Likes, shares and comments on your Instagram posts are among the most important signals of engagement. So obviously, who doesn’t want more!
After the implementation of new Instagram algorithm, however, more and more people are reporting less than usual engagement on their Instagram photos and videos.
From posting more frequently to joining comment pods, Instagram users and brands have tried everything to get their Instragram likes, shares and comments back on track. But the progress has been slow.
Hence, I present you with the best steps and hacks I know that can really do the trick and help you win the Instagram engagement game again in 2018.
Really Use Instagram
Instagram keeps on rolling out new features from time to time to strengthen engagement and allow both: account holders and their prospective followers to connect better.
But unfortunately, most brands take forever to include a new feature in their ongoing strategy. Some even haven’t started posting videos yet. They keep doing the stuff they have learned so far and are comfortable with.
You can make the most of any new feature only near the time of its launch. This is because when Instagram releases a new feature, very few people are using it and there is less competition.
By testing out and experimenting with new features like carousel posts, live videos, and polls earlier than others, you can make your posts stand out and get more engagement.
Since its launch, Instagram has released a lot of new features, including gifs, swipe-ups, “Type” mode and more. The type mode, for instance, allows users to share what’s on their mind with creative backgrounds and text.
There are several ways to use these new features. You can give a demo of your product with Instagram Live. You can show highlights from an event with a carousel post. You can create a poll to get audience feedback. The list goes on.
If you’re posting only photos on Instagram, you’re not doing it right. However you choose to utilize all the features provided by Instagram, make sure you do it in a way that gives value to your prospects.
Schedule Posts In Advance
Let’s face it. You can’t get engagement on your Instagram videos and photos without giving some engagement first. That means you’ll have to spend some time every day interacting with other Instagram accounts and their posts.
But with so much of your time already being spent every day on creating and publishing new videos and images on Instagram, how can you manage to participate in Instagram conversations?
Scheduling is the answer. Scheduling your videos and photos once for the entire week or month will free up your time to follow, like, share and comment on relevant Instagram accounts.
In fact, the good news is that Instagram has recently announced changes to its API to favor this method. For the first time ever, Instagram business profiles can now schedule posts to Instagram.
This means no more of last-minute captions, hashtags and hurried posts. You can take your time to think of ways to make each post the best it can be to get more Instagram likes and comments, before it gets published.
Experiment With Posting Frequency
There is a correlation between frequency of posting and overall engagement, but it’s different for each brand. There are brands that post content less frequently yet have more engagement than others who post more often, and vice versa.
But that doesn’t mean you should keep doing what you’re doing. The takeaway is that you should work on finding your optimal frequency and then stick with that for a while. Then experiment again, and so on.
If you have been posting twice a day, for example, try posting 4-5 times a day and see if you’re getting more or less engagement than before. If you have been posting 6 times a day, try reducing it to twice or thrice and note the difference. The idea is to test and figure out what’s best for you and your audience.
As always, keep in mind never to post just for the sake of posting something. Each video or photo you share with your audience should be relevant and valuable.
Switch To Business Profile
There have been rumors that Instagram business profiles get lesser engagement than individual profiles, but till date there’s no evidence to prove this.
The biggest upside of an Instagram business profile is analytics. With powerful insights to guide you, you can really understand who your target audience is and what type of content resonates the best with them. Then you can create more of the content they like and boost your engagement further.
Other than that, there are many features you get with a business profile to help get more likes and comments on your Instagram videos and photos.
- Instagram Ads: By running targeted ads and boosting your Instagram posts, you can get even more engagement from your followers and similar audience.
- Instagram Story Links: If your account has more than 10,000 followers, you can add “swipe up” links to stories, engaging with your audience and driving more traffic.
- Instagram Scheduling: As I already mentioned, you can schedule Instagram posts using a 3rd party tool, but only when you have an Instagram business profile.
- Instagram Shoppable Posts: With a business profile, you can tag specific products shown in your organic Instagram posts. This is awesome because viewers can complete their entire buying journey, from discovering the product to checking out, from Instagram app.
Switching to a business profile is easy. All you need is an active Facebook page, which you may already have for your business. Go to your Instagram account settings and select “switch to business profile.”
From there, you can connect to your Facebook page, enter some basic contact information and you’re done.
Post At The Best Times
Just scheduling your videos and other content for Instagram is not enough. You also need to make sure that they go live at times when most of your followers are online.
This is because the current Instagram algorithm takes into account how much engagement each new post gets, and how quickly a post got Instagram likes, shares and comments after getting published.
So if your posts get online at a time when most of your followers are online, they get a better chance of raking up engagement quickly. The Instagram algorithm will notice if your post got likes and comments quickly shortly after it goes live.
This conveys that the video or photo your posted is quality content. Therefore Instagram will show the post to even more followers, hence increasing engagement.
A lot of research has been done on this, but the best way to figure out the optimal times for you is through experimentation. No matter what the data says, each business and target audience is unique. So you’ll have to test posting at different times a day and see when your audience are actually online.
Use Instagram Live
According to a survey, only 22% of brands used Instagram Live in 2017, while 55% plan to do so this year. Live video is a trend that is here to stay, and the sooner you start taking advantage of it, the better.
Study after study has proven that watching a video is more engaging than reading plain text or viewing an image. You can use Instagram Live videos to run question/answer sessions, tease new products, tutorials, demos, behind the scenes of your business and more.
To get started with Instagram Live, just click on the Your Story profile photo in the app. Then slide over to the Live option with your finger.
Another benefit of Instagram Live is the Top Live section in the app. This section features videos that are trending based o views, engagement and distance from viewer’s location.
Getting your live video into the Top Live section is much easier than getting a regular post to appear on the Explore page.
Use Analytics To Create Better Content
In order to get more engagement on your Instagram posts, you need to deeply understand your audience, and share videos and photos they like.
The best way to do that is to stay updated on how your existing content is performing. If you have an Instagram business account, free analytics can be accessed through the Instagram app. All you need to do is click the bar chart icon on the top right corner in the app.
The first screen you see has high-level insights with regard to last week. You can also check details like total impressions, profile views, reach and website clicks.
With the new Instagram Insights API, you can now view reports on your Instagram performance also from 3rd party social media management tools.
When you have data on which posts are getting the most likes, shares and comments, you can use it to inform future strategy and content creation.
As Instagram continues to update its algorithm and release new features, your ability to reach and connect with your audience changes as well.
As a result, it’s vital that you keep up with these changes and experiment with new ways to get more likes, comments and shares on Instagram.
Hopefully, this guide will help you do the same. Refer to it every once in a while as I update it according to new changes in Instagram.