This is my third post documenting the journey of building a B2B company brand presence on Instagram, sharing tips and tricks I learn along the way.

In this post I’ll show you how a single video increased our followers by 70% – and how to reverse engineer it for your own brand.

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It took me 37 posts to earn 100 followers, but only one post to gain another 70. All thanks to our first (kinda) viral video:

Keep in mind – if you post things that are unrelated to your brand to gain followers, you’ll simply have a large list of people who don’t care at all about you, your company or your services/products…

‘Likes’ and ‘followers’ are only as valuable as the methods you use to acquire them.

Insight #1 – Do your homework

Once we hit 100 followers, I dug into our page analytics and noted these trends:

First, our videos get 56% more ‘likes’ than our pictures do on average. They also have a higher reach, meaning more people see our content if it’s in video form.

Second, our follower demographics are dominated by males aged 25-34.

Insights for you: once you hit 100 followers you unlock Instagram’s analytics abilities for your account. Analyze your content to see what types of posts perform the best (video? quotes? plain pictures? stories? product pics?)

Use this info to do drive future content strategy.

Insight # 2 – Don’t expect a grand slam for your first ‘at bat’

After diving into our analytics, I knew videos targeted at males aged 25-34 would resonate best for our brand.

Based on this info, I created a high octane, 48 second video compiled from my company’s first year of auto racing to hit our audience at it’s core.

The video performed better than any other piece of content we had previously published, but by a small margin – it was still a far cry from a grand slam.

Insight #3 – “Nailed it!… wait, why is this doing so well?”

After the first attempt, I realized 14 weeks of building a very targeted follower list meant our audience had a very specific set of interests and expectations. It shouldn’t have been a surprise that a video unrelated to our services didn’t explode.

So I crafted a new new video telling a story of how we bring ideas from ‘art to part’ that hadn’t been shown before. I added an interesting song, threw in a few visuals and:

The results?

I instantly began getting notification after notification of people liking our new video. Moreover, we were also gaining new followers – a lot of them. Added bonus: people must’ve kept digging into our profile because older posts were also getting more attention.

Every time I checked my phone it looked something like this:

We gained more from a single post than 2 months’ worth of work building the page in the beginning.

But I was a little confused. The video is kinda catchy, but it’s not that good

… so why the big results?

Insight # 4 – The Power of Long-Tail Hashtags

In my first post of this series I talked about the importance of using both long tail and short tail hashtags. In short: ‘Long-tail’ hashtags, circled below, are very specific and thus less popular hashtags meaning fewer people are using and searching for these terms, but the people who are searching for them are much more targeted. SCORE.

Why is this important? If you rank in the top 9 most popular posts for a given search term (hashtag) … you appear front and center on the landing page for anyone who searches for that term (much like SEO and Google page 1 results)

We ranked on the top posts for these industry-specific categories:

#automotivemanufacturing #batterytooling #moldmaker #plasticinjectiontooling #toolanddie

And we ranked in the top posts for these recruiting-specific categories:

#cedarburg #wisconsinjobs

This means we beat multiple, dozens, hundreds and thousands of other companies in those categories to show up first for everyone who searched these hashtags.

Which is the #1 reason the post went viral:

…for every category we were first in, this meant more views. The more views we got, the better we ranked in other hashtag categories. The more views we got from those other hashtags, the better we performed in others. And on and on and on.

…it’s a snowball effect, and we gained tons more views, likes, followers and website traffic in the process. And now our network of leads is larger and growing faster because of it.

The takeaways for your business

The video I made was far from ‘perfect’ – I didn’t shoot any newer, better footage for it, I didn’t take days or weeks developing it, and there are a lot of things I see to improve on for next time….

… but perfection is the enemy of progress.

We didn’t gain 70% more followers because we did any one thing perfectly, I just made sure everything was as reasonably good as it could be.

  • Demographics research – know who you’re really reaching
  • Analyze your posts to see what performs the best – do more of that
  • (Mostly) post things related to your business – people relate to people still
  • Harness the power of long-tail hashtags to outrank competitors and gain visibility
  • Content is still king, but context is queen