Instagram is increasingly valuable to businesses, and you will want to establish a social media presence that will allow your brand to develop and maintain relationships with audiences through engagements. Here are 7 tips for growing your Instagram followers and engagement rates.
1. Post at the right time and use your analytics
Timing is important. Ideally, you will want to post your content when most of your followers are active and online. Now, the question might be, how do you know when the ‘right’ time to post is? Try Instagram insights! To have access to this function, switch your account to a business profile first. This feature allows you to understand your target audience. You will be able to view at what timing and which days of the week are your followers most active.
Alternatively, you can try experimenting at different times to see when your follower engagement is the highest. Try posting at different timing and days and keep track of the number of likes, comments and share you are getting within that particular time frame.
It takes hard work to create content, and we would want our work to reach the largest audience possible. Try this tip out and engage with your followers at the right time and hopefully grow your following base as they start sharing your content with others in their community!
2. Be responsive
Social media has empowered consumers to be both receivers and creators on social media. Participation is one of the key characteristics embodied in social media, and businesses have to realise that consumers love to engage with brands. It is vital to establish a relationship with your followers, and one of the best ways to do this is to engage with them consistently.
Keep a lookout on when your followers or consumers mention your brand and what they are talking about. For instance, when they tag you on their Instagram story, this is an opportunity for your brand to repost it! Sharing creates opportunities to reach more people and even encourages your followers to share your content with their community.
Responsiveness can even allow you to turn a crisis into an opportunity. Timing has become more crucial than ever in this digital era where information can be shared instantaneously. In crisis management, respond to what people are talking about for your brand to quickly recover from a bad situation. You might even gain consumers’ trust and loyalty for being seen as accountable and responsible.
3. Post videos, live stories and stories
The video, live stories and stories function on Instagram, is one you really should not overlook. If you are only sticking to the grid posts, stop! Videos engage people more so than pictures, and they tend to have higher engagement rates. Consider these statistics according to Smart Insights:
⦁ 68% of viewers will watch a video till the end if it is less than 60 seconds
⦁ 84% of businesses are using social media to distribute video content
Live stories are an excellent opportunity for you to interact with your followers on a real-time basis and allows you to showcase your products in ways that posts cannot do so. For instance, if you are a fashion brand, leverage on Instagram live to try out outfits and even ask your followers for opinions on what they would like to see you in next.
Instagram stories as we know lasts for 24 hours, but you can choose to make a highlight out of them and categories them. This makes it easier for your followers to follow your content. These short stories are a great way to capture your follower’s attention and provides the platform for interaction, such as the options for polls and Q&A.
4. Use quality hashtags
Hashtags have the power to bring your content and profile to new people. However, it is essential to use relevant hashtags to reach the right target audience and avoid looking irrelevant and spammy. Use hashtags that relates to or describes your brand and are relevant to what audiences are searching.
According to Lyfe, these are the types of hashtags you can consider using for your brand
⦁ Branded hashtags: These are hashtags that are unique to your business and describes your brand identity
⦁ Trending hashtags: Check out the Instagram explore page, and it can be useful to include trending hashtags from time to time
⦁ Popular hashtags: There is a lot of competition on popular hashtags so do try to find a hashtag where the engagement is still high but not overcrowded
⦁ Location hashtags
The next question then might be how many hashtags should you use? According to Louise Myers, a study found that 11 hashtags have the best engagement rate of 79.5% interaction per 1K followers. Myers recommends using at least 11 hashtags or more to gain exposure and grow your following, but remember to keep them relevant and targeted.
5. Leverage on user-generated content
Statistics by Sproutsocial reveal that 64% of consumers want brands to connect with them. Earlier mentioned was the participative nature of social media and the desire in consumers to engage with brands. Consider these brands who leveraged on user-generated content (UGC) to grow their business.
⦁ Starbucks: launched #RedCupContest for fans to submit photos of their red coffee cups to stand a chance to win a Starbucks gift card. This generated more than 40,00 posts!
⦁ Netflix: To get people aware of new show releases, Netflix used fans’ posts about shows and movies with hashtags title to spread the word.
⦁ Aerie: Aerie pledged to donate $1 to the National Eating Disorders Association for every Instagram user that posted an unedited photo of themselves in a bathing suit with the hashtag #AerieReal. This was marketing for a social cause, and it garnered the attention of audiences.
Get creative with UGC, and we hope the brand examples above have helped inspire you. UGC has excellent potential to generate more engagement on Instagram with more comments, likes and share, and this is useful in getting your posts reached out to more people on the Instagram feed. The higher your posts engagements are, the more likely it will be found on the explore feed.
6. Run a giveaway
Holding giveaways is a great way to increase your following as it allows your followers to tag their community in the comments section and this allows for your content to reach new people through them.
Here are some things you need to take note of when you run a giveaway. When done correctly, it can be gratifying.
⦁ Have a set of rules: Know what the purpose of your giveaway is. If it is to grow followers, you can have a set of rules such as to follow your brand account, to like your post and to tag 2 friends in the comments section.
⦁ Have a deadline: Don’t run your giveaway for too long as people might forget about it. There needs to be a balance.
⦁ Have a reward: This is what incentivises people to take part, so choose one that your audiences are interested in and are likely to be enthusiastic about
A successful giveaway can significantly increase your engagement rates with higher likes, shares and comments. Besides being able to gain new followers through this giveaway, because of the higher engagement rates, your post is also more likely to be prioritised on Instagram feed and appear on the explore page. This is a simple and powerful strategy to leverage on.
7. Collaborate with Others
Grow your following by tapping onto the following base of your collaborators. Increasingly, brands are collaborating with influencers or even partnerships between brands to increase their reach of audiences. This is a good way for your brand to gain exposure when influencers or partner brands mention your business on their social media accounts.
Do be mindful of who you are collaborating with as you will want to pick a spokesperson, influencer or brand that has some essence of your brand image and identity. Pick people and brands that are relevant to your business and this will potentially allow you to reach audiences that will have an interest in what you are offering.
Instagram has become such a valued platform for businesses and brands to reach out to consumers and develop relationships with them. Whether you are a brand that is just starting out or running for years, we hope these tips will help you to increase audience engagement and grow your following base.
If you need a free consultation to grow your business properly, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today