Looking to increase engagement on Instagram? Puzzled to how some people seem to get more engagement or consistently grow their followers? Wonder no longer! There are a few secret ingredients that will help you cook up a successful Instagram strategy, and it's easier than you think.
But before divulging all, it's worth thinking about why investing the time and effort is worth it.
Growing An Engaged Instagram Following Base Can Boost Recognition & Sales
As of 2020, Instagram has 500 million users – Every. Day. While the demographics show that the platform still attracts many young people, a significant chunk of all age groups use Instagram daily. However, perhaps most interestingly, is how evenly Instagram's users are spread globally.
Never has reaching different people, markets, or securing opportunities been easier. If you have something to say, sell, or share with the world, you can do it through Instagram. So, it's no wonder e-commerce sellers, influencers, business owners, and interest groups alike have chosen Instagram as their #1 social media site.
What that means is that you'll be not only going up against Instagram's 'popularity-determining' algorithm, but also a sea of competition. This is where having a savvy social media strategy comes into play.
Considering the advantages of having an engaged following on Instagram, it is time to find out how to get your strategy off the ground.
Let's take a look:
Refreshing content in more way than one
Instagram is a playground of fun customization tools, filters, and content options that are frequently being updated. Currently, Instagram story stickers are the trend. These nifty stickers encourage account-follower interaction and create the appearance of dynamic content.
Directly engage your audience by asking them a brand-related question.
Give your audience a voice by removing the middle man and cutting directly to the heart of things. Start a conversation with your followers to promote strong brand-customer relations.
Create suspense while keeping your audience hooked and up-to-date on any happenings.
Include these stickers in your stories and watch your followers join in eagerly.
There’s little more off-putting to social media users than stale, cookie-cutter content. While you may feel like it’s not immediately suited to your brand or personal image, contemporary content formats work wonders for catching the attention of new followers and keeping your existing followers engaged. Try memes, quotes, user-generated content, or visually-appealing infographics to spike interest. Even a selfie-style video could be great on your grid or stories
Focus on saveable content
Social media strategy on Instagram has always been about likes, comments, and shares, while the save button took a back seat. However, this underestimated feature is making a noticeable comeback.
Instagram's algorithm has been revised to take an interest in 'user experience.' If a user has saved a post, it generally means that it has resonated with them or touched them in some way. Or, perhaps it's just something they'd like to see again. This keep-sake content is rising in value.
Even the most serious, refined, and classic brand has a fun side on Instagram. In fact, it's almost a requirement. You don't want your story to be the one that's swiped past or your post to be mistaken for an advert - it’s time to inject some life into your content. Have a play around with Instagram Reels to see if you can utilise them to get your messaging out in a fun creative way.
Make it shareable
No, you don't need every post to go viral. What you do need is to understand your target audience. Sure, it's great to aim for reach, but on Instagram - one size does not fit all.
Tailor your posts so that your follower base will be convinced to click that share button. As your post gains traction, it should gain more shares from like-minded users. So, think of it like a follower chain or a snowball reaction. You're firstly aiming to please your followers, and then their followers, and so on.
Whether you're a business or an individual, it's worth creating a brand image online. Through colour schemes, fonts, logos, and other design features, you can create a look that's unique to you. Creating consistency throughout your posts using your brand's theme can make you recognizable at a glance. Consequently, none of your followers will scroll past your posts unaware. Those who don't know you yet will soon through exposure recognition alone.
Traditionally, businesses have been a bit poker face to the public and kept what happens behind the scenes under wraps. In today's connected era, that just won't cut it. People want to feel like they know their favourite brands.
We're seeing more businesses reap the benefits of being open, authentic, and real with their audience. The more relatable your public image is these days, the more likely you will enjoy social media success. Many argue that this is due to an audience feeling a sort of "alignment of values." In contrast, others believe it follows a trend of blurring lines between business and market.
Either way, these days, it's pays to be a friendly brand.
Show, don't tell
BUT do explain your content.
Captivating visuals are key to engaging content. They adhere to the fact that the average online attention span is remarkably short – 8 seconds, to be exact. So, you want to get your point out there as fast as possible.
However, once you have them hooked, you better make sure you've got the goods to back it up. You want to hold onto them. Why? One of the factors that affect how your Instagram post performs in the algorithm is "time spent on post."
The best way to stall someone on your post. It's simple – a longer caption. While the Instagram team has recommended in the past that you keep your captions to under 125 characters, their algorithm seems to have other ideas. In fact, it seems to favour posts with 350-400 characters (65 to 75 words.)
In a sea of colours, faces, textures, places, and everything else you could possibly imagine – it's hard to stand out. It’s best to take your own photos, however, if you’re simply too busy and would rather use stock images – editing is your friend. Colourful prints and highlighted tones can really make and image ‘pop’. Plus, cartoonish styles are currently in trend so it’s worth dabbling in graphic designs.
Today, if a brand is to not only survive but also thrive, they’ll need a substantial planned and crafted social media presence. A social media strategy focused on interactive, dynamic, and accessible regular content is a sure-fire way to boost engagement, maintain it, and stand out from the competition.