Networking on Instagram: 6 Ways to build business connections

10 min read
21 February 2022

Most digital marketing experts promote the idea of networking. But not many people are ready to deal with it systematically. The reasons can be different: someone does not agree that this tool is helpful, and someone does not have enough time and knowledge to work with it regularly. We prepared step-by-step instructions for you.

The energy spent on networking will pay off if you regard this method as a long-term instrument and approach it strategically. It is impossible to text someone through direct messages once and make a contract: undoubtedly, such accidents happen, but this is a “survivorship bias.”

Instagram as a platform for communication looks better than other social networks. In Facebook Messenger, you need to check your message requests not to miss an important message. On TikTok, you can only send a message if you have already become a follower. The Instagram message filter increases the chance that a user will read a message.

In this article, we will talk about Instagram networking features and share a plan for building a business connection flow.

How to prepare a profile for making new connections on Instagram

The total number of active Instagram users in 2020 was around 1.16 billion. Popular accounts represent people of absolutely different professions: for example, doctors, nutritionists, psychologists. The platform is not only about art, creativity, or digital anymore. Therefore, the first step is to understand if your potential audience uses the platform and switches to profile development or not.

Carefully analyze your profile and make sure that it contains all necessary information: at least the information about your profession and the city where you live. The speed of content consumption is growing — it is vital to pack your main message into a simple and concise form.

Your profile is your portfolio. Save new users from scrolling through the feed to figure out who you are and what you do. The first 3-6 posts should perform specific tasks. Talk about professional activities, show work cases and achievements.

Such kind of minimal preparation of the profile will be enough to start making connections.

Disclaimer. There is a myth that to develop a profile and, in particular, to network, you should comment on well-known bloggers’ posts. You should comment on a publication (trying to get in the first 30 minutes after it is published) and start a conversation with users.

This method may work once, but making it a priority in the promotion strategy does not seem productive. Few people read all comments on celebrities’ posts carefully. Moreover, many different users follow celebrities. It means that they have different types of activity, different ages. The diversity is too impressive.

6 Ways to network on Instagram

No. 1. Educational events in the private account

Gather a team of bloggers with similar topics and offer a great educational event to exchange the audience.

You should note that this event is free for all parties: followers will receive content; each participant will receive a cross-exchange of the audience. It is not enough just to be listed as a speaker — all bloggers either broadcast live or prepare helpful content.

This method works according to the following algorithm. You should gather a team, discuss a topic, conferences, create a private account, announce on your blogs, collect followers until a particular date, after which you do not accept requests for membership.

When creating your message to potential attendees, show estimated reach numbers: for example, who you expect to see on the list of speakers, what topics they are most likely to present, and how active their audience is.

No. 2. Call for live broadcast

A lively interest in any essential topic is the best reason to get to know each other.

Think about who you consider the leaders of your market, who broadcast a catchy author’s point of view, perhaps even different from your own: this will cause a discussion.

Don’t forget about micro-influencers. Specialists with fewer followers can influence more and be the unspoken market leaders. If the level of engagement of posts is high, it is worth making contact.

It does not have to be a grave education Live. People come to Instagram to relax — so entertain them!

Random live broadcast of Russian blogger Nastya Ivleeva and actor Jared Leto attracted the attention of mass-media

Promote your future broadcast — write a post, make a story. Tell people exactly what you’re talking about. After that, save the live broadcast recording to IGTV and your phone. Later, select essential pieces and create a series of posts of them.

No. 3. Invite an expert for several posts or stories

Make a collaborative story about content preparation. Collaborations help to look at a familiar topic from a new angle.

The main role in the preparation of content falls on your shoulders. Create a detailed including materials you want to prepare, the structure, and the purpose of this type of content.

Think over the message you will send to the speakers. Tell them why this type of cooperation can be helpful for them. For example, to expand the audience or try themselves in a new role.

Adidas makes viral and exciting stories. Its account has inspiring Stories not only by influencers and top bloggers but also by those who don’t have armies of fans behind their backs.

For example, athletes from different countries were asked about their success stories. The project helps to believe in themselves to those who are not yet sure that they will succeed - and this, in turn, is one of the brand’s key messages.

It is what the posts look like. Source


The post includes a video and a short description with related hashtags. Source

Collaboration content creation is part of a marketing strategy regarding audience exchange. Most likely, your target audiences overlap quite a lot, and exciting content will help expand the current follower avatar strongly.

No. 4. Call for a challenge

The method will work with a roughly equal number of followers on both sides.

Challenge is a series of tasks that each participant performs, trying to get ahead of the opponent and do before the deadline, which fuels the audience’s interest.

One of the advantages of this format is interactivity. Watching the heroes overcome difficulties is like watching a series. Through entertaining, you show vital things for both sides, consonant with the mission and values that you voice in the blog.

During the pandemic, users actively supported challenges with physical activity at home or with a healthy type of nutrition.

No. 5. Make friends with closed communities

Instagram Pods are groups of influencers united to achieve high engagement.

Such groups are created as closed communities. Usually, there are about 10-15 people. Each community has particular rules for the entire group. For example, a responsible person who reminds about weekly activities and asks to send posts for mutual PR offers new content formats.

Everyone contributes to the participation and receives high engagement and support from serious market participants.

If you are new to this sphere, it is unlikely that you can find Instagram Pods quickly. But try starting with specialized communities or events. Check if your colleagues have such supportive chats. If there is no such chat, is it not a reason to create one?

No. 6. Follow opinion leaders in your field

Before you start chatting, you need to work on the welcoming message so that it does not look like spam and “selling” your profile in advance.

Choose 3-5 people you admire and would like to establish a business relationship with. Follow them for 5-7 days: put likes and reactions, comment on posts and stories, participate in discussions.

In popular communities around your core topic, it’s even easier to find interesting people. For example, the lifestyle brand and the Girls Night In community help women use their free time as efficiently as possible: recommend the best things in culture, personal care, entertainment.

Choose interesting posts for discussion and comment. Source

Make reasonable comments on the topic, rather than limiting yourself with a couple of general phrases. So you will stand out from the rest of the followers. As soon as you receive comments in response, answer the users.

Follow etiquette. The message should sound personal — it should not feel like you are copying, changing the name, and sending.

If you do not receive a response within a week, do not hesitate to send it again: the letter could be lost. But there is a fine line between activity and importunity with violation of personal boundaries — you should not spam if a person did not answer 3-4 times.

Does this method work for brands?

For brands, Instagram is not very suitable for networking, but it opens up great opportunities for Customer Development, and one of them is testing.

Such tests are carried out every time an idea or a product prototype is launched to determine if it is in demand among the audience. Research also helps analyze the directions of work with the existing product line.

You can carry out customer development on Instagram differently — surveys in Stories when you need to choose an option from the ones offered, a window for answers, or a link attached to a Google Forms survey or on the site.

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Giveaways and their potential danger for your account

As you are one of the sponsors — people will start following you just to unfollow you after the giveaway.

Active social media presence plays an essential role in the growth of business projects. When it comes to networking with other brands interacting with users or influencers, Instagram is a great idea. Use the listed networking methods and take your project to the next level.

Do you want to build business communication on Instagram? Remember:

1. Being proactive is important

React to posts and stories of those users who appeal to you. As in live communication, everything online is based on mutual interests.

Don’t wait for someone to text you and offer to meet. Initiate new contacts first. Offer to meet for Zoom coffee for 20 minutes: The person needs a reason to spend time with you. For example, you want to ask a couple of questions about their career path because you are planning to change the field and are now studying this issue.

2. Join communities

Closed communities are good because they unite people with common interests. That means it is easier to start communicating with someone within the group.

Follow the established rules. Offer new ideas and help in the development of the community. If this is a group for mutual PR, offer not only to support posts with likes and comments but, for example, to hold an Instagram marathon. It can be a closed account, where all participants will have to follow.

3. Call for live broadcasts or make joint posts

In this case, you should follow a simple rule. Invite experts interesting not only to you but also to your followers.

The format can be anything —from an interview with a clear plan and questions answered by an expert or a conversational podcast — no matter where the conversation will lead. You can offer an unusual workshop. For example, you and the guest will cook in the kitchen and discuss predetermined topics.