There’s little more frustrating than pouring your heart and soul into an Instagram strategy, only to generate almost no engagement. You’re convinced you’re making all the right moves, but for some reason, your voice simply isn’t being heard.
The truth is, your Instagram campaign could be falling flat for dozens of different reasons. But when it comes to generating engagement in a more general sense, the basics are surprisingly simple.
Bring the following into your Insta campaign and you should start seeing a significant engagement boost in no time:
1. Use All of Instagram’s Features
Broadening your strategy to leverage all of Instagram’s features is a good place to start. This includes things like Instagram Stories, IGTV and especially Reels (their latest and greatest feature). Make full use of Stickers, Polls and even the occasional Quiz.
Instagram provides limitless scope for experimentation and driving engagement with a broad range of features. The more of them you make full use of, the better.
And when a new feature comes out, don’t delay! Social media platforms want you to use their new features, and will reward you algorithmically if you do.
2. Tap into Your Rivals’ Audience
A simple but effective tactic that goes a little something like this:
- Check out the comment sections on a competitor’s posts.
- Look at the people who interact with your competitor (their audience) and what they’re saying.
Now, at this stage, you have a choice. You can either:
a. Check out these audience members, view their posts and interact with their content, or…
b. Reply to the comments those audience members leave for your competitors and engage them that way.
Option a is great, if you’re careful not to come across too keen; remember to bring them value and not make the interaction all about you and things should go just fine.
Option b can be particularly powerful in the right circumstances. Look out for opportunities where your competitor’s audience is asking questions and not being responded to; if you have the expertise to answer the question, doing so can bring massive value to the question-asker and prompt them to follow you for more.
3. Send Every New Follower a Personal DM
A new follower is effectively an inbound lead that should be leveraged to its full potential. Just as you would with a new customer or sales prospect, you should send followers a personalised direct message. Something that demonstrates your appreciation and ensures maximum engagement.
Sticking with a basic template is fine, but ensure the message is at least in some way personalised. After which, take the time to comment on and interact with their content (at least on occasion). This can really help to cement the relationship.
4. Optimise for Search
In short, this means:
- Optimise your profile; be descriptive, engaging, and above all else – show people what’s in it for them to follow you!
- Write captions with keywords; don’t sweat this too much, but do talk about something relevant and make sure you prioritise the reader experience.
- Use hashtags; they are free exposure, so do it! Mix them up, don’t use the same ones every post, and try to hit on hashtags for every angle (eg, what’s in your picture, what you’re talking about, where you are etc)
- Make the most out of alt text; alt text describes your image to a blind user, it’s as simple as that. It’s also a great opportunity to pick your words carefully to flag your content as relevant for a search query.
- Use tags; as with hashtags, this amps up your exposure. Just make sure your tag is relevant and not spammy.
Essentially, you’re appealing to Instagram’s algorithm and indexation. You’re making it as easy as possible for people to find your content.
5. Respond to All Comments as Quickly as Possible
Prompt and meaningful comment replies are highly engaging. People like to know they’re being listened to, not ignored.
And, when it comes to Insta’s algorithm, the only thing you really need to keep in mind is this:
- Instagram wants people to use their platform
- The more time a person clocks in on Insta, the more ads they will see
- The more ads they see, the greater chance there is of one reeling them in
- Ads are where social media makes its money
How does that relate to you (or this tip)?
Simple – you need to use Instagram as it was intended if you want to succeed on it. And that means don’t ‘post and ghost’.
Reply to comments on your posts and keep putting out valuable content. That’s all.
Try making the effort to reply with a question. Chances are, this will spark a conversation… which means more time on Instagram for you and your new friend.
And lo, the algorithm will be pleased.
6. Ask Your Audience to Share Their Thoughts
Asking for engagement is often the most effective way of making it happen. Not directly, but in the form of questions, polls and anything you can do to motivate your audience to speak out.
- Ask for thoughts and opinions on a given topic
- Question where people stand on a specific issue
- Request suggestions on what your audience would like to see
Most social media users are always on the lookout to make their voices heard. This is something you can and should be taking advantage of.
7. Show Your Personality
This final tip is a major stumbling block for many brands looking to succeed on social media.
Other people are one of the main reasons that people go on platforms like Instagram. People like content with people in. If you want social media success, you need to show your human side.
Show them your personality, your flaws, your highs and your lows. Don’t pin yourself into a restricting, stuffy corner of 1’s, 0’s and endless statistics.
Your social profile may be a public face for your business, but that doesn’t mean it should be lifeless. You’ll struggle to make anything else work if you don’t act like a human being and actually be sociable on Instagram. Or any other social media for that matter!