Grow your Instagram Following (and engagement rate) with these three simple tips!
Don’t put Instagram on the backburner this summer. With a return to normalcy and a summer full of opportunities, plans and fun…this is your chance to own the social media platform by utilizing all of its features and really giving your audience a glimpse into your brand and business. As we dive head first into summer 2021, here are four things you should be leveraging to grow your engagement and following on Instagram.
- Post stories consistently. Stories are one of the best (and easiest) ways to nurture your existing audience. By posting stories frequently, you’re staying top of mind in almost a behind-the-scenes, informal kind of way. The great thing about IG stories is that they can be a little bit more casual than what you’re posting on your regular feed. Whether it’s a glimpse into your everyday life, a behind the scenes of your small business (creating or packaging products, Q+As, quick tips or polls that your audience can interact with) it’s a great way to do a little market research mixed in with some fun, casual content. Some general best practices: create dialogue with your audience (ask questions, ask what they want to see more of, poll them), space out your stories by morning, afternoon and evening if possible to stay at the top of your followers’ feed throughout the day.
- Use Reels to your advantage. While stories help boost engagement and nurture your existing audience, Instagram reels are an awesome way to get more visibility. By using Instagram’s different features, the algorithm will favor your content and show it to more people, which means ending up on the explore page for potential new followers to discover your content even if they aren’t already following (just make sure your profile is set to “public”). While IGTV is perfect for long-form videos, interviews, or other content that exceeds 1 minute, reels are short-form, easy-to-digest videos that pretty much get straight to the point. Now, this doesn’t mean dumbing down the content you post, or doing a trendy dance JUST because everyone else is doing it. If it’s in line with your brand, great! But if the typical reels you see don’t resonate with your style, leverage the feature in a way that makes sense. Whether it’s a quick tip or secret you can share, an action step they can take, there are a ton of ways to leverage this feature while providing real value for your followers (and those who are just discovering who you are!).
To optimize your profile when posting reels, be sure to add a cover photo and make it clear what your post will be about. This can be done by uploading a “cover,” which can easily be an image you create in canva or with another app of choice (no fancy photoshop skills required!). Weave in trending hashtags in the caption and use a trending sound to generate even more engagement.
- Create carousel posts. Carousels are a series of images in one post rather than one singular photo, that you can swipe through to see more. They’re super underused, and one of the easiest ways to get saves and shares on your content. Tip: likes and comments *aren’t* actually the most important factor when it comes to engagement. In fact, the IG algorithm wants you to create SAVEABLE, SHAREABLE content, and this is one of the best ways to do that! It doesn’t matter so much what content your audience is liking, but it does matter what they’re sending to friends or or saving to look at later.
Carousels can be anything from infographics (information coupled with graphics, charts, comparisons, etc.), tips, step by step “how-to” content, quotes, or really anything scroll-stopping (remember: you’ve got about 3 seconds to do that). TIP: you can use CTAs throughout your post to generate more leads and try to tell stories throughout each slide so viewers want to keep reading. If your strong suit isn’t copywriting: don’t worry. We’re hosting our next marketing masterclass on writing captions that generate more leads, make sales and establish you as an industry expert, so feel free to join us for that on June 30th (each masterclass comes with actionable plans that you can put in place immediately for the following month).
- Couple your content creation strategy with visibility. While content creation is important (your content is essentially the merchandise on the shelves of “store” in the online world), visibility is equally as important. Content nurtures your existing audience, but visibility is how you get discovered. So, how do you put yourself out there and get people curious about who you are and what you do? One of the Instagram strategies our team at The Unstoppable Entrepreneur loves is Gary Vaynerchuk’s $1.80 strategy, which is essentially identifying 10 hashtags that are relevant to your brand, business, or industry (they don’t have to be the most popular…as long as they still relate and the posts are impactful, it works!), finding the top 9 trending posts for each hashtag and leaving your .02 cents on the post. So… once you’ve got 10 relevant hashtags — if you’re a health coach, maybe it’s #fitness, #keto, or #workout, for example — you’re going to want to check out the account that posted it. Read through the post and leave a comment that adds real value (aka, not just “love this!). When you leave something meaningful, people are going to resonate and want to then check out your account to see what you’re all about. There’s an app you can integrate with your account to make the process easier, but you can also take a little bit of time out of each day, or week, to do it manually.
Above all, remember that when leveraging a new platform — or, even if you’ve been on their for awhile, but your growth feels a little stagnant — consistency is key in everything you do. Social media content creation doesn’t have to be difficult. If you can commit to staying consistent, leverage all of IG’s different features and focus on providing value above all else, you will see a boost in your engagement and following. So, weave these three IG elements into your IG strategy and watch your numbers soar this summer!