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!