Instagram marketing does not stop at creating great content. When Instagram updated their algorithm, users saw a decrease in engagement.
You need to combat this downturn! In 2018, growing a community and actively engaging are equally as important.
But with so many brands on the platform, how will you stand out?
New Features Changed The Game of Instagram Engagement
It’s not always about the number of followers. More often, it’s about how your audience is involved with your brand’s content.
In the past, IG engagement is limited to likes and comments. But with the evolving features, including Instagram Stories, engagement in the platform changed as well. It now includes:
- Views on video posts, Stories, and Highlights
- Number of shares
- Swipe ups
- Direct messages
It’s time to up your game and improve your engagement rate. Think about how you can improve your entire account- not just individual posts.
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Thank you to the half a million people who, over the past 2 years, trekked up 6 floors to experience Glossier IRL ✨ We're so excited for you to come through the doors of our new multi-story flagship at 123 Lafayette. For now, share your favorite memory from the Showroom 👇
Are you struggling to get more likes, comments, or views?
You’re not alone. According to Alex Tooby, an Instagram marketing expert, engagement rate has dropped to around 1-2 percent. Bigger accounts can expect even lower rates.
So how do you combat this downturn?
Some users turn to bots while others use strategic hashtags. However, pro Instagrammers use a hack called Instagram engagement groups.
What Are Instagram Engagement Groups?
Also known as Instagram pods. These groups usually have 10-15 members. They could be Instagrammers, bloggers, or businesses who have a similar target audience.
They communicate through Instagram DM’s or through a third-party platform. When a member publishes new content, they’ll share it with the group. The other members will either like or leave a genuine comment or do both.
It is important to note that members are encouraged not to leave spammy comments.
How do you become part of an Instagram pod?
You can request to be a part of a private group chat. Members can also invite other users to join. If you already have a team in mind, you can create a pod.
Remember that each group has their own set of rules. For instances, some pods are comment only while others like and comment on each other’s content.
Tip #1: You can find engagement pods through various IG-themed FB groups.
As soon as you ping a new content in your group chat, members will start liking, viewing, and commenting. High initial engagement will boost your content up in the feed.
Tip #2: Give as much as you receive. This means being a part of Instagram engagement groups take commitment. And a lot of work!
Being part of Instagram engagement groups can be overwhelming. Imagine being a part of a 14-member pod and each member post multiple times a day. So make sure that you can keep up with the responsibility.
Are there other hacks aside from Instagram engagement groups?
Easy Ways To Drive Instagram Engagement In Your Account
There’s a wide variety of challenges that affect engagement rates. One of which is Instagram’s new algorithm. However, proactive marketers are exploring hacks to overcome these setbacks.
Switch to an Instagram Business Profile
Instagram is a visual platform. But simply posting photos is not enough to drive engagement to your account.
Fully utilize Instagram’s features. Make use of carousel posts! Or ask questions in your Stories.
Another trick to increase Instagram engagement is to switch to a business profile. You’ll have access to exclusive features and powerful analytics.
Why is analytics important?
- You’ll understand your followers better.
- Know what content they like
- It’ll help you create more engaging posts.
What are the features exclusive to an Instagram business profile?
- Links in Stories: This is available for accounts with over 10K followers. You can drive traffic to your website with the “Swipe Up” feature.
- Shoppable posts: You can tag products in your content. This makes shopping easy for your followers.
- Schedule posts: Automatically post content by scheduling them. Time saver!
- Boosted Posts and Ads: You have the option to boost content. Additionally, you can also run ads to reach more audience.
- Instagram insights: As previously mentioned, you’ll have access to powerful analytics.
Use Hashtags To Your Advantage
Instagram hashtags are powerful tools. They help you reach your target audience and grow your account.
Typically, you must use hashtags that are relevant to your brand or product. Take Go Pro as an example. They use a branded hashtag which boosts their promotions and marketing campaigns.
Tip: Always perform a hashtag inventory. Make sure that none of the tags you use are currently banned by Instagram.
How to check if a hashtag is banned? Simply search for it. If it shows only the first nine posts, there’s a huge chance that the tag was banned.
Will hashtags really improve Instagram engagement?
Using relevant hashtags can get you into the “Top Posts”. For instance, you searched for a tag. The first nine posts at the top of the results page are the most popular content with that hashtag.
The succeeding posts are shown in chronological order. So, getting into the Top Post will help improve brand awareness. However, you need to take these factors into consideration:
- The engagement rate of your content
- The popularity of the hashtag
- How quickly users engaged with your post
To fully utilize hashtags to your advantage, you need to improve these factors as well.
Strategically Schedule Your Posts
Post content when your audience is online. Doing so will increase the chances of driving engagement on that post. The likes, comments, or views will bump your post higher up on your followers’ feed.
It’s like a cycle: higher Instagram engagement means more visibility which leads to higher engagement and so on. It all starts the moment you post content on Instagram.
To learn about your followers’ habits, use the Insights feature.
- You must have an Instagram business account.
- Tap the three horizontal lines
- Tap Insights
Use this information to schedule your content accordingly. This will increase the likelihood that your posts will appear at the top of their feed.
Tip #1: Instagram’s algorithm not only cares about engagement rate. It also considers how quickly your post gets engagement.
With that said, scheduling Instagram posts is essential in your strategy. Thankfully, there are free tools you can use to automatically post content. No need to set the alarm!
Note: Instagram is a visual platform. Focus on quality, not quantity. Over-posting might damage your engagement rate. Your followers will be disinterested if they think you’re spamming their feed.
Tip #2: If your engagement is lower when you post more than once a day, switch things up! Limit yourself to posting one captivating content a day.
Post More Instagram Stories
Think beyond likes and comments. With the growing features of Instagram, you must also focus on views!
Since its introduction, Instagram Stories has become a trend. This feature is not only fun. It’s also a powerful tool for boosting brand recall and awareness. It’s also a great way to introduce branded hashtags.
Build an engaged community by consistently posting on Instagram Stories. In doing so, your audience will continue to expect content from you.
Additionally, there are tons of features on IG Stories.
- Swipe up links
These features will get your followers invested in your content. Stories is a free, easy hack to increase Instagram engagement. In 2018, users spend more time watching Stories than liking or commenting.
Add a Call-To-Action to Your New Instagram Posts
Encouraging your audience to do something will boost your Instagram engagement. Adding a CTA in your posts is essential.
Here’s an example: When you post new content, add a teaser caption. Ask followers to check the link in your bio to know more about it.
Look at how Jess used a simple call to action in this post. Her approach is very personal that you can’t help but check her Stories!
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“In a world where you can be anything – be kind.” // I am SO excited to share with you the Kindness Collection from @harperandwillow ☺️💛🌿 kindness is something that means so much to me, so this collection is super close to my heart. i hope you guys love it as much as i do 💛 check my stories for all the products ☺️
It’s an excellent strategy. One, it drives engagement. Two, it reminds her audience to always check her Stories for new content.
Creating a CTA is easy. Simply ask your followers to do something after reading your caption or viewing a video. You can ask them to:
- Tag someone in the comment section. This is particularly helpful in giveaways.
- Swipe up to read more. This is very handy in Stories.
- Visit the link in your bio.
- Tell you what they think of your new product through the comment section.
- Tell you what they’re up to for the weekend. This is a friendly, personal approach, perfect for building rapport with your audience.
Host a Giveaway Contest
Joining Instagram engagement groups, using hashtags, and adding CTAs can boost your engagement rate.
But there’s another hack you can use. You can host a contest in your account. This will help you gain new followers in a short span of time.
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🇺🇸 🔴🔴CLOSED🔴🔴🌟 50K GIVEAWAY 🌟 We recently hit 50k followers here on @Planwithady… and that’s incredible! I love sharing my pictures and videos with you all and every single like, every single comment put a smile on my face. So thank you! Thank you so much! And what better way to celebrate than a giveaway!? . For this giveaway, I wanted something special and original! So I had this idea of a « This or That » giveaway! There are a total of 6 items to win! For each item, the winner will have the choice between two products! . TO WIN – A notebook (A Leuchtturm OR a Dingbats) – Black fineliners (Tombow Mono Drawing Pens OR Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen) – Color pens (Tombow Fudenosuke OR Stabilo Point 88 Mini) – Highlighters (Stabilo Boss OR Zebra Mildliners) – Sticky notes (Memo Me OR Guestbook) – Washi tape (Gold OR marble) ▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️▫️ #bulletjournal #bulletjournalfr #giveaway #concours #papeterie #stationery #stationerygiveaway #bujogiveaway #bulletjournalgiveaway
One way of hosting a successful Instagram contest is to partner with an influencer. This will widen your reach and promote your brand.
- Look for an influencer that best represents your brand.
- Organize a giveaway that lasts at least 3-5 days.
- Add reasonable mechanics. For example, participants must follow your account, or like and comment on a post, or tag a friend.
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GIVEAWAY CLOSED WINNERS: @elisa_baumgartner @gogirose @sandy_aleman91 @alessandra_ops @elikrumova ______________ ❤️ 5 WINNERS ❤️ INTERNATIONAL ❤️ . To enter the giveaway : 1. Like this post and tag 2 friends 2. Follow @Denitslava on Instagram and subscribe to my Youtube channel – Denitslava Makeup 3. Follow @byterryofficial . ——– – Giveaway ends on October 1st. . – Open INTERNATIONAL – 5 winners – Winner will be notified by a direct message and mentioned in the caption of this post – Prize includes : ByTerry Brightening CC serum,ByTerry Terrybly mascara,ByTerry Rouge-Expert lipstick in shade 17,ByTerry Baume De Rose,ByTerry Hyaluronic Hydra-powder,ByTerry Eye Designer palette in Smoky Nude,ByTerry Ligne Blackstar Liner,ByTerry Ombre Blackstar in Black Pearl and Bubble Glow,ByTerry Nude-Expert Duo Stick foundation – suitable shade will be picked for every winner. – Make sure you followed all the steps correctly! . . 💖 GOOD LUCK EVERYONE! 💖🤗 . . This giveaway is not sponsored by Instagram,Inc. #giveaway #makeup #makeupvideos#makeuptutorial #byterry #denitslava
Most importantly, reward winners with appealing prizes!
These hacks can definitely boost your Instagram engagement.
But to be successful in this visual platform, you need interaction. This means you need to like and comment on other people’s post as well. More importantly, respond to your followers.
Take time to start conversations on posts – not just your own. Build an engaged community by giving as much as – if not more- than you receive.