At BLKRN, we believe that in the ever-evolving age of the Internet, no creative endeavor should go unnoticed. The Creator's Guidebook is a column for aspiring online creators, featuring useful tips and industry trends pertaining to how you can better build awareness and grow your brand strategically to achieve your goals in a connected, digital economy.
In this post, I've rounded up a few tips to help boost engagement and grow your audience on Instagram, be it your personal brand or a business account. The following tips don't require any money, just time time and effort, and you can get started with them right away.
1. Switch to Instagram for Business
This one goes without saying. If you want access to your account stats, you must first switch to an Instagram for Business. If you already have a Facebook page, the switch takes a matter of seconds. Once you switch, it will ask you which Facebook page you'd like to connect to, and, voila, you're done. If you don't already have a Facebook page, making one is easy. You will have to post on it periodically to keep it active, however, even if your sole purpose is to use it for Instagram. You can switch back to a personal account at anytime. Give it a try if you haven't already.
Bonus tip: be sure your Facebook category fits the content of your Instagram profile (e.g., if you have a Facebook page for a cake shop, don't link to your Insta page about kittens, though both are highly favorable by the online community). Whatever the category is for your Facebook page is what will be displayed in your bio once switched to a business account.
2. Drop Some Vids or Try a Slideshow
Is every post on your page a single image? If the answer is yes, it may be a good idea to give your followers some new content by posting a video or slideshow gallery. Both of these content types hold attention longer than the amount of time it takes to double tap a single image and move on. With video, you can upload up to 60 seconds of footage. Alternatively, you could experiment with Instagram's new slideshow feature. Announced earlier in the year, slideshows allow users to upload up to ten photos/videos per post. The contents of your gallery should come together to tell a bigger story, so it's important to make everything flow. To better achieve this, you can edit each gallery item individually. It may take a while for you to figure out what works best for you. Just keep fiddling with it until you find something you're proud of.
Bonus tip: even beyond slideshows, the contents of your page should flow. Try to have a consistent editing style or content theme. This while help your audience understand what you are about as a brand.
3. Go Live & Post Stories
People want to know what goes on BTS (behind the scenes, for the not-so-hip). Going live and using stories allow users to follow the day-to-day grind, and they can be especially useful in covering large events. It gives your followers the option the connect more if they so choose, without being bombarded with excessive posts pertaining to overlapping news. If you don't think your business has enough going on internally to hold the interests of your followers, consider outsourcing or doing an Instagram takeover, where someone else runs your account for a day. Stories and Live coverage are great ways to raise awareness and establish an affinity towards your brand.
4. Hashtags Work, But Don't Overdo It
Some are afraid to use hashtags because they think it will make them look disingenuous. Not only is that a silly way of thinking, you could seriously be doing a huge disservice to your brand. People who use carefully selected hashtags without a doubt see higher performance. In fact, using just one hashtag can boost performance up to 12.6%. You can use up to 30 hashtags per post, but chose wisely. Make sure you've browsed through the content associated with your hashtags. You can search within the app for keywords, then view related hashtags based on the words you searched for. What I like to do is go through the top posts for a given hashtag, then I'll look at all the other hashtags that user decided to use, selecting ones that are directly relevant to my page. Oh, and if you are going to use more than a couple hashtags, be sure to post them as a comment to reduce clutter on your post.
Bonus tip: curate several lists of hashtags in a note-taking app. I use Google Keep (I wrote about it in another post here). Organize them by category or popularity. This makes using hashtags less of a hassle, as you can can simply copy and paste when you are ready to post. Be sure to update this prepared list of hashtags every few weeks. Hashtags vary in popularity over time.
5. Get Social
"There are enough shallow comments in the world. Don't contribute to them."
If you want people to be liking and commenting on your posts, it's only right you do the same to others. It's just how the universe works. Make sure you're actively following new people, liking posts, and leaving genuine comments. What do I mean by genuine? Not posting a medley of heart-eyed emojis. If you run a fashion page, comment on some of your followers' styles, for example. There are enough shallow comments in the world. Don't contribute to them.
6. Just Keep Swimmin' (And Keep Posting)
No matter what you do, don't give up. There are over 500 million active monthly users on Instagram. There is an audience for every good idea. Be sure to stay focused on your goals and surely you will achieve them. Remember, consistency is key. The more consistent you are, the better the odds are of success. For that reason, don't be afraid to post multiple times a day. As long as your content is timely and interesting, people will want to engage.
No matter what you hope to achieve, be it you want to achieve influencer status or simply boost your per-post engagement, I hope you found this article useful. Let me know what worked and what didn't, and, of course, don't forget to subscribe.
Catch you on the next post,