Ever wondered why social media managers/coaches go on at such length about Instagram engagement? It’s with good reason; it is called SOCIAL media, after all, so being social and engaging with your audience plays a significant role in this type of digital marketing strategy. Your audience will thank you, the algorithm will thank you…and you will see an increased number of followers from your target market as a result.
Sounds like a win-win, right? But maybe you’re a bit overwhelmed by the idea and don’t know how or where to start? Read on for 10 concrete actions you can take immediately to increase your engagement.
1. Create carousels
Carousel posts are proven to attract more engagement than static posts. Why? Maybe it’s the air of mystery that comes from having part of the content hidden – it’s human nature to be curious and swipe to see the next page – or maybe it’s because you can pack a huge amount of value into a carousel post which prompts your audience to save it for future reference. In any case, carousels are an easy and visual way to get a longer message across in bite-sized chunks, whether that be photos or text-based graphics.
2. Make reels
It’s no secret that Instagram is moving more and more towards video content as it competes with TikTok. The result is that Instagram’s algorithm rewards you for posting video content by displaying it to a wider audience, so video content will give you more reach than purely image-based content.
Reels can seem intimidating and time-consuming to create to start with but, after you’ve done a few, the process becomes quicker and easier. Instagram has also recently introduced reel templates which make the process even simpler, so there’s no excuse not to give reels a try, and they’re a great way to show off your brand in a more dynamic way.
3. Add calls to action
A call to action (also known as a CTA) can take many forms – it could direct the audience to book an appointment, visit a website, or simply like/comment on/share the post. It doesn’t have to be a directive to buy, but it should serve a purpose in your overall strategy. And simply getting the audience to engage with the post in some way not only tells the algorithm that people relate to your content, but also helps people to remember your brand.
Ensure each and every post includes a CTA, and use a range of different types (e.g. ‘like if you agree’ or ‘click the link in my bio to book your no-obligation discovery call’) to help generate a range of engagement types.
4. Share your posts as a story
These days, most of us don’t have the time to scroll through our entire Instagram feed. People follow a lot of accounts and it can be easy for your post to get lost in the noise. Also, whilst grid posts give you wider reach to a brand-new audience, you’ll get the attention of your current followers – who are also more likely to engage with your posts as they already connect with you in some way – through stories. So share your grid post to your story for another opportunity for them to like, comment or share. Recent updates to Instagram also present opportunities for people to engage with stories in ways that previously didn’t exist (e.g. likes).
5. Create memes
Who doesn’t love a meme? Eye-catching and humorous, most of us have shared them, but have you tried creating your own? With platforms like Canva, it’s easy to place text over an image and voila! Your own meme, just waiting to go viral. (Just kidding…going viral isn’t the goal here; audience engagement is, and memes are a brilliant way of achieving this!)
Think about your target audience and make your memes relatable to this specific audience – it’s the relatability of memes (in addition of course to the humour factor) that make them so popular.
6. Publish content that is relevant to your target audience
We can’t stress this enough: Play to your crowd. There’s absolutely no point in creating content that your target audience a) aren’t interested in and b) don’t relate to. So ensure you do your research and really get to ‘know’ your target audience so that you’re pitching your content directly to them.
7. Show your personality
Remember that whilst there may be other businesses out there offering similar products or services to yours, there’s only one YOU. You are the one factor that makes your business utterly unique, so use your personality to your advantage and show it off in your content.
People don’t want to do business with a company; people want to do business with people, and letting your audience get to know you through your content helps to build that relationship before any other form of contact is made. Showing your personality - whether it be through the language you use in your captions, images of you, or you chatting to your audience on stories – allows you to be authentic. It can make you feel a little vulnerable at first, but trust us: your audience will engage with that authenticity.
8. Use the right hashtags
Although hashtags are being downplayed these days, they do still play a vital role in ensuring your content reaches new potential followers. In order to ensure your posts are reaching the right audience – the ones that will find your content valuable – you need to ensure you’re using relevant hashtags. Do your research and find out what hashtags other similar businesses are using. Don’t just take a stab in the dark. If your hashtags are relevant to your target market, you’re far more likely to reach the people who will be interested in and engage with your content.
9. Adopt a visual identity
Similarly to how you should showcase your personality, you should ensure that your brand colours and imagery are distinctive and immediately recognisable. If you want to stop the scroll and get your audience to engage with your posts, you want to ensure that they know at a glance whose post it is! Once again, ensure your branding and everything you post speaks to your target audience and their tastes.
10. Post when your followers are online
By using Instagram’s inbuilt insights, or the insights from scheduling platforms like Later or Planoly, you can determine when your followers are most likely to be online and therefore more likely to see and engage with your content.
So there you have it: 10 straightforward ways to begin increasing your engagement today.
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