Updated: Feb 3
Now that Instagram has racked up over 1 billion monthly users across the globe, it’s an ongoing challenge to project your brand’s voice amidst the deafening mass of digital volume; but, armed with a few tips and tricks, you’ll be on your way towards standing out in the crowd and cultivating an engaged and loyal community.
#1 Interact With Your Audience
While it’s essential to prioritise the aesthetic of your grid to reflect your brand, dedicating time towards directly communicating with your followers and initiating meaningful two-way conversations will help to build trust and brand intimacy (learn about 'Brand Intimacy' here). Staying on top of replying to and liking DMs and comments, interacting with their content, and actively reaching out to other profiles in similar circles or industries will ensure that your audience knows you're listening and that you truly value their opinions and support. A couple of great ways to get the conversations rolling are to pose questions in your post captions and ask your followers for feedback on your content to get to the bottom of what they really want from your page. Ever heard of 'Call To Action'?
#2 Get Your Timing Right
Although Instagram’s algorithm is mysterious and ever-evolving by nature, one thing we do know is that it strongly favours posts that achieve high levels of engagement in the first few moments after publishing, as it’s wired to promote the most relevant and compelling content at any given time. The trick, therefore, to getting to the top of people’s feeds, is to schedule your content to post when the largest percentage of your own audience is online and most active. If you’re currently using a social media management platform, post time optimisation should be an obvious section within the analytical tools, and for businesses using the app natively, head to the Audience section in your Instagram Insights to reveal the days and hours during which your followers are most active.
#3 Embrace Authenticity
To connect with your audience on a deeper level, try showing a more honest, vulnerable and raw side to your brand. Baring your struggles and imperfections alongside the polished version of yourself will introduce your audience to the real people, stories and experiences at the heart of your brand, creating retable content which is more likely to resonate on an emotional level. This can be achieved by revealing behind-the-scenes footage of the daily grind, embracing a sense of humour in written captions and not being afraid to talk about challenges and share stories of humble beginnings. Slotting in a few posts designed to simply entertain or provide personal value to viewers will strengthen your relationship with those engaging with your page.
#4 Engage With Your Hashtags
It’s great practice to regularly interact with other user content associated with the same hashtags you include, to create a sense of community and to connect with other like-minded individuals who are inclined to relate to and endorse your brand. If you’re delving into the same content themes, the chances are that you share common goals and are both striving to showcase the very best of your industry.
Tracking the performance of your featured hashtags is a crucial step towards maximising engagement. To ensure your hashtags are contributing a sufficient number of post impressions and therefore placing your content in front of new potential followers, assess the hashtag analytics natively in the Instagram app, tapping onto an individual post and then into your Insights. Scroll down to the Discovery section and look out for the ‘Impressions from hashtags’. If you have access to a social media management platform, your hashtag analytics should provide an in-depth breakdown of how each is performing with regards to impressions, reach, likes and comments.
#5 Add Location To Your Posts
There’s mounting evidence to show that geographical tagging increases both reach and user interaction, with Social Media Today noting that posts that include a location achieve a whopping 79% more engagement than those without. Working in a similar way to hashtags, location tags have the power to significantly increase brand awareness among your target audiences. By placing tagged images and videos into location-based Explore and Story feeds, the location feature serves as an easily discoverable content gallery housing all media geotagged to one particular place. As locations can also be tagged by other users, you’re able to easily monitor customer activity for social listening purposes, and also gain social proof of your business.
Source: Social Media Today
Written by Saskia Gunewardena