As a member of the girlboss.com community, one of the most asked questions between bloggers, creative marketers, and influencers recently have been directly related to utilizing Instagram to boost engagement. I understand it is difficult to keep up with trends and the ever changing Instagram landscape. I am an addict when it comes to learning the latest Instagram algorithm, methods, and strategies to further growth and engagement. As GaryVee says, we should be marketing in the year we are living! Yet, most brands don’t. Below are my top 3 findings recently. Always remember to TEST TEST TEST to find out what strategies work for your brand.
1. Search Hashtags to Find Your Tribe
Instagram experts, such as Rachel Bell, have introduced a more efficient way to use hashtags other than including them within captions. Less users are searching hashtags to find relatable content, as Instagram is taking care of this for them through personalized feeds and suggested content pages. As a brand, begin searching hashtags within your niche and find your target audience(s) who may be interested in your content. After finding these individuals who fit your ideal customer profile, directly interact with them in an authentic way. This does not include copy and pasting the exact same message on each person’s latest photo. Instead, take an extra minute to learn about them and their content in order to formulate an authentic comment that will light them up. I also must mention this is not the time to push for a sale or ask them to check out your content. That is very inauthentic and an old method. Keep in mind, Instagram users can easily sniff out a brand who only has their self interest in mind. Comments must be catered to each individual and their content, rather than writing a vanilla, easy to forget message.
2. Micro Blogs to Create Deep Relationships
Amanda Bucci is the queen of long form captions to engage her community and have real conversations. Through my observation, brands who spend the time creating valuable long form captions, also known as micro blogs, have significantly more comments than brands who simply post a single sentence. Single lined captions typically are meaningless to their audience and don’t drive significant engagement. Say goodbye to meaningless emoji comments or comments less than 4 words long (PRO TIP: comments only count as engagement if they are 4 words or more!). So how do you get thought provoking responses? Storytelling is the main root of long form captions. Take your audience on a journey with you that matches your brand story. The key to this method is ensuring there is a call to action at the end of the caption. Ask your audience a question that will provoke them to respond. Craft a caption and an ask that is irresistible, where your ideal community member will think, “YES! That’s me, this is SO relatable!” or “Wow, I’d really like to be a part of that! This looks cool!” or “Thank you, this is SO helpful!”. Depending on the purpose of the micro blog, the intended feeling must resonate with your ideal audience. Mindless posting is not going to drive engagement anymore, start testing micro blogs.
3. Authentic Creative Content
Visually appealing and authentic content matters! According to Instagram Fashion Influencer, Erica Stolman, Instagram has recently been favoring content that is ‘in the moment’ rather than staged. For example, instead of an Influencer setting up a perfectly designed coffee shop environment to pose in, taking a natural photo on the way to the coffee shop may work better. Additionally, I-Phone photos are more appealing to the eye than highly edited, photographed images. But that is super old news. Anyway, authentic content is more relatable and obtainable, rather than a fantasy image that is far out of reach for your community. This is a strategy that must work within your community and industry, test it out.
4. BONUS: Shareable Content
Natalie Ellis shared in one of her recent social media content pillar webinars that creating shareable content is key to high engagement. This means creating authentic content where your ideal community member will tag friends, share posts to their stories, DM their friends about it, and comment. For example, using quotes as images that are specifically written for your target audience is an easy way to begin implementing this strategy.
Do you have any Instagram engagement tips to share? Post below!