The question now is: how can you take advantage of Instagram’s marketing capabilities?
There is a ton of competition on the platform. If you do not make use of the right strategies, you risk losing your audience to the competition.
In fact, 8 out of 10 Instagram users follow businesses on the platform. Not only that, up to 200 million Instagrammers would check out a business account daily. This gives you an idea of the level of competition you are up against.
The one way to stay ahead of the competition is to capture the attention of the users and increase your brand’s engagement rates.
In this article, we’ll look at strategies to help you improve your brand’s engagement rates on Instagram.
Let’s get started!
Take Advantage of Hashtags
Hashtags are a very useful tool that can help you grow your brands’ reach and increase your visibility on the platform. When you use hashtags, you make it possible for the right people to find your content.
When using hashtags, you need to ensure that it is related to your brand, product or industry. This would ensure that when people who are in need of your product or service search for that particular hashtag, your content would come up. This would also increase the amount of engagement your content receives.
Research shows that a post with one Instagram hashtag receives 12.6 times more engagement than a post without one.
For example, if you sell cameras, the hashtags you use should be related to photography or art. If you use a hashtag related to food recipes, while your content might get viewed by a ton of people, you would get little or no engagement. People searching for food recipes are not interested in buying cameras like people that are actively using hashtags related to photography, photoshop or art.
The Instagram post above is about weddings, and if you look at the hashtags used, 90 percent of them are related to weddings. Whenever a user searches for #weddingideas or #weddingphotography that day, this post would come up.
Using the right hashtags help you reach your target audience organically and hence improve engagement on your photos or videos.
Pro Tip: Use longer hashtags. One word hashtags have a ton of competition. For example, when you search for the hashtag #Architecture, you would see over 86 million associated posts.
Unless you are a big brand, it would be difficult to get featured at the top of those search results. If you used the hashtag #postmodernarchitecture instead, there are only 8,739 associated posts.
Your chances of showing up consistently in search results increases greatly when you use long-tail hashtags.
How do you find the right hashtags for your brand? You can use a tool like HashtagsForLikes to help you find the trending and most relevant hashtags for your brand or industry.
Write Better (Longer) Captions
A factor that determines how well your content would perform on Instagram is how much time users spend on it. The Instagram algorithm gives preference to content with high engagement rates.
One of the easiest ways to get Instagrammers to spend more time on your post is by writing amazing long-form captions.
The good news is that Instagram offers you a lot of real estate for writing captions. Your Instagram captions can be up 2,200 characters long.
Instead of just using emojis or one-word captions, spend time writing a few sentences or paragraphs. This would help you to increase your engagement rate.
To write better captions, these are the questions it must answer:
- Why would this post matter to my users?
- How would this post serve anyone other than me/my brand?
- What is the story behind the post?
- Am I doing the story justice?
- What emotional response do I hope you achieve from this post?
When writing your caption, you need to ensure that it provokes an emotional response in the reader. People are easily distracted, so if you do not capture their attention in the first few sentences, they will move on to the next post.
This image from Jenna Kutcher is an example of a captivating caption. She started the caption with “This photo almost didn’t happen..”. This would urge the reader to know why it almost didn’t happen.
When you get it right with your caption, you can significantly increase your engagement rate.
Use Instagram Stories
Instagram stories are becoming a very popular feature on the platform. In fact, a report posted by Instagram in January 2019 shows that Instagram stories were viewed by 500 million people daily and one-third of the most viewed Instagram stories are from businesses.
Uploading stories are a great way to increase engagement with your fans. Fans love to see behind-the-scenes action and funny bloopers from brands. You can also use stories to draw attention to the new posts in your feed and boost your engagement.
Pro Tip: Instagram’s algorithm puts a lot of focus on timelines as it wants to make sure that the latest photos appear in the feed. By posting Instagram stories more often, you increase the chances of your content showing at the top of the user’s feed.
Get People Talking With Stories Stickers
An interesting way you can get people to engage more with your content is through the use of stickers.
Instagram story stickers encourage viewers to chat and share their experiences with you. When you involve your users in the content creation process, you increase your engagement rate and also develop a loyal following.
There are several ways you can use stickers in increasing your brand’s engagement on Instagram. These are some examples:
The Question Stickers
Using stickers to ask questions on Instagram are becoming increasingly popular. Brands are using this to hold AMA (Ask Me Anything) sessions.
With these stickers, you can spark conversations with your fan base and give them the opportunity to learn more about your brand or product. Not only would you be increasing your engagement with this kind of sticker, you would also be gaining valuable customer insight.
Polls And Votes Stickers
Polls and votes are great in getting your followers to engage with your content. When your audience realize that their opinions matter to you, they are more likely to engage with your content.
It also helps you understand your audience better and gives you an idea of the kind of content they would love to see more.
Post Great Quality Content
The Instagram algorithm rewards content creators that produce high-quality content since they generate more engagement.
The more you upload high-quality content (photos and videos) that your audience wants to see, the more engagement you will receive.
When Instagram’s algorithm sees the increased engagement, they will recognize your post as great content and increase the amount of times it is seen across the platform.
Pro Tip: To make your content stand out, ensure that any image or video you upload is captivating and of the highest quality.
When you upload content on Instagram, your goal should be to get users to stop scrolling. A high-quality, relevant image that tells a story is a great way to grab the attention of people.
The good news is that with the rise of smartphones, you (and your customers) do not need expensive cameras to take quality pictures.
You can also use photo editing apps to add contrast and make your photos pop.
When you post only quality content, you increase the chances of your content showing up on the “Explore” page. Featuring on the explore page would help increase your brand’s Instagram discoverability.
Take A Look At Instagram Analytics
Whether you choose to use a third-party app or Instagram’s analytics tool, it is important that you analyze your Instagram numbers.
When you perform Instagram analytics, you will have a good idea of the kind of content your followers are interacting with the most. Having this knowledge will help you identify the best kind of content to produce for maximum engagement.
You might prefer uploading pictures, but your audience may spend more time interacting with videos — indicating that you should spend more time creating quality videos.
Pro Tip: If you have a post that is performing very well organically, it would be a good idea to boost them as sponsored posts. This is a great way to increase your engagement rate.
When you boost a post, it reaches thousands of users and can help you meet your brand’s objectives faster. These objectives could be increasing engagement, website traffic, profile visits, etc.
Also, remember to watch the analytics of your boosted posts. It will help you determine the kinds of content that work best when boosted.
The whole process is trial and error. So the key is to continue analyzing the numbers until you find out what works best for your brand.
Add Location Tags
Apart from using hashtags, you can use location tags or geotags to increase the reach of your content and make it more discoverable.
This is especially great for local businesses. You can use location tags to alert users around your vicinity to engage more with your content.
Schedule At The Right Times
One way you can increase your brand’s engagement on Instagram is by posting at the times when your users are most active online.
When you upload content around the time your users are scrolling through the feed, you increase the chances of them engaging with your content.
To get an idea of when your users are most active online, you can make use of Instagram’s native analytical tool. It gives you a picture of when your content is receiving the most likes, comments and shares. When you post within this time frame, you’ll see more engagement than when you post hours later.
You can make use of a tool like Buffer or Social Pilot to schedule your Instagram content. This makes publishing content easier especially when most of your audience is coming from a different time zone.
With the right strategies, your engagement rates on Instagram can multiply significantly. Use the tips in this article to help grow your brand’s visibility and reach on Instagram.
When you constantly implement these strategies, you will improve the performance of your content on Instagram.