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How to create an Instagram post that gets engagement

How to create an Instagram post that gets engagement

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Instagram influencers – the bright, the beautiful and almost always viral – they make it look so easy. Then there are the big-name brands in your industry. Day by day their followers, likes, shares, and comments grow. They too can make us wonder what it takes to be worthy of clicks and comments.

Instagram isn’t easy.

The smart Insta algorithm coupled with what can be hundreds or thousands of creative competitors can make it feel downright impossible to grab attention. Which is exactly why you need to read this Insta 2019 cheat sheet. Here are seven powerful tactics for improving your Instagram engagement.

Tip #1 – Boost your Instagram Engagement with Stories Stickers

No longer must you focus on likes and comments alone. Now Instagram engagement also extends to your brand hashtag, IGTV views, and more.

It’s true to say that more Insta users are following more and more accounts (and as they do so, your organic reach is going down, and down). In direct contrast, are stories which are only growing and growing day by day (a staggering 400 million people post or watch stories every, single, day).

Given that stories are such a big hit on the platform, Instagram has switched up the ways in which users can engage with stories – introducing stickers as of December 2016.

Insta Stories Stickers hand you plenty of new ways in which to engage with your audience, including:

  • The Question sticker – This sticker allows for your followers to ask you questions, which is the perfect opportunity to educate them about your product or service while building real one-to-one connections in the process. On the flipside, this sticker can also be used for you to ask questions of your audience, such as requesting their opinion on your product prototype or going informal with chatty conversation.
  • Poll and Vote stickers – Poll and vote stickers are the fastest and most effective way of getting feedback from your followers.
  • Hashtag stickers – Which add a clickable hashtag to your story. This can increase your user reach and allow you to promote branded hashtags. When a user clicks through, they’ll land on your hashtag’s feed.

Other story stickers that can help your engagement efforts include:

  • mention stickers
  • location stickers
  • product stickers (available through the shopping on Instagram integration)
  • music stickers
  • emoji slider stickers and
  • GIF stickers

Tip #2 – It’s great to talk (when you have something worth saying)

There are several ways Instagram weighs up your post in terms of where it should rank – one of the most important of which is how much time your audience spends looking at it.

Clearly, one of the seemingly simplest ways of boosting the average time spent on your post is to create an extra-long description. Instagram allows for captions that are up to 2,200 characters long, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that Instagram actively encourages long-form posts.

Only it’s not that simple.

Because what you say matters – if it isn’t meaningful and is instead full of fluff, your extra-long captions could damage your brand – so they MUST be genuinely interesting to secure engagement.

Pro Tip: Make good use of emojis. Emojis in a tweet can increase engagement by 25.4 percent, and emojis in a Facebook post can increase the number of likes by 57 percent and comments by 33 percent.

Just don’t go overboard. Like this post 👇🏼

How to create an Instagram post that gets engagement
Don’t go overboard with emojis!

Tip #3 – Get to know the best times and days to post

One of the most overlooked Instagram engagement rules is to make sure you’re posting when your audience is online and consuming content.

Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules as to when people are around – every industry and business is different. So figuring out the best time and day to post is a little like a long game of guess work.

Crunch your numbers over the course of a couple of months using your Instagram analytics – on the audience tab you’ll be able to clearly see when your audience are most active.

Pro Tip: Instagram scheduling can save you HEAPS of time once you’ve worked out your days and times. There are tens of different Instagram scheduling platforms (for a great starting point, read this blog: Which Instagram Scheduling Tool is Right For You?

Once you find a scheduler that’s fits your needs, the time you save can then be spent on creating better content.

Tip #4 – Get strategic with your hashtags

The WORST thing you can do is to overload your audience with hashtags with no real plan in place.

The golden rule of Insta is this – If you want to increase your engagement, understanding which hashtags are driving people to your posts is critical.

So sit down and sort your hashtags. Create lists of categories – such as the different topics or products you cover.

For example, if your audience consists of SME owners, you might have the following categories:

  • Networking
  • Women in business
  • Getting funding
  • Leadership

By doing this and paying attention to what topics gain the most traction, you can adapt your content strategy to create more of what gets people liking, commenting and sharing, and less of the hashtags that don’t pull in people as you’d like.

Tip #5 – Get Instagram Influencers on board

Far from being the sole remit of future stars who are soon set to appear on Love Island, Instagram Influencers can be found in almost every industry.

Collaborating with influencers provides you with both credibility and an untapped audience. Just make sure that the person or company you choose aligns perfectly with your audience. Get it wrong, and you could find yourself in a similar position to Pepsi when they partnered with Kendall Jenner, or when Oprah Winfrey was commissioned by Microsoft to shout about the Surface… but her Tweet clearly showed that it had been posted from an iPad.

How to create an Instagram post that gets engagement
Pepsi’s campaign featuring Kendall Jenner
How to create an Instagram post that gets engagement
Microsoft’s campaign with Oprah Winfrey

Tip #6 – Give it up for GIFs

GIFs were once a thing of nightmare 1990’s internet. Now, their comeback is undeniable.

They’re often more interesting than static photos, shared more than either JPEG or PNG formats – and are incredibly time and cost effective when compared to producing video. Seriously, what’s not to love?

Better yet, the Boomerang format on Instagram makes GIF light work, even for the more technologically challenged.

Tip #7 – Go all in for user created content

You already know that social content shouldn’t be ALL about your products or services directly. Instead, it should connect with your audience’s pain points, interests, cares and concerns. And what better way to make your content about your users than by involving your users’ own images?

This is a strategy that can and does pay off big time when you get it right. Like Virgin, which boosted sales by a cool 260% through their ‘Seize the Holiday’ campaign.

Use your customers' images on Instagram
Virgin’s ‘Seize the Holiday’ campaign

That’s it – my seven essential Instagram engagement tips, done. I just want to leave you with a final thought – throughout every step and with each Instagram action undertaken, be sure to track, track, track. All too many small businesses go in guns blazin’ for a month or two but receive little in the way of engagement. Let me tell you – this is often normal. You must get to know what your audience tap and comment on. Gradually learning about them in this way will, eventually, lead you to creating killer content that they can’t get enough of.

And if you’re worried about the number of followers you have, don’t. Read this post about how I learned to let that go, as well as other lessons I’ve learned.

If you like the tips you read in this blog post, why not sign up to receive my weekly newsletter? You’ll get the latest marketing tips straight to your inbox and can start implementing them right away.

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