Did you know that over 80% of Instagram users follow at least one brand?
Still, for many businesses the challenge of creating an engaged, loyal and active following is one that takes considerable time and energy.
With changes to Instagram’s algorithm in 2019 only clouding the waters further, it can feel like the age of successful engagement on Instagram is over.
But is that really true?
While creating authentic engagement outside of paid social is a challenge, there are steps you can take to turn your Instagram profile into a thriving hub of consumer driven activity.
So if you want to wake up to a feed full of notifications, here are the 10 steps you need to take to increase engagement on your Instagram profile.
1.Engage With Your Users
Success starts by putting the ‘social’ in social media.
While posting engaging content on Instagram will get people liking and commenting, some people need a bit of a push before they engage with your brand.
By encouraging users to share, ask questions, or interact with each other, you increase the engagement on your post and your reach as a result. Users will be more likely to share, tag friends, and promote your brand.
Similarly to traditional business etiquette, the goal of increasing engagement on your Instagram is part of necessary social media etiquette to build your brand’s authority and promote trust with your audience.
Too many businesses fall in the trap of using their Instagram to endlessly promote their products and services.
2.Respond to All Comments
The key to making social media work is to give, give, give.
And then to receive.
One way to do this is to respond to every comment on each of your posts. When you do this you’re building a relationship with your audience. This will make them feel more obliged to continue the conversation and build the relationship further.
Sometimes this might mean responding to their feedback or answering a question, other times it may be responding to criticisms or complaints. By responding to both, you show that you’re a reliable brand that will be there even at the worst of times.
As a bonus, this increased activity on your profile will make others more likely to join in the discussion.
This drives up your engagement further and gets you in front of more prospects.
With brands on Instagram seeing a level of engagement that is, on average, 10x higher than Facebook, finding ways to stay in touch with your audience is key.
3.Host A Giveaway Contest
Hosting a giveaway contest on Instagram increases the chance of gaining more followers for your profile and more comments on your Instagram posts.
Try to make it as easy as possible for your users to enter or participate in your contest. This can be through simple actions such as sharing the post in question, tagging a friend or posting a comment.
Another fun way to keep users engaged is by promoting user-generated content. You could ask your followers to post pictures of themselves and tag your brand in the post.
For more information on Instagram’s promotion rules and criteria visit the Instagram Help Centre.
Instagram, like other social media platforms, is always buzzing with activity.
With thousands of posts published every minute, it is easy for even the most exciting content to be washed away and forgotten.
But by posting more frequently, your chances of getting in front of your target audience increases.
You can identify the time of day when your target audience is more likely to be online and post during these times.
You can use Instagram’s built in analytics to track when your audience is most active in relation to your brand.
5.Make Use of Appropriate Hashtags
The hashtag feature helps you group relevant content together and makes it easy for people with shared interests to find posts they enjoy.
That said, you need to identify a hashtag your audiences can relate to and think outside the box.
According to research, including at least one hashtag in your post increases user engagement by around 12%. With the recommended usage sitting at 9. So while you have the option of adding 30 hashtags, you should split test to see which level delivers the highest engagement for you.
Ultimately, interested audiences, as well as influencers, might comment on your post should they see the content they are interested in.
PRO TIP: It is advisable to avoid spammy hashtags. While #instagood may be popular, not only will you risk being lost in the high volume of posts also using that hashtag, but you may also paint your brand as one without much character or individuality.
6.Pick the Best Time to Publish
Don’t post whenever you feel like it.
Random strategies return random results.
Identify times when your target audiences are most active and more likely to see your content.
This, of course, depends on your followers, niche, and the type of content you will be publishing, among other factors.
Try posting during different times of the day and monitor the posts to see times when the posts receive the most impressions. Some research and patience is required to identify the right time to publish your content on Instagram, but if you can tap into an engaged audience it’s well worth it.
7.Include Videos in Your Posts
Instagram allows you to post videos of up to 60 seconds on your timeline.
Ever since this feature was introduced in 2016, the popularity of videos on Instagram has increased by a whopping 40% - showing just how valuable a medium video is.
Many people today prefer watching videos over reading content or even images, so it’s a no-brainer that you should start including videos in your posts.
Your video clip needs to be exciting and captivating for your target audience to find it worth their time. You can help tip the odds in your favour by front loading content to provide value, interest and intrigue right away.
Adding captions to accommodate those watching video without sound can also increase your chances of engagement. If you’re running low on video content ideas, use tools like Buzzsumo to see what’s trending and use those popular ideas to inspire you.
8.Include People’s Faces in The Photos
There is a reason why selfies go viral.
The simple reason comes down to psychology - users are more likely to view or comment on posts with human faces.
By adding a face to your brand, you could earn more likes and comments on your photos compared to posting pictures without a face. Candid photos, group shots, and selfies are the most preferred on Instagram. So you may see a bump in activity by posting pictures with faces in them.
This is valuable as it will show that there are real, living humans behind your brand. Nothing erodes trust like the perception of a faceless corporation.
9.Use Relevant Emojis
Hashtags help users pull relevant posts easily.
Emojis, on the other hand, are captivating to a person’s eye.
As long as your emojis are relevant and eye catching, you may attract more and more people to your post.
This means more impressions and even more followers coming your way. However, the content and emojis used need to be sensible enough to avoid pushing audiences away.
10.Let Fans Ask Questions in Comments
With features like IGTV and Instagram Stories, users can engage brands and their customers with live questions and answers.
According to Sydney social media expert Michael May, the simple act of opening communication with your fans can reap great dividends. He explains “if you’re conducting an interview live on IGTV, start asking users to comment with a question they want you to ask. While this depends on the person you are interviewing, and topic, you are more likely to get tons of questions from users. The more comments you have, the higher your audience base as well as follower-base is expected to be.”
Social media marketing is a powerful channel for every business.
But having solid engagement is vital on Instagram.
Comments, video views, and likes are the most valuable impressions on Instagram. This is the only way your content or brand can get the visibility it requires online. For this reason, you are better off keeping your target audience, and users engaged all the time.
It pays even more when you choose to interact with your audience one-on-one in the comment section.
Looking for more advice on mastering your own business and moving towards your professional goals?
Alexander Porter is a Social Media Marketing Manager at Search It Local, Sydney’s boutique agency with bold visions.
Alexander is passionate about helping businesses to master their own marketing, and believes the secret to success isn’t selling, but serving.
When not writing about social media, SEO or content marketing, Alexander is trying as hard as possible to escape using the 3rd person.
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