Instagram has transformed from the superficial “look what I was doing last night” platform to a marketing beast. Even with its algorithm change, that altered the posts that appear first, new and existing brands are using the network to get their product or service out there, and selling like crazy. But the key to Instagram, no matter what niche you’re in, is the engagement.
I’m sure you’ve seen accounts that have 5 digit number of followers, but when you go through their posts, they’re lucky to crack 80 likes (even on a good photo). Most people automatically assume the worst: “they’re buying followers!” This is not usually the case. Along with Instagram’s algorithm change, they operate on engagement.
If someone continues to scroll past your posts and doesn’t interact with it, your posts get shown to them less and less. Higher engagement numbers indicate that your audience is actually looking forward to you posting everyday. So we’ve come up with 5 things you can do today to increase your engagement on Instagram.
1. Increase engagement by asking questions
One of the ways I’ve been able to boost the engagement numbers for my clients is by dedicating certain posts to questions. When you ask your followers a question, they will respond in the comments section, boosting your engagement percentage.
It can be simple get-to-know-you questions, or something like a preference. I’ve seen our biggest numbers of comments when asking a personal question (“What was the name of your first car” went over really well). Things that spark emotion, whether it’s positive or negative, makes people want to be vocal and share their opinion. Ask thought provoking questions, or, silly ones from time to time.
2. Dedicate time to liking and following
#TeamFollowBack has to be the most annoying team in the history of social media, but to an extent, it DOES work. The psychology of following another account is that it serves multiple purposes. On one hand, you can see what your competitors or other people in your field are posting, and get inspiration from that. On another hand, you can start to form bonds and partnerships with people, once they see that you are following them.
Also, Instagram engagement is just as much about giving as it is receiving. At the end of the day, people engage with people, not necessarily brands and companies. Liking other peoples’ pictures allows your username to come up in their notifications. Depending on your username and/or your profile picture, they’ll want to learn more. When they click on your profile, you better have a good bio to go with it.
The point of setting aside time to like and follow other accounts is to get your name out there.
3. Have an Instagram posting pattern
It seems a little shallow and cliche, I get it, but it does work! When you post in a pattern, people see that you post intentionally, and not just randomly. Random posters are seen as flighty. It’s janky when you see the last time someone posted was last June, or their feed is all over the place. A posting pattern shows that you’re in this for the long run.
Posting patterns also help you come up with content ahead of time. If you use tools like Planoly, that allow you to schedule your posts, you can find a pattern that works for you. For example, you can do quote-picture-quote, or color-B&W-color, or one row of one type of photo and another row with a different type. You get to decide! Whichever way it goes, people get excited to see neat and organized social profiles, not inconsistent ones.
4. Repost brand-aligned content by others
Maybe you haven’t heard, but with your social media strategy, sharing is caring. Very similar to point #2, you want to be a recognizable name in your industry. A lot of people worry “but I don’t want to repost my competitor’s posts!” So find sister-brands or complementary companies that you can repost from every now and then. Not every post should be about selling your product or service. You gotta break it up a bit.
5. Include video into your strategy
Let’s face it: video is here to stay. Videos get the most engagement on any platform, mainly because we’re inherently visual creations. But you don’t need a video crew to come up with good recorded content to post. You can use apps like Boomerang, that captures a few seconds of a clip, and continuously loops those frames. You can also use apps like Adobe Spark Post to make simple videos using your photos and some captions. It doesn’t have to be your entire brand, but a video presence is huge in 2017.
With a solid Instagram strategy that focuses more on engagement than on followers, you’ll have a solid audience that is eager to see your content. What other suggestions do you have for increasing Instagram engagement?