If you're reading this article, there's a good chance you either own a small business or have been hired to handle the social media marketing for a small business. One of the best ways to build a brand for any small business is to take advantage of Instagram. Instagram has quickly grown to become one of the top social media platforms around the world. Millions of users regularly like and comment on different brands which include t-shirt companies and restaurants.
A common trap that some brands fall into is focusing only on the number of followers they have. This can lead to brands trying to buy followers which isn't a sustainable practice. What really matters is engagement. Your business can have 1 million followers but if you're only getting 300 likes and 5 comments per post, your engagement rate is really low. If you have 500 followers but are getting 300 likes and 5 comments per post, you're doing well. High engagement rates help you earn more trust and will help you earn more sales. With that being said, below are seven tips that will help you increase your Instagram engagement. These tips will also work for you if you are an influencer.
7 tips to increase your Instagram engagement
- Stick to a schedule for your feed: What works for your brand's Instagram account? Are you able to consistently post every day or only every other day? No matter what it is, stick to a schedule that your fans can count on. Followers can easily forget about your brand so regular posts help remind them about what you have to offer. Social media schedulers make it easy for you to post on a consistent basis so put them to work for you.
- Tell a story with Instagram's story feature: Posting new stories on a consistent is a great way to engage with your audience. You can cover events easily by posting videos and pictures to your story. Posting to your story is also a great way to share timely information that doesn't fit with your Instagram feed. You can also engage with your audience via Instagram stories by posting polls in order to better know who follows you. Polls are a great way to find out the opinions of your followers and better understand their interests. If you need help knowing what to post on your story and what to post on your feed, read this blog post.
- Engage with top relevant hashtags: What are the top hashtags for your product or service? Take time to comment on the top posts with those hashtags. Aim for engaging with at least 10 relevant hashtag posts every day. If you're a brick and mortar location like a restaurant or gym, engage with hashtags of surrounding cities and towns. Engaging with these posts is easy to do. Like each post then comment on them with three words or more. Do more than just posting a simple emoji. Sure, three words or more takes more effort but it requires you to be more genuine which will help you earn customer engagement. Here are a few examples of comments that will help you gain the attention of current and potential customers:
- Love your outfit! It's stunning!
- Great choice for dinner 👍
- Amazing dunk! That's a crazy move 🙌🏀
- Don't ignore comments and messages: When someone comments on a post or messages you, don't leave that person hanging. It's not cool. You're missing a critical opportunity to engage with fans and potential clients. Take some time to reply with more than just a heart emoji. It'll help you win over the individual who tried to connect with your brand. Well-written replies help customers know that you care about them and their best interests.
- Collaborate: When you collaborate with influencers and other businesses, you open yourself up to more possibilities. Partnerships with other Instagram accounts give you access to other communities and followers who would not have found you if you didn't work with those accounts. When working with other businesses, try to find products or services that complement what you're offering. Of course you don't want to work with competitors so avoid doing so. If you sell handmade knives, try to collaborate with a local business that makes sheathes. If you sell gourmet coffee, work with business thought leaders in the area. Do you provide spa services? Work with beauty bloggers and put together a photo shoot centered around self care. Focus on producing a win-win experience. You'll be able to expand your network, total reach, and gain greater engagement on your Instagram account.
- Location tags (use them): It's important that you don't make the mistake of assuming your customers/future customers know where you are located. When posting to your feed or story, be sure to tag the location of your post. This holds particularly true if you're running a food truck or available for a limited time at a trade show. Make it easy for your customers to find you.
- Do more than just post about your latest sale: Always focus on adding value for your followers whether you're sharing tips on that will help them accomplish their goals or beautiful pictures that showcase what your company is all about. You're bound to lose followers when you only post images with a SALE written on every image. No one wants to see that. Your feed should always provide value for your followers.
Now that you know how to increase engagement, get to work! Remember that your engagement cannot and will not improve if you don't put in the work. As your engagement increases, you will be able to gain more followers and sell more products and services.