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  • Terra Werner & Daniela Schrittenlocher

5 Ways to Build Community on Instagram

🚨WANTED: People with the same interests and the willingness to build meaningful connections.

Building a community on Instagram is just like creating connections out there in the real world. If you have something to say, even a simple compliment, just be yourself and say it! Why not?? Just as you would do when meeting someone in person or at a party.

This is your sign to put yourself out there and start the conversations that can lead to major collaborations and conversion for your business or brand.

And for those of you who are already shying away… I know it’s easier said than done. That’s why ELAS is here to help guide you along!

1. Start with a Foundation

I started the @elasmarketingservices account sharing social media tips & tricks with my clients at the time and it grew to a community of 120K+ followers in just two years. You can do this too.

Ask yourself… 🤔 What is my purpose? What do I want to achieve on this platform? Is it to inspire others? Educate on a specific topic? Whatever that is… communicate it and embrace what you have to say.

✨ PRO TIP #1: Don’t wait for people to find you. You’ve got to engage first. Nurture the audience you currently have and the rest will follow along.

If you create content, create content in an engaging way where people have questions or they want to say something about it. Add a CTA (call to action) to your caption, inviting them to ask a question, share their thoughts on it, or share their own experiences.

BE SOCIAL. That’s why it’s social media, right?

2. Humanize Your Brand

Show yourself and BTS on your Stories.

Stories are for your super fans. 🤩 The ones truly interested in who you are and what you do, so show up!

Giving your audience a look behind the scenes is the perfect way to add authenticity and build real connections.

Here are 5 classic BTS Story ideas to do just that:

  • A Day in the Life sped-up version of daily tasks

  • Show your current project in the making

  • A more personal GRWM

  • Run a Q&A series

  • Story Takeover! 👀

✨ BONUS: Find out the biggest mistake you’re making on your IG Story here in the caption. Plus more ideas to save & use!

Personalize your content.

Relatable content allows you to connect with people, which ideally should be your target audience, and start conversations.

You can share your POV (point of view) and automatically support what you stand for or share your expertise.

The posts I share are unique to me.

They represent my actual work experience of over 18+ years and deliver high-quality value focused on my purpose to help you!

✨ FUN FACT: My most viral educational carousel post grew my community over 5000 people - just one post!

3. Build Relationships

GIVE, GIVE, GIVE. I give that advice a lot. And give without expectations.

Give and you shall receive.

Share your knowledge, share your expertise, share your tools, share your opinion… there’s plenty to go around!

Engage regularly.

You can’t expect anyone to engage with your posts if you don’t do it yourself. If someone says thank you, respond to it! Even better, ask them a question.

For most people, engagement is the hardest one to learn and overcome. But once you understand how to do it, it's really not that hard anymore!

✨ PRO TIP #2: Turn on notifications for the accounts you want to engage with and be the first to comment when they post.

Leave genuine comments.

Be helpful, show your personality, and add value.

An Instagram comment from @hashtagslayerapp engaging with @elasmarketingservices post about guest posts and collaborations.

See how this one curious comment on my post turned into an easy conversation, that then led to talk about a collaboration.

Now Matt @hashtagslayerapp and I have a monthly IG Live Q&A session!

Catch a Hashtag Real Talk LIVE or watch the replays at @elasmarketingservices

✨ PRO TIP #3: Emoji-only comments, although fun 🤪, don’t start a conversation. 👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻

4. Start Activities

Remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?? Give people a cause and start community activities. Try starting your own:

1. Social media challenges

  • 30-day Reels or TikTok challenge

  • Photo and hashtag challenge

2. Offline challenges

  • Fitness challenge

  • Self-care challenge

  • Health challenge

3. Social media campaigns

  • Ask people to join certain campaigns. EXAMPLE: Years ago the fashion brand Aerie started a great campaign called #AerieREAL which celebrates the beauty of women inside and out.

A few simple niche-related activities for you:

🎨 Artists - a sketch challenge with a creative prompt or theme, then you and your audience share finished art pieces.

👗 Fashion - make it a seasonal fashion show and invite your members to share their seasonal outfits, OOTD, e.g. spring fashion.

🍽️ Foodies - share a trending recipe, specific ingredients or signature dish to recreate and encourage your followers to showcase what they come up with.

Remember to include a branded hashtag for your campaign for people to connect, find ideas & UGC content to use for later ;)

ALSO you don’t have to go at it alone…

5. Collaborate

What collaborations are all about:

  • Bringing people and businesses closer together

  • Helping people learn from each other

  • Opening up new channels for communication

  • Introducing you to new audiences

  • Building authority and adding credibility

Work with people in your social community/audience.

That brings us to another one of my favorite collab partners, Phil @philpallen. Phil and I met on social media because of everything I just told you about!

We put ourselves out there, created a bond over shared interests in our industry and now we show up together on LIVES and recently his podcast, Brand Therapy.

Our episode goes more into how you build community on Instagram and we share some great tips you probably haven’t heard yet!

In collaborations like this, we reach more like-minded people to connect with.

That's all for today folks! Hope it was worth your while and stay tuned for our next blog on HOW TO #collab on social media 😉


written by Terra Werner and Daniela Schrittenlocher

@ELAS Marketing Services LLC

Follow @elasmarketingservices for daily tips, facts and honest social media & marketing talk on Instagram.

Email us at with questions or topic requests.

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