As marketers, we know how important quality interactions are to building a brand on social media, but achieving this isn’t always as straightforward as we’d like it to be. Or at least it can feel that way at times. However, there are certain ‘hacks’ that you can employ to ensure you’re doing your content justice. Here are some of the best habits to get into to maximise your Instagram engagement.
Pay Attention To Your Results!
The quickest way to gain a better understanding of what your audience will engage with moving forwards is by looking at your results. What kind of posts have they engaged with before? Do they respond better to videos or photos? What captions resonate the most with them? Instagram’s Insights tab provides incredibly useful information that you can harvest to shape:
- What kind of content you should be posting
In Insights, you can look at which of your posts have performed the best within a chosen timeframe. Set it to order your post by Engagement and look at your top-performers. Go through 10-15 and make notes on common themes. How could you replicate these successes? Plan content based on this for a boost in engagement.
- What you should be posting less of, or re-thinking
Inversely, check out the content that didn’t land. Why do you think your lowest performing Instagram posts didn’t do so well? Make a note of common factors and try to remove these from the content you post.
- What days and times you should be posting
Each audience is unique, so while there are certainly more popular times for people to be active on social media, the more in-sync you are with yours specifically, the better. Snoop round the Audience tab at what days and times are the most popular with your people, and plan your content to go live to coincide with these periods.
Pro tip: Us humans are in a constant state of flux (we don’t often get to quote Heraclitus in our blog posts, yet here we are). Not only will people unfollow you as new people start following you, those who remain loyal to your page will engage with different kinds of content from one month to the next. Check in on the Insights tab on a regular basis!
Ask Your Followers A Question
Instagram is a cruel mistress – the less engagement your post gets, the less likely it is to get any more. In other words, if your post gets little to no engagement in the first few hours, Instagram will shelve it as ‘boring’ and not push it as high up onto people’s feeds. The good news is that this works the other way, too. If you get a flurry of comments in the first hour or two, Instagram will recognise it as an interesting post, and show it to more people. Use the algorithm to your favour and ask an attention-grabbing question in your caption.
A lot of brands are so focussed on nailing their Instagram content, that they forget the nature of the ‘social’ platform. People go on Instagram to feel inspired and make meaningful connections… with other people! Any time you get a comment on your post, like it and reply. This will encourage conversation in your post comments and, the more you get, the further Instagram will push your post to the top of people’s feeds. It also pays to find, like and interact with related content. The people either posting or interacting with that content will likely also be interested in what you post on your page.
Use Interactive Features
Instagram engagement doesn’t just come from feed posts – you can achieve even better engagement in Instagram stories, all thanks to the variety of interactive features available. Post on your stories and add a simple vote. For instance, ask viewers a question: Who’s your favourite character? Should we do a live Q&A after the show tonight? And offer them a choice: Father or The Boy, Yes or No. Instagram also allows you to turn your stories into a quiz with the addition of a simple sticker, or a popularity poll with a sliding scale. Have fun with them!
Pro Tip: Variety is the spice of life. Try doing a vote one day, and a quiz the next. Not only will you keep your content fresh and therefore avoid sending your followers to sleep, you’ll also get to know what kind of content works best for them.
Be Your Own Hype Person
People tend to look at their stories much sooner after opening the app than they will a feed post. Probably because Instagram stories quite literally sit above the feed. When you post on your feed, cut the queue and share it on your story, too.
This way, you’ll draw people’s attention to your post more quickly and encourage early engagement – a factor we know is of the utmost importance to your post performing well. To do this, tap on the little arrow to the top left of your post’s caption, and select ‘Add Post To Your Story’. You can even add a GIF or caption to encourage viewers to check it out.
Quality Over Quantity
While there are benefits to posting regularly, there are absolutely no benefits to posting boring content. One of the factors that determines how your post performs in Instagram’s algorithm is ‘time spent on post’. This means that the longer your followers spend looking at your post, the more people Instagram will show it to (and thus, the more engagements you are likely to achieve).
This can teach us a number of lessons as to how and what to post on Instagram to maximise your engagement. When posting video content, ensure the video is interesting or eye-catching throughout. Spend time writing your caption and don’t shy away from making it a bit longer to hold your reader’s attention.
Post More Videos
It’s that simple. Instagram videos receive twice the engagement of photos (AdWeek). Use this to your favour and incorporate more video into your feed. These can include professional edits such as trailers, feature interviews and animations, or more ‘human’ content such as behind the scenes footage.
Tag Your Location With Every Post
When you post in your Instagram feed or on your stories, always add a location tag. This opens up an additional audience specific to that location who will see and, ideally, engage with your content. For instance, if you’re touring a show and your next stop is in Manchester, include those tour dates and details in the caption and set Manchester as the post’s location. The people who see the content will already be interested in what’s happening in Manchester, and are therefore more likely to engage with your post (and maybe even buy a ticket!).
Keep Them Coming Back For More
Literally. The number of saves your post has is another hot engagement metric that pushes your content further, increasing your post’s potential engagement. But how do you encourage people to save your posts without explicitly asking them? Infographics and tutorials are a great option, as they contain useful information that people will likely want to come back to at a later date. Quote posts are also effective, as people will save them for future inspiration.
Optimise Your Hashtags
Hashtags are a brilliant way to get your content in front of a captive audience. If you use the right ones, the people who see your post will be more likely to engage with it. Take some time getting to know the best hashtags for your niche, and experiment with them in different posts. What hashtags did you use in your best performing post? Can you try using a variety of these moving forwards?
Pro Tip: Find out how to boost your social media with hashtags with the help of our appropriately named blog post: How To Boost Your Social Media With Hashtags.