More followers doesn’t mean more money in the bank
The number one question I get as a freelance social media consultant is:
“How do I get more followers?”
My answer is almost always “Why do you need more followers?”
90% of the time, they reply back “So I can make more money.”
Instagram doesn’t pay you for your number of followers.
What I mean by that is that, unlike YouTube or your blog, you don’t get a check from Instagram depending on the performance of your posts, your followers, or any other metric.
Monetization on Instagram comes from selling products, or shoutouts, or doing brand deals by selling exposure for brands.
Why You Don’t Need More Followers to Sell Shoutouts and Exposure on Instagram
When brands are looking for influencers to help them bring eyeballs to their products, they don’t care much about the number of Instagram followers anymore.
See, the followers can be bought, or they can be from using growth tactics and hacks like the follow-unfollow method, or other shortcuts that can bring in lots of low-quality followers quickly.
Brands are now looking into engagement rates, and overall community.
The process takes longer for them as they have to do math to calculate the average engagement rate, and then look through the comments to see how reactive and implicated the community is.
The logic is simple: you can buy followers and likes, but genuine comments are close to impossible to cheat on at a larger scale.
Sure, having more Instagram followers will catch the eye of more brands, but if your engagement rate sucks, having an extra 20k followers won’t make you sign any more brand deals.
Brands have a growing suspicion for influencers.
So many Instagram celebrities have been cheating on their numbers to make more money. This resulted in brands spending fortunes on brand deals that would not generate a single sale.
Brands are now more cautious than ever, and they will more likely hire multiple smaller influencers with good engagement rates instead of Instagram stars with millions of followers.
Why You Don’t Need More Followers to Sell Your Products on Instagram
If you sell products and services on Instagram, it is tempting to try to get as many Instagram followers as you possibly can to increase your chances of making a sale.
But that’s the wrong strategy.
Because this assumes that by attracting a thousand followers on your account, you will get a small portion of those followers that will be clients.
This assumes that clients and followers are two different entities, which they aren’t.
Followers can become clients if you can convince them to do so.
This is the whole goal of Instagram.
Your job, by publishing content on Instagram, is to convince people to go from being a simple follower, to being a client.
The way you can do that is by fixing your followers’ problems, and letting them know you can fix their problems.
Then, they need to trust you and your solution. You can do that by building trust with them.
This is the hardest thing to do, and that’s a thing that’s very hardly teachable.
But doing things like publishing stories, showing your face, building a community, replying to comments and DMs, being genuinely interested in your followers’ story and genuinely caring about what they go through are ways you can create special bond between you and your brand.
Still, wouldn’t you need more followers to increase your sales?
You would, but you would need to know how to make sales first.
I see so many accounts trying to attract thousands of followers to launch their business while they can’t convince the followers they already have to make a single purchase.
You can have millions of followers, if you have a 0% conversion rate, you’ll still make zero sales.
You don’t believe something like that can happen? Take a look at this story of an influencer that failed at selling 36 T-shirts (Siim Säinas)
Quality Matters More than Quantity Regarding Instagram Followers
There is a never-ending debate to know which is better on Instagram: quality and quantity.
When it comes to content, I agree that quantity matters a lot more than quality.
But when it comes to followers, quality matters much more.
Because you can’t convince the whole world to buy your product.
You need to attract people that are interested in the fix you have to sell in the first place.
Someone that’s interested in what you have to offer, that’s a quality followers.
Attracting a bunch of random people to your account won’t result in any more sales as you won’t be able to convince them to turn into clients.
Attracting Better Followers on Instagram
That can only happen once you’ve identified who your ideal client is.
Then you will need to create content for that specific person, addressing this specific problem.
You need to get out of the mindset of pleasing everyone!
This is the hardest part usually.
But bonding with a small number of highly specific people will go a long way compared to trying to please everyone or trying to get more people in the machine.