By Sommer Burbank
With the constant evolution of social media algorithms and the growing number of alcohol brands entering the market, it is especially important to maintain and attract steady growth on Instagram, Facebook and other platforms where your ideal customers engage the most.
There are a number of proven strategies that can be employed to organically grow your Instagram and Facebook following. Below are six proven strategies we’ve discovered and implemented to help us build our own audiences.
Create a consistent content schedule
We create five posts per week at varying times of day, typically on business days between the hours of 10am and 5pm. If you have a Professional Account on Instagram, you can find your audience's most active times by going to your Instagram profile and selecting Insights > Your Audience > Total Followers for an idea of good times to post.
Using scheduling tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, etc. also makes it a lot easier to post frequently and at pre-determined times of day. You can also opt to schedule content weeks in advance using other tools like the Facebook Business Suite, which is a complimentary tool associated with the Facebook Business Manager. By going to business.facebook.com > Posts & Stories, you can schedule out both your organic Facebook and Instagram posts with ease.
The key here is posting consistently and giving social media users multiple opportunities to encounter and engage with your brand.
Use relevant hashtags on posts and stories
Use branded and community hashtags is an easy way to increase your post’s reach and engagement on both social media platforms. You can build on the number of hashtags you use by employing hashtags most relevant to your followers and competitors and by adding hashtags specific to your post’s creative.
While Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags on posts and up to 10 hashtags on stories, using no more than 3-5 hashtags per post/story is ideal. In addition to brand-specific and/or niche hashtags, use well-known hashtags to increase your discoverability. After your post has been visible for some time, you can then use Instagram Insights to view how many users came to your post via your hashtags.
Optimize your name, bio and/or captions
The words you include in your Name field, bio and post captions are actually searchable on Instagram, which presents an opportunity for profiles and posts to appear even if a particular hashtag isn't included in the profile bio or posts. Think about what keywords are most important to your brand and start incorporating them on your profile and in your post captions. For example, a vodka brand may want to incorporate keywords like vodka drinks, vodka into their captions and on their profile to gives their brand the opportunity to show up when users are searching for those specific terms.
Invest in content production & content diversity
With an ever-increasing variety of content types like Instagram Reels, there are more opportunities to increase your engagement rates and, consequently, your organic Instagram growth.
Engagement is no longer limited to in-feed posts. On both Facebook and Instagram, you can create Stories and monitor story replies and mentions, and on Instagram, you can adapt short and long-form video content to Reels and IGTV. If you’ve only done in-feed posts or tried out Stories sporadically, we recommend committing to a few Stories and posts per week to establish consistency with your brand.
Once you've curated a posting schedule, it is important to identify what types imagery resonate most with your ideal customers and use that content consistently. Below are some shot examples that are most commonly used by beverage alcohol brands for photos, videos/reels, GIFs and more. Try the below and beyond to discover which content aligns with your brand and attracts your target audience the most!
- Bottle-only: stills and/or close-up b-roll of the bottle, with/without text overlays
- Lifestyle: imagery with people on location (cannot contain people actively drinking alcohol)
- Cocktail: finished cocktail drink with the bottle, cocktail recipe reels/videos
Engage with your audience
Many brands make the mistake of focusing on likes and comments without considering the people behind those metrics. Not all users who like or comment on your posts currently follow you; therein lies an opportunity to gain a new follower. Responding to all received comments also presents the opportunity to keep the current followers you have. Create engagement opportunities by asking questions in your post captions, using polls in Instagram Stories, encouraging people to tag friends in the comments with prompts, and much more.
Collaborate with industry players
Collaborating with similar businesses is a great way to create content that expands your reach and visibility on Instagram and Facebook. Businesses of any size can partner to grow their mutual audiences and provide valuable content that appeals to both parties’ followers. When seeking potential partners, look for brands your target audience is interested in or already follows, and prioritize brands whose products complement yours.
If you’re looking to steadily grow your following, it is crucial to stay on top of your content strategy. Try these tips & more, and let us know what has worked for your brand!