Spoiler alert. There’s no easy way!
I started my business, MJ Driver Laser Co., seven years ago when the only place to go to receive laser tattoo removal treatment was a medical centre. I set up my first clinic within a tattoo shop in Brisbane, offering people a place to come where they could receive the highest quality laser tattoo removal, from someone who had plenty of experience within the industry. Before long, I had clients flying in for laser removal from Sydney and Melbourne and it was apparent that we’d need to expand interstate. My team and I now offer treatment across six locations within Australia.
A huge part of my success and growth as a small business owner has been social media – in particular, Instagram. In an industry that relies so heavily on reputation and trust, having a strong social media following has provided me with the foundation of social proof and accountability imperative to running a successful business.
The number one thing that I’ve learned over time is that unfortunately, there’s no easy way to grow an organic Instagram following. Maybe there is an easy way, but I definitely didn’t find it! But there are a few things I can attribute to my success, and I’m going to share with you my main tips for earning followers on Instagram.
Number One: Find your unique selling point.
For me, this was being one of the first laser tattoo removal clinicians to set up in a tattoo shop. Providing tattoo enthusiasts a place to receive treatment in an environment that they felt comfortable in was what set me apart, and I was able to attract new customers by communicating that point through my social channels.
When you find what makes you unique, and you share your story authentically with your audience, you’ll attract people to you who want to be a part of what you do. There’s a lot of fakeness and copycats on social media, so being unique in what you do, and authentic in the way you communicate is refreshing.
Number Two: Figure out what your audience likes.
In my experience, this has been shock value. When I have a really crazy tattoo to remove, or have to perform laser in a painful place, people go crazy! When I post something that has a lot of shock value, people tag their friends, and the reach of the post extends way beyond my regular audience and I gain likes and followers that I wouldn’t normally have.
The lesson here is that there’s no point posting things that people don’t want to see, just because you think that it’s “on brand” or will look good in your grid view. If you don’t have anything to share that people will like, don’t post anything at all until you have something worthwhile occupying space! It only takes one lousy post to lose a whole lot of followers. Find what your audience loves and dish it out to them.
Number Three: Connect With Your Influencers
No matter what industry you’re in, there’ll be influencers relevant to your audience. If you’ve got something you can offer in exchange for exposure, go for it! Sponsored posts from Insta-famous individuals used to feel sneaky and cheap, but in reality, it’s an effective, modern way to advertise your product or services to a large, engaged audience.
It’s up to you to draw the line where you feel comfortable. For example, I don’t ever pay people to come and receive laser removal with us, because I feel that it lacks authenticity. I only connect with influencers who align with our brand image and are happy to collaborate in a way where we can exchange our services for exposure to their audience.
Aside from the obvious growth tools such as hashtags, geotagging and competitions, these are my tried and tested tips for growing an organic Instagram following. At the end of the day, a lot of it comes down to having a great brand and providing an outstanding customer experience. If your customers feel that you’ve delivered beyond their expectations, they’re likely to follow your journey and use social media to refer friends your way.
If you’ve got anything to add, leave a comment below!