Proactive marketers are always looking for ways to increase Instagram engagement, especially since the platform’s introduction of its algorithmic timeline. We’ve put together some tips to help you make sure your organic and paid marketing campaigns hit their mark.
1. Post Frequency
To be able to boost engagement rates and attract followers, brands need to be active on their Instagram account. Studies have found that consistently posting one to two times a day brings the best results. The key is knowing when to post especially given Instagram’s algorithmic timeline. You can use the Insights feature of your brand’s Instagram Business account to understand your followers’ Instagram habits. By identifying when your followers are most active, you can schedule your posts to appear at times where they are more likely to appear at the top of their feeds.
2. Tell a Story
It’s important to remember that Instagram is intended to be a visual inspiration platform. Posts shouldn’t be flat out marketing messages but should, instead, engage your target audience through images and videos. Use your posts and Instagram Stories to tell brand stories that will keep viewers’ attention and increase your engagement rates.
3. Take Advantage of the Instagram Video Formats
Instagram understands the popularity of online video content and offers marketers a suite of video options to use. Instagram Stories can mix videos and stills into a single ad. There are also standalone 60-second videos that are ideal for long-form features. Instagram Stories’ live video option is perfect for big reveals about new products or services.
4. Use Video Subtitles and Closed Captions
Many social media users prefer not to enable sound when viewing a video. For this reason, subtitles have become essential for marketers as they enable core messaging to be delivered on the screen next to the visuals. Not to mention that Facebook found that captioning videos increases average video view times by 12%. Auto-captioning is also offered but be sure to check captioning for errors.) Or, if you prefer, you can create your own dedicated captioning file.
5. Utilize Instagram’s Video Ad Formats
The platform offers three key video formats to create Instagram ads. The single video ads let you create up to 60-second commercials. The carousel ads provide more room for messaging by enabling followers to swipe for additional images or videos. Instagram Stories lets you splice together images and videos into a vertical full-screen format to create visually engaging ads.
6. Try a GIF
Research shows that more people will watch to the end of a video that is 15 seconds or less. GIFs offer an option in-between stagnant photos and longer videos. All marketing professionals should learn how to create and post a GIF given they are more cost and time effective than producing videos.
7. Hashtag Strategy
There are differing views on hashtag strategies but all parties agree that well-selected hashtags can make all the difference in the success or failure of your posts. Use a mix of trending hashtags and those specific to your industry. To help decide how many hashtags to use for your brand, research how many hashtags your competitors and sector influencers typically use and then experiment with different numbers until you find regular success.
8. Increase Traffic from Your Instagram Account to Your Website
Instagram lets you have a single clickable link in your bio. Maximize the potential of that opportunity by encouraging your followers to click through to your website. You can combine your site URL with compelling calls to action. You can also take advantage of Instagram’s ad formats that offer a call-to-action button that followers can click on to take them to your website.
9. SEO Strategy
Instagram is an increasingly competitive platform and a strong SEO strategy will help increase your success. Two key areas that affect SEO are your account handle, the ‘@’ name that you register with, and your account name that appears under your profile picture. Both your handle and name should clearly reflect your industry or niche.
10. Partner with an Influencer
Partner with an Instagram influencer to help build brand authenticity. Influencer marketing has become increasingly significant as it allows marketers to interact with key thought leaders in their industry and push out their brand messaging to a wider audience. The key is to make sure that your influencer is given the tools, resources, and guidance he needs to effectively complete his role on the campaign.
11. Convert Instagram followers into email subscribers
Email is an excellent channel for building strong customer relationships. Convert your Instagram followers into email subscribers by first, creating a clickable incentive in your Instagram posts. Depending on your target audience, you may want to consider offering a prize, free content, or a discount. Then, once the audience clicks through, make sure they end up on a landing page with a strong call to action that is linked to an email submission form. From there, you can build your mailing list to begin developing more impactful relationships with your followers.
12. Focus on user-generated content
Posting content that has been created and approved by your audience is an approach that brands across different industries have found much success with. User-generated content on Instagram provides an opportunity for followers to involve themselves with a brand while reducing marketing costs for the brand. You can invite followers to share their photos and videos using your branded hashtag and then collect and use the best images. You’ll certainly want to be clear about how you will use followers’ content if you include this strategy.
13. Unlock the potential of Instagram Stories
Over 300 million people use Instagram Stories every day and one-third of the most viewed Instagram stories actually come from businesses. Stories can help increase your engagement rates which will increase your chances of appearing in the Explore section which, in turn, will help you gain new followers. Instagram Stories lets you create a single post of mixed photos and images to show more information about a product or service or share a behind the scenes brand story.
14. Use Emojis
Emojis cannot only help to express emotions, but they are also searchable and can be a powerful part of your Instagram strategy. That being said, some brands may not feel that any emoji use is appropriate for communicating their content. Should you decide that emojis are right for your organization, you can use them to capture your brand personality without making it look too informal. Do be sure to fully understand the meaning of any emojis you use to make sure they are, indeed, appropriate.
15. Use Other Social Platforms to Promote your Instagram Channel
Utilize Instagram’s auto-post and cross-promotional tools to instantly post from Instagram to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and more. This helps bring your followers together from across the different social networks on which you feature your brand. That being said, don’t cross-promote all your Instagram posts because you risk ‘cannibalizing’ your content. That will negate the need for followers to visit your Instagram account in the first place.
16. Include a Compelling Call to Action (CTA)
CTAs can be used to in images or caption copy. That being said, the most direct way to increase interaction rates and push followers in a certain direction is to make use of the official CTA buttons that Instagram makes available to businesses. These CTAs display below your posts and are great for capturing your followers’ attention and encouraging them to complete the desired action.
Most importantly, track the performance of your content and learn from your best-performing Instagram posts. Through patient and consistent monitoring, you can develop best practices for your specific brand. Your Instagram profile is like your business. It should be constantly evolving to increase your followers and their engagement with your brand.
The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing have worked with brands of all sizes and across all industries. We can help you make the most of your social media efforts through a tailored marketing plan, content creation, social media management, and more. Whatever your social media needs are, SDM is ready for the challenge. Contact us today to get started!