Instagram can be an amazing tool for building an online community of people who are in love with your brand. Your presence on Instagram serves as an extension of your blog. If used correctly, it can help drive traffic to your site and increase your readership significantly. There are a ton of factors that go into building a successful account. One of the most important ones is consistent engagement.
Engagement on Instagram can come in the form of likes on your posts, comments, and direct messages. As flattering and beneficial as hundreds or even thousands of likes on your posts can be, quality and consistent comments are the real bread and butter of your engagement.
That’s not to say that post likes don’t matter. But being able to prompt people to take action beyond hitting the heart button can really show you how people are receiving your content. Based on the comments and direct messages you receive, you’ll start to notice which type of content is speaking to your audience the most. This will give you the insight needed to adjust your strategy to incorporate more of your most popular content. After all, it’s your audience you’re providing content for, right? Might as well give the people what they like.
Below I’ve outlined a list of 7 different ways to increase engagement on Instagram, leading to a growth in quality followers, more brand awareness, and a little extra credibility.
1. GIVE VALUE YOUR AUDIENCE WILL THANK YOU FOR
No matter what your blog topic(s) is, I guarantee you’re giving value to your readers in the forms of tips, tricks, reviews, and more. Share some of that value in your Instagram posts so your audience can benefit from your knowledge and advice. When you share golden nuggets of information, your audience will appreciate the time you took to share the wealth and will be more likely to leave comments of gratitude.
2. START OR END YOUR CAPTIONS WITH SIMPLE OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS
Sometimes your audience truly wants to engage with your posts, but they can’t find an easy way in. Add a simple open-ended question into your caption to make commenting on your post easier on them. Open-ended questions are great because instead of getting yes or no answers, you’re getting quality responses that can lead to starting a real conversation and lasting relationships. If your post is on the longer side, put your open-ended question at the beginning go your caption so your audience will quickly know what your post is about. Then they can respond without reading the entire post if they’re in a time crunch but still want to engage.
3. RESPOND TO QUALITY COMMENTS LEFT ON YOUR POSTS
Often you can tell if a comment is genuine or has been automatically generated through a third-party app. Look for the quality comments left on your post and respond in a timely manner so you don’t forget to come back to that post. Of course you want to answer any questions left on your posts. But if a comment left is just a simple statement, try and get a dialogue going by throwing a question into your response. If the conversation with one of your commentors goes beyond 5 or 6 back and fourth replies, move the conversation to your DMs so you can continue on and go deeper into forming a true connection.
4. LIKE AND ACKNOWLEDGE POSTS EVEN IF THEY SEEM LIKE AUTO-GENERATED COMMENTS
If you’re getting a lot of generic comments like “Way to go” or “Nice pic,” there’s a good chance those were from automatic commenting bots and not from real people. But, once in a while someone will come across your post and leave a comment like this. When you come across these comments on your Instagram posts, simply acknowledge them by hitting the little heart button beside the comment. That way, in the event this comment was actually left by a human, you’re not offending them by ignoring their efforts.
5. TURN ON NOTIFICATIONS FOR ACCOUNTS YOU WANT TO ENGAGE WITH CONSISTENTLY
If you come across an ideal client, reader, or collaborator on Instagram, turn on notifications for their accounts so you can remember to engage with their posts consistently. Every time they post something new, a notification will pop up on your phone and from there you can quickly like their post, view it, or comment on it right away. The more often you engage with these accounts, the more likely they will follow you back and start engaging with you.
6. ENGAGE WITH YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE ON THEIR PLATFORM
You want to have tons of likes and comments on your Instagram posts, but do you provide the same level of engagement to your target audience? Share the love and show up consistently to like and comment on their posts. Leave a quality comment by asking an open-ended question or by referencing something specific about their photo or caption. You want to do this with the people whose post notifications you have turned on. You can also take 15 minutes each day a few times a week to grow through your Instagram feed and engage with the first 10 posts that pop up.
7. ENGAGE WITH POSTS FOUND UNDER A RELATED HASHTAG
Set aside time to search a hashtag you use regularly as it relates to your niche, and engage with the first 20-40 posts that pop up. Give likes to photos that catch your eye and leave quality comments on posts with captions that intrigue you. Also follow accounts who fit in well with your target audience.
It’s important to remember that Instagram engagement is a two-way street. Set aside time each week to ensure you’re reaching out to your target audience and starting conversations. If you make an effort to follow these 7 steps consistently each week, you’ll see an increase in quality engagement on Instagram. You’ll also see a growth in quality followers who fit your target audience, and increased brand awareness for your blog.
How do you increase engagement on Instagram?