PeopleMap: My favourite Instagram tool (and how I use it)

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I am a bodger, and I am a cheapskate. It’s my speciality and I ain’t ashamed. I won’t spend a 50p on something unless I’m 100% convinced it’ll earn me £1.27. There are so, so many dang social media tools out there, and I don’t really buy any of them – apart from PeopleMap. This $20pm Instagram tool is the tits, and here’s why.

Note: As with all Instagram tools, PeopleMap won’t do jack unless you’re also posting great pics with thoughtful captions. 

Businesses need to ‘beat’ the Instagram algorithm

When we use the official Instagram app, we see what Instagram wants us to see. Long gone is the time of chronologically sorted posts, we’re at the mercy of the ever-so-mysterious Instagram Algorithm deciding what we’ll like.

It’s madness, but personally I don’t hate as much as others. From a professional perspective though, she’s an absolute bitch. We have two target markets at Studio Cotton, one of which is Bristol-based creative makers – the exact kinda ladies and fellas who hang out on Instagram.

And yet, when I log in, I don’t see these fabulous people. I see the global brands I follow for the sales promos, I see international creatives I follow for inspiration and pretty pictures. I see other Bristolian marketing agencies that I follow because I am nosey and shady.

So from a professional perspective, I need to beat the Instagram algorithm – not to be seen – but to see.

Super simple PeopleMap, with a free trial too!

Get Instagram organised with PeopleMap

PeopleMap is a system that allows you to keep nice tidy lists of Instagram profiles, so that you can see the Instagram content you want to see. I can hear you ask “so, you want me to pay £180 a year for a few lists of Instagram followers?” – no, that would be silly!

You have to make the lists yourself.

You’re going to pay £15 every month for a tool which is essentially a set of empty, digital buckets. And it’s so dang worth it.

There is a free trial available, and you should definitely try it out. HOWEVER, this pish is so good, and you only get one trial. I wouldn’t get started until you’ve done a little research and have some time to dedicate to searching, engaging and list building.

1. Make Instagram Interesting Again.

If you’re a business owner like me, you probably follow a lot of Instagram accounts that share stuff you’re not interested in, because you want the business connection.

Their content isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s just not something that gets your personal juices flowing – thus making your Instagram experience less lovely. Here’s tip #1: use PeopleMap to keep track of these accounts, and unfollow via the Instagram app.

This will make your Instagram experience more enjoyable, more interesting and inspirational. I can enjoy my Monki sale updates and International craft crushes – without missing out on the accounts I ‘should’ be following.

I’m more likely to use Instagram when I find it more interesting, and it keeps the Following number down, which is a great byproduct.

If it would be a massive faux-pas to unfollow a particular profile, just let them be. The odd uninspiring post isn’t worth drama, mama.

Using PeopleMap to keep an eye on the very lovely Pop & Punch

2. Lead and customer Instagram relationship management

PeopleMap comes with three default empty lists: Influencers, Partners, Competitors; and we’ll get back to these later. My most essential lists consist of leads and customers.

I manually collect the profiles of my clients and people I have relationships with, but haven’t yet spent money with Studio Cotton in a ‘Clients’ list. Then, every day(ish), I’ll check over my list in PeopleMap and check for new posts. With a single click I can leave thoughtful, authentic comments.

It demonstrates that I find their brand interesting and valuable, and keeps Studio Cotton in their mind.

3. Aligning with relevant Instagram profiles

Being social on social media is great for a business’ social media presence. Who knew? PeopleMap tip #3 is about Partners, one of the default PeopleMap lists. A Partner is an Instagram account with an audience that overlaps significantly with your own, but probably doesn’t offer the same product that you do.

Picking your Partners is common sense, which is something I love (even though according to my mum it’s something that I am lacking in considerably). If you’re a wedding planner, your Partners include photographers, venues, caterers and stationery designers.

If you’re an artisan coffee roaster, your Partners might be coffee shops, micro breweries & distilleries, small snack brands and food & drink bloggers.

If you’re Studio Cotton, your Partners are other small business service providers, like my photobaes Georgia de Lotz & Sophie Careful, influencer marketing legends Weekend:IN, and masters of yummy creative suppers, Yonder Collective.

Our Partners are also supporters of small creative businesses. I use two dedicated lists for a couple of groups who are to thank for so much of our success: Bristol Girl Bosses and Bristol Etsy Team.

Like with my clients, I try and use comments to make these ladies feel appreciated, and to open up new opportunities to collaborate. Plus, each comment has the added benefit of being see by their followers, who are likely to fall within my target audience.

I found perfectlyclaudia when writing this post, her feed is STUNNING.

4. Finding local influencers through Instagram

We’ve just nailed the basics of lists, whoooot. Now we’re going to chat about the PeopleMap Analyse tool, which is incredible for populating your Influencer list.

Step one: totally forget about the typical Social Media Influencer and their stereotype. If that’s your jam, PeopleMap is great for finding these people – but that’s not the kinda influence I’m looking for.

Like with Partners, the logic I always follow is “if a person follows X, they should be following me too” – and then I just try Analyse as many X’s as possible.

With a single click, I analyse a lot of the local accounts like Bristol 24/7, Bristol Post (deactivated at the time of writing), Visit Bristol, Igers Bristol, Live Bristol and Bits of Bristol – with the logic that most people following these accounts are Bristolian, and most Bristolians should follow me.

PeopleMap takes up to two hours to complete an analysis, after which you’ll be able to deep dive into their followers, likers, commenters and tagged profiles.

I filter the results for anyone with over 1,000 followers. I picked this pretty arbitrary amount because I reckon, if someone has 1,000 followers it means they’ve put some effort in and are more likely to engage with me.

I’ll then click through profiles, and when I spot someone that I like, I’ll add them to my Influencer list.

This is also a great way to find local bloggers, as you can also search the bios in the analysis. Just pop ‘blog’ into the search bar for instant results.

I also Analyse massive Instagram profiles like Etsy or Anthropologie and search their followers for the word ‘Bristol’ to find people local to me who love makers and pretty things.

5. Finding influencers through trial and error

You can repeat step 4 with so many types of profile. You can analyse your Partners and target their followers directly, and if you’re up for a bit of toe-treading, you can analyse your competitors too.

PeopleMap is amazing because you can use it to bolster almost any business initiative. Want to get into magazines? Analyse and engage publications, editors, stylists and photographers to find your ‘in’.

Want to start hosting hen-do workshops? Search for ‘fiancee’ and ‘bride’. You’ve started making jewellery inspired by RuPaul’s Drag Race? Yasss henny, go analyse every damn queen and find their best followers.

That ain’t even half of it.

PeopleMap can be used for much more than the above, but that’s all I do here at Studio Cotton and it works really, really well. It took us a year to get 600 followers, but with sporadic use of PeopleMap we doubled that in next-to-no time.

We’re not picking up robots and teenagers, we’re still seeing plenty of genuine, interesting local followers having genuine, interesting interactions.

To get the most out of this tool, it needs to be used every day – and you really can see near-instant results. There have been long periods when I’ve neglected our social media and PeopleMap, and let out a mildly sad sigh.

However, with a few 15 minute PeopleMap sessions over a few days, the momentum comes back, the numbers go up and the Aime get’s happier. Oh, and the business gets more lovely eyes on it too.

Bonus PeopleMap Tip!

PeopleMap has loads of resources on how to get started, and how to get the most out of the tool. But here’s my extra secret – check out Episode 2 of The Influencer Podcast by Julie Solomon – it’s an interview with PeopleMap creator Jennifer Puno and packed with loads of PeopleMap inspiration!

PS. Love the screen mock ups in this post? They’re from MockDrop.io, a very handy and very free website for upgrading your screenshots.

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