Without having an account that is crafted to retain the traffic you drive to it, you’ll be wasting your time and energy reaching people because everyone that discovers you won’t perceive enough value in your page to follow you and/or buy your products. The result? A whole lot of resources spent on generating traffic that has cero results for your small business. Now, how do we craft an account that can retain the highest percentage of people who discover our account? The answer to this lies in understanding how people evaluate whether or not to follow an account when they first discover it.
How people evaluate whether or not to follow you once they discover your account on Instagram
The great majority of people who don’t know your small business but discover your account on Instagram will decide whether or not to follow you through the evaluating the following elements within the matter of seconds:
They’ll look at you profile photo, your bio, your link in bio and evaluate if what they communicate is something they are interested in. If so, they’ll scroll down your feed and evaluate your grid and content, if not, they’ll stop evaluating your account and go back to whatever else they were doing.
They’ll look at your grid layout and evaluate how thoughtfully designed and aesthetically pleasing it looks when scrolling through it. The more aesthetically pleasing, they more likely they are to want to tap into your content and evaluate your content, the less aesthetically pleasing, the less likely they are to follow you given the fact that there are likely many other accounts that offer similar content but in a more aesthetically pleasing way.
If all of the previous elements have interested them, they’ll quickly tap into one or a few of your posts to evaluate whether or not your content is engaging enough to constantly see in their home feeds. The more engaging and in line with their interests your content is, they more likely they are to follow you.
Lastly, they’ll do a subconscious evaluation in their heads, comparing how interested they are in the type of content you offer and how differentiated and valuable it appears in comparison to the other accounts on Instagram they know offer the same of similar type of content. They more aligned your content is with their interests and the more differentiated and valuable is appears to be in comparison to other comparable accounts, the more likely they are to follow you. If they are interested in the topic of your content but they think that they can receive “better” content about the same topic from another account, they won’t follow you.
It’s a very quick, subtle and sometimes unfair evaluation process but it’s a reality and if you want people to find your content and your products valuable enough to follow you and purchase them, you have to make sure that that value is clearly communicated in all of the elements people evaluate.
How to optimize your Instagram account to convert traffic into followers and buyers
Now that you know the account elements that people evaluate, here’s what you need to do in order to optimize your account in order to retain as many people as possible that discover you into followers:
1. Make sure you’re reaching your target audience: Before you worry about anything regarding optimizing your account you have to make sure that the people that you’re driving to discover your small biz on Instagram are actually people that are interested in the type of content that you are offering, your target audience. Without that first step, you won’t generate any notable results because the people that discover you won’t care about the type of content you offer, no matter how optimized your account is.
How to make sure you’re reaching your target audience: First, clarify exactly what your Instagram niche is. Then, make sure that your content, the Instagram hashtags you use, your daily interactions and even your advertising audience targets (if you use them) are all aligned with the people that are interested in consuming content from your niche. It seems pretty obvious but most small business owners gloss over clearly understanding what their niche is on Instagram and who else is in it.
2. Craft a clear and simple bio: That means having a bio that clearly and simply communicates what you offer and how it’s differentiated in the context of your Instagram niche. Your bio is has three main components and you clarify and simplify them in the following way:
How to optimize your profile photo: Making it your logo or a proprietary, simple and memorable image that helps communicate your offering. You can reach about how to execute it in my article about how to write an Instagram bio.
How to optimize your bio: One sentence that most simply, clearly and accurately describes your offering and differentiation as well as a one-sentence call-to-action that entices people into tapping your link in bio (if needed).
How to optimize your link in bio: A URL that directly takes people to the product or service that you’re offering. The more clearly and simply your bio communicates your offering and differentiation, the easier it’ll be for your target audience to identify that you offer something that they are interested in, and therefore, they’ll be more interested in continuing to evaluate your account.
3. Thoughtfully design your grid layout: Your grid layout is how all of your posts look next to each other when viewed in grid format and thoughtfully designing it means that it has a clear and thoughtful visual style when someone scrolls through it.
How to thoughtfully design your grid layout: In general, there are 2 main approaches to thoughtfully design your grid layout. One is a posting pattern, where you create a thoughtfully designed grid through consistently posting your content in a consistent pattern. The other is a color scheme coordination, where all photos you post have a degree of color coordination with all other posts on your account. You can read my article about how to design an Instagram grid layout to learn the exact details of how to execute it.
4. Continually increase your engagement: Your engagement is the average number of likes and comments your posts receive divided by your total number of Followers. It is the best objective measurement of much value your audience is finding in your content and the main metric the Instagram Algorithm uses to select which posts are featured on Explorer Pages, Hashtag feeds and Home feeds. The more engaging your content is, the more likely the people who discover your account are to follow you because they’ll perceive that your content is, on average, more engaging than other accounts that offer similar content. The more valuable your content is perceived to be in comparison to the content of other similar account, the more likely you are to be followed by the people interested in consuming the type of content you offer.
How to continually increase your engagement: The only way to create content that’s good enough to generate high levels of organic engagement over a long period of time is to first, clearly understand what content your audience deeply connects with. Second, learn how to expertly execute that type of content at a high level. Third and, most importantly, continually measure how your audience’s preferences change so you can regularly optimize the content you create. You can read my article about how to increase your Instagram engagement to learn how to execute this in detail.
And that’s it! By optimizing all of the elements of your account that someone evaluates when deciding whether or not to follow you, you’ll be giving yourself the highest likelihood to retain the people that discover your account. Your clear and simple bio will make it easy for them to identify that the content you offer is unique and something that they’re interested in. Your thoughtfully designed grid layout and your engaging content will communicate that your content is more engaging and more differentiated than the other accounts in your niche that offer similar content. The more clear and simple your bio is, the more thoughtfully designed your grid layout is, and the more engaging your content is, the larger the percentage of people who discover you will convert into followers and potential buyers. Simple as that!
By the way, if you want to learn more about how Instagram works, read these articles on how to know if your Instagram is worth growing?, why your Instagram account isn’t growing, how to create an Instagram repost account that makes money, Instagram bots 2022, the state of Instagram bot, or many other valuable topics through my Instagram Small Business YouTube channel.