Instagram engagement is something every business leader, marketer, and influencer should be focused on cultivating. Ultimately, all the followers and reach in the world won’t make a difference to a business leader’s profits, unless they can convince people to actually connect with their brand.
Here’s everything you need to know about engaging your Instagram audience.
Understanding Instagram Engagement
For companies in virtually every industry, from SaaS to data analytics, Instagram can be a powerful tool. It doesn’t just give businesses a way to reach their audience, promote products and services, or deliver excellent service. Instagram is also a great platform for entrepreneurs to learn about their customers, pinpointing their needs, goals, and pain points.
However, whether your goal is to build stronger customer profiles, or increase your revenue, it’s not enough to simply share great content on Instagram. You need to prioritize constantly generating new levels of Instagram growth
Instagram engagement can be defined as the measure of how people interact with your content. It includes everything from your follower count to your number of likes, comments, saves, and shares on each post. Generating engagement is important because it ensures you can turn passive viewers of your brand into active leads, interested in learning more about your company.
The higher your engagement levels, the more likely you are to:
- Convince customers to visit your website and learn about your products
- Encourage initial and repeat sales from customers
- Generate a positive ROI from your marketing campaigns
Instagram engagement is also an important ranking signal for the Instagram algorithm. The more customers engage with your brand on the platform, the higher future posts will rank on the Explore page, boosting your reach and visibility.
8 Strategies To Increase Engagement Rate
So, how do Instagram users increase their engagement?
There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy. However, boosting engagement often revolves around understanding your audience, and the Instagram algorithm, and developing a social media marketing strategy that consistently strengthens your brand presence.
Here are the best ways to start boosting your Instagram engagement levels instantly:
1. Get To Know Your Audience
Customers are naturally more likely to connect with content that appears to be developed specifically for their interests and needs. The only way to create truly compelling content is to understand who your ideal followers and customers are.
Creating buyer personas, outlining everything from the demographics (age and gender) to the location, and behaviors of your target audience can help you to define what kind of content you should post.
The more you know about your audience, the more likely you are to choose the right content type (video, carousel, story, etc), the right voice for your captions, and even the right posting schedule. For instance, AllBirds
knows its audience is interested in its sustainability strategies and social responsibilities, so it posts content constantly focusing on these areas:
2. Create Compelling Content
Once you know who your target audience is, the next step is creating content that speaks directly to them. The great thing about Instagram is it gives businesses the freedom to experiment with different styles of content, from carousels to videos and Reels
The following tips will help to ensure you’re creating the right content for your customers:
- Analyze the competition: Check out other popular brands and influencers in your industry and find out which pieces of content produced by them get the most comments, saves, likes and shares. Think about how you can adapt that content into your own strategy.
- Speak to your teams: Talk to your customer service, sales, and marketing teams about the common questions customers have about your product or solution. How can you deliver valuable, actionable insights to address these concerns in your content?
- Monitor the market: Pay attention to Instagram trends, high-rated posts on the Explore page, and changing customer preferences. Don’t forget to use your own Instagram insights to learn what content your customers like best too.
3. Use Relevant Hashtags
Remember, great content on Instagram isn’t just about the visuals. Engaging captions which tell a story, connect with your customers, and include relevant hashtags can boost your engagement levels too. Hashtags are a valuable tool for Instagram engagement, as they help you target customers looking for specific products, ideas, or content.
Businesses can include up to 30 hashtags in their posts, so it’s worth experimenting with different styles to see what works best. You could consider using branded hashtags like Nike’s #JustDoIt, alongside trending tags like #InstaGood, or even niche tags like #SaaS.
You can even use location-based tags to speak to customers in specific areas:
4. Encourage Use Interactions
Sometimes Instagram users need a little extra push to convince them to connect with companies. So it’s worth thinking of ways to encourage people to interact with you. One option could be to include a question in your caption, which gets people talking about a specific topic.
You could also use competitions to generate engagement, asking users to respond with an @mention, like your post, or post user-generated content with a branded hashtag for the chance to win a prize. There are even various types of tools available for different types of Instagram content which are specifically designed to boost engagement.
Businesses can run Q&A sessions on Instagram Live, or use stickers and polls to ask questions on Stories, or create entire posts dedicated to asking customers questions, like Shopify does here:
5. Collaborate With Influencers & Partners
Generating high levels of Instagram engagement can be difficult alone, particularly if your company is still in the early stages of growth. Working with partners and influencers can be a fantastic way to boost your visibility, and extend your reach to a wider audience.
You don’t necessarily need to work with celebrities to generate results either. Micro influencers can be fantastic for connecting with highly targeted specific groups of customers. Alternatively, you could consider working with another brand on a promotion that benefits both of you, like AfterPay and WooCommerce did with this campaign:
Work with your partners and influencers on a variety of strategies, from giveaways and competitions, to Instagram takeovers.
6. Optimize Posting Times & Frequency
Timing is crucial on Instagram. Different customers will be active and interacting with the platform at specific times of day. Knowing exactly when to post ensures you’ll be able to capture the attention of your audience when they’re already ready to engage.
Since the Instagram algorithm prioritizes fresh content, it’s worth using your Instagram Insights and analytics to determine exactly when your followers are online.
Once you know which days and times you should choose for your posts, experiment with frequency to ensure you provide customers with consistent content, without overwhelming them. On average, many brands post on Instagram between 3-5 times per week.
7. Leverage Instagram Stories & Reels
Creating a variety of different styles of content is a great way to boost Instagram engagement, by ensuring you can attract the attention of followers with different preferences. Some of the most popular features on Instagram, Stories and Reels, also come with built-in features to help boost engagement.
On Stories, you can use stickers to conduct polls and live quizzes, or get your followers to ask you questions. This is a great way to gather more information about your target customers. Reels give you a chance to experiment with different kinds of short videos, from how-to demonstrations, to fun memes and behind-the-scenes business insights.
For instance, HubSpot uses Reels to share quick marketing tips with followers, while also asking their followers valuable questions:
8. Analyze & Adjust
Finally, remember that just like any marketing campaign, your Instagram engagement strategy should be constantly evolving. The more time you spend on the platform, the more data you’ll gather in your “Instagram Insights” account. This can help you to figure out what kind of posts your customers enjoy, where your target audience comes from and more.
You can even combine your Instagram insights with other analytical tools, like Google Analytics, to determine which campaigns are driving the most revenue back to your website or product pages.
Commit to constantly analyzing your performance, and adjust your campaigns based on what you learn. This is the best way to boost your Instagram ROI.
Achieving Instagram Engagement
The good news is, compared to other social media channels, Instagram benefits from a relatively committed, active audience. Studies show that Instagram offers up to 58% more engagement per follower than Facebook. Plus, with more than 2.35 billion monthly users, all spending increasing amounts of time on the app, companies have a lot of opportunities to reach the ideal market.
Of course, while achieving high levels of Instagram engagement is certainly possible, it does require Instagram users to invest in the right strategy. The tips above should put you on the path to achieving stronger engagement levels in no time.
Rebekah Carter is a dedicated marketing specialist and freelance writer, specializing in business development, marketing, and technology topics. She's worked with various leading brands like Sprout Social, UC Today, and Fabrik Brands.
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