For small businesses and brand-new accounts building a following on Instagram can be incredibly demoralizing.
You’re competing with more prominent, established brands with a limited budget and a small or non-existent team of content creators.
Long-term, everyone agrees that consistent, high-quality content is the key to building an audience. Even three months of essential account maintenance can boost your account considerably.
But what if you want to boost your local search presence?
WHY TRADITIONAL F4F FAILS
Before getting into the new and improved small business F4F strategy, it’s important to note that F4F usually sucks.
There are a few reasons for this;
- Inauthentic followers don’t engage with your content and may even unfollow you after they get their ‘follow’ from you. It’s a purely transactional relationship for a useless vanity metric.
- The Algorithm won’t boost your content. Not only is the lack of engagement from your spammy followers going to signal that your content is boring. It will tell the algorithm that your ideal ‘audience’ is a bunch of low-activity follow-for-follow accounts.
- You’re clogging up your feed with low-quality content. How are you supposed to find real sales prospects and inspiration for your next post with a bunch of boring garbage in your feed?
WHO THIS F4F STRATEGY IS FOR
Follow for follow is a strategy that involves regularly finding and following similar accounts and businesses in your niche.
This can be time-consuming and is not for everyone. So, it’s essential to ask yourself;
- Will most of my customers be locals from my town and the surrounding area?
- Is the content I post something I would engage with? (There is no getting around this one). If your content sucks, it will continue to suck until you fix it.
- Are there small businesses in my community I genuinely like and want to support?
- Am I organized enough to dedicate a few weekly hours to finding and following local IG accounts?
- Do I have an account with less than 10 000 followers? As an account grows, the ROI for F4F diminishes.
If you said yes to all these questions, let’s get started!
GET TO KNOW YOUR COMMUNITY
Research is an essential step in this process.
- Make a list of local vendors in your community you’ve personally interacted with. (Ice cream shops, pet stores, photographers etc.)
- Leave a Google Review and follow them on social media.
- Extend your search to include local businesses and initiatives doing cool things in your community or making great content.
- Find local competitors in your niche and follow the people who follow them.
- Follow people who liked posts similar to what you posted.
- Like and comment on the posts you love from the small businesses you follow. Make your comments meaningful. Nobody likes spam.
SET SOME RULES
Now to crack down on bot accounts, Instagram has a strict limit on how many people you can follow per hour. So, here are a few guidelines to follow for the best results.
Only dedicate 15-20 minutes once a week or once a day to finding and following accounts. This will keep you from getting your account banned for suspicious activity.
Skip inactive accounts. If they haven’t posted, liked or followed anything in over six months, they probably aren’t active anymore.
Make sure you’ve posted something recently. Most users will check the profile of whoever followed them when they get a notification. And they’re more likely to follow you if they see quality content on your homepage.
Don’t immediately unfollow accounts that follow you. It’s rude and spammy. By all means, go through the accounts you are following and cull the ones you’re not interested in anymore. But try to stick to following businesses and accounts you genuinely like.
TIPS AND TRICKS
Good content, hashtag research and consistency are critical. But there are a few little extras you can use to up your Social Media F4F game.
Add your city or community to your bio. This lets people know you’re local when they’re searching for companies in their area.
Message relevant accounts with helpful information, promotions, contests and more.
Mention businesses you love in posts and stories. Sharing aspects of your community that you love is a great way to connect with a local audiences.
✅ Find fun ways to cross-promote and build strong business relationships. This can include running giveaways, making packaged deals and hosting events.
Find out how we can make your life easier with hands-free SMM subscriptions and free to ‘nearly free’ tools that will give your social media presence the boost it needs.🤘