Often when prospective clients come to us, usually at a loss as to why their Instagram following has become stagnant, the first question we ask is, ‘are you doing any engagement work?’
The response to this is often varied – ‘what’s engagement?’ or ‘probably not as much as I should be doing!’
To tell you the truth, a beautiful looking curated feed which projects professionalism is only the first step to catching the eye of a prospective client and customer. What really pulls them in to sign up with you or to buy from you, is building trust.
One of the main ways to build this trust, is to interact with likeminded accounts. You need to build a community around your brand by developing authentic relationships with others in your industry. This is the essence of engagement work and it accounts for 70% of your follower growth and priming a genuinely interested audience to trust you enough to buy from you. At the end of the day, what’s the point in having 20K uninterested fake followers, if not one of them is going to buy from you?
So now that you understand just how important it is, how can you develop your engagement strategy so it works to its fullest potential?
Find out your audiences most active times
If you’re not already checking your Instagram insights, now is the perfect time to start! It is important to note that you can only access insights if your profile is set to a business account.
- Start by navigating to your own profile. At the top of the page, you should see the number of profile visits you’ve had in the last week. Click on this.
- You should see three tabs – Activity, Content and Audience. Navigate to the third tab which reads ‘audience’.
- Scroll down to the ‘followers’ section to see the days and time when your audience is most active.
Getting a clearer understanding of these analytics will help you to determine when you should be spending time on Instagram interacting with your audience. When they’re online, you should be online too!
Leave genuine comments + ask questions on other posts
If you’re already following other accounts whose values are aligned with your own brand – start building a friendship with them. You can do this by making a conscious effort to comment on their posts. Leave some genuine compliments, or answer the questions they may be asking within their captions. Speak from the heart here because you want to, not because you have to. We also recommend asking questions on their posts, so they can see that you’re genuinely interested in what they’re saying, and that you’d like to find out more information. Sending a few emojis and a ‘looks great’ isn’t enough to build trust. Why? Well because you look like every other bot out there who’s clearly automated and inauthentic.
Reply to comments on your own posts + ask questions to further develop conversation
Noticed there’s a particular account who keeps trying to authentically comment on your posts? Instead of ignoring the comment and not replying, you should be answering every single genuine comment. This helps drive even more traffic onto your posts. The more comments and likes you get, the more Instagram will show that particular post to more of your audience. There’s no magic wand when it comes to the algorithm. You just genuinely need to interact with people! You can even ask questions within your captions, or when responding to people in the comments of your post to help further that engagement rate.
Watch some stories and reply via DM
Video is going to be BIG in 2019 (and going forward) so make sure you’re watching other people’s stories on a daily basis. It’s quite lovely when you’ve taken the time to watch something, and then respond by sending a direct message to offer words of support or encouragement. Perhaps people are posting a poll to their stories and they want YOUR honest opinion! Build trust with them by offering your insight, without expecting anything in return. Chances are, they’ll start doing the same for you when seeing your posts or stories!
Create your own stories and encourage others to respond to you via DM
On the topic of stories, you should be doing them too! Of course, we’re not all confident in front of the camera, but showing the face behind the brand can really help to humanise the business, and again build that trust amongst your audience. You can turn the tables by creating a poll for people to answer, and then spend some time individually thanking those who responded to your question. You could even offer them a special discount for their input! That’s a nice little tip to spread those good vibes, authentically interact and up that engagement rate!
Follow relevant hashtags within your industry + comment on posts within these hashtags
Since Instagram introduced the ‘follow hashtags’ feature last year, engaging with like-minded accounts became a whole lot easier! For example, if you’re in the wellness industry and you’re based in Melbourne, you might follow the hashtag #wellnessmelbourne. Therefore, whenever somebody posts an image with the hashtag #wellnessmelbourne – it will show up in your feed! So essentially, you might not be following a particular account who has posted this image, but because you are following this hashtag, it has led you to this likeminded account. You might choose to follow the account, like a few of their images and leave three genuine comments on their images. Chances are, they will follow you back and start engaging on your posts too!
Do not use follow / unfollow bots – PLEASE!
Instead, follow accounts you’re interested in, like and comment on their posts as we have outlined above and for the love of god if you are using them at the moment, dump that scam of a company who sold it to you and take a small hiatus from Instagram. Employing the use of bots can actually be SO detrimental to the organic growth of the account. Instagram can potentially shut down your account completely, or ban your posts from appearing in feeds due to excessive activity. Likewise, if you manually go on a following or liking spree – Instagram won’t like this. The platform may prevent you from doing more of it for a few hours. So – take your time when leaving comments, follows or likes. Certainly don’t use bots, and don’t act like them either!
The main thing to remember here is that commitment is key. We recommend spending at least 20 minutes per day doing this, if not more so!
Haven’t got the time? We can take the social media management off your hands so you can focus on the engagement side of things. Together, we can help your account flourish to new heights. It doesn’t happen overnight, but the long-term commitment is SO worth it! Get in touch today!