Written by Michael Keenan

September 8, 2021

Social media marketing has become the go-to strategy for building an online presence and finding customers. In fact, in 2020 Statista found that 83% of surveyed marketers used social media in their digital marketing strategy.

One of the most popular social media platforms for small business owners or influencers is Instagram. If you started building an Instagram account for your business, you might’ve noticed gaining followers doesn’t mean getting more customers, but, rather, building trust.

How do customers know you’re good enough, or trustworthy enough to buy from? The tips in this guide will help you maximize your trust-building opportunities and, ultimately, boost your bottom line. 

  1. Provide quick responses to questions in DM
  2. Use live chat
  3. Respond to every comment
  4. Work with influencers
  5. Post valuable content
  6. Use hashtags
  7. Create Reels

Provide quick responses to questions in DM

They say “time is of the essence,” which couldn’t be more true for businesses with an online presence. According to HubSpot Research, 90% of consumers rated an immediate response as important or very important to them. (An immediate response is 10 minutes or less.)

hubspot research
Image Source: HubSpot Research

If you want Instagram users to positively associate with your business, you’ll need to give them quick responses to their direct messages (DMs). Now, you might be thinking: I don’t have the time to do that! Well, there are some shortcuts you can take; one of them is Instagram DM Automation by ManyChat.

Keyword automation 

One of the main features of ManyChat chatbots is keyword triggers. Triggers from keywords can occur in DMs, Stories, and other Instagram content (more on that later), and makes sending quick responses easier and scalable. 

So how does it work?

  • Create chatbot flows in ManyChat for different kinds of interactions. 
  • Add keyword triggers your customers might use.
  • Create your response relating to the context of the messages and keywords. 
keyword automation in manychat

Then, activate your automation flow and watch the bot do the work of a whole customer service team. 

Conversation Starters

Another form of quick response made possible with ManyChat automation is Conversation Starters. The process itself uses the same steps as keyword responses for customer service situations above; but this time, you’re speaking directly to your target audience in a marketing campaign. 

Let’s give you an example. Roma by Rochi ran an Instagram giveaway competition that involved Instagram followers and potential customers. Participants sent specific keyword in a DM that triggered a flow, entering them into the giveaway and providing more chances to enter.

roma by rochi contest

The above process is possible for many different promotional campaigns, like e-book freebies, webinar attendance sign-ups, newsletter sign-ups, and more. 

Use live chat

Automation is an excellent tool to quickly respond to repetitive messages, but what if the messaging is more complex? You’ll still want to answer your customers quickly, but if your chatbot can’t help, what then? 

Live chat is a common way businesses worldwide do just that; and in 2019, over 83% of customers using it reported high satisfaction rates. So instead of asking customers to send an email, using ManyChat you can route the query to a live agent and engage with the customer over live chat in real time. 

ManyChat live chat

Live chat can help you build trust by introducing a human element. When customers are frustrated or confused they like to know real people are listening to them. When problems or questions are dealt with quickly it inspires brand loyalty and trust.   

As a bonus, you can also use the ManyChat live chat feature on desktop and mobile.

Respond to every comment

Another method used to build trust with your followers is to engage with them, instead of posting at them. Engaging with followers who comment on your Instagram posts, and mention you in their Instagram Stories, has several benefits:

  • Customers/followers feel valued. When you respond to a comment, it shows you’re not just shoving content on their Instagram feed — you’re willing to talk about it.
  • You gain more visibility. One of the core goals of your Instagram marketing strategy should be to gain more brand awareness and visibility across the platform. Thanks to the algorithm, which prioritizes content that sparks conversations, replying to comments helps boost your content.
  • Attracts new followers. If users discover your brand through whatever means, seeing your level of engagement with existing followers is likely to encourage new people to follow you.

So, what if your brand is growing and you can’t keep up with replying to every comment? Try the ManyChat Comments Growth Tool.

comments growth tool example

The tool works by automatically replying to comments on your posts. Configure it to respond to everyone, or reply to comments containing keywords. If you’re worried that replies will all sound the same, set up multiple replies and have the automation pick a response to send. 

You can also automatically “like” every comment and send DMs to users who comment, engaging even further with your audience.

Work with influencers

When it comes to building trust with your followers (and potential followers), another effective strategy is to use influencer marketing. The influencer marketing industry is set to grow to approximately $13.8 billion in 2021, and is gaining in popularity. And for good reason — it works.

In terms of building trust, influencers in your industry can help your business in two main ways:

  • Their followers already trust them. As the main benefit, followers of authentic influencers and content creators already trust their recommendations and that trust can pass along to your brand.
  • More people become aware of your brand. When an influencer recommends your products or works with you on a specific campaign, you get to display your brand in front of their engaged audience. This helps you earn more followers and customers by association.

A great example of influencer marketing on Instagram comes from the Vivo Life business account. 

Vivo life example

The brand works with multiple influencers in the health and fitness industry who create posts featuring brand products, which then Vivo Life reshares on its Instagram profile. 

Vivo Life has long-term relationships with these influencers, but if your business doesn’t have the means yet to onboard long-term influencers, you can also opt for featuring an influencer in a single campaign. 

Post valuable content

This tip might seem obvious on the surface, but it’s surprising how many brands get the wrong idea about what valuable content is. This happens when brands only post content about their products, sales, and promotions, not what interests their followers. 

Sure, it’s important to promote your product, but your content marketing strategy needs to be customer-centric. Content should help customers and followers achieve something for themselves — i.e., motivation, completing a task, or learning about a specific topic. 

Posting high-quality content that provides value to customers goes a long way in establishing trust with your followers. Let’s look at a couple of examples:

Hailing from the U.K., fighters against food waste Too Good To Go make sure its content helps people with recipes made with leftovers, provides tips on combating food waste, and educates eaters on food waste’s impact.

too good to go ig

Another brand that is winning at providing valuable content is So Worth Loving. The brand posts content that provides motivation, promotes self-love, and helps people understand their emotions — and it hardly ever promotes its store.

So Worth Loving

Creating content that isn’t promotional doesn’t hurt your opportunities to sell. Rather, it can inspire your followers to use your products while also supporting your brand.

Use hashtags

This tip might sound surprising but stick with us here. While you normally use Instagram hashtags to boost the discoverability of your posts, you can also use them to build trust and a deeper connection with your followers. 

Use two main methods to achieve this: branded hashtags and creating hashtags for user-generated content (UGC). 

Branded hashtags

Over 200 million businesses use Instagram to engage with their audience, and you can bet the majority of them use branded hashtags to help boost brand awareness. Examples of this can be using your actual brand name, or using the name of a marketing campaign — or even both. 

Each branded hashtag establishes authority and helps you look more legitimate and trustworthy. Let’s look at an example from The Protein Works:

branded hashtag example

In the example above, The Protein Works uses two different branded hashtags; one for its main brand and a community tag.

User-generated content

UGC on Instagram is particularly popular when it comes to running competitions or challenges as well as highlighting great customer content. But did you think about how brands keep track of UGC? They use hashtags. 

A great example of harnessing the power of UGC comes from Urban Outfitters:

urban outfitters example

The clothing brand used the hashtag “#UOCommunity” in the post above. This is a hashtag customers use when regularly posting images of themselves wearing Urban Outfitters garments or complete outfits. Getting featured on the UO profile also is a rewarding bit of recognition from the brand (especially since they have over 9 million followers).

Create Reels

Our last tip for building trust with your Instagram followers is posting Instagram Reels. Reels are one of the best ways for your brand to offer a personal, human touch to your marketing. 

Not only does creating Reels help your audience see you and the people behind your brand, but Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, said Instagram is leaning more heavily on video content. So video is going to help you become more visible on the platform. 

One brand using Reels to build trust with its audience is 4Ocean. The conservation group posts behind-the-scenes footage of how its ocean cleanup operations work while also highlighting on-the-job employee experiences. 

Reels example

Another well-known brand making use of Reels is Lush. The personal care brand takes a more personal approach by reaching out to individual staff members to ask what their favorite Lush products are, as well as posting some of their skincare routines. 

Lush Reel example

Both of these examples show you different ways Reels can help your brand build trust with your followers. Why not try to create a Reel yourself of what goes on in your (or your staff’s) general workday?

Grow your business through Instagram 

Establishing trust with your audience can be tough no matter what platform or marketing channel you use. However, these tips can help you build your relationships with followers and potential new customers, gaining more sales opportunities as a result.

Remember, you don’t have to do everything manually. Even if you have a whole social media or customer service team, your business can get overwhelmed with the task of engaging with your followers. That’s where ManyChat comes in.

ManyChat’s Instagram Automation can help automate many of the processes we covered in this guide, and ensure your efforts are both efficient and scalable in the long run. 

Grow your Instagram following and make sales with Instagram Automation by ManyChat. See if your business is eligible by applying below.

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The contents of this blog were independently prepared and are for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ManyChat or any other party. Individual results may vary.