Increase Instagram Engagement
With a user base of well over 300 million “active” users, there are hardly any businesses out there who are not considering Instagram as a part of their marketing strategy. In fact, apparently, as many as over 40% of Fortune 100 companies are already on Instagram.
However, being on Instagram is one thing, and using it effectively to grow your business (or your personal account for that matter) is a completely another one. And no, it’s not all about growing your follower base. Because, without a certain level of engagement, even a huge follower base may not really be worth that much.
That being said, there are brands that have used some highly effective techniques to drive up the engagement with their followers, and thus managed to get the most out of them. If you want to achieve pretty much the same results as those brands, read on, as we will be discussing some similar techniques that have and are sure to work quite effectively for driving up engagement.
1) Including Clear Calls to Action
Yes, increasing engagement on Instagram isn’t rocket science, and simply starts with the basics. Yet, many brands seem to be getting it all wrong when it comes to including a clear, precise call to action in their posts.
While some include a poor call to action, most others usually don’t include one at all. Now, this is actually leaving quite a bit on the table.
The more you encourage your followers to engage with you in certain way, the better they are going to connect with your brand and the more likely they will be to end up being your customers. And it all starts with great calls to action.
There are many brands out there on Instagram who are using this seemingly simple technique to great success. Sometimes, they simply ask their followers to tag the person they love the most, while some other times, they ask them to like the post if they agree with it.
Depending on the exact content, such calls to action may work great when it comes to getting the followers engaged with your content. Once the likes, tags and comments start flowing in, your followers will not only grow more loyal to your brand, but it would also encourage their followers to check out your profile and follow you as well.
You can include calls to action either in the image or in the caption. While likes and comments are always great to have, you would perhaps want to focus on those precious tags, as they help you do the dual job of driving up engagement as well as bringing in new, targeted followers.
However, something important that you would want to keep in mind is that the call to action should be clear and not confusing, and preferably unique and not ordinary, in order to get the best results. Your followers should understand clearly what action you want them to take.
It’s also possible to post pictures of your products and ask your followers to double-tap on their favorite product, which would result in a like to the post.
2) Using the Location Box
Given that only advertisers get to share a clickable link in their posts, most others don’t have a better option than using the highly visible location box for including the call to action.
You can simply tell your followers to check out the link in your profile or bio, while including a call to action in your location spot. Instagram also allows adding text in the location box under an image.
Now, here’s how to go about using the location box for including a great call to action:
- Post an image and share the post
- Once the post is created, you need to click on the three dots that appear on the bottom corner, and then click on Edit
- Then, a keyboard will pop up, along with an option that says Add Location, which you need to select
- It will then ask you whether you want to turn on the location service, but you can simply cancel it
- After that, you need to click on the option that says Find or Create a Location search bar
- This is exactly where you can put in your call to action, and it would have a very high level of visibility
- Alternatively, you can also simply put in a URL, by selecting the option Create a Custom Location
- Finally, you can click on Done, and your CTA would appear right above your image
3) Engaging With Your Followers
Well, it’s quite obvious, isn’t it? If you want to drive up the engagement with your followers, you will have to put in some efforts into interacting with them. You can simply start with finding out who are engaging the most with you, and make sure you like and comment on their posts from time to time.
There are some apps that let you do this, but you can also do it manually though it would be a little time consuming.
Similarly, answering questions or replying to comments left by your followers makes them feel that you’re not just another brand trying to gain exposure but you really care about them. It goes a long way in helping build a “loyal” follower base.
Also, whenever your posts get a lot of likes and comments, you can thank the followers who liked or commented in the comments or even by making another post just for saying that. It, too, would help you connect better with your followers and ensure healthy long-term engagement.
4) Don’t be Afraid of Being Random or Personal
Trying to increase engagement on Instagram doesn’t mean that you have to do everything perfectly. While it might seem like the perfect photo will fetch you the most likes and comments, more often than not, it’s those random shots that end up going viral.
Hence, wasting too much time on taking or choosing the perfect shots and editing them in a professional way may not always be worth it. Sometimes, simply sharing random, personal stuff can help get more followers engaged than you can imagine.
While this may turn out to be especially true for personal accounts, it may very well be the case for business ones as well. The idea here is that when you get a little personal with your followers, they find it easier to connect with you.
That being said, while that typical blogger approach may work well too, it doesn’t hurt to test new things so that you can compare their performance and refine your strategy accordingly based on the results.
5) Engaging With Non-Followers
While trying to engage with users who are not even following you may seem like one of the last things you would want to do while trying to increase engagement with your “followers”, it certainly isn’t. It’s because when users who are not following you start engaging with you (and also following you), it leads to increased exposure from your followers as well.
So for example, you can go ahead and search for relevant hashtags, and like some interesting or popular posts from users in your niche. Now, this usually ensures almost immediate engagement with them. A lot of these users may end up following you, or liking or commenting on your posts.
This, in turn, would help your posts get more exposure from your followers, and given that they would already be having quite a few likes and comments from your new followers or users who aren’t following you yet, it would encourage your followers to check out the posts and get involved.
The only challenge here will be to ensure that you only engage with users who are related to your niche, so instead of just trying to find popular hashtags to search for them, you would instead want to focus on relevant hashtags.
6) You Can Usually Never Go Wrong With a Contest!
That’s right! Contests usually never fail, especially when it comes to generating engagement, but only if you do them right.
However, doing a successful contest that actually leads to increased engagement has certainly got a little challenging. Perhaps one of the biggest reasons for this is the huge amounts of useless, sometimes fake contests that many spammers do to get some quick traffic to their site.
But it’s certainly still possible. You just need to make sure you have got some loyal followers, the contest is a little unique and useful enough to interest your followers, and you’re willing to put in some efforts to get the word out there about it.
That being said, let us now talk about how to run a successful contest on Instagram that helps increase engagement with your followers. First things first, depending on the level of engagement you’re looking to achieve (and the reward you’re offering), the requirements for entering into the contest may vary quite a bit.
For example, most typical contests with not much on offer would simply require users to like the contest post to enter into the contest. It may obviously not fetch much in terms of engagement, but it can be a great start, especially if you have never held any contests before and not sure if it’s really a good idea for you to do so.
However, if you have a little rewarding stuff on offer, or are looking to generate more engagement, you can ask the participants to both like and tag a friend to enter into the contest.
But if you’re looking to gain a huge amount of engagement and are sure that you are offering as a reward is tempting enough to make the participants put in some efforts to enter into the contest, you can consider a “hashtag-specific” contest.
A hashtag-specific contest is basically asking users to post a photo or video with a specific hashtag relevant to your niche and brand. Needless to mention, these contests would usually have a great reach, as even the participant’s followers are going to notice their entry post, making them curious and enter into the contest themselves, thus increasing engagement.
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges you would face while running such a contest is that it requires an emotional connection with your followers. In other words, this type of contest may turn out to be effective only if you have a reasonably high amount of engagement already to start with.
7) Commenting Works Great!
If you find that you’re finding it difficult to generate much engagement with your followers, commenting on your followers’ posts regularly can work wonders. When you comment on someone’s post, and are offering some value through it and not doing just for the sake of it, it makes them feel that you’re really interested in what they are sharing.
Some users may immediately end up returning the favor by commenting on your posts, while many others may either follow you, or like or check out your other posts and comment on the ones they can really relate with. All these things, of course, ensure quite an increase in the overall engagement.
However, something that you would want to keep in mind here is that you may not want to limit yourself to commenting just on your followers’ posts, but also on others’ posts in order to increase your reach. An increased reach almost always leads to increased engagement, and you would probably be able to gain many new followers as a bonus.
8) Great Content Never Loses!
Well, yes, some old-school techniques aren’t getting ineffective anytime soon, and posting great content is perhaps the most important one of them. Even if you manage to build a huge follower base and get exposure regularly by interacting with your followers, it still may not lead to the level of engagement you can possibly achieve if you post better content.
However, you may have to do a bit of analysis to figure out what your ideal content strategy should be. It involves researching your competitors’ content strategy, your own posts, as well as the type of posts that are getting the most engagement consistently in your niche.
Similarly, you may also want to consider doing an analysis of the performance of your posts. Based on all these things, you would probably be required to make certain “tweaks” to your content strategy in order to get the most out of it.
Finally, if you’re lost for fresh, unique content ideas, you can head over to Pinterest. Apparently, it can be a gold mine of fresh, interesting content ideas. Similarly, taking a look at Google Trends for finding trending content ideas around your niche can be a nice little modern technique, and it would blend well with even your traditional content marketing strategy.
9) Sharing Your Content on Other Social Networks
While this is actually something quite basic, you would probably be surprised at how much it can help you increase your engagement on Instagram. Surprisingly, however, it’s quite an under-utilized technique, perhaps due to the fact that most people doing it do it wrong.
The thing is that promoting your Instagram account on other social networks may not yield much results if you don’t already have a nice presence on Instagram. Similarly, you also need to have lots of great content to make it worthwhile for users on other social networks to engage with you on Instagram.
One of the biggest advantages of this technique is that it may help you gain a lot of new, active followers, which would eventually drive up your engagement rate. After all, if they were active enough to follow you on a social network different from what they were on when they first discovered you or your brand, they are sure to engage with you given you offer them something of value consistently.
Promoting your Instagram account on other social networks not only helps you make your followers on those social networks follow you on Instagram as well, but also reach out to new followers. However, it’s easier said than done. In order to use this technique effectively, you would probably have to think a little out of the box.
For one, you can offer an interesting sample of your content on Instagram, so that users on other social networks have a reason to follow you there.
10) Posting Regularly and at the Right Times
As simple as it may sound, it can have quite an impact on your overall engagement. To achieve a decent engagement rate, posting regularly is simply a must. You can’t expect to generate much in terms of engagement if you post once a week, regardless of whether it’s a business or personal account. Moreover, even Instagram would make sure you don’t get much exposure, as it would want its users to engage with other, more active accounts who offer them more value.
Similarly, if you have or are building a huge follower base, posting at the same times daily would help increase engagement naturally. On the other hand, you may find it difficult to make more of your followers like or comment on your posts if you just post randomly without sticking to any specific timings.
Furthermore, not being consistent when it comes to your posting times may also hurt your chances of having a large number of loyal followers, which are probably your biggest asset as far as ensuring a healthy long-term engagement is concerned.
Ideally, you would want to post at different times of the day initially, and compare the performance of your posts. It would help you figure out at what times of the day your posts perform the best and generate the most engagement. It would then get way easier to come up with an effective posting schedule.
11) Ask and Act!
This last one is probably the simplest one, yet perhaps the most overlooked one. It simply means asking your followers what they want to see more of. It’s as simple as that.
We know it doesn’t look like it will do much as far as helping your engagement rate is concerned, but you will probably be overwhelmed with the response from your followers. If your account has many targeted followers, they are probably certainly interested in something that you may not be knowing about, and hence haven’t posted much about too.
So based on the response from your followers, you can come up with a few posts that offer what most of them demanded. This is another thing that may surprise you, as going by some research that we have done, it can be completely different from what you had in mind or have been posting about from a long time.
While it may or may not provide a huge boost to your engagement immediately, it may certainly pave the way for great long-term engagement over time, as it will help you learn about what your followers really want. This knowledge that you will gain from their response will help you offer your followers more value, which would of course ensure a much higher level of engagement over the long term and more loyal followers.
Similarly, another approach to drive up engagement by using questions is simply asking your followers some questions related to your niche and asking them to post their answers as a comment. You can even go a little further by asking them to tag their friend who they think might know the answer to the question or would be interested to know the answer to the question.
If you make these type of posts consistently, chances are that it will lead to a trend and your followers will get used to getting involved with them. This can obviously increase your engagement significantly, and even help gain new followers as your loyal followers will help spread the word about it.