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) your 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 2017 Hitwise research, Instagram is the second largest driver of traffic to subscription box websites, which 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 Instagram followers.
Getting your Instagram Account Started
Stalk your competitors
A little competitive research can be a huge advantage when starting your Instagram account. Get out a pad of paper and 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 also, which of their posts get the most engagement and which ones fall flat. This can give you a good idea of what types of photos to post and ways that you can differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Create a consistent brand
Once you know what competitors are doing and how you are going to differentiate yourself, it’s time to determine your Instagram theme. You’ll want the look and feel of your Instagram feed to be consistent with your brand. You can see a great example of this on SparkleHustleGrow’s Instagram feed. The images are consistent with Sparkle Hustle Grow’s brand’s design and color scheme. The feed is full of motivational quotes, sneak peaks, and product shots. These images speak directly to it’s target audience of female entrepreneurs. The goal here is to create a consistent experience that speaks to your audience across all of your web properties and social media sites.
Create a list of different types of images that you will post.
Once you’ve determined your Instagram theme, you’ll want to create a list of the types of photos you will post. Some types of photos may include, lifestyle shots, product photos, quotes, flat lays, etc. Once you have an idea of the types of images that you will share, you can 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 very visual platform, you will want to make sure that your images are high quality 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. You don’t need a fancy camera, photos with a smartphone can still be high quality and aesthetically appealing. (Here’s a blog post about how you can take great product photos for your subscription box.) The goal here is to be consistent about posting to Instagram. We recommend posting at least 1x a day or more if you have the capacity.
Hashtags are used on Instagram to categorize images. People search these hashtags to discover images and Instagram accounts in the niches that they are interested in. We recommend using several hashtags (no more than 10) on each of your pictures to give them an opportunity to be found in search. If you aren’t sure which hashtags to use, take a look at the hashtags your competitors are using and follow suit, or you can also take a look at the hashtags your followers are using as well. 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 (they clutter up your feed)
While you may use Instagram to promote limited-time coupons and giveaways, we’d recommend that you remove those images after they’ve expired. Those images aren’t typically as aesthetically pleasing as others 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 Account
Automate your likes
As a business owner, you probably don’t have all day to search for and follow people on Instagram, right? If that’s the case, you might want to consider using software to help 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. It’s then up to the user to click on over to your profile and follow your account or interact with your photos.
Follow & comment on your follower’s photos
Because Instagram IS considered social media, you WILL need to be social on the platform and you can do that by following people that follow you and commenting on your follower’s pictures. 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. Head on over to your competitors profile, click on their followers list and start following their followers. But take note, just because you follow someone doesn’t mean they will follow you back, BUT they might. Following competitor’s followers can be a great way to get in front of your target market.
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 brand on Instagram. Whenever someone tags your brand on Instagram, be sure to respond (whether it’s a positive or negative mention) and leave a thoughtful and professional response on the photo. Your followers and fans love to be recognized and leaving a comment on their photo lets them know that you are listening.
Encourage your customers to post on Instagram
There’s no better social media mention that you can get than when a happy customer posts your box on their Instagram account. You can make that happen more regularly by incentivizing customers to post on Instagram by offering a coupon code or bonus gift for posting on Instagram. Another way to reward customers for posting a picture of their box is to post 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!