How to build an audience on Instagram?

How do I build an audience for ‘This Bag Is Not For Sale’ on Instagram?

In my previous post I created a list of things to do to launch a brand. One of the most important things is having an audience that is interested in your product or service. In my case there is a large audience for bags, but I need them to know about my story (brand) and bags. I want to build my audience on Social Media. Because there are several platforms I asked Google: What is the best social media platform for building a fashion brand?

Reading through the top 5 articles I concluded that the top 4 Social Media platforms for fashion are Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. Where to start? Because I had already made some pictures of my creations and prepared myself by doing a photoshoot, I started sharing those on Instagram already and will focus on expanding that first. When I started sharing pictures I hoped that many would find my pictures and the followers would come by the hundreds. 🙂 Unfortunately that did not happen. So what is the trick? I opened Google again for guidance: How do I build an audience on Instagram?

Links I found:

 7 Ways to Build an Engaged Instagram Following

Which Social Media Platform is the best for your brand?

How to build a massive Following on Instagram

My shortlist from what I have been reading – How to build an audience?

Create likeable and shareable content.

Define what kind of image / target audience you want to appeal to and make sure that comes across with the pictures and text you use. Make sure you stay consistent in the look & feel of what you are sharing to make the collection of your pictures look like one message.

Use relevant Hashtags

People search for content by clicking on hashtags (#…….) so it is good to add relevant hashtags to your post to appear in searches of others. Check other accounts that are sharing similar content for the hashtags they are using. You can also find the most popular hashtags used on Instagram via Webstagram. Make sure to also create your own unique hashtag so you can search and find pictures shared with your hashtag.

Interact with your potential audience

Unless you are very lucky the options above will not give you a huge audience just by posting and tagging. The bigger the active audience is you have, the more likes you will get and the better your posts will be visible to others. To get more followers you can actively make your account visible to others by liking or commenting on pictures from other Instagrammers and you can follow others to make yourself seen. The best effect is achieved by doing all three and really be sincere in your actions. The motto is simple: The more effort you put in the more you get out of it.

Get featured by other accounts

Above options take time and effort to grow an audience. If you want to grow faster you can search for other people on Instagram that make it their business to share stuff related to the business you are in. This Bag Is Not for Sale is all about bags and fits great in any fashion shoot. For me it will be key to find fashion bloggers and see if they want to collaborate in posting pictures with my bags in it. Sometimes people ask money for this and others will do it if you send them your goods for them to test and use in a shoot. The outcome of this is never certain. I will try this soon.

What have I done so far?

The moment I am writing this I have just crossed the 1500 followers mark on Instagram. The first 1000 I have gathered by following 7000 instagrammers that showed interest in leather bags and in fashion. So my success ratio was 1 out of 7. From 1000 followers I have changed my approach. I stopped following and changed to liking pictures with tags relevant to fashion and leather bags. This has led to 100 net new followers per week. I say ‘net new’ because a lot of instagrammers play the same game and many will unfollow you after a few days or right after you followed them back. I use the app Instafollow to track gained and lost followers.

What will I do next?

Over the next few weeks I will engage with other people on Instagram to see how I can make my brand more visible by getting promoted on accounts with many followers. Come and follow me on Instagram to see how it is working. 🙂

Thanks for your time and love to hear your feedback.

Photo by Erwin Budding Photography / Model: Elselyne

 

 

How to launch a new brand?

How to launch a new brand?

So I have a brand (This Bag Is Not For Sale) a product (the bags), I think I know who it is for and I have created a few ways to communicate with people. The current communication channels are, this blog, Instagram, Facebook and twitter. I have picked these communication channels because I know them a bit. They came to mind first. When I am brought to other ideas along the way I am open to switch or add channels.

This blog is a simple and standard WordPress template you can get started with by logging into www.wordpress.com and follow the steps presented to you. What you see is created in a few hours with no extra programming or technical knowledge on my end.

One of the important lessons I have learned is that getting something started is more important than waiting till everything is perfect. The things I still need are a website with a shop and most important of all: an audience that appreciates what I am offering and is able to find it.

All of the communication channels have recently been created for TBINFS by myself. They require no special knowledge other than subscribing and following the steps. The help features are great in case you get stuck. Because I figured the website would be the hardest to build and change I want to do a little research on how to launch a new brand before I start the building process. This to make sure it will create the right bang.

Because I want to see where I can get on a 500 euro budget I will not ask a local marketing agency to help me out, but let google be my guide. So I asked Google: How do you launch a new brand? And How do you launch a new product?

From the first search results I picked:

5 tips to successfully launch a new brand

10 steps for successfully launching a new product or service

Launch! How to execute a breakthrough brand rollout

How to Launch a New Product: A 7-Step Checklist for Nailing Your Next Launch

After reading the four articles I created my own list that I will use to match my product. Big thanks to the writers of the articles for sharing their findings and tips.

Position the product. Who is it for? Why is it different?

If you do not know your potential customer it will be very hard to create a look and feel and message that attracts the right people. I have been going through thousands of posts on Facebook and Pinterest to get a feel for my audience. My target audience is fashionably sensitive, primarily female, has a strong personality and values accessories to make a personal statement. My bags are fashionable, not to shiny and one of a kind. My bags have a unique touch and the owner will always be able to say This Bag Is Not For Sale. There is no second.

Study your audience and know what they want and how they talk

Social media has been great for me to take care of this part. Follow hashtags on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to learn the slang of your audience. The pictures on Instagram showed me where fashion is going and if my products could fit in. Also asking questions to people that follow you or like your posts helps to learn what it was that they liked or even what they would like to see different. The future will tell if I did my research well.

Create an appealing story and be consistent in your branding and message

It completely resonates with me that this is important, but…this is also the part I am still working on. I have decided to openly go through this process on this blog instead of doing all the work behind the scenes. This is also where I hope to get input from you as a reader. So feel free to comment on picture material and story around the brand.

Find your influencers and ask them to talk about your product

Thinking your product is awesome is a start, but it only sells if other people think so to. Referrals are important to help people see and like what you are doing. When someone famous likes what you do a lot of people will come and watch what you are doing. This starts with family and friends. When you have them on board you have a pretty wide reach already through their networks if they are willing to like and share what you are doing.

Have a goal in mind but be ready to adjust

In a previous post I shared a list of goals that I would like to achieve before February 2017. Of course I hope to overachieve on some of them and I am also willing to give some up if it is needed to make others a success. I can already see that every part of the process takes a lot of time and that will might mean make different choices.

Make a plan and write it down.

Many times I thought that what I was going to do was clear enough that I would remember in a few days or weeks. Unfortunately I have lost brilliant ideas and action plans this way. 😉 It really helps to write down what you are planning to do, how you are going to do it and who you need to make it happen. This becomes your navigation system. Always ready to change route for the right reason, but when there is no good reason to leave the road you stay on it.

Perfect timing never comes – Launch and tweak

Don’t think that you can cook the perfect meal secretly without testing and talking about it. At some point you will have to act and put it out there. It will always have things to fix or improve. Because you think so or because someone else thinks so.

Because the audience is so important. My next moves will focus on getting in touch with and growing my audience. I have been playing around with Instagram a bit so my next blog will focus on that.

Thank you for reading this and I hope you will share your suggestions and feedback. And see you on Instagram.

What am I trying to achieve?

Project Goals

Thank you for all the feedback and helpful links I received in the first week this blog is live. What I also received many times is the BIG question. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS? Do you want to sell leather bags? Is it just a marketing experiment? What do you want?

All very good questions that not only deserve a answer, but NEED an answer and I want to share it openly. A goal helps to focus and sharing it helps others to know where they can help if they would like to do that.

Before I make a summary of the specific things I listed to achieve, I will answer the questions above more broadly. Currently I have a set of bags that I want to build a brand around. What a lot of new brands do is create everything around the brand before they launch it. They build a website, social media design, places to sell, a story around it, etc.. This project started with a set of bags and nothing else. Now I will start gathering information and resources to build all the marketing material, a presence online and I will share the progress here, on Twitter and on Facebook. For just a picture story I have an Instagram account. During the project I will be sourcing help from www.fiverr.com and via Google to build and design a website, Optimize search results, get help on attracting people to follow my new brand on Facebook and Instagram, etc. My budget is 500 Euros. Not because that is what I am willing to spend, but because I want to see where I can get with such an amount. This to hopefully prove you do not need huge marketing investments to build a brand.  On February 1st 2017 I want to be able to say I built a brand and it is ready to rock. During the project I will continue to add new leather bags to the lineup to make sure there is something to sell on February 1st 2017.

To help myself and you know where help is needed I have created a wish list.  What I hope to get out of this project before February 1st 2017:

  • A weekly blog post about building TBINFS and improve my writing skills doing it.
  • Knowledge of the digital marketing tools
  • Experience in using digital marketing tools
  • Create a global buzz around This Bag Is Not For Sale as a brand
  • Get a picture of a famous person wearing one of the bags (for the fun of it)
  • 20.000 followers on Instagram
  • 5.000 followers on Facebook
  • 1 on stage performance planned, to share my experiences with an audience
  • 2 offline publications about TBINFS in printed media
  • Create the opportunity to sell my bags to an enthusiastic and loving fan base.

 

Questions that I have ready to go search for:

  • What does it take to launch a new brand?
  • How do I best use Social media in building a brand?
  • How to decide on a brand style to match with the product and potential buyers?
  • …and more questions will come along the way.

 

Thank you very much for reading this and I would love to hear your suggestions, feedback and questions you might have.

Photography – Erwin Budding Photography