The benefits of thanking your Instagram followers are nearly endless. Not only does it improve your working outlook on your business, but it also helps nurture the relationship between your business and your followers.
These followers further build your social presence and brand authority, so take some time out to thank the people that support your brand online. Some share your posts with friends and family. Some keep the comment section engaging regularly. Some are loyal customers who find your products or services valuable.
Consider at least one of these 10 simple ways to thank your Instagram followers and show you appreciate their engagement:
1. Follow them back
Sometimes you don't need to go an extra mile to say thank you. A simple click on the follow back button can go a long way in building and keeping a strong relationship with your followers.
Hootsuite is a clear example of this approach. With a follower base of 7.5 million, the social media management platform currently follows a whopping aggregate of 1.5 million users on Twitter.
But you can't possibly follow everyone that follows you. (Hootsuite doesn't.) A rule of thumb is to follow those who "share your content or comment on something you’ve shared."
2. Send them personalized gifts
No one likes a generic show of appreciation. If you're serious about thanking your Instagram followers, you can put real elbow grease into sending physical gifts to individual members of your Instagram community.
Gifts they'd love and appreciate. These can be anything from keychains to t-shirts, and you certainly don't have to wait until Thanksgiving to show gratitude.
The key is to add a personalized touch to whatever you decide to send. It makes your appreciation sincere, and one step to achieve this is to include a customized thank-you note per gift.
3. Give them exclusive offers
Make your followers feel special with offers that are only available for your Instagram community. You can give out time-limited discounts, coupons, deals, and promos. Besides, you can sell low-priced bundled packages (rather than individual purchases), add freebies to your products, etc.
Use Instagram story questions to survey your audience for ideas. And, remember to make the offer exclusive to your Instagram community so that members will feel like a money-saving deal just falls into their lap.
People generally love to be offered less than the product price. That's why exclusive offers secure exceeding sales and also prepare followers for more.
4. Share their content
User-generated content (UGC) is particularly relevant to any brand on Instagram. It grows followers, follower engagement, and brand identity, and helped Buffer increase its Instagram following by roughly 400%. Airbnb has one of the best feeds on Instagram because it's almost 100% UGC. (And their bio proudly states, "Share your stories with @Airbnb.")
People trust UGC more than traditional advertising because it's precisely what they want to see—content generated by real users like them. You're curating the best content around the web and sharing it to your social audience.
A simple repost of their photo or video (or sharing it to your Stories) can go a long way to show you cherish your customers, but it doesn't have to end there. For instance, you can share blog posts of bloggers that promote your brand.
Whatever content you select to reshare, learn to give credit to the initial creator because that's the only means to say thank you for creating it.
5. Engage with them genuinely
Two takeaways. Conversations are ampler with authenticity. Relentless self-promotion isn't a valid route to develop trusted relationships with your customers.
Instead, take some time to have real, casual interactions with your followers. Leave a comment on their posts and throw in some hilarious GIFs to make them laugh. Simple interactions like this will shoot up engagement rates and make your content show up on more users' Feed.
6. Thank them publicly
Public appreciation not only makes the appreciated fellow feel exceptional but also contributes to a positive perception of your brand. It's a great impression to make, to say the least, and Instagram itself is an adherent of this practice.
A post about followers you'd like to thank and why you’re acknowledging them will do the trick. Tag them. Share them to Stories. No matter what you do, keep in mind that people love to be recognized in public, so make it count.
7. Announce them periodically
Many businesses and brands use this periodic approach to reward people for being a part of their community. Each week or month, you'd announce a specific follower and state why—their comments are so awesome, you find their content interesting, etc.
You can also circulate their name by directing other followers to follow them. Add a note explaining why others should do so, though.
8. Celebrate their special moments
If you happen to know the special moments (i.e., significant days and events) in the lives of your followers, you can celebrate the moments with them to show that they matter. Birthdays, weddings, childbirths, graduations, job promotions, and the list goes on and on.
You can repost their content to acknowledge their special day or drop by and leave a comment on their post.
9. Feature them
This works best if you run a blog, but of course, you can feature followers on any medium—even your Instagram page.
You can highlight certain followers and ask them to share their experiences with your products or services. You're essentially giving them a platform to disseminate their knowledge and attract more attention for themselves. At the same time, these pieces of feature content can drive leads, prospects, customers, and sales for your brand.
Alternatively, you can write a blog post about something extraordinary a follower has done. Heed to sharing this across your social media channels to make it more heart-warming.
10. Listen to them and react
Listening is an art that improves customer understanding significantly. Listen to their comments, opinions, ideas, perceptions, pain points, etc.
Do not only listen but also react. If a follower asks a question, take some time to render the best answer and give them props for bringing up an interesting issue. You can also ask fans questions and then cover their solutions in your blog posts.
Listen to them attentively, and you'll increase how happy they are with your products and services. Social proof sets in at this stage as they begin to share your offering with friends and family simply because they've verified that they matter.
Customer loyalty is more than just offering the best product or service in the market. It's about keeping the relationship between your brand and followers strong, active, and human.
Are there active followers you'd like to praise for their presence in growing your business? Or, do you want to show appreciation for reaching a milestone on Instagram?
With any of the 10 ideas mentioned above, you can show your appreciation in a distinctive yet simple way. The opportunity to say thank you may just present itself, however. Learn to recognize these opportunities and show appreciation with spontaneous gestures like a simple "thank you" post.
One more thing, do it like you mean it. Be sincerely thankful whenever you thank your Instagram followers. Cheers!