If you’ve built a business or brand, then you already know who your ideal customer is. (If you don’t know, then you should figure that out first because without knowing exactly who she, he, or they are, this will be a little hard.)
Now that you’re on Instagram and you want to build a following, it’s time for you to target those same people. If you recall finding your ideal customer, you remember all of those questions a branding expert most likely had you answer about what they like, where they live, who they are, and so on.
If you want to know where your ideal customer is hanging out on Instagram, we’re going to have to answer questions again. This time, however, they’ll be relating to Instagram. If you truly know who your ideal customer is (and you should), then answering these questions won’t be as difficult as the first ones were.
If you can answer these 8 questions, then you can find your ideal customer on Instagram
Question #1: Who does my ideal customer follow on Instagram?
You know who your ideal customer is, and you know who they like. Are the people they like on Instagram? Those are the people they’re going to be following. Say your ideal customer likes Pat Flynn. Go to Pat Flynn’s ‘followers’ list, and click random person’s profiles. It’s likely that some of them will be your ideal customer.
Don’t steal Pat Flynn’s followers, just research. Once you’ve gotten to the random person, go into their ‘following’ list. Then, again, click those people’s names, and figure out why your ideal customer is following them. What type of content are they posting? How often? You can also do this with your own followers, and go into their ‘following’ list to see who they follow and what pictures/videos they’re liking.
When we ask “who are they following” we mean brands or businesses. These brands or businesses will most likely relate to you. For example, if someone follows you—a fashion blogger—it’s likely that they follow other fashion bloggers too.
Question #2: Which hashtags do they follow?
If you’re aware of what type of things your ideal customer likes, then you know which hashtags they follow. If you’re a desk-selling business, and your ideal customer is obsessed with being organized, then they’ll follow (or at least visit) #desks. Make a list of hashtags that could be related (i.e., #desksetup, #setupspace, #workstation).
In a ‘hashtag’ page on Instagram, you get other related hashtags. Write those down, too. Find the hashtags that have lots of content, but isn’t so crowded that your picture will be lost in two seconds flat. Stay away from the millions.
Question #3: Whose Instagram stories do they watch?
Unfortunately, unless you ask them, there’s no way to find out exactly who your ideal customer is watching. However, you can make an educated guess. Go into that person’s stories, and watch their content. Why does your ideal customer like them?
Question #4: Do they watch IGTV? If so, who are they watching?
Again, just like above, you can’t pinpoint exactly who your ideal customer is watching on IGTV, but you can make guesses. It’s just like when you first answered questions like these when you were trying to figure out, all alone, who your ideal customer was.
Questions #5: What kind of content are they liking?
I’m assuming that you have some sort of following on Instagram already (even if it’s less than a hundred people). In your notifications page, there are two tabs. By default it’s on the ‘You’ tab, but right beside it is a ‘following tag.’ In this section, you can see what content your followers are liking and who they’re following. While you can also pay attention to who they’re following, we’re going to talk about the pictures.
Ask yourself, “Why did they like this picture?” Is it a product photo or maybe a candid? What does the caption say? Are there people in the picture? Is it an inspirational quote? Is it a picture or a video? Did they comment? What could you do that’s similar to this picture?
Question #6: Do they leave comments? If so, whose pictures do they leave comments on?
While you can do research on a lot of these questions, some require you to guess. However, you should know who your ideal customer is, which means you should be able to figure how who they’re commenting on, and why they’re commenting on it.
People follow who they like, and who they like is usually correlated. For example, an aspiring entrepreneur may follow Tai Lopez, Grant Cardone, and Arianna Huffington, so if they bump into you—a business owner who likes to inspire others to start their own businesses—they could very well follow you. Find out if your follower (who you follow back) is commenting on their pictures. Which specific pictures or videos are they commenting on?
Question #7: What time are they on Instagram the most?
If you have a business profile (if you don’t, I highly recommend you switch to it), then you can view your Instagram analytics. There’s a section in this where you can find out what time your followers are on the most during a certain day.
You can find this section by going to your insights, then the third tab on the top labeled ‘audience.’ You’ll find a section labeled ‘followers’ all the way at the bottom. You can look at the hours and days. Go on Instagram during that time, and pay attention to what they’re liking and who they’re following in your ‘following’ tab on the notifications page.
I’m positive that you have at least one follower right now on Instagram who happens to be your ideal customer. Get in contact with them. One thing you had to do when you were first figuring out who your ideal customer was, was interview someone you were positive was an ideal customer. You asked them the questions you had already answered. Do the same thing here. Send a direct message to that follower, and ask them if you can question them because you want to know them better. You can talk there, hop into a Google Chat, or call. It would be easier, however, to actually talk.