I’ve always said that followers are not the most important metric when looking at the effectiveness of social media. I wholeheartedly believe it, but I would never say follower counts don’t matter, as long as they are the RIGHT followers. And it must also be said, it’s pretty cool to watch your following grow! We recently helped one of our client’s tip over the 10,000 follower line on Instagram, so I want to share how we did it. The client is The Roo Apron, a super fun gardening apron!
When we started with the Roo they were hovering around 2,000 followers. Our strategy was simple: leverage other audiences to help increase awareness and grow sales. We didn’t want to invest too much into advertising up front (although that increased as time went on).
Here was our three-pronged approach:
The numbers are in, influencer marketing is where it’s at! 51% of brands say they see a better return from influencer marketing than from brand-created content, while 70% of millennials say they prefer products endorsed by non-celebrity influencers (source). We know this from what we see happening in the wider social media space, but we also know this first hand! This was the tactic that gave us the biggest success in follower growth. We worked hard to find gardening influencers who had an audience that would be interested in our product; we searched for bloggers, Instagrammers and YouTube Channels who were giving gardening tips or who were experts. To find the right ones, we looked first and foremost at the engagement they would generally get on their posts. If they have 35,000 followers but their audience isn’t engaged and activated, then it’s a waste. We like to see comments and likes, as well as content created consistently.
We would message the influencer on Instagram and simply ask if we could send them a product to try out and review. We never asked for anything in return.
We would also offer them a personalized discount code for their followers to use, this was a good way to track the success of the campaign and learn more about the audiences that performed best.
We also had amazing success with micro-influencers! Studies have shown that engagement generally decreases when follower counts increase. Smaller accounts with fans ranging from 5,000-20,000 have very trusting and activated audiences that can increase sales almost as much as an account with 100,000 followers. So don’t be put off by small accounts!
In many cases, we would follow up with our happy influencers and ask if they would like to give a product away to their followers. To enter the giveaway they would need to “follow” us.
This was HUGE in growing the following, we would gain thousands (literally) almost overnight.
We would usually strategize to do these campaigns before holidays and times we knew people would be looking for gifts. For example, before Christmas, we would try and arrange a ton of giveaways in the Fall so we could get that audience boost BEFORE the season started. We would also be sure and follow up after the giveaway with a percentage off for anyone who entered. We also made doing our own giveaways part of our strategy. Every month we would give away a product and ask people to follow us and tag their friends to enter. We would grow quite a bit from these too!
On Instagram, it’s all about inspiration, so we made sure our account was full of interesting and inspirational posts that we knew our audience would love. Every other post is of something other than the product, usually a reshare from another account. This is where a good editorial eye was key, find content that will stop the scroll. Something your audience will swoon over, something they will want to tag a friend in. This could be something beautiful or funny! Follow inspirational accounts and watch what is performing best for them and replicate that content for yourself. Most people don’t mind you resharing their content as long as you give credit and tag them in it. This also helps your feed look polished and on-brand. Another thing that helped our feed stand out was high-quality photos of the product. Every year the client invests in a couple of photo shoots to make sure our feed stays fresh and beautiful! This is especially important on visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.
The most important part of social media marketing is definitely not follower counts. 1000 Quality fans who are excited about your business will help your bottom line far more than 10,000 fans who are unengaged or uninterested in what you do. So what’s the best case scenario? Aim for 10,000 super engaged and high-quality fans!
Need some help getting to 10,000 followers?
We would love to help! We offer Instagram management services to help you grow your business through social media. Fill in the form below and we will be in touch (don’t worry, there is no obligation!).
Thanks to The Roo Apron for letting us talk about your business. Go follow The Roo on Instagram!