You’ve launched your box. You have a handful of subscribers. You are doing the happy dance! Now it’s time to find new customers!
Customer acquisition is the key to success in this business, and finding ways to put your box in front of new people will become what feels like a full-time job. There are lots of ways that you can market your subscription box, but with 800 million active monthly users, Instagram is one marketing channel that you don’t want to ignore. According to Hitwise in 2017, Instagram is the second-largest driver of traffic to subscription box websites. That means you NEED to be on Instagram.
In this blog post, we’ll give you some strategies for creating a beautiful Instagram feed and getting your first 1,000 followers.
Get Your Instagram Account Started
Check out your competitors
A little competitive research can be a huge advantage when starting your Instagram account. Take notes on what other subscription boxes in your niche are doing on Instagram. Pay special attention not only to what they are posting, but which posts get the most engagement (likes, reposts, and comments). This can give you a good idea of what types of photos to post and ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Create a consistent brand
Once you know how you’ll differentiate yourself, it’s time to determine your Instagram theme. You want the look and feel of your Instagram feed to be consistent with your brand. The goal here is to create a consistent experience that speaks to your audience across all of your web properties and social media sites.
You can see a great example of this from Sparkle Hustle Grow:
The images are consistent with Sparkle Hustle Grow’s brand design and color scheme. The feed is full of motivational quotes, sneak peeks, and product shots that speak directly to their target audience of female entrepreneurs.
Create a list of different types of images to post
Once you’ve determined your Instagram theme, you’ll need to create a list of the types of photos you can post. Some types of photos may include lifestyle shots, product photos, quotes, or flat lays. Once you have your plan, create these images in batches.
Take an hour or two each week, and do a photoshoot for all of the images you’ll need for that week. Having them ready-to-go is especially great for days when you don’t know what to post or are not feeling inspired. (Believe me, this happens to all of us!)
How to Use Instagram
Upload high-quality photos regularly
Because Instagram is a visual platform, your images need to be high-quality – in terms of resolution and composition – and eye-catching. Instagram users scroll through images quickly and you want photos that are going to catch their attention and make them stop scrolling.
Tip: Read up on the Rule of Thirds for composing excellent photos. The camera on your smartphone may even have a display grid option to compose the image more clearly.
You don’t need a fancy camera; photos with a smartphone have a high resolution. The goal here is to be consistent about posting to Instagram. We recommend posting at least once a day – or more if you have the capability.
You’ve likely heard of hashtags before, the tags that Instagram uses to categorize images. People search for these hashtags to discover images and Instagram accounts in the niches that interested them. We recommend using several hashtags – but no more than 10 – on each picture to encourage them to be found in searches. If you aren’t sure which hashtags to use, take a look at the hashtags your competitors (or followers) are using and follow suit.
Pro tip: If you tend to use the same hashtags over and over again on your photos, save them in a text note on your phone, so you can quickly copy & paste them into your photo caption.
Delete coupon & giveaway posts after the opportunity expires
While you may use Instagram to promote limited-time coupons and giveaways, we’d recommend that you remove those images after your deadline passes. Those images aren’t as aesthetically pleasing and they clutter up your feed. Expired posts can also lead to a poor buying experience, if a customer tries to use an expired coupon code they found on your feed.
How to Grow your Instagram Followers
Automate your likes
As an entrepreneur, you probably don’t have all day to search for and follow people on Instagram… right? If so, you consider using software to introduce your brand to new followers. LikeGrowers is a software that likes Instagram photos based on the hashtags that you designate.
For example, if you are in the beauty niche, you could set up LikeGrowers to ‘like’ photos tagged with hashtags like #beautyaddict or #makeuplover. The software doesn’t comment or do anything spammy, like auto-follow accounts. It simply likes photos that are tagged with whichever hashtag you want to follow. LikeGrowers essentially introduces your brand to a user by liking the image. Then, it’s up to the user to check out your profile and follow your account.
Follow & comment on your followers’ photos
To succeed on Instagram, you’ll need to be social on the platform. You can do that by following people that follow you and interacting with the pictures they post. Carve out some time each day to engage users on Instagram. Leave a meaningful comment and like photos from your followers! They want to know that there is a real person behind your brand.
Follow your competitor’s followers
A great way to find people who are interested in your niche and products is to follow your competitor’s followers. Doing this allows you to get in front of your target market. Head on over to your competitor’s profile, click on their followers list, and start requesting!
Just because you follow someone, however, doesn’t necessarily mean they will follow you back. (But they might!)
Engage with people who mention your brand
One way to build a community around your brand is to respond, like, and follow those who mention your business on Instagram. Whenever someone tags your brand on Instagram, leave a thoughtful and professional response on the photo. This rule holds whether their mention is positive or negative. Your followers and fans love to be recognized, and leaving a comment lets them know you’re listening.
Encourage your customers to post on Instagram
There’s no better mention you can get than when a happy customer posts your box on their Instagram account. Make that happen more regularly by incentivizing customers to post on Instagram. For example, by offering customers a coupon code or bonus gift for posting. Another way to reward customers is to repost their photo to your Instagram account with a shoutout.
Now that you’ve learned the steps to creating a successful Instagram account, we’d love to take a look at it! Leave a comment below with your Instagram account name – you’ll find us @cratejoybiz.