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Building Your Instagram Community During a Time of Social Distance

People are rapidly embracing new digital connections. At the start of April, 52% of consumers are spending more time on their phones since the outbreak compared to 40% in February. This means that people are finding ways to stay informed, positive, occupied, and healthy. 

To assist small businesses with their in-house marketing efforts, Facebook recently hosted an online webinar to share insight updates, discuss Instagram tools for building community, and share business success stories. 

Facebook/Instagram HQ Findings:

1. Many trends from the last few years have accelerated dramatically during this time.

According to a GWI survey, 40% of Americans are spending more time shopping online with a 62% increase in buy-online, pick up in-store (BOPIS), and curbside pickup, compared to the same period in 2019.

Additional Insights:

On Facebook, 70% more people are participating in group video calls on messenger 

50% increase in total messaging int the first month of the pandemic 

70% increase in Instagram Live views in the US in one week 

2. People are finding new ways to stay healthy.

On Instagram in the US, posts on feed or stories related to home workouts increased 5x in four days. Facebook predicts this will be a trend that will continue long after gyms open.

3. People want brands to be a part of the solution 

This is another example of customers’ heightened expectations. 61% of people say that the way a brand responds to this crisis will impact their likelihood to buy from that brand in the future. What these new expectations mean for your marketing approach: you should be constantly building affinity and connections with consumers.

Ideas to Foster a Sense of Community on Instagram

  1. Turn Events Digital: If you are a franchisee who owns a fitness concept, this may feel like a no-brainer. Hosting live workouts for your paying members is one thing, but providing a virtual workout 1-2x week for free to prospects will foster a sense of community and increase the likeliness they will buy from you in the future. Regardless of your industry ask yourself the following question: What can you turn into an event? Maybe that means posting step-by-step recipes, DIY videos, or behind the scenes footage. Create challenges for people to re-share in their stories and @ mention their friends.
  2. Host a Live Q&A: People want to feel heard. Jumping on an Instagram Live to address questions or start a conversation is the easiest way to do that- it’s also the most authentic way you can interact with your potential customers. Side note: If your Direct Inbox is flooded with messages, you can stay on top of communication by effectively managing your messages and also setting up FAQs to answer common questions for your customers.
  3. Offer Ways to Shop Online Versus In-Store:  With Instagram Shopping, businesses can make it easier for people to shop during this time. Businesses can direct customers to products that are relevant right now, show them different ways to shop, and co-create by inviting people to post about their favorite products. Make content actionable by using Shopping Tags to highlight products that are featured in your content and provide as much information as possible up front, so it’s easy for people to take action. If you are not a business that is already actively using Shopping Tags, now is the time to upload your Product Catalog so you can begin to use tags. Or, use content to help educate people on how they can shop for the things they need.
  4. Share Long-Form Content to Educate and Entertain: Engage deeper with your audience by sharing longer, serialized content that people can tune into at any time then save to IG TV.
  5. Share Important Messages On Social: Think of your profile as a place where people can hear from you directly about the things that matter.
  6. Use Instagram Stories: Humanizes your brand and drive entertaining engagement with your community. Instagram stories are an ideal surface to share a timely message during this rapidly evolving situation. With Stories, interactivity is key. Here are three tools to help you engage with your followers: Questions stickers (Answer community questions, or ask questions of your own), Poll and Quiz stickers (Involve your audience in engaging ways), and Countdown stickers (Build anticipation for any moment your followers want to know e.g., upcoming Q&A in Live.)
  7. Keep the Conversation Going: Make it easy for customers to reach out and easy for you to respond. Instagram Direct is an easy way to communicate directly with customers, respond to questions, and provide support. During this unprecedented time, people likely have many questions they’re asking you on Instagram. Instead of responding to each one in Instagram, try managing your Instagram Direct messages from your Facebook Page Inbox on mobile or desktop. To get started, you’ll need to connect your business Facebook Page and Instagram account. To do this, you need to have an admin or editor access to the Facebook Page as well as the username and password of your Instagram account handy.

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