Are you using Instagram to grow your business? With 1 billion active monthly users, the potential for exposure and engagement is massive. Our guide outlines how to increase Instagram engagement in 5 steps.
But it’s not enough to post a picture now and then and expect your business to expand. Increasing your Instagram engagement requires a plan of attack. It takes time. And an understanding of how Instagram’s algorithm works heading into 2020.
You might not end up as popular as Kim Kardashian, but you can still dominate the social scene in your own way. Ready to start getting new followers and building a loyal community around your business? Follow these 5 steps to start increasing your Instagram engagement today.
How to increase Instagram engagement: 5 steps
Step 1 – Forget Follower Counts
Instagram is all about follower counts, right? Wrong! While it’s important to have an audience who enjoys your content, you should forget about making this your primary goal. In fact, forget about setting follower targets at all.
Instead, focus on developing authentic relationships. Think of it this way. Would you rather 100,000 fans who never engage with your posts? Or… 1,000 fans who like, comment and share everything you post? Becoming a trusted and reliable authority comes from having a loyal following, not a huge one.
Start by asking yourself how you can cultivate meaningful and lasting relationships with your followers. Then let your initial efforts be built around establishing those relationships.
The simplest way to develop authentic relationships is to provide value. Ways to provide value might include: giving away products, offering discounts or creating simple ‘how-to’ guides.
Anything that solves the problems of your audience is a way for you to provide value. And in doing so, you’ll notice your follower count begin to grow (but you still shouldn’t care about it!)
That’s how a business with 1,000 followers can be loved and valued. While a similar business with 10,000 followers can post until the cows come home, with no one around to care.
Step 2 – Post frequently
We’ve just touched on the importance of providing value…now provide even more!
Instagram is more than a way to share pictures of last night’s dinner or funny cat videos. It’s evolved to become a place people go to find the answers and help they need. In this way, avoid posting ‘information’ and start providing ‘value’.
Once you’ve begun to create value, you’ll need to find a consistent posting schedule. The internet is full of ‘best practice’ guides telling you what day, hour and minute to publish. You can forget those.
Publish content whenever you want, and if it works, then that’s the ‘best practice’ time for you. The real trick is being consistent.
Social media experts suggest that if you post content once a day and people are engaging with it, keep this schedule up. If you drop off you’ll lose your audience, and generate a self-image as the business who can’t be relied on.
Humans are creatures of habit. So if you post every day of the week, keep up that volume to help build trust with your followers.
This is important because the more you post and the more value you provide, the quicker you’ll turn followers into engaged fans.
Step 3 – Tell A Story
People love stories. We’ve told stories throughout human history. And while Instagram is a visual tool, that doesn’t mean you can’t tap into people’s desire to hear stories. There are a few ways for you to do this whe you want to increase Instagram engagement.
a). Use Instagram’s ‘stories’ functionality. Instagram allows you to record short, 15 second videos to add to your ‘story’. You can then add multiple frames to tell a visual story that your followers can engage with.
b). Use your texts or captions to create compelling stories that hook your followers. What is the background to the image you’re posting? Maybe it has an interesting origin story? Or offers exciting benefits? Instagram allows you to use up to 2,200 characters in your captions, so take advantage of this valuable real estate.
Tips for telling stories on Instagram: Start with the essentials: Not everyone has time to sit through a long chain of videos or read a full caption. So front load your content with the most important bits.- Entice people: Your audience has hopes and fears, so tap into them! If you make them feel hope, or excitement, or fear or jealousy, you’ll be pushing them to engage with you.- Be human: Avoid being generic or too robotic in your Instagram storytelling. People want to see the face behind the brand, so don’t be afraid to inject some character!
Step 4 – Use IGTV
IGTV, or Instagram TV, is a relatively recent addition to Instagram. This is Instagram’s answer to YouTube. It allows you to share video content that is up to 60 minutes long.
Video content is the preferred format for social media users – with studies suggesting 54% of consumers want to see more video content from the businesses they support. Which makes IGTV perfect for increasing watch time, getting more followers, and more clicks.
Below are a few ideas worth considering when posting IGTV videos:- Give tips about something related or relevant to your field or industry: a behind-the-scenes look at your business and how things are done, or a productivity series that you post weekly for your followers
Bonus Tip: Make sure you shoot vertical. IGTV only supports vertical filming. So if you do film in horizontal format, it’ll only get cropped and your message will suffer.
Step 5 – Be yourself
It sounds obvious, or even a little cliched …but be yourself! Businesses are increasingly using their Instagram accounts in a more personalised way for their audience. Your followers are more likely to share and comment when they see something that is genuine.
No one wants to engage with another generic post about how good someone’s products or services are. Boooooring.
But what about brands that share content that makes you laugh? Or inspires you? Or teaches you? Those are the businesses you talk about, comment on, and share with friends.
Keep in mind that you still have a brand to promote, and you don’t need to stray too far from it. So no oversharing or spamming people with ‘engagement-bait’. Just be candid in your content as you represent your brand and the engagement will follow.
Are you ready to transform your Instagram?
There’s no magic bullet to increase your Instagram engagement. It takes time, dedication and a real desire to provide value to your followers. If you want to become indispensable to your audience, then stay authentic and true to your values.
Good things come to those who wait. And that goes for increasing your Instagram engagement. So start implementing these steps today to become the next big thing on Instagram tomorrow.
Alexander Porter is a travel blogger and Head of Copy for Sydney based agency, Search It Local. He spends all day working with words, then goes home to write some more. Occasionally feeling guilty about working with personal words behind the back of professional words, he is passionate about helping everyone become stronger, more capable writers. https://twitter.com/SearchItSocial