Of all the social media platforms, instagram is my favorite. Snapchat has its place, with its unfiltered glimpse into peoples lives and facebook makes it easy to see what articles people are reading, but I love a good curated feed on instagram.
With the new algorithm change, it is all about engagement these days. Whether you’re a blogger looking to build a tribe or a small biz owner trying to increase sales, you want an engaged following.
It used to be that “filler” posts were a great way to keep your feed pretty + cohesive and it didn’t matter so much if your followers didn’t engage that much, you’d get them next time. But, now, if you don’t get them this time, they’re less likely to see your next post. Boiled down: the more followers engage with your content, the more instagram will give them the opportunity to keep doing it. To have more eyes on your post you need people to engage with you every time.Let’s start with the basics. As far as engagement goes, likes are good but comments are better. Commenting mean followers are much more likely to see your post high up in their feed next time you share content. Getting more comments also means your post is more likely to show up in suggested images on the search page.
INSIDE TIP: Rumor is instagram only takes into account comments longer than three words so having a slew of people comment “cute!” doesn’t do anything for your chances of showing up as a suggested post to new users.
So you know engagement is important, but how do you get it? How do you keep it? Don’t forget to check out the ultimate hashtag compilation for bloggers + creatives at the bottom of the post.
Here are 13 ways to boost engagement on your instagram account:
1. Ask Questions: This is as simple as it sounds – if there is a question in your comment, your audience is more likely to respond.
2. Respond to all your comments: This is key! Your response “rewards” your audience for commenting and engaging with you and makes it much more likely they’ll comment again. How long would you keep talking to on the phone with someone who was never saying anything? At a bare minimum, thank everyone for commenting. Even better, continue the conversation. Use your response to ask follow up questions, to connect commenters with similar or contrasting opinions, or give more context to your initial caption or picture.
3. Make friends! In addition to responding to comments on your own pictures, head out and find accounts to interact with. Maybe it is by commenting on images on a hashtag you like or looking through your suggested posts, either way, being sociable makes instagram more fun while also meaning people are more likely to click through to your account and engage.
4. Hashtag (fast!): It used to be that hashtags sorted pictures by the time the hasttag was added to the image, so the first images that showed up when browsing that hashtag were the ones that had most recently been tagged, regardless of how old the image was. Now, all pictures with a specific hashtag are sorted by the time they were posted, regardless of when they were tagged. Gone are the days of strategically tagging your photos a few days later so they pop up in search without being cluttered with hahstags when you post.
5. Do your homework: Which of your posts have the highest engagement? If you’re set up as a business account on instagram it is easy to see which accounts have the highest views, comments, and engagement (likes and comments). Make note of what your audience responds to and commit to creating more of it
6. Get vulnerable: People love to feel like they are getting to know you and you can deepen that connection by sharing something raw and personal.
7. Vary your captions length: Sometimes a long personal confession is great and sometimes a two word caption is all a picture needs. Keeping your captions fresh and varied gives readers some background but not too much that they skip over your posts entirely.
8. Post at optimal times: The general concensus is the best time to post on instagram is late evenings (8-11pm) so if you’re posting once a day, this might be your window. But, go ahead and delve into your instagram analytics and see what times your audience is engaging the most.
9. Run a contest/giveaway: Give readers an incentive to comment and they will! Plus, after they comment to enter a giveaway, your next most is more likely to show up in their feed. Keep in mind that instagram likes long comments, so consider asking readers to leave a favorite activity or experience instead of just tagging a friend.
INSIDE TIP: It is rumored that facebook penalizes posts that include the word “giveaway.” These posts are less likely so show up as suggested posts to new followers even though their engagement is high. Consider getting creative and using different language. Instead of giveaway you might “We’re giving one of you awesome people ____”
10. Eye catching images: Good images are important. Make a mental note of the images that you stop for when scrolling your feed next time you pull up the app
11. Your signature style: I know an influencer or brand has done a great job when I know the picture belongs to their account before I even see their handle. Whether it is always posting the same type of picture, or just making sure your colors are consistent, keep your images cohesive. You’re more likely to be recognized while your friends are scrolling through and if you’re doing everything else, they’ll want to see what you have to say.
12. Encourage followers to tag friends: You know how it feels more comfortable meeting someone new when a mutual friend introduces you? The same goes for instagram. It’s an organic way to have people discover your brand. For example, on a dreamy vacation photo, ask your followers to tag a bestie they’d love to be relaxing on the beach with.
13. Share instagram posts on other platforms from time to time: You don’t want to push every single one of your instagram posts out to facebook or twitter, because it doesn’t give your audience a reason to follow you on instagram, but it is a great tactic to employ from time to time to remind people that only follow you on other platforms where else they can get awesome content and inspiration.
INSIDE TIP: Decide what engagement you like – people usually only do one thing. Someone is either going to like, comment, watch, or head to your profile to visit a link, but not all four of them. Measure your success by your desired outcome instead of always focusing on all of the metrics. For example, don’t be frustrated if your photo mentioning your newest post doesn’t get very many likes, instead focus on how much traffic you drove to your website. For example, my videos always get a high number of views but far less likes than my average photo, and I call them a success.
Now that you’re ready to get started increasing your engagement, grab the ultimate list of hashtags for bloggers + creatives with hundreds of hashtags to get you started. Just enter your email below and it’ll show up right in your inbox.