build your loyal community on Instagram, I’ll leave you with one last thing. While all of this may sound scary and not your norm and like a whole lot of work, consistency and connection is paramount when it comes to content creation and building community.
Remember this always:
Consistency creates confidence.
Confidence builds trust.
Trust engages customers.
Customers become cheerleaders.
Cheerleaders become fans for life.
You’ve got this, friend.
You’re in this business for the long-game. Now let’s create an Instagram strategy that proves that.
If you’re ready to dive in a bit deeper and build your Instagram community, head to my “Pantry” for free business staples like my Signature Recipe for Finding Your Unique Brand Voice and my Best Tips for Creating Instagram Stories that Convert (without having to put on makeup).
And be sure to connect with me on Instagram at @LaurenLCarnes… I’d love to Video DM with you! 😉 Here’s to building loyal Instagram communities full of friendly people and potential customers!