Are you marketing your business through Instagram?
If so, how is your engagement rate?
With already 700 million active users on Instagram, it’s easy to see why brands are flocking to the social networking app. People want to browse on products through a visual platform that can help them decide whether an item is worthy of their investment or not.
What better way for brands to do that than to show the world the best of what they could offer through an easy-to-use social media platform? With just a swipe up, down, left, or right, consumers can look into what could meet their tastes based on the imagery and what people are saying about them through the comments.
But is it enough to have an Instagram account for your business? Definitely not! When Instagram was beginning to see the potential of the app in connecting people and brands, they’ve made changes to their algorithm with the goal of cracking down on fake followers and bots. Beginning late 2016, active users on Instagram were experiencing a decrease in engagement on their posts. Turns out, Instagram’s algorithm is rewarding people with great quality content.
With these things in mind plus your goal to expand your business reach through Instagram, how can you ensure that you have a good Instagram engagement so that more people will follow you – in the hopes of eventually turning them into customers?
Here are easy, no-brainer ways to increasing your Instagram engagement for your business.
7 Ways to Improve Instagram Engagement
1. Share great content with a witty caption and enticing call to action.
When it comes to posting on Instagram, posting great content means having great photos. Level up on the photography if you must when seriously considering Instagram for your marketing strategies.
Great content also means having a balance between photos and videos. In digital marketing today, video is quickly becoming an important tool to better engage with your audience. Nike is a great brand to cite as an example here where they have a perfect balance of static images and videos on their Instagram profile.
Having great content also means playing around with your captions. Remember that your goal is to connect with your audience, so speak using the language of your target market.
A good call to action for every post also helps. While you don’t have to do this by constantly mentioning your products, maximize the opportunity once you make a product post. Get your audience to act, just like what Nike did on this post. They asked the reader to go to their website for their latest offering.
If you want to improve your Instagram engagement, it’s about time to do a makeover over your content style.
2. Commit to a consistent Instagram theme.
Many active Instagram users sometimes base their judgement on whether an account is worthy of a follow by viewing their feed. It’s what they see when they go to your profile to take a look at your account’s photo grid. If they see a clean, crisp, and vibrant feed with a consistent theme that automatically speaks about what your brand is about, they are more likely to follow.
Vogue Magazine top world wedding planner Rhiannon Bosse did a great job at having a consistent theme that speaks so well about her brand.
Author, businessman and motivational speaker T. Harv Eker also knows pretty well how to have a consistent theme that relates to his audience.
Having an impressive Instagram theme can mean any of the following:
- Types of content post. Are you sticking to images, videos, quotes?
- Consistent image editing. Do you use the same or closely related photo filters?
- Dominant color effect. Many Instagram users stick to one color that dominates the artistry of each image they post. Maybe you can try that.
- Consistent messaging. Have a list of what you desire to share to your audience. A good balance of product and lifestyle posts related to your brand is a great start.
3. Be strategic when using Instagram hashtags.
Since Instagram is focusing more on rewarding accounts with great quality content, getting the attention of people has become increasingly challenging. One great solution to that is to become more strategic when using Instagram hashtags. While it can help get more likes and comments on a post, using the most popular hashtags with high usage count doesn’t necessarily help you reach a more targeted audience; like the hashtags below say if you’re a travel agency.
A smarter way to do is to use hashtags with 5,000 to at most 500,000 usage count that are more relatable to your brand and target market. In this example below, if you’re selling traveling clothes, it’s strategic to use #travelsolo or #travelstyle since you are more likely to be targeting people who enjoy traveling solo or with a group in style.
As for your choice of hashtags, take the time to choose those that fit your:
A great combination of hashtags that complement these four areas will help you get eyes on your account, better engagement, and hopefully – new customers!
4. Post at least 5 or more Instagram Stories throughout the day.
Another tactic to improve engagement on your Instagram account is to have at least five or more Instagram Stories generously distributed throughout the day. Once people have followed you, they want to see more about you.
So if for example your image posts don’t make it to the top posts by hashtags; or the algorithm makes it difficult for your posts to appear on your followers’ feeds once they’re online, make Instagram Stories your new best friend.
Posting Instagram Stories doesn’t necessarily require you to post well-edited images. A nicely captured photo, 10-second video, or Boomerang image here and there are great enough – to make you look always active on Instagram. People love seeing active Instagram users on the top of their screen through their Stories. If you’re like me who gets curious whenever I see people in those red circles once I’m online, then you’ll know that there are high chances that I’ll check the profiles of those people as well just to see what they’re recently up to.
5. Schedule your Instagram posts at the right times.
There is no better way to increase Instagram engagement than to make sure you post during times that many of your followers are most active. This is possible through Instagram Insights, which sadly is only available for those with business accounts. If you still have a personal account for your business, then it’s high time for you to switch your personal account into a business account.
With a business account, the Insights feature will show you the breakdown of your followers by gender, location, and the days and hours they are most active. By getting an overview of your followers, you can decide on the best time of any day to publish your Instagram post.
6. Host an Instagram contest.
Seth Feroce, owner of All American Roughneck🇺🇸 Primeval Labs, gets comments on his posts from at least 30 to over 200. But when he announced an Instagram giveaway, this post received almost a thousand comments in just 8 hours.
Notice also that his contest rules are easy and timely for the upcoming Halloween. He only asked people to like the post, follow his Instagram account, tag a friend, and comment about their favorite Halloween candy as a kid. The rules are easy and the contest was obviously fun for anyone to be a part of. Who doesn’t like talking about their favorite Halloween candy as a kid? Talk about engaging with the community.
And by the way, the image on this post is simple too with just a large text of “giveaway” along with a photo of his products. The image is neat and isn’t covered with too many text.
You might want to do the same thing as well to increase your followers and encourage people to comment on your post. While you clearly can’t do this everyday, you can set aside a monthly marketing budget for once a month giveaways.
7. Try Instagram Live.
One of the best ways to increase brand awareness and encourage engagement among your audience is to simply show yourself or your business – in real time! Instagram Live is the best venue for that.
When you already have a clear overview about your followers backgrounds, then you will also have a better understanding of what their pain points are and the times that they are most active. It doesn’t have to be a long video. Your goal is to educate, entertain, and encourage questioning from your followers.
Here are some tips on how to do an Instagram Live.
- Take them behind the scenes of a project or campaign. Just talk as if you’re talking to a friend showing your office around.
- Encourage a Q and A about a recently launched product, so that followers can take part in the discussion.
- Once you go live, start by saying why you’re going live, how long the Live will take, and what people can expect.
- Remember, while your goal is to increase awareness of your products or services as well as your Instagram engagement; always always bring value your viewers first.
With the right content, theme, hashtag, and contest strategies, improving Instagram engagement is within your reach. You will see results if you commit to level up on your engagement, maintain consistency, and aim for higher quality imagery for your feed.
Liz Azyan is a digital consultant who helps public organisations and businesses add value to their products and services through smart digital solutions. She has been awarded the Google Fellowship Award for her work and initiative in the arena of technology, politics and social entrepreneurship. She has also been listed on several lists around the web as a top digital expert by her peers and industry leaders.