Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms these days. Stanford University graduate Kevin Systrom1 co-founded the popular app back in 2010 together with Mike Krieger, with the former serving as its CEO and the latter its CTO. Since then, Instagram has become a well-known photo and video-sharing app among billions of users around the world, especially among the younger market.
Instagram has also paved the way for influencers to command a great following in their respective industries. It has likewise allowed brands and companies to market their products and services to the world. Indeed, everyone is welcome to use Instagram and post everyday snippets of their lives through well-curated photos and videos.
Over the years, Instagram has introduced new features and tools that allow business owners to build their brand and achieve their business goals more easily. As such, the platform turned out to be an effective marketing tool. In the U.S., more than 70% of users have purchased a product through a certain brand’s social media post. Statistics also reveal that at least 200 million Instagram users visit at least one brand page every day.
At the end of the day, everyone wants to succeed in their business endeavors. If you are starting a business, Instagram can help you to be well-armed and ready for the “battle” ahead. An excellent branding strategy includes having a comprehensive marketing plan using the right tools and platforms to drive business growth.
What is Instagram Engagement?
When it comes to engagement, Instagram is one of the most effective platforms to grow and maintain your following. This social media platform has become more than a photo-sharing website. More and more businesses are buying engaging Instagram followers to gain more audience, promote their products and services, and increase sales and brand awareness.
Instagram has become synonymous with engagement. Many businesses around the world – regardless of their size, industry, or target audience – have found success on Instagram through effective engagement strategies. With billions of Instagram users globally, your brand could leverage the platform to ensure business growth and success through high engagement. More engagement means more followers, shares, comments, tags, and, ultimately, sales.
So, how does engagement work? Is it all about impressions, also known as vanity metrics?
Here are some of the most-used engagement metrics you need to know.
Individuals or businesses that own Instagram accounts can have followers that range from tens of thousands to millions. However, the number of followers is not always the most crucial factor when it comes to engagement. Even micro-influencers on Instagram with only a few thousand followers can still turn out to be successful after all.
Why? Because these influencers know who their followers are and what their interests are. Knowing this helps them plan out engaging content that is useful to their followers.
Likes, Shares, and Reposts
Getting likes on your posts is a form of engagement and a way to measure how your target audience regards your content. The more likes, the easier it is for you to spread the word about your brand, product, or service.
Another way to determine engagement rates is the number of shares your posts receive. Every time someone shares your posts, it is like promoting your business organically or for free. More shared posts can signify more positive feedback for your brand. This also means you don’t have to spend money on paid posts when promoting your brand.
Comments can also determine a post’s popularity and an indicator of brand engagement. When users spend time writing a comment, it means they intend to engage with your brand. In that case, brands should also be responsive to the comments to further increase engagement rates. Users like responsive brands, and having this quality can add up to your company’s positive reputation.
Here’s a fair warning though: increasing your brand’s engagement rate on Instagram may not be as easy as it seems. For one, Facebook occupies the top spot among social media platforms in terms of the number of worldwide users. The emergence of challengers like TikTok, which has gained tons of followers since the start of the pandemic, can also affect Instagram’s engagement rates.
Still, Instagram is a powerful platform. If used properly, brands can efficiently bring themselves in front of their target audience while interacting with them to achieve their marketing and other business goals.
How to increase your engagement on Instagram
This 2022, Instagram turns 12 years old.2
Amidst the cut-throat competition among the major social media players, it is not right to think Instagram is not as effective anymore when it comes to increasing engagement rates. It’s a matter of finding out the different ways to bring about engagement on the platform. It is also about using the right features and tools to engage your target audience.
For example, why Instagram stories? Do longer captions help in increasing engagement? What times of the day should you post? These are some questions you need to consider if you want to increase your Instagram engagement.
Here are effective strategies to increase your brand’s engagement on Instagram.
1. Consistency is key
The more you post, the higher the engagement will be. Studies show that posting once or twice a day3 is the best way to stay engaged with your audience. Some Instagram experts also suggest posting at certain times a day to achieve the best results.
Still, your brand may find there is no perfect time or frequency of posting content. You could post once a day or once every few hours. It depends on your followers’ Instagram browsing habits, which you can find on the Insights section of your Business or Creator account. Use this information to guide your posting schedule with consistency in mind.
2. Tell stories
People don’t welcome it when companies shove their products and services right on their faces. It gives the impression that these companies only care for their money and not for their needs as consumers. Instead of advertising your products or services, why not tell a story? People want connection and a brand that they can relate to – or that can relate to them.
You can use Instagram Stories and Reels to create captivating images and videos to tell your brand’s narrative. While you’re at it, make sure to focus on your customers’ needs and how your brand can help improve their lives.
Longer captions also make brands seem more human and create deeper connections with your target readers. When done right, lengthy captions, also called “micro-blogging,” can increase engagement in the Instagram community. It makes your brand more authentic and even encourages shares and saves.
So, the next time you post a video or photo on your brand page, make sure to tell a story about it. Utilize the platform’s content formats such as Reels, IGTV, and Stories.
3. Use hashtags
Twitter may have popularized the use of hashtags, but you can only use up to two hashtags per tweet. On Instagram, you can use up to 30 hashtags4 in a single post although you don’t have to use all 30 of them.
Hashtags are used to filter and sort content. Make sure to use the right hashtags that are most relevant to your posts. Otherwise, the algorithm will perceive your content as spammy and risk your account being shadowbanned.5
Instead of using generic hashtags, think of one that is a combination of industry-specific and trending hashtags. Check your page for the most engaging posts, as well as the hashtags your competitors use.
From there, you can get ideas for the best hashtags you can use for your posts. Better yet, use a branded hashtag6 that is short, catchy, and can include your brand name – think #ShareACoke (Coca-Cola), #MyCalvins (Calvin Klein), or #ChooseBeautiful (Dove).
4. Consider using the same filter for every post
Adding filters to your Instagram photos and videos is a great way to make branded posts more aesthetic and distinct. Instagram offers several filter options to choose from. Alternatively, you can use third-party photo editing apps such as Picsart to add filters to your photos for your brand.
This practice can help increase engagement for your content and business offerings. A study has revealed that 60%7 of successful brands on Instagram used the same filter on all of their posts. Likewise, adjusting your images with the right brightness is also a major factor in attracting followers and encouraging engagement.
5. Ask your followers through polls and stickers
Another way to increase engagement is polls and stickers. You can ask them anything (i.e. Which of your brand’s products are their favorite), or let them ask questions about your brand. For instance, someone buys from you for the first time. You can then share useful tips on how to use your product or service to help your followers maximize its value.
6. Apply SEO techniques to boost your page
Several studies reveal a strong connection between Google rankings and social engagement. This is why having an SEO strategy is important to increase engagement and boost your page. The two major areas that impact SEO are your account name and user handle. The former should reflect what your business or page is all about, while the latter should be short and memorable, as well as align with your brand name.
Boost Your Brand Through These Effective Instagram Engagement Strategies
Instagram has gone a long way from a photo-sharing site to a digital marketing platform for brands. Well-curated photos and eye-catching videos are important factors to increase the engagement rate for your brand. By following the abovementioned tips, you’re more likely to achieve high engagement rates and success for your brand.
About the Author
Jaycel worked with Brad as his first Virtual Assistant since 2017. Outsource Access is the brainchild of Brad and Jaycel with the ultimate goal to help entrepreneurial businesses realize their potentials. She now leads 300 employees as the Chief Operating Officer for Outsource Access. She is responsible for achieving the goals of the company.