I wish I knew more about social media. Getting older, it makes it harder for me to keep up with the new trends out there. There’s always something new – a new app, an new upgrade, new features and changes being made to social media platforms.
During my live stream with Heather last week they asked me how Ninong’s grew our Instagram following. Full disclosure, it’s not like our following grew overnight. But! They’re organic followers which means real people, real likes, real comments.
So, why did we choose Instagram? Well for one, Ninong’s is on almost every popular social media outlet. You name it – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, etc. But Instagram is where we saw the most engagement, it’s where we got the most traffic, it’s where we can control the conversation. Not to mention, 59% of the users on Instagram are our key demographic.
Why don’t we do all social media channels? For Ninong’s, it’s important for our brand message to be personal. Our brand story focuses on the idea of a family business/restaurant and inviting people to our “house” to eat. When you dine at our establishment, you’re eating recipes created by my aunt, my mom, my husband, etc. Our social media presence had to be us, not anyone else. Instagram allowed us to do that. We did try to do all the popular social media outlets, but because we’re a small operation we were forced to realize that it takes a lot of time and energy to do social media right. It turned out to be the biggest blessing in disguise. When we decided that focusing on 1 social media channel and doing it well was going to be our focus we saw consistent growth. We’re averaging about 20 new followers a week. I know it’s great to have a presence on all outlets. But don’t forget, if you don’t put shareable, useful, relatable, and authentic content on each channel then don’t do it. Don’t put 50% effort into something, you gotta go all in. 100%. That’s an entrepreneur’s golden rule with anything we do.
Now that we figured out why, let’s figure out what.
What did we do to grow our reach on Instagram? Well first, we had to identify our signature product and ask questions about it. This isn’t just beneficial for social media, it’s important for your business period. I know you want to cater to everyone, that you want your product or service to have a wide reach. We wanted that too. But that’s where we made a mistake. Cast a smaller net, really get detailed about your target market. The wider reach will come, trust me.
So, for our restaurant’s sake, our signature product is Ube Pancakes. Like I said, don’t just identify your product. Figure out why it should be your signature item. For us:
- The color is unique. Most people have never seen a purple pancake before.
- The flavor is very different, unlike anything we’ve ever tasted.
- Not many people were serving it at the time, let alone in our area.
- Our business is a cafe and pancakes fit very well in our business model.
- It’s the perfect catalyst to tell people about Filipino food and culture.
- It’s familiar to all cultures, not just our own. Since our mission is to share our family’s Filipino recipes and dishes with the world (not just other Filipinos) this was the perfect product to push us into the direction we’ve always dreamed of.
Okay that’s done, now what do we post? People love behind the scenes stuff. They love to see the people and the process that makes the end product. We post raw ingredients like eggs, the mixers whipping some icing, etc. Make your followers feel like they’re an exclusive club by letting them be the first to know that you have new products. Or even, show them the struggle of being an entrepreneur. Authenticity and transparency is key. People can see right through you on social media. Don’t pretend, be you – you are why people will be interested in what you have to offer.
Another suggestion is to inform your audience. Tell them who you are, what makes you different. Mix it up! We don’t just post your signature product over and over without some variety. We try to post as regularly as possible.
Last suggestion is repost your followers! We actually did this out of desperation because we couldn’t think of anything to share, but our customers and followers loved it! I think that reposting from another user just allows an unbiased account of our product.
It’s that simple! The main thing you want to think about is looking at it from a viewer’s perspective instead of the content creator’s perspective. Who is look at you? Who do you want to attract? Who would need what you have to offer? Create content that would be useful for them.
When you post, remember to always provide value. Don’t just post to promote. Show your audience and potential tribe that you care about them. Share a little bit about yourself (this is your brand story), inform them about your products and why it’s different from the rest, share insight, and share your journey!
Why must you betray us so?!
I don’t like the new update for Instagram. As a business that is growing a lot of our marketing plan relies on Instagram specifically to help grow our business. When Facebook changed from chronological to relevance it drove me nuts too. Instagram is no different. I never really looked at Facebook the same way after that. It makes me kinda sad for Instagram.
But hey, I can’t change it so I’ve got to make the best of it. So what’s my plan from here on out? Nothing really different. I just want to put out good content. I want to put more authentic content out there and do it more often, but other than that I still want to remain true to myself. No algorithm is going to change that 😉