Instagram Engagement Strategies for Business

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Hand holding a mobile phone with Instagram splash screen - Instagram Engagement Strategies
Christine Lee
Christine Lee
November 14, 2020
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Social

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If you see other accounts getting more followers than you and your competitors always have more engagement, then it's probably time to look into Instagram engagement strategies. Beyond the number of likes per post, brands need to dig deeper into social media performance metrics to see true growth and sales.

For those businesses who are ready to get ahead on Instagram, this guide offers you some simple tips to follow to create a new strategy and measure your results for success.

Tips for Amazing Instagram Engagement Strategies

Woman using social media

How we use Instagram has certainly changed in just a few years. While people used to be able to see the number of likes on every post, Instagram has made simple shows of engagement harder and harder to see. Brands on Instagram have to take charge of their marketing and implement social media engagement tactics that will work for today's mobile audience.

1. Post Content That Audiences Will Save

Anyone can like a post. Does it mean anything? Not as much as a "save." On Instagram, users can save content that they want to revisit later. They can also create folders and organize their saves by theme.

So what content is "savable?" Any content that speaks to what your audience loves could be "savable" content. Most of our research determines that it's helpful, educational, or special content that you simply don't see everywhere.

For example, many brands are using the multiple-image or carousel post style to create short, mini-blogs, and post tips that their followers can use every day.

2. Post to Your Instagram Story (Go Live!)

Mother doing livestream with her child

Brands should be getting into Instagram Stories just as much as influencers and individual users do. It's important to use this live space to post exclusive content or ask questions. You can use Instagram Stories stickers to encourage engagement, ask questions, or just express opinions in your brand voice.

Some stickers to try include:

  1. Question stickers: For example, try the AMA sticker to followers to talk to you about your products.
  2. Quiz stickers: Instagram offers a trivia-style multiple-choice question sticker, and you can track the results.
  3. Countdown stickers: For events and promotions, use these stickers to count down to something special or an announcement.

You should always work with a community manager on these posts so that any harassment is blocked and deleted while you're going live.

3. Always Work in Advance

Calendar with a lot of pins

Instagram requires some planning and preparation. There are so many new users and lots of content to filter through, so audiences have their pick of what to follow. They won't follow brands that don't have consistent, new, and visually stunning posts.

For this reason, it's best to create an editorial calendar. There are plenty of templates in Google Drive (just search 'editorial calendar Google Sheets'). These are spreadsheets that are organized into monthly calendars where you can brainstorm and suggest different ideas for posts.

Some third-party apps include editorial calendars and scheduling. It's pretty important to find these tools because they offer other engagement strategies, such as searching for mentions across all channels so you can comment and drive actions.

Here are some of the best tools for editorial planning, scheduling, and engagement:

  1. Tailwind
  2. Social Marketing
  3. Sprout Social
  4. SocialReport.com, Now Traject Social
  5. Buffer
  6. Later

We suggest trying any services with a free trial first so you can see what you like and what offers the most benefits when it comes to tools.

4. Play Around with New Content Types

You don't have to--and shouldn't--post the same type of content all the time. People get tired of single-image posts of products. Instead, you should constantly be looking at different content types and studying what your audience likes to engage with.

Some different types include:

  1. Memes
  2. Quotes
  3. User-generated content
  4. Mini-infographics
  5. Selfie-style videos
  6. Instagram Stories
  7. IGTV
  8. Weekly round-ups
  9. Behind the scenes content
  10. Product demos and tutorials
  11. "Making of" videos
  12. Contests and giveaways

For example, if you go to an influencer's Instagram within your niche, you're likely to find all kinds of posts, stemming from how-to videos to travel videos to AMAs.

5. Try to Make Casual and Fun

Four people dabbing for fun

After all of that effort and time, you may expect Instagram users to jump on it and give you the attention you deserve. In some cases, that happens, and in others, particularly if you're new and have very little followers, it may take a while to get recognition.

One of the best ways to go viral is to add elements of pop culture and humor into your posts. You may want to try using memes or look at trending topics that people are talking about within your niche.

AR filters offer quirky and fun ways to stylize your Instagram Stories feeds, but you also want to make sure that you stick to your brand's values and don't ever betray your audience by changing tone too drastically.

Seasonal posts are also easy content types that grab your followers' attention. You can instantly get a like just by remembering to schedule out exciting holiday posts in advance or even coming up with a new strategy for a holiday that means a lot to your audience.

6. Partner Up with Influencers

Infuencer using her social media

Influencers are everywhere, and we acknowledge that not all of them know how to run their pages well. You should find influencers who really communicate well and have a high engagement rate with their audiences. Even influencers with under 10,000 followers can bring attention to your brand, especially if they have thousands of likes and comments on their posts every day.

One of the best ways to partner up with major influencers is through a brand giveaway or contest. You need to be pretty clear about the rules and unless you're doing a landing page with voting or special entries, most users can apply just by commenting on the post. This equals fast and easy engagement for your brand.

7. Caption First, Image Second

This is a strategy that doesn't always work, but if you aren't sure what to post, you can come up with captions around a theme, then supply the visuals later. Captions are great places to open up about your brand, history, product beginnings, and opinions that you know your audience will appreciate.

Captions can be short or long on Instagram, but unless you have a compelling story, not many people want to read paragraphs of text about a promotional product. Instead, you should aim to be more authentic and use your brand voice to empower your audience as much as possible.

From the captions you write to the images you select, your audience is always looking to connect. So use different content types, write compelling captions, and stick to stories that will excite and empower Instagram users.

In some cases, answering questions may be the best way to

8. Hone Your Hashtag Strategy

Hands with the Hashtag sign

Many people think hashtags are just for spam, but that's not the case. Everyone uses hashtags, whether it's a single tag on a post or funny tags that add to the cleverness of the caption.

There are also a number of hashtag tools out there, but free ones like best-hashtags.com don't require any signup or email. You can simply start searching for the best hashtags related to your niche.

Hashtags should be used when relevant to your product and niche, especially when just starting out on social media. However, it's always best to partner with micro-influencers who can publish your branded hashtags and tag your products for you.

There are also ways to hide your Instagram tags.

9. Post As Often As You Like

If the internet has shown us anything is that mobile users are hungry for great content. So, for those Instagram brands that always have events, new promotions, videos, and user-generated content, it's actually imperative that you post. However, you should vary up your content types and post to different parts of Instagram.

For example, It's probably acceptable to post 3 to 5 regular Instagram posts per day, but you may want to go live to post videos or add to your story if you have other events in mind.

Many brands use Instagram Stories to post questions, opinions on trends, behind-the-scenes content, and real-time check-ins with their followers on new products or special activities. It's a great way to share exclusive, in-the-moment content.

10. Reply to Every Mention and Moderate Comments on Campaigns

Moderation is important for all business Instagram accounts. With tools like Smart Moderation, you can have an AI remove and block spam, while also deleting comments that use language blocked in your filters.

However, you don't want to delete every comment. You should be engaging as much as possible, linking to products to help customers, and always responding in your brand voice.

How Much Time Should You Spend On Instagram?

Hands holding a mobile with an Instagram post open

Although knowing how often to post on social media for business is important, keep in mind that Instagram has a steep learning curve if you've never used it before.

Businesses need to be on Instagram every day. To get ahead, brands must engage in comments and across all social channels. Setting up your social media strategy today can mean engagement tomorrow.

If you’re a small business and aren’t sure how to get started with online marketing in California, get in touch with us today!

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