As a newbie to social media back in 2013, it was beyond me how the world of social media worked. I used to work for a women’s lifestyle website, and our only aim was to drive traffic to the website via social media. This was when everyone was still trying to figure out how things work and what role social media was playing.
Cut to 2016, when social media was a big player in the market and bloggers began to be considered “celebrities” due to their social media reach. It was then that the idea of starting my blog came to me. In February 2016, my sister and I started ‘Globetrotting Foodies‘. The idea initially was to document all our food, travel and lifestyle experiences, but with time, we began to venture into bigger things. Not all of it was fun or easy, but then it has all been a great experience.
Now, three years and a few months later, I can safely say that I’ve picked some fail-proof tips to grow an Instagram business. Never before has social media been as popular, and the kind of money big brands are ready to offer for social media outreach is vast. Many brands have a dedicated amount to spend only on influencer marketing and collaborations.
So, if you’ve been toiling with the idea of starting a social media page, and turn it into a business, then there’s no better time than now. To help you get a head start here’s a checklist of things you should do.
1. Pick a simple name
Basic, yes, but people still get it wrong. On the internet, it is best to have a name that is easy, relatable and resonates with your business/work so that people can discover it organically. When I began my food and travel blog, the biggest hitch was to zero down on a name that would relate to the subject and still be trendy. This is essential because I wanted my page to pop up when someone searched for food. This is also the reason why handles like @foodofmumbai, @mumbaifoodie and @mumbainightlife are so popular today. They are simple, to the point and easy to discover in search engines. So find a name that is less fancy and more to the end.
2. Select the correct social media channel(s)
Any new business needs the right online channels to be promoted on. Offline we would do it through pamphlets ads or banners advertising the company, but online it’s a slightly different ball game. Every social media channel has a diverse audience. For instance, Twitter is believed to be the more opinionated channel, while Instagram is for visual pleasure, and Youtube is to discover and learn. Thus, based on what your business is about, zero in on the social media channel that you will primarily use to target your audience and build your numbers.
For instance, my blog does have a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat account; however, Snapchat is redundant, and Twitter doesn’t work for us. What works is Instagram because our audience there is interested in our pictures and engages with us too. So we turn most of our focus there, posting consistently and using everything that Instagram has on offer, to reach out to our audience.
3. Engage with real people
Social media may be an online activity, but, it pays to interact with real people, both online and offline, to stay relevant. People can become overnight social media stars with paid followers and likes, but in the end, it all boils down to the kind of engagement you get on your posts. So avoid buying followers and likes. Instead interact with people by liking and commenting on their pictures, responding to direct messages, and even attending events. Meeting fellow bloggers, and getting them to follow you on social media is a great idea. Even in the online world, real connections are essential to build and maintain an organic follower base.
For us, restaurant launches, blogger tables and other events have helped a great deal in getting to know fellow bloggers and increase our follower count. Also, it’s a good idea to follow people who do what you are doing only to get an idea of what’s out there, and how is it working.
4. Be a part of groups
Do you know what happens when like-minded people come together? It becomes a group of people that can help each other out. The online community is helpful and has a lot of active social media users. So network with your peers and be a part of groups that will keep you updated with activities. There are hundreds of influencer groups on Facebook and WhatsApp that help bloggers connect with brands. There are also many influencer marketing companies that can offer you reasonable remuneration for your work online. Some that come to my mind are BlogAdda, Skreem and Plixxo.
5. Be consistent
On the internet, consistency is the key. People have a short attention span, so unless you are posting regularly and putting out meaningful content, it’ll be hard to stay relevant. Daily engagement eventually results in organic followers and better engagement. So be it a blog post, Instagram updates, a tweet or Youtube video, keep posting religiously.
6. Be real
Social media is a pretentious world, and audiences are looking for someone who is less ornate and more relatable. So instead of trying to curate perfect content, stay true to who you are, and post that. Having said that, when you put yourself out there, remember that online harassment is also a big part of having a public social media business. Being two women running a blog, we’ve had our share of creepy messages and nasty comments. We block these people and move on.
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