- Jun 4, 2019
Instagram is one of the biggest and busiest social media platforms. As of June 2019, it boasts more than a billion monthly active users, half of which are active on a daily basis!
But itâ€™s not just the massive audience that makes it an ideal marketing platform. Itâ€™s a highly-targeted and visual marketing platform thatâ€™s great for building a loyal audience. More than that, the above numbers mean it has one of the largest engaged audiences as well.
But with so many brands vying for post engagement, how do you ensure you earn the lionâ€™s share? Here are fourteen of the best strategies to help you increase Instagram engagements for your brand.
What is Instagram Engagement?
Before we move on to discussing the actual strategies that can help your business, letâ€™s first try to understand Instagram engagement. Engagement rates, on any social media platform, can be considered as a measure of your followersâ€™ loyalty to you.
Itâ€™s not about the size of your audience, but the degree of their involvement with your brandâ€™s content that matters most. Itâ€™s the measure of their interest and interaction with your photos, videos, and Stories that actually count towards marketing success.
Some of the key parameters you should be looking at to track your engagements rates are:
This is an obvious factor that you should be monitoring. The size of your audience or those of your influencers are important, but not the most crucial parameter. More than just the number of your followers, you want to analyze how quickly youâ€™re gaining new followers instead.
Likes are another fundamental parameter that contributes to your engagement rates. Itâ€™s a base level measure of whether your content is well received by your followers. Itâ€™s a rather straight-forward indicator of how popular your profile is among your target audience.
Comments are the next metric you want to look at when tracking the increase in your Instagram engagement. Analyzing the comments will give you a more qualitative understanding of what your followers think about your posts.
Liking a post is one thing, but comments are a better sign of their involvement because they spend time writing one.
Of course, the quality of comments is just as important. Often, people leave simple comments like â€œNiceâ€ or â€œLooking goodâ€ which dont really mean much.
4. Shares and Reposts
Building on the above, the number of shares and reposts your posts get are also very important. If a user is willing to share your content with their friends, then you know they really liked the content youâ€™ve posted.
How to Increase Instagram Engagement
Moving on, letâ€™s take a look at some strategies that can help you increase your organic engagement on Instagram.
Have a thoughtful Instagram strategy
Using any social network without a clear plan leads to wasted resources and a low return on investment. Before anything else, create a clear, smart Instagram strategy and stick to it. Research your competitors, develop your brand, set goals, and maintain consistency. Keep in mind that visually-compelling content is key in attracting users.
Define your target audience
Ask yourself some questions about who you are trying to reach:
- How old are they?
- Where do they live?
- What do they do for work?
- When and how do they use Instagram?
- What are their pain points and challenges?
Craft a great bio and profile
When you first get started, youâ€™ll need to set up your account and bio.
Youâ€™ll want to make sure youâ€™re using your bio link correctly. Since Instagram only gives you one clickable link, itâ€™s precious real estate.
Your profile needs to convince those new views to click the follow button. They wont do so if your profile is unclear, incomplete, or unappealing.
Hereâ€™s what you can include in your profile:
- Name: Up to 30 characters, and included in the Instagram search, so you may wish to include a keyword.
- Username: Make it the same as your other social channels. This will make it easy for your followers on other platforms to find you on Instagram.
- Website: The only place on Instagram where you can include a clickable link (aside from calls to action in ads or swiping up on Stories).
- Bio: 150 characters to convey your brand identity and show new visitors why they should follow you.
Check out Highlights too
Another new way to spice up your Instagram profile is with Stories Highlights. These let you save the best bits from your stories to appear in curated channels on your home page.
If you want to segment your content into different streams, this is a great way to do it. And it gives your followers a reason to return to your profile over and over, and see your links over and over.
Share engaging content
Having high-quality Instagram content is more important than ever before. If we think back to the early years of Instagram, it was a lot easier to grow a following with low-quality images and sporadic posting.
But now, consistency is key and you need to be able to regularly produce and post content that your audience is going to like and engage with.
Everything you post must be interesting to your target audience. Your goal is to inform, engage, and entertain them with content. Your visuals must be compelling and your captions engaging.
The second reason why high-quality Instagram content is important is that it gives you another opportunity to monetize your account.
Lots of brands and businesses want to collaborate with Instagram influencers and bloggers to create content for their website, or Instagram account. So if you can showcase your best work on your Instagram account, it can become an awesome portfolio for your skills and can open up opportunities to work with great brands, collaborate on social media projects, and get paid for your Instagram content!
Aim for the Explore tab
The Explore tab is what you see when you click on the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of the Instagram app. According to Instagram itself, this is where â€œyou can find photos and videos that you might like from accounts you dont yet follow.â€
The Explore tab features Instagram posts, Stories, and IGTV. Users first see a grid of content chosen by the algorithm. They then have the option to choose to dive deeper into specific content subjects using the topic channels at the top of the screen.
More than 200 million people visit the Explore tab every day. Thatâ€™s a huge opportunity for brands looking to grow their audience.
Promote your Instagram on other social accounts
Spread the word about your Instagram channel as far as possible. For instance, promote your Instagram account on Facebook by making an announcement on FB with a clickable link to your Instagram page.
You can also exploit Instagramâ€™s auto-post and cross-promotional tools. The cross-promotional tools allow you to instantly post from Instagram to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and more, bringing followers together from across your social networks.
Remember not to cross-promote all your Instagram posts to other social channels or you risk â€˜cannibalizingâ€™ your content, negating the need for followers to visit your Instagram channel in the first place.
Post consistently on Instagram
Your existing followers want to see content from you. Thatâ€™s why they followed you in the first place.
When users interact with your posts, that activity is visible to their followers. So give them something great to interact with!
You can almost double your follower growth rate by moving from less than one post per week to 1-6 posts a week. You can more than double your follower growth rate again by moving from posting 1-6 times per week to once or more per day.
Post at the right time
A targeted approach is to analyze what has and has not worked for you in the past. By visiting Icon Squareâ€™s optimization section, you can get a detailed analysis of your posting history vs. engagement. This report will also highlight the best times of the day and days of the week to post.
The dark circles indicate when you usually post media. The light gray circles shows when your community has been interacting. The biggest light gray circles represent the best times for you to post.
You can also get a lot of great insight from Instagram Analytics for Business accounts for free, under the Followers section.
Write compelling captions
Captions are an essential part of your post â€” the icing on the cake if you will. Consistently great captions can do wonders for humanizing your brand, winning over followers, and making your content more shareable â€” thereby giving you more exposure.
Here are a few things you might see in a winning Instagram caption:
- Put the most important words up front. Captions in usersâ€™ feeds cut off after a few lines of text, so convey the most compelling information right off the top.
- Use calls to action: Another way to increase the shareability of your caption and engage your followers is to ask questions or have some sort of call-to-action in the captions of your photos. For example, you might say, "Double-tap if you find this funny," or "Share your story in the comments."
- Add relevant emojis: certain emojis can actually spike engagement such as likes, comments, and shares on platforms including Instagram. Adding just a few relevant emojis can add even more personality to your posts. It could also make them even more noticeable on an Instagram feed.
- Try different caption lengths. Instagram allows long-form captions, so you can test out some in-depth storytelling if your post warrants it. Ultra-short captions can also be very effective when the visuals speak for themselves.
Use relevant hashtags
The right hashtags (and location tag) can expose your image to a large and targeted audience, and Instagram users dont seem to get hashtag fatigue in the same way they might on other networks.
Due to its popularity, itâ€™s even possible to follow a hashtag now!
Simply Measured did two studies and found that Instagram posts with both hashtags and a location tag get the highest average engagement6. In other words, hashtags could be your best bet for growing a fast following on Instagram.
Tag your location
Any time thereâ€™s a clear location element in your post or Story, itâ€™s worth adding a location tag. Itâ€™s one more easy way for people to find your content on Instagram.
If your business has a physical location, make sure to tag it and encourage customers to do the same. Users can then click on that location and see all photos and Stories posted from your store, restaurant, or office. This can help expose your brand (and Instagram account) to more people.
Local businesses can get the most value out of location tags by posting regularly to these feeds and also engaging with posts from prospective customers who are physically in the vicinity.
Schedule your posts
Is the best time to post not a convenient time to be on Instagram?
Scheduling your posts in advance allows you to plan a cohesive Instagram grid that tells an overarching story. It also allows you to dedicate time to creating excellent captions, rather than trying to come up with something witty on the fly.
There are many services that schedule your post in Instagram but I would like to recommend IGAssistant Post Scheduler that I using it for 3 months. IGAssistant Instagram Scheduler is a quick way to program all your content, you can schedule your posts without any push notification. This means that if you are, for example, in Europe, while your main audience is in the United States (as in our case), you can still make sure that your content is displayed despite the time difference. Why let's face it: being asleep while the public is awake is not ideal. So it's nice now there's a way around this!
Tag relevant users
You can tag Instagram users featured in your photos with an @-mention in your caption or by using Instagramâ€™s tagging functionality. Either way, theyâ€™ll receive a notification when you do so.
Tagging someone encourages them to engage with the post and share it with their own following.
When you tag someone on Instagram Stories, they can share that content to their own Story with just a couple of taps. If they do so, everyone who views their Story sees your user name and can click through to your account.
Ask your followers to tag their friends
Every once in a while, try encouraging your followers to tag their friends in the comments. This can help expose your Instagram account to a larger network of people.
Save this for your most compelling or feel-good content. Users should feel like theyâ€™re doing their friends a favor by tagging them.
Try videos, live videos, and Stories
With over 300 million people using Instagram Stories every day, it perhaps shouldnt come as a surprise that one-third of the most viewed Instagram stories actually come from businesses.
Stories enable you to post a mix of photos and images in a single post that disappears after 24 hours. But their benefits can last much longer for your reach and engagement rates, pushing up your chances of appearing in the Explore section and helping you gain new followers in the process.
Critically, followers are automatically notified of any new prerecorded or live Stories. Live Stories are ideal for drawing people in because theyâ€™re happening at the moment, while prerecorded Stories are perfect for in-depth coverage of your products, one-time quick fire promotions, or sharing narratives.
Here are a few compelling reasons to try posting these new content types:
- The average engagement for videos is growing faster than the average engagement for images
- When you go live on Instagram, you will appear right at the front of the Stories feed
- More than 400 million people use Instagram Stories every day
- Fifty-seven percent of brands believe that stories have been â€œSomewhat effectiveâ€ or â€œVery effectiveâ€ as a part of their social media strategy.
Contests are a powerful engagement tool on Instagram, generating 3.5 times more likes and 64 times more comments than regular posts.
The simplest option is to offer prizes to users who share and invite their friends to join. This brings new followers your way and doesnt have to cost a whole lot.
For even greater reach, partner with another Instagram account on the contest and ask entrants to follow both accounts.
Cross promote with users who have audiences similar to your own
Once you build a solid relationship with some of the folks behind these accounts that have a similar audience to your own, you might ask to do some co-promotion on each other's' accounts.
The more natural and less spammy you can make the content of these cross-promotions â€” especially the captions â€” the better. It also helps to be picky about them, and don't do them very often.
Learn from Instagram Insights
Learn from Instagram Insights
Instagram analytics tools will give you data on impressions for each post, along with reach, engagement, top posts, and more. You can also find demographic information about your followers, including gender, age, and location.
Reviewing this data on a regular basis can help you identify areas where you can adjust your strategy to help you get more followers.
One of the key things to keep an eye on is what time of day your followers use Instagram.
The secret to marketing success on Instagram has everything to with your engagement rate on the platform. You need to experiment to find the strategies that best increase Instagram engagement for your brand. These tips will go a long in helping you achieve that.
What do you think? Whatâ€™s the best tactic to increase Instagram engagement rates?