Instagram uses an ever-evolving algorithm to determine how your posts appear in someone’s feed. Relevancy, relationship, and predicted interest all help determine who sees your content and where it appears in their feed.
However, above and beyond that, the Instagram algorithm seems to really, really favor engagement. If you have good engagement, Instagram will try to show your posts to more people and give you greater organic reach. For example, a post with good engagement might appear on their Explore page and in the Top 9 posts of their Hashtag and Location pages. They might even select your posts to be shown in people’s home feeds (with the new Follow Hashtag feature).
So how can you drive more engagement? Here are 10 strategies, tips and tricks that you can use to increase your organic Instagram engagement.
1. POST QUALITY CONTENT
This is Job 1....We don’t care how many other Instagram tips and tricks you use, if you don’t post quality content to your feed, Nothing. Else. Will. Work. You have milliseconds to capture your audience’s attention as they scroll, so post something that will get their attention.
Quality content could be any of the following:
The bottom line: it needs to look good or catch their attention, or people will scroll on by.
2. USE THE RIGHT HASHTAGS
Hashtags can help people find your account, and they help you become part of a virtual community. They also let Instagram know how to categorize your post or image, so they can show them to other people who might be interested in your content.
You should use all 30 hashtags that Instagram allows you. Make sure they are relevant to your post or image, your audience, and your brand. The more hashtags you use the more you increase your chances to be seen by more people.
3. POST WHEN YOUR FOLLOWERS ARE ON INSTAGRAM
This might seem like common sense but you're likely to get the best engagement when your followers are using the platform! But how do you know the best day and time to post? If you have a business profile, you can use Insights to know your best time to post. We also recommend that you be active on Instagram for 30 minutes before you post and at least an hour after you post – when people see you online they are more likely to engage with you.
4. KNOW YOUR TOP PERFORMING CONTENT
Your best performing posts are those that get the most engagement. To understand what content is performing best for you, analyze the posts and Stories that have the best engagement. What types of posts were they - photos, videos, carousels? What photos, colors, captions and hashtags performed the best? Do more of that. Once you find your top posts, use the Archive feature to retire the top performing content from your feed after awhile, and re-purpose it again later!
5. POST CONSISTENTLY
Consistency is key on Instagram. You need to post on a regular basis because:
6. ASK A QUESTION IN YOUR CAPTION
One strategy to drive engagement with your posts and also get to know your followers better is to ask a question in your caption. You can ask questions about:
7. REPLY TO COMMENTS
If someone comments on your post, make an effort to reply with a thoughtful response, not just an emoji or a "thanks". Not only is it polite - after all, they made an effort to engage with you - but Instagram also rewards your reply in its engagement calculations! If you have a heavily commented post or a lot of followers, try to reply to as many comments as possible. If appropriate, look at your followers' posts and comment on them as well. (And remember, Instagram won't count comments or replies with fewer than 4 word - and, no, emojis don't count - in engagement calculations.)
8. MAKE FRIENDS, NOT FOLLOWERS
Take your time to find and cultivate an authentic following. You can do this by finding people who have the same interests as you and would be genuinely interested in your business or brand. Support each other whenever one person is posting (turn on your post notifications to know when they post), and engage with them to continue to increase your circle of friends and followers on Instagram. You can also use the Follow Hashtag feature for hashtags that align to your brand and connect with an ever-growing audience.
9. LOOK AT WHO IS FOLLOWING YOU
Look at your Instagram Activity page to see who likes and follows you. Chances are, they follow you because they like you’re sharing – and you might like what they’re sharing too. Take a look at their account, and if you like what they’re doing, follow them back. Start an authentic conversation by leaving a comment or sending them a DM telling them you’re glad you found their account and to thank them for following you.
10. ASK PEOPLE TO TAG THEIR FRIENDS
To gain visibility to a new audience, ask people to tag their:
11. USE INSTA STORIES TO PROMOTE YOUR POST AS SOON AS YOU SHARE IT
A lot of people do this and there’s a good reason for it. By posting on Stories, you can increase the engagement with your post immediately. When you have good engagement with your post on Instagram (within the first hour) it signals to Instagram that your content is good. And if it is good, Instagram will try to show it to even more people.
Your followers are watching your Insta Stories, so let them know when you have a new post. Use your Insta Story to give them a sneak peek, or ask a question related to your new post to drive engagement:
BONUS OFFER: Join us for our FREE 14-day IG challenge!
Want to give these a whirl and see what they do for you? Starting on Feb 5, 2019, we'll be sharing all the best IG tips and tricks to help you build your following, drive engagement, and get to know some of the latest IG features that you may not be taking advantage of to help boost your reach organically.
Sign up HERE now for all the details direct to your inbox, with the link to the Facebook Group and everything you need to know to get started!
And as always, if you have questions, please reach out to us - we’re here to help you think like a smart marketer, so your business can succeed!
We were recently asked this question by one of our clients and thought we’d share our findings and thinking behind this with you too - because sharing is caring!
But first, we want to take a quick moment to make sure you understand how posting frequency affects follower growth and engagement rate. In 2017, Tailwind conducted a study of over 100,000 Instagram posts and found that the more often you post, the more likes and followers you get.
Here’s the impact of posting more:
You can almost double your follower growth rate by moving from less than one post per week to 1-6 posts a week. You can more than double your follower growth rate again by moving from posting 1-6 times per week to once or more per day.
Social media is a terrific way to promote your brand and what makes it even more terrific is that it’s $FREE.99! Increasing your followers should always be a part of your overall goal when managing your social media accounts. -Having a larger audience leads to increased brand recognition, improved customer loyalty, more opportunities to convert your following into paying customers. Cha-ching!
Few other marketing mediums can make such claims but as any social media expert will tell you, there’s no point wasting time and energy sending out content if you don’t have an audience. That said, let’s get back to the question that is top of mind here.
So, you want to know often should you post on Instagram?
You probably already heard about the infamous Instagram algorithm and how it has changed all user’s organic reach a ton in recent years. Because of this change, freshness and genuine engagement with your followers more important than ever. If you are wanting to grow your following, it’s important to put yourself out there frequently and consistently. You won’t gain new followers if you only show up here and there. Posting frequently and consistently with valuable content will keep your loyal audience yearning for more and keep your brand on the forefront.
Studies have shown that major brands post on average of 1.5 times per day. Therefore, it’s recommended that you should aim to post on Instagram between one to three times per day. -But, we will warn you - while this is a general rule of thumb, before you start posting like crazy, posting multiple times a day may not be the best plan for you.
If you start by posting multiple times a day, and then slowly trail off to just a couple of posts per week, you will likely see your rate of user engagement decline. So, while it is best to post often, it is also important to be able to keep up with a consistent amount of posts. If you cannot commit to being able to multiple postings in a day, then it is better to do less and stay consistent. In other words, the best amount of posts for your account is the number that you can actually keep up with consistently.
Another rule of thumb that we think is super important to follow is that of “quality over quantity.” It is always, always, always better to post less often and have high quality content and photos than to post low quality content and photos frequently.
We recommend you upgrade your Instagram account to a business profile. Instagram will provide you with insights such as which posts were most popular, how many people you reached, impressions, where your followers are located and what times they view Instagram. All this information can be factored into your decision as to how often to post.
For us, our current strategy is to post 1.5 times a day 6 days a week. 1 post followed by a few Instagram Stories to help give our post of the day a boost in reach. (We’ll discuss this strategy further in a future post).
We determined this strategy by looking at our business insights and noticed that our lowest day of engagement based on our current number of followers Sunday. We also have done a little digging and found that Sunday is general is a low day of engagement on Instagram, so have opted to give ourselves a break for the day and save all our juicy content for the days that matter.
Managing your social media channels can be time-consuming and it certainly can be hard to compete with larger brands who have teams of people supporting them with large budgets to invest and play with. Find the frequency rhythm that works best for you and commit to it for even just one week and we guarantee you will see the benefits.
As always, if you have questions, please reach out to us - we’re here to help you think like a smart marketer, so your business can succeed!
2018 – it was crazy!
It’s the second week of January, but to be honest, we’re still reeling from some of the big changes that happened across the social media industry in 2018. We all know that social media will constantly change as platforms grow and evolve, bringing new trends, ideas, and rules to learn each year. In most cases, the changes aren’t sudden or unexpected (who was really surprised to see Google+ shut down?), but we want to recap the big changes that occurred in 2018 to help you understand what’s changed and what’s coming, to allow you to adapt your social media strategies accordingly. Here are our thoughts:
#1: Consumers lost confidence in Facebook
The Cambridge Analytica scandal and multiple data breaches resulted in non-stop negative press. Even Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony to Congress, didn’t do much to reassure users that Facebook was taking data privacy seriously, prompting a lot of people to find new places to hang out online.
#2: Twitter cracked down on automation
Twitter cracked down on bots and fake followers, announcing changes to its API that will effectively end automation services that let those controlling large numbers of accounts to batch tweet, follow users, retweet or like tweets. If this has been part of your plan, that's a strategy that's no longer working as Twitter cleaned up its user experience.
#3: Facebook reduced the reach of all content essentially halting most organic reach
In an effort to focus delivering meaningful conversations to users, FB made an update to its News Feed, serving up less content from Pages and more from a user’s friends and families. While this update to Facebook's News Feed algorithm doesn't completely eliminate Page content from your audience’s News Feed, it does establish different priorities for which content gets prime News Feed real estate. According to a private Facebook webinar hosted in January 2018, those priorities are: (1) content that is shared over Facebook Messenger; (2) content that is Liked or commented on; (3) content receiving multiple replies; and (4) “meaningful interactions" between users (i.e., shares and comments). PS: if you’re still not sure how to optimize your Facebook content to appear on your users’ News Feeds, stay tuned for a Kalyx Group webinar to help you figure it out coming in February!
#4: Instagram launched IGTV
Instagram went all-in on a new long-form vertical video platform to compete head-on with YouTube. IG users can now upload videos up to 1 hour in length, up from the previous 1-minute limit. IGTV is accessible from a button inside the Instagram homescreen, as well as a standalone app. Initially, IGTV was home for popular videos from big Instagram celebrities, but was quickly adopted by users/content creators of all sizes to grow and engage their audience.
#5: YouTube rolled out Stories
Stories is YouTube’s answer to rival social apps like Snapchat and Instagram — except that YouTube Stories disappear after 7 days, not 24 hours. YouTube Stories was initially available only to select YouTube creators, but in November, YouTube expanded Stories to all creators with more than 10,000 subscribers, and gave them access to the new creation tools that include the ability to decorate the videos with text, stickers, filters and more.
#6: Facebook overhauled Groups
Facebook added Watch Parties, better analytics, and badges for active users to their Groups product. Of course, because 2018 was Facebook’s annus horribilis, that was quickly followed with additional bad press around Groups and a quick roll out of policy changes allowing only administrators of groups with more than 100 members to change their group names once every 28 days. The rule is designed to prevent deception and provide transparency as it was discovered that some group owners were attracting large groups of followers on a particular issue, then changing the group name and focus to something else. In response, Facebook has begun displaying name changes to its groups, going back 2 years.
#7: LinkedIn relaunched Groups
The Microsoft-owned platform decided to overhaul its Groups product in an attempt appeal to more users. With over 500 million users, LinkedIn needed to make significant changes to revive Groups, which had seen a steady decline in use. Big changes included rolling Groups into the main LinkedIn app, after pulling the standalone app earlier in 2018. It also streamlined the service by cutting out several features, including an ability for Group administrators to pre-moderate comments; and a way to email send Group posts as emails to the whole group, while also adding in new features like threaded replies and the ability to post video and other media.
#8: Facebook launched Facebook Watch
In August, Facebook rolled out its on-demand video service worldwide following a trial run in the US. Watch is intended to compete with YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime for viewership, and Facebook will spend up to $2 billion this year to produce a wide range of original content for Watch. Watch is available on mobile, on desktop and laptop (pictured), and via Facebook’s TV apps.
#9: And then there was GDPR…
The year 2018 saw some big changes – most of them driven by customer demands around content and privacy.
so what's next?
If you're still trying to adapt your social media strategies and practices, you're not alone. Many marketers have had to adjust and reinvent their social media strategies to adapt to all the big changes that landed in 2018. And because social media is constantly evolving, more changes are on the horizon for 2019. We'll share what we see as upcoming trends for social media and what that means for you on Thursday.
Until then, have a great week and let us know what you think about the latest 2018 social media changes in the comments below.