Instagram has gone on the record saying that their algorithm highly favours accounts with high engagement.
I know it's difficult, but forget about followers for a brief second.
If you really want instagram to push your content out in the 'Explore Page' to get found and get instagram followers, your main goal is to boost your engagement as much as you possibly can.
So what does engagement mean anyway?
Great question! This is what it involves:
The amount of comments you receive on a single photo
The amount of likes you're getting on a post
How many people are sending you direct messages?
The number of saves you get on an image
The length of time someone takes to look at your post (obviously, the longer the better).
There are so many other benefits to refocusing your strategy to boost your instagram engagement...
The more engaged your content is, the higher the chances that instagram will show your content to non-followers.
It expands your business through networking. Yes, instagram is a wonderful free online portfolio where billions of people are on the platform every single day, BUT, it can be such a strong networking tool if you use it correctly.
High engagement indicates to you that you need to create more of a specific content. It gives you direction and validation.
Through high instagram engagement, you’re opening a flood of positive relationships that can help you attract more followers and turn them into clients or to possibly even collaborate with people related in your industry.
Beauty of it is that even if you’re a shy type (like me!), Instagram helps yield in responses with just a few clicks on your phone.
So how can you really increase your Instagram engagement? Here are my recommended tips…
1) USE STRATEGIC HASHTAGS
Hash tags are completely underrated and the hash tag bell praises need to be rung louder.
Not only is it a gateway to reaching possible: followers, clients and collaborators but...
Find 2 or 3 popular hash tags in your industry and follow the content creators who have used it.
Visit their profiles scanning through their feed and leave a genuine comment on one of their photos.
This will tempt them to check out your content as well and open up a form of dialogue between you which will instantly boost your engagement levels.
The important element here is to be completely authentic. Leaving a generic emoji comment won’t necessarily get you far - actually instagram doesn't like that because it might detect you as a bot.
Instead, comment with a minimum of 4 words and bonus points if you add value (by either giving them a beneficial tip or something motivational).
2) DM ALL THE WAY
Unlike Twitter, you don’t necessarily have to be following or be followed by someone on Instagram to send anyone a message. You can literally message anyone you so desire.
But how you can get someone to actually respond is by raising a topic of their interest.
When you cultivate a relationship with someone through DMs, you're becoming so much more inviting to make that person engage with your content.
My number one focus on my instagram account is to develop genuine relationships with my followers and fellow artists.
I've found that when I took the time to reach out to them through DMs and created a genuine dialogue, they innately started to comment and like my photos.
This didn't happen by chance, but because I left an actual impression on them, when I show up in their feed the chances of them engaging with my content has suddenly (and intentionally) increased.
3) USE POLLS ON INSTASTORIES
InstaStory has given us an amazing instrument to document momentary glimpses. It’s absolutely remarkable in things like behind the scenes and other non-curated content you’re compelled to share.
But did you know you could use polls on InstaStory as a medium to get people to engage as well?
The bonus in it is that instagram rewards you when you utilize its features and get engagement.
It pushes your content in the explore page the more it feels that people are interacting with your profile.
By posting a specific question and have your audience submit their answers, you're instantly encouraging them to interact.
Another wonderful bonus is that you’ll be able to see who answered what and offer you an even bigger opportunity to interact with them yourself.
While instastory is fleeting after 24 hours to the public eye, you still have access to it in your archives, so you’ll be able to go back to your poll and directly message the people who took part in it turning potential followers into clients or consumers.
4) FOLLOW ACCOUNTS METHODICALLY
The follow unfollow technique is highly discouraged and can even be penalized by instagram falling under the pretence that your profile is a bot account.
But if you intentionally and methodically follow specific accounts that are within your target demographic, you’re so much more inclined to nurture a positive relationship.
A user is so much more likely to check you out and engage with you if they get a notification that you’ve followed them as opposed to just liking a post of theirs.
I know that's the first thing I do when I get a follower.
It invites people to check out who you are and what you do, which will dramatically increase the scale for your engagement boost.
5) MAKE IT INTERACTIVE WITH CAPTIONS
Captions are extremely under utilized (maybe more so than hashtags). But did you know that the caption limit reaches up to 2,200 characters?
That's almost like an entire blog post.
Instagram sets it that high for a reason...
Because they want you to use captions to the best of your abilities.
Interactive captions increases your engagement up the wazoo! Take a look at one of my posts below...
I've simply asked people to comment with the flag emoji of where they're from. It got crazy engagement with people liking and commenting from all over the world.
When you invite people to engage with your content, chances are they will.
6) GO ON INSTAGRAM LIVE
I know it can be dreadful, but people pay more respect to time on watching an instagram live as opposed to any other video format...
Why? Because it's fleeting and it gives people quicker access to you.
When you show up live, you're inviting people to ask you questions, send you little hearts and even get to know you a little better. All these are highly encouraged to up your engagement levels.
Do not be discouraged if not a lot of people show up live, you'd be surprised by the amount of views I got from posting the replay.
Generally, the more you use instagram features, the more the algorithm is in your favour.
Instagram live is a sure way to seriously boost your engagement and create a human connection with your followers.
7) BE RESPONSIVE & ENGAGE YOURSELF
A mistake a lot of us make is constantly posting on instagram and wait by the sidelines for a comment, like or follow to roll in. Sounds familiar?
Think about it like this, if you were at a party and sit in a corner, will people approach you?
You should be doing the approaching instead.
When you're responsive to comments that come your way and engage yourself, you're creating a two way communication and this signals to people to interact with your posts and content as well.
Be friendly, be impressionable and be authentic.
When you're commenting and interacting with instagram content yourself, you're becoming so much more inviting to let people do the same.
Instagram is a powerful tool in allowing you to network with people and brands. It can allow you to leverage more followers and help you build authentic relationships that are in the best interest of both parties.
By being 100% genuine and sincere in your approach, your increasing engagement levels and allowing your Instagram account to consistently grow.
What are things you do to increase your engagement on instagram? Leave it in the comments below...