Guest Blog

How to create a loyal Instagram community

Posted by:
The Scale Up

03 Mar 2021

How do you get an Instagram following of over 90,000?

What content do people want to see? 

What’s engaging?

How does Instagram support brand growth?

Lisa and Alana, The Mac Twins of The Gut Stuff, shed some light on how brands can successfully build an online community, just like they have, particularly on Instagram. Their feed is awash with tangible gut health info and tips from experts, recipes, and sharable infographics designed with their aim in mind: to make gut health accessible to everyone.

Be careful though, you might get lost in the scroll – it’s that engaging.

We believe everyone deserves to know their guts, so we gathered the experts to share the information you need to know and made some ‘stuff’.

Lisa says…

In 2016 you’d find us interviewing scientists about ‘the gut microbiome’ on YouTube. We’d talk about anything and everything, from Parkinson’s to genetics. From there we set up our website, ‘The Gut Stuff’ and Instagram account @thegutstuff, to empower people with knowledge around our guts, from scientists to clinicians. So, we DJ’d at night and would spread the ‘good gut word’ during the day.

We’d built a community, organised gut events, pop-up clinics, then in 2020 moved into developing products that were accessible and affordable.

All of this pre-brand launch work is great content, and we’d collated so much over those starting out days, especially research findings from our life as twin ‘guinea pigs’ and from speaking to the experts in the field.

We had so much to share and a story to tell – I think that’s the first important takeaway. We didn’t just post photos for the sake of it.  First and foremost it’s been a channel to educate and for our community to come on that journey with us.

The education aspect is what our followers value the most.

We offer how-tos, for example ‘gutting’ started on fermenting at home and share recipe ideas too which always go down well (love a pun). It’s about keeping it simple and recognising what content people are engaging with the most, listening to what our followers want – and then creating more of that. We review this regularly with the team and our community.

Alana says…

I’d echo that.

We’ve connected with so many incredible experts on Instagram and in real life and gained so many new opportunities to collaborate and spread the word about gut health.

Where we’d otherwise host in-person events and roadshows, we’ve taken to broadening our education reach with workplace webinars during lockdown – and they’re just as popular. It all boils down to having the right people on board to share their expertise. It’s relevant and supportive, especially as we take a closer inspection of our health and lifestyles during a pandemic.

We have delivered many workplace wellbeing webinars last year and have lots more planned this year, it’s aimed at employers who are looking for support on mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. Gut health is far more than just digestion, it affects practically every area of our health, from mental health to our immune system.

That’s another thing I feel is important to your Instagram content. It shouldn’t be inward-facing. You’re creating value for your community, it should be about them, not you.

When we do post about our products, we make it relatable and tie in statistics and facts, e.g. around fibre intake. We’ll direct people to our shop (because our followers are genuinely interested in what’s new), but we’ll also direct them to a useful (and free) download. They might head to our shop, download an informative freebie (like ‘Your Gut in Lockdown’), and then take a look at our other products.

I think it’s safe to say Instagram has been crucial to our brand’s growing success. If you’re passionate about something, you’ll have lots to say on the matter. For us, gut health is our passion and Instagram is our platform to create even more awareness.

Of course, not everyone is using Instagram and so we need to consider those audiences too. In fact, in 2021, we’re pledging to educate 1 million people on gut health – and that will involve engaging wider audiences outside of Instagram. We’ve got plenty of ideas on how to do that, but we won’t reveal too much on that for now.

Lisa adds…

So, in answer to: “How do you get an Instagram following of over 90,000?”

You have a purpose, a passion and you have plenty of things to tell the world. You nurture your community, give them what they want to hear and see. You get them excited about new products but most importantly you offer value.

What content do people want to see? 

Real, informative stuff. Fun giveaways featuring your products. Events they won’t want to miss out on. Tips, advice and statistics. Yummy recipes (or other things they can try out for themselves).

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James and James Fulfilment

It all began in 2010, when James Hyde and James Strachan couldn’t find a modern shipping service for the eCommerce business they ran. Faced with messy warehouses based on out-dated systems, they decided to build their own.

We’ve not stood still since, helping hundreds of online brands scale up – and scaling with them.