This post was originally published on November 6th 2017, and was last updated on December 7th 2017.
How to Increase Instagram Engagement
Instagram has changed its algorithm, making it much harder to gain engagement on your posts.
Posts have to perform well immediately after they’re posted, to increase the chances of it being shown in other people’s feeds.
Otherwise, it won’t be as popular.
So, how do you hack the new algorithm and boost engagement? In this article, we’ll cover a couple of winning strategies.
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1. Host an Instagram Contest
One way you can easily boost Instagram engagement is to host a contest.
To get started, try to get influencers, bloggers or businesses with similar audiences—to promote your contest.
Next, reward your customers with freebies, giveaways and prizes, in exchange for tagging their friends, posting user-generated content or liking your posts.
One example of an effective Instagram contest was hosted by Mint.com, an online personal budgeting company. Their #MyMintContest encouraged users to share the things they were saving their money for, for a chance to win $1,000.
By the end of the contest, people started posting photos of their dream destinations, weddings and restaurants. The brand also learned the unique motives and interests of their target market.
By getting Instagram users to post photos of things they’re saving up for, they drew more attention to their company, and successfully increased their reach.
2. Add CTAs to Instagram Product Posts
Often, Instagrammers post irresistible OOTDs (outfit of the day), accessories and products.
This is why smart brands have included CTAs in the form of “Shop Now” buttons to direct shoppers to the retailers site, and a “tap to view” feature that gets users to view product information.
After all, what’s the point of tempting viewers with glamorous product images, if they won’t be able to buy it?
Instagram thinks the same way too! After all, users spends hours scrolling down the stylish feeds of their favorite brands like Keds and Burberry. So it’s only natural to allow users to shop straight from their favorite posts.
Here’s an example of an Instagram post with a CTA from Kate Spade:
Since users can view product information and engage with the products they want to buy, they’ll be more motivated to follow the brand and comment on posts.
They may also visit a brand’s feed regularly in order to shop. This way, you can increase engagement and simultaneously boost your sales.
Note: scheduling with product tagging isn’t support yet in Schedugram! When it is rolled out more broadly, we expect to add it in. We usually wait for these features to be globally available before supporting them, as Instagram often makes changes during the beta phase.
3. Join an Instagram Pod
Since Instagram introduced the non-chronological feed, the more likes and comments a post receives immediately after it’s posted, the better it’ll perform on the platform.
The platform believes that a high initial engagement is a sign that you’re posting engaging and high-quality content. As a result, you’ll be shown in more people’s feeds.
This new algorithm has encouraged Instagrammers to use Instagram pods to increase their initial engagement.
For starters, Instagram pods are a private group of 10 to 15 people with similar audiences.
They communicate with their members through DMs. Once a member posts on Instagram, they’ll share the post’s link to people in the group.
After that, members like the post and leave a genuine comment, which boosts the post and increases its initial engagement.
Joining an Instagram pod is easy, if you know where to look.
Maintaining membership isn’t completely easy. Some pod members post 3 to 4 times a day, which means you’ll have to clutch your phones 24/7.
On the bright side, at least it helps you hack the algorithm and get you genuine comments.
4. Post Live Videos
Live videos can be a ton of fun, but they’re also useful for increasing your engagement.
What makes these live videos special is that they disappear after you stop streaming. This means that your followers will be encouraged to tune in to the live session, because it won’t be saved for later viewing.
Take note that Instagram doesn’t notify all your followers about the livestream.
Instead, it chooses the followers you interact with the most and sends them a notification.
Once viewers opt to watch the live video, they can comment on the video and tap it repeatedly to add hearts.
These live sessions are a great way to boost your engagement with followers who love your brand.
Another benefit of posting live videos is a chance to get featured on the Explore page.
This page lets users know the live streams happening in the moment. The stories that are visible to you are based on the posts you liked, the accounts you followed or the post’s popularity.
5. Post Instagram ads
Instagram found that their platform’s sponsored ads generate 2.8x higher recall, compared to other social networks.
Consumers were also 120x more likely to engage with branded content on Instagram compared to Twitter, and 58x more likely compared to Facebook.
Users also stayed on Instagram on an average of 192 seconds, which is a lot longer compared to other social networks.
These statistics prove that paying for sponsored posts on Instagram is bound to generate higher engagement rates.
A great examples comes from Michael Kors. The brand launched their first Instagram ad for their #MKTimeless campaign. After they released the ad, they gained a whopping 40,000 new followers, which is approximately 16x more followers, than their usual unsponsored posts.
Once you decide to post an ad, you can choose the type of engagement you want. This can be in the form of page likes, offer claims and event responses.
How Will You Engage With Your Instagram Followers?
So, let’s recap what we covered today.
When it comes to increasing engagement on Instagram, the bottom-line is to keep posting.
Create product posts with CTAs. Post ads and live videos. Join an Instagram pod to increase initial engagement. When in doubt, you can always start with hosting a contest.
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About the author
Monique Danao is a freelance writer, content creator and copywriter with expertise in tech, food and digital marketing. When she’s not creating her next big article, you’ll find her enjoying funky food, listening to music and marketing startups. You may contact her through her website, or follow her on Twitter – @monique_pd.