On October 18th of 2016 my new drumming tee shirt venture Spirit and Groove had just 118 followers on Instagram. In less than three months, we had increased that number to 5,645. That’s a 4,684% increase in followers.
Even more impressive is the fact that this increase isn’t the result of bought or “fake” followers. In fact, they are engaged individuals who actively like, comment, and tag the Spirit and Groove brand.
So how did we do this?
It is all part of a three prong strategy that utilizes a specific “following” software combined with personalized commenting and following by our team and a unique Call To Action (CTA) that focuses on community building and not necessarily selling product. This strategy has resulted in unprecedented results for Spirit and Groove, which is in-line to connect to over 12,000 engaged followers by mid-April of 2017 – an increase of 10,070% in just six months.
To help you achieve similar results for your brand, here is our strategy broken down. Just keep in mind that every business is unique and your goals and resources may not align with this type of plan…or even with Instagram in your marketing mix at all.
Software: We do not buy into the Web 2.0 concept that you should build your online presence entirely organically and this includes Instagram. We do agree that certain approaches should be avoided including following and unfollowing popular accounts repeatedly; posting to and tagging names with large follower pools, but do not have any relation to your product; and buying followers blindly through those “coin” programs you find with popular apps. However, there is far too much noise in the platform and unless you are a Kardashian, make it on TMZ, or are very lucky. You simply won’t break through in a business-efficient timely manner without some sort of algorithm helping you out.
After trying out a bunch of options, we found Influx Social to manage our Instagram presence. You can check them out here. Influx offers a number of services for your Instagram strategy including liking, following, unfollowing, and top engager analytics. We started with a five day trial and were immediately hooked.
Once connected to your IG account, you choose top tags, locations, and accounts surrounding your niche. For us, it was drummers. We chose tags such as #drums, #drumming, #drummers as well as top accounts such as @vicfirth and @drumsdaily.
The program will follow up to a number of accounts you specify in your dashboard. If you have quality content and a great call to action (see below), a percentage will follow you back. After Influx reaches your follow limit, the program will begin to unfollow users up to another number you specify, omitting persons you followed organically or whitelist during the process.
Users subscribe to varying speeds that the follow/unfollow algorithm runs. These include Fast, Insane, Ludicrous, and Professional. You can try out the program for five days by using this link. Spirit and Groove started at fast, liked what we saw and moved all the way up to professional, which is a combination of the fastest following speed and analytics on your top engagers. This is an important part to our strategy, because it allows us to analyze and instantly whitelist top engagers right in our Influx dashboard. It is super easy and efficient…and we love efficient.
Organic: Never, ever, ever, ever should your social presence be dominated or entirely run via software. That is not the intent of this marketing channel, it makes for a bad user experience, prohibits engagement and monetization, and is just lame. So don’t do it! If you are going to use Influx, think of it as a way to grab people’s attention – that’s all. From there, you (the person with fingers) should be engaging, sharing, and providing great content in hopes that potential customers will choose to follow you.
Engaging your potential prospects: At Spirit and Groove, we spend a few minutes multiple times each day scrolling through accounts related to our brand. We like a number of posts that we dig and comment on really interesting ones with our infamous cookie 🍪 comment.
Content: We love drumming so much that creating content is totally groovy for us! We have countless drum videos, pictures, quotes, and memes on the subject ready to go. In addition and as a way of building our social community, we re-gram approved user posts and videos tagged with @spiritandgroove or #spiritandgroove multiple times per-day. The latter also helps with brand recognition as drummers will include our tags in their posts in hopes that we may re-gram them to our budding community. This means that they are typing Spirit and Groove multiple times a week, which increases memory retention.
Conclusion: A core component of the Spirit and Groove marketing strategy relies on building a community around the idea of “groove.” Through lots of time and money spent elsewhere, we found that Instagram is a great choice for us to engage with our demo. Influx Social is an exceptional tool to help us find and engage prospects within our niche. However, we realize that for our community to succeed. We must supplement that technology with a personal touch. Taken together, this has resulted in exceptional growth for our company, which has elevated attendance and engagement in our other channels and ultimately more sales for our brand.