How do you build an Instagram following from scratch?

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There may be many reasons you need to start an Instagram page from scratch, maybe you got hacked or you moved to a new salon and felt like a ‘new page, new you’ was on the cards or maybe… you’ve never had an Instagram page before (insert shocked gasp here).

These are my top tips for growing your Instagram page from Zero to Hero.

1. Start by optimising your bio. I know the urge to start posting is strong but most people completely overlook their BIO, their name and their USERNAME. However, these are vital parts of optimising your Instagram page to make you are more easily found by your dream clients. Instagram uses keywords just like SEO to help its users find content that is relevant and interesting to them.

Use words that your client would use when they are searching for you; for example… hairdressers may say ‘lived in blonde’ but their client says Balayage. The name field underneath your profile picture is also searchable, if your name is already in your Instagram handle you do not need to use it again in the NAME FIELD instead describe what you do and where you are based, for example Balayage Expert Cornwall.

2. Before you post your first piece of content to your brand-new page, work out who your dream client is. Understanding who your dream client is will help you to know what they want to see, learn, read and hear on your Instagram page. When you know exactly who your dream client is, you will know their most asked questions, you will understand their pain-points and you will understand what it is they are looking for from their stylist or therapist. Every time you post a piece of content imagine that you were sitting with your dream client, you are showing them the picture or video that you are about to post. Imagine what questions your dream client asks you about that picture or video, answer these questions in the caption. This will make your dream client feel seen and heard when they view your content in their news feed.

3. The Instagram of 2022 is a very different place to how it used to be before the pandemic, now people are looking for connections, they are looking for community. Users of the platform are not satisfied with just looking at pretty pictures of anymore, your new audience wants to be educated, entertained, and included.

Think about how you can create content for your clients, think about what your clients are getting from it. Use your page to educate your clients about your products your services and what makes you different from the salon down the road.

4. Ask questions and include your followers in the conversation. Ask questions that provoke conversation. This will help you to establish relationships with your followers and potential new clients.

5. Use Stories to show your life behind the scenes. Stories can help you humanise your page, they only last for 24 hours, so don’t need to be as edited or curated as the rest of your content.

6. Reels will help you grow your audience more quickly, using trending audio’s will help you to gain more reach but don’t forget to use local hashtags to index your content and tell the algorithm exactly who to show your Reels to.

7. Show up and talk on video, if the thought of talking to the camera fills you with dread, just know you are not alone. No one likes the sound of their own voice, however, your clients don’t think the same.

8. Establish yourself as the expert, talk about something you are super passionate about. We all have that one thing that everybody else in the salon will come to us to ask about, for me that was anything to do with curly hair. Think about it, what is this thing that everybody asks you about? This is your area of expertise otherwise known as your niche.

9. Niching down onto one area of expertise quickly establishes you as the expert in your field it also makes posting to Instagram a lot easier. Always talking about the same subject will create a strong and consistent message. Does it mean that you will never do any other type of service? No! But you will see a lot more bookings you’re your niche come. With that said, you may be the best in the salon at clipper fades but if you hate doing them don’t make this your niche…. you will attract what you post.

10. Stay out of the news feed, spending time scrolling the news feed will not grow your page instead head over to the hash tag page for your area. You will find this in the magnifying glass at the bottom of the screen on your EXPLORE page such for your town then scroll along the tabs at the top to TAGS this is where you will find all the content that has used the hashtag from your town. Spend time engaging with the content and creators you find on this page. This is where you will find your new dream clients.

So, there we have it my top 10 tips on what to do if you are starting a page from scratch but even if your page has been established for quite some time these tips will help you too.

Author Vivienne Johns The Hairdresser’s Social Club


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