By Kam-Mei Chak
Instagram is THE perfect platform for getting more engagement from your followers, which is what you need to build an active community who will eventually become your loyal followers – or customers if you’re selling a product or service.
It’s the fastest-growing social media platform on the planet with an ever-increasing choice of features that make it easier and more fun than ever for your audience to engage with your posts – so if some of your posts still being ignored, there are lots of steps you can take to remedy that. In this blog, we’ll look at a few ways to encourage your audience to engage (i.e. like or comment on your posts, click through to your profile or links, or take action in some other way).
But before we get started, why are we even talking about engagement?
When we’re measuring our success on Instagram, it’s easy to get caught up in the amount of followers we have, but much more important than that number is how many people have actually engaged with your content. Having a small audience of 1000 who are ‘your people’ i.e. genuinely interested in the messages you’re sharing and keen to interact with your posts, is infinitely more valuable than 10,000 people who are only following you because you followed them and who will never comment on your posts, let alone buy from you further down the line.
So measuring engagement is a much more effective way to gauge how well your social media posts are doing. With that in mind, here are 4 ways to get that engagement rate up:
1. Engagement starts at home
Engagement doesn’t just happen on your posts – it can start in the ‘home page’ of your Instagram, your bio. So have a look at your bio with fresh eyes and ask yourself, does it invite engagement? Think about including a ‘call to action’ (CTA), a few words inviting people to take the next step – in this instance it might be ‘Click here’ ‘Join my mailing list’ or ‘Read my latest blog post’. Ultimately we’re simple creatures who are much more likely to take the desired action when we’re told what to do!
2. Images to Inspire
What type of image is most likely to encourage your audience to feel inspired to take that extra step and engage on your post rather than just keep scrolling? It will be different for every business but some of the most consistently popular images on many pages are photos or videos of people – whether that’s of you if you’re a business owner, of your team or people you work with, or perhaps people you’ve helped if you’re a charity. We all love to connect with people rather than a faceless organisation and bringing the personal touch to your page with images or even better, video, of the people behind the services or products is the quickest way to build a relationship and let your audience get to know and trust you.
What if you’re not comfortable posting images of yourself and the thought of videos makes you want to run away and hide?! How about taking baby steps – perhaps start with a group shot that features you or a shot of you at work, and once you’re comfortable with that moving on to selfies and maybe a short video.
3. Text to Connect
Instagram is first and foremost a visual platform but the text that accompanies each image is just as important. Once your image has drawn the viewer in, he or she will hopefully read your caption and be inspired to take action. A great way to encourage engagement here is to use questions to generate empathy and relatedness and once again use calls-to-action such as ‘Let me know if you relate’, ‘Click on the link in my bio to book tickets’ or ‘Tag a friend who would get this’. Every single caption can include a CTA of some sort.
4. Supercharge Engagement with Stories
We couldn’t talk about engagement on Instagram without mentioning Stories – the platform within a platform that is literally built for engagement. It’s a great medium for sharing all kinds of photos and videos which are engaging in themselves but the supercharge comes with fun feature stickers like Polls, Questions, Quizzes and Emoji Sliders. These are absolutely brilliant for building your relationship with your audience – a favourite of mine is a quick poll which can be a super-effective, instant piece of market research about, for example, which of your products they like best, what they’d like you to blog about next, or to help you choose a slogan for your next campaign – the possibilities are endless.
There is an absolute wealth of features just waiting to be explored on Instagram Stories and the best way to learn about them is to just go into Stories and have a play. Don’t worry too much about getting them exactly right, they’re only live for 24 hours and can be thought of as a continuous learning process in terms of finding out what works best for you and your audience.
I hope I’ve given you a few ideas about how to increase your engagement on this most social of social media platforms, and don’t forget engagement is a two-way street so you need to be engaging on other people’s accounts if you want them to do the same on yours.
If you’d like more tips and advice on how to get your Instagram working for you – in a way that works for you – be sure to give me a follow: @kammeic and sign up to my mailing list here for new posts from my blog The Social Introvert.
As a social media expert and social introvert I specialise in helping small business owners who may not feel comfortable putting themselves out there communicate their message on social media. If this sounds like you, find out more about my 1:1 package Content Confidence here.
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