Real talk: Instagram engagement is the number one way to grow your social media presence in 2021.
Starting an online business has never been easier. Thousands of entrepreneurs are launching their dream online businesses — and while there’s room for everyone in the digital space, standing out as an authority in your niche can get a bit tricky.
Once you have your messaging and content strategy in place, a high Instagram engagement rate is the number one way to stand out on the platform. When an account is getting a lot of interaction it naturally peaks more interest.
Having an engaged audience not only helps you build a community online and connects with your customers on a deeper level but also helps you get discovered by your dream clients faster.
It’s obvious that Instagram loves to experiment with its algorithm and play with features by adding new ones, aggressively prioritizing certain features, and completely rejecting some. This makes it hard to keep up with the ever-evolving algorithm if you don’t have the right Instagram engagement strategies in place.
In this post, I go over proven ways to boost Instagram engagement to build a tight-knit community that catches the eye of your ideal clients.
Tips to Increase Instagram Engagement
No matter what changes Instagram decides to implement, one thing that is going to stay constant and will play a major role in deciding the reach of posts is engagement.
The minute you hack this, you are bound to grow regardless of “video content is better” or “static photos are better”.
By combining the strategies down below and tailoring them according to your schedule, you can be sure of getting maximum engagement and reach every time you post.
1. Utilize Stories
Stories are a goldmine when it comes to getting engagement and connecting with your audience. Here are some ways you can utilize stories to your benefit:
Instagram story stickers
Instagram provides a variety of stickers to boost engagement on your stories. Polls, quizzes, questions, etc. Use these Instagram stickers to bump up your story views.
If you don’t get a lot of engagement on your Instagram stories yet, the best way to turn this around is by starting with easy one-click questions using the “Polls” stickers. This is subtle and does not require too much effort to participate in as opposed to the ‘ask me anything’ sticker.
This or that challenge helps a lot with engagement. In this challenge, you ask your followers if they prefer “this” or “that”.
Something else you could do is ask people questions and use polls or the quiz sticker to pick the right answer. This way you warm up your audience to ask you anything or DM you.
Are stories chronological?
You might have noticed that the top stories on your feed are from accounts you interact with the most. It doesn’t matter how long ago they uploaded their story, it’ll always be the first one you see.
So, to make sure your stories are the first ones your followers see, you need to do 2 things:
- Interact with your followers, respond to their comments, DMs, etc.
- Post stories at regular intervals. For example, every 4 hours or so.
This way, your followers are more likely to watch every story you post. Also, the longer people stay on your story, the more they engage with it, the more likely it is for Instagram to promote your stories.
Reset Your Instagram
Reset your Instagram algorithm by letting your stories expire for a day. What does this mean? Let’s say you post from Monday through Friday. Now take a break and don’t post on the weekends.
Once you come back the next week, add interactive stickers to your stories to see a hike in your engagement. You need to try this Instagram story hack for yourself. It works every time.
2. Prioritize Video Content
It’s no secret that Instagram has decided to prioritize video content more because of TikTok and YouTube. Reels and IGTVs are a great way to increase your reach on Instagram and attract a new audience to your account.
But, what about your in-feed posts? There’s an option to share videos to your feed that is not a reel or IGTV. You can convert your carousels and infographics to short videos using Canva to get a better reach.
Throwing these in once in a while will definitely help you see a spike in your engagement.
Also, another hack to boost engagement on your Reels and IGTVs is by sharing them to your feed. This way, when your followers are online, they find your reel on top as opposed to it getting lost in a sea of reels in the reels explore page.
3. Higher Quality Feed Posts
In-feed posts are still the first thing people see when they open Instagram. So, compromising on feed posts is not a smart move if you want to increase Instagram engagement.
Create sharable/savable feed posts
High-quality, savable feed posts are a great way to boost your engagement. For people to save your post for future reference, you need to make sure they are evergreen. These could be myths in your niche, how-to posts, or must-haves.
If you have no clue on how to decide if the post you just created is savable, go to the saved section where you’ve saved others’ posts and figure out why you did it in the first place. Then, check your insights. See which one of your posts got the highest saves and create something similar.
Another way to increase engagement on your Instagram account is by creating shareable content. These posts are most likely infographics, facts, controversies, or posts in general that feel relatable.
Optimize your captions
Captions are the easiest way to increase Instagram engagement organically. Longer captions are going to keep people on your post for more time (as long as it is informative and not full of fluff).
Starting your captions with a hook to which you add a CTA at the bottom is a great way to keep people on your post for more than a second. Here’s more on How to Write Engaging Instagram Captions.
Engage Before and After Posting
I’m sure you’ve heard of this one before.
Before posting to your feed, like comments on your previous posts and reply to DMs if you haven’t already. This way, when people get a notification, they’re more likely to check your profile.
The same hack applies to after posting a photo. Reply to comments and interact with others in your niche. Leave a thoughtful comment on one of your ideal client’s posts. Their audience could probably gravitate to your account too.
And, on days when you have hardly 10-15 minutes to spend on Instagram, you can go for this good old hack of striking up a conversation by leaving meaningful comments under posts you find interesting.
4. Get Your Timing Right
When you post matters. After Instagram decided to ditch the chronological algorithm for a more customized “for you” one (according to Instagram itself), making sure your posts are viewed by all of your followers has become hard.
90% of Instagram engagement either comes from followers who are online when you post or from those who regularly engage with your content. So apart from making sure people engage with your content, it is very important for you to get your timing right.
Check your insights to find out when your audience is the most active and plan your posting schedule accordingly.
Also, tying it back to the previous point, make sure you engage with your audience before posting so that they get a notification that prompts them to check your profile.
Hashtags are another great way to boost engagement.
One tip for hashtags is to use a combination of small, medium, and large ones at once so your post doesn’t get lost in a sea of posts under a popular hashtag.
To make sure you reach your target audience, check what hashtags your most active followers follow and incorporate them in your posts.
Make a list of 5-10 accounts that are your competitors and have a similar audience size. See what hashtags they use and fine-tune them according to your posts. Next, make a list of 5-10 accounts in your niche with a way bigger following and see what hashtags they use.
Now that you have a list of medium and large hashtags, try to find niche hashtags with 500-1000 posts. These niche tags, because of their size, will have people viewing your post immediately.
Pro-tip: Add hashtags in your caption instead of adding them in the comments as it is bound to get more reach.
Also, go to your insights and check which high-performing hashtags bring in the highest engagement. Make sure to add them in your future posts.
If you haven’t noticed, the Instagram search bar looks a little different. You can now search for specific keywords.
With Instagram rolling out yet another feature that will make their app more SEO-driven, it’s time to start optimizing your bio, captions, and alt-text with keywords from your niche. Click to see how to add alt-text to your Instagram posts.
This way, when someone ends up typing a keyword in your niche, your post will show up in the search results. Here’s more on How to Use Instagram SEO to Increase Reach.
Creating exciting Instagram content can be tough, but I’m here to help with plenty of tips and tricks. These 50 free post prompts helped me grow an engaged Instagram following of more than 5K people, fast!
Cyndi, Owner of Ascent StoryCraft
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