With about one billion active users a month, nearly 500 million active users in a day, and over 200 million users visiting business profiles daily, Instagram has successfully established itself as one of the major social media platforms for sales and marketing. It’s no wonder major brands are pumping their Instagram accounts to promote products and services. But with a large number of competitors vying for everyone’s attention, just how do you stand out? And more importantly, how do you convert it to sales? The answer: by aiming to increase engagement. We’ve listed some helpful tips to improve Instagram engagement.
Instagram Followers and Engagement
Before we give you the tips, let’s discuss two important terms: followers, which refers to the people who subscribe to your feed and receive updates, and engagement, meaning the likes, shares, comments, and clicks that your posts or content gets.
Here’s why this matters.
Let’s face it: We love to be popular. And when it comes to social media, popularity is often (if not always) associated with the number of followers you have.
This is the reason why many businesses use the follow/unfollow method to try and gain followers (which is bad practice, by the way). Some are so obsessed with keeping the numbers high that they often forget what their goal is for building an Instagram page in the first place.
Now, don’t get us wrong — the rising number of followers is good for your business. However, it’s not the reason why you’re making an effort to create content. Your goal is to boost engagement, and thus, profit. Although your follower count may look great on your profile page, if those people aren’t your target market or are not responding to your posts, then you’re not properly utilizing the platform for your brand.
Engagement is proof that your content is reaching your potential clients. It’s where the sales conversion begins. Instead of stressing over the number of followers, focus on improving your Instagram engagement.
15 Tips to Improve Instagram Engagement
1. Post Meaningful Content That Highlights Your Product or Service
When it comes to posting content, it’s important to use images and videos that are relevant to your brand. For instance, if you’re selling fitness apparel, posting photos of your products or pictures of athletes working out are appropriate.
If you own a restaurant, showing off those enticing food pictures, uploading food videos, or posting images of people enjoying a meal is fitting.
Use content that’s related to your business.
2. Tell a Story With a Beginning, Middle, and End
Instagram is more than just an image gallery. It’s a visual inspiration platform. One of the most effective ways to inspire people is by telling a story.
Don’t just limit your posts to random images and hard-sell marketing promotions. Create relevant captions, photos, and videos that resonate with your audience. Share a part of your history, trivia, any useful information about your product, and other content that appeals to your audience visually and emotionally.
3. Build Your Brand Image With a Consistent Theme and Mood
What brand image do you want to portray? Do you want your audience to see your fun and playful side? Do you want to emphasize your upscale products? How about depicting a relaxing atmosphere? Most of the time, this depends on what you’re selling and who your target customers are.
As much as possible, be consistent with your style — the theme, mood, filter, color scheme, voice. Create a distinct look for your brand. Make it so that people can easily recognize you.
4. Know the Best Times to Post
This may vary depending on your target audience. Using a powerful social media management tool with Instagram analytics like eClincher can help. It will tell you which posts get the highest engagement, so you know the most popular times.
Another thing you should monitor is the number of photos or videos you should post in a day. Remember, it’s about quality, not quantity. We recommend limiting your daily post to one or two relevant photos or videos. You want to be active without being annoying.
5. Add a Call-to-Action to Your Posts
Encourage your audience to engage with your post. One way to do it is by asking questions, either in the caption or on the image.
Another option is to create fun promotions, like a giveaway, tagging friends, a contest encouraging people to post photos of themselves using your product, or through other exciting and rewarding games.
A call-to-action gets people to engage, instead of merely visiting your page and then leaving.
6. Use Strategic Hashtags
Hashtags aren’t just for show. Instagram uses them for sorting. In fact, posts containing at least one hashtag get 12.6% more engagement compared to those without. They help your target audience find you. If you’re not using them right, you’re missing out on a great opportunity.
Now, what hashtags should you use?
Just like your images, hashtags should be related to your content. There are two types of hashtags: short-tail and long-tail.
Short-tails are hashtags contain one or two words. They’re the first words that come to mind when you’re searching, like #foodporn, #fitness, and #vacation.
Long-tails, on the other hand, are hashtags that contain more words. such as #lasvegasrestaurants and #vacationinItaly. They’re more specific and targeted. So, although they don’t bring in as much traffic as the short-tail hashtags, the audience they draw to your page are those who are more likely looking for your product or service.
You’re allowed to add up to 30 hashtags on a post, but some marketers agree that using around 11 hashtags produces the best results. Combining some short-tail along with long-tail hashtags is a great way to start. You can experiment with keywords to see which ones work well for your brand. eClincher can also help you determine which hashtags work best for your posts.
Aside from making your posts easy to find, hashtags can be used in different creative ways. For example, it’s a helpful tool for your call-to-action promotions. You can ask your target audience to share a photo and use your hashtag to win prizes or a chance to be featured, like what Starbucks did for their #redcupcontest.
View this post on Instagram
Had to grab a blank #redcup today at @starbucks and take some time for some #redcupart! It was freezing today! At one point, my car said it was 1 degree F! We got a layer of snow and a fire going in the fireplace. Christmas is coming! Looking forward to a cozy night in. What are you up to tonight? ❄️🎄❤☕️🔥 #itskateshandwriting #starbucks #redcupcontest #coffeeart #cb_holidays
You can also create hashtags to support your campaigns, like Airbnb’s #WeAccept.
View this post on Instagram
Things you should know about Morocco: it’s in 'Africa.' And, contrary to some recently stated opinions, it’s really beautiful. But let’s get more specific: Morocco’s colors and textures and aesthetic will inspire you for a lifetime. The music? Mesmerizing. It’s also home to the most hospitable hosts, all of whom are so proud to share their culture with you. We highly suggest you take them up on their offer. #weaccept ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Photo: @leriadyasmine
7. Utilize Videos
Instagram offers a number of video formats you can use. Instagram Stories, for instance, are great for teasers. You can also use it for popping question stickers and polls. Live videos, on the other hand, are excellent for launches and big reveals. Standalone videos can be utilized for your other ads and video promotions.
Additionally, Instagram boasts a large number of features you can take advantage of to make your videos more attractive.
To make your Instagram Story searchable, you can also include hashtags.
8. Tag Your Locations
Whenever you post a photo, video, or Instagram Story, you have the option to add the location. Posts with location tags get 79% more engagementcompared to those without. If you want your video to appear in your current location’s Instagram stories, show up on the map, and reach more people, making use of this feature can help.
9. Promote User-Generated Content
Promoting user-generated content is considered one of the most effective marketing strategies. It doesn’t only cost less, but it also helps improve the company’s relationship with clients. Furthermore, this type of content gets more engagement compared to standard branded images, mainly because a lot of people trust what their fellow shoppers say.
You don’t have to do it all the time, but it’s good to feature a client’s post (with proper credits) on your page at least once in a week or a few times a month.
10. Be Active in the Community
If you want to improve audience engagement, initiate it by being active in the Instagram community. You can start by interacting with similar accounts and engaging their followers. You can easily do this by posting and replying to other people’s comments.
It’s also good to interact with your followers through your content. Encourage them to participate by opening discussions, replying immediately to comments, and responding to direct messages.
A tip, if you want to increase the number of people engaging with your content or visiting your profile, is to like or comment on other people’s posts before and after you share new photos or videos on your page.
Being friendly and approachable can help improve engagement.
11. Use Instagram to Direct People to Your Website
Drive more traffic to your website by promoting it on Instagram. Remember to add a link to your website on your profile so potential clients know where to go to check out more information.
Furthermore, make use of Instagram’s call-to-action button to direct people. You can also promote your website by adding the URL to your branded images.
12. Turn Your Followers Into Email Subscribers
Building an email list is very important for marketers. It enables you to figure out who your audience is and personally engage them. Email marketing allows more flexibility when it comes to the format. Thus, you can modify the content to suit the recipient. More importantly, when done right, it produces high conversion rates.
13. Use Emojis
Our brains process visual information faster. This is one of the reasons why adding emojis to Instagram posts help increase social media user engagement and audience interaction.
Depending on your brand image, emojis can help boost audience engagement.
14. Collaborate With Influencers
An effective alternative to partnering with celebrity endorsers is collaborating with social media influencers.
Before we move forward, it’s important to understand what a social media influencer is.
Defined as an individual who is an expert in a particular topic with a substantial following and significant influence to create trends as well as affect other people’s buying decisions, the right influencer can help your company advance.
Since they’ve already established themselves in the field and have followers, they have the ability to encourage a large number of people to purchase the products that they promote. This not only boosts engagement but also increases the chances of sales conversion.
15. Monitor Metrics, Analyze Data, and Optimize Content
Finally, it’s essential to keep track of your metrics. Take time to analyze the data to determine the best course of action for your business. Once you’ve figured out what works for you, optimize your content to maximize the benefits and to produce the best results.
Improving your brand’s Instagram engagement isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. The strategies that may perform well with other brands may not necessarily function well with yours, in the same way, that your marketing tactics will not always suit others. It requires patience and a lot of experimentation, but when done right, it will help you achieve your company’s goals.
Experiment with these tips to improve your Instagram engagement, and we’re sure you’ll see progress.