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Building Your Instagram Audience, Should You Just Think Locally?

So many business owners want to build a social media presence that is hyper-targeted geographically. The thinking is, if you live in and operate your business in New York, what’s the value in having followers in Maryland or Texas, for example? Having followers from all over the globe that share your passions and interests can bring huge value for your business in the long run, regardless of where they are from.

Local followers are great and necessary. They are usually people who live, work, or spend time in your geographic area. Local followers can be other neighboring small businesses, even competitors. Consumers are scouting out a new business through social media -before they go to their store, be in online or in-person, and definitely before they make a purchase. And prospective clients are more likely to check your Instagram vs. your Facebook to validate your offerings. Your local following is great resource to drive sales, an industry-wide following increases your social media engagement with more in-depth conversations!

Gaining industry followers is going beyond the local audience and having them shows that what you’re doing is getting noticed by others who are very much involved in your specific industry. Consider engaging with your favorite industry leaders. Reach out to a brand or someone who inspired you to take that leap to start your own business. Don’t be afraid to encourage them to follow you. Mention how they have truly impacted your business and inspired you in certain ways. Another way to expand your audience is to follow businesses that overlap yours, with common interests. If you’re an indie beauty brand, consider following women that practice yoga and pilates.

So how do you go about finding industry-related followers? Look for industry influencers via hashtags. Influencers are people who have a large following, with high engagement rates per post and fit within a definable niche. For example, someone very dedicated to cruelty free beauty might follow Suzi @gurlgonegreen. She has almost 50,000 Instagram followers and her engagement per post is very high. A good way to gain some of her audience would be to leave thoughtful comments on her posts, at most once per week.

Another way to utilize industry influencers is to take a look at who an influencer follows. They will likely follow those deeply interested in your niche market. An influencer can also be someone with a small following of just a few thousand, but whose page maintains a high rate of engagement, like @JaclynHouston. She has under 6,000 followers, but her engagement is very high. If you’re in the green beauty and indie beauty space you should be following her followers and who she followers, because her followers are likely to be genuine and those she’s following and likely to be perfectly in-niche.

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