Instagram can be difficult to navigate. With changing algorithms, increased functionality, and pressures of perfection, it can be intimidating to say the least. If you are using Instagram for business, keeping up with best practices and ways to be successful can be daunting, but I wanted to share a few tips that have helped me throughout the years of being a full-time creator.
Tips to help increase engagement and social media confidence!
- Use social media for what it was intended for.
- In order to really understand how to get your account and the things you post seen on the app, you need to remember why Instagram was originally created. It wasn’t created as an advertisement machine. It was designed for everyday people to share things that they like and for people to interact, learn, and engage with one another in real time. Instagram rewards accounts that behave in an authentic, social way and use Instagram with the intent to socialize and engage with others. This translates to ENGAGEMENT. Like other people’s posts. Comment thoughtful (words not emojis) comments on their pictures. Watch their stories. USE THE APP AND ITS FEATURES.
- Post at minimum 3 times a week with engaging captions.
- This tip piggybacks off the first tip. A part of being an engaged user is showing up. You can’t post once a month and expect success. Part of building an engaged, reliable community with your audience is based on showing up consistently to where they are. Some people say post every day, but I find that for my audience personally, 3 to 4 times a week is a sweet spot. You can play around with this number and see what works best for you and your audience.
- The caption is important because it is your time to catch people’s attention and initiate interaction with them. Posting photos with no caption or short, boring captions is a sure way to lose people’s interest and you need that interest and interaction to tell the algorithm “Hey people like this content, show it to more of my audience”. Instagram initially only shows your posts to a small subset of your following (usually people who seem to like your content). When you get them to interact and engage, this tells Instagram that this is an interesting post, and more people would probably like to see it.) So, ask a question in the caption. Or give details about the photo or the motivation behind posting it. Give people a reason to spend some time with your post.
- Show up! Use the app! Don’t post and ghost!
- You can’t post once a month and expect success. You also can’t abandon the app, come back when you need to post something, and “post and ghost”. No one will see your content. Use the app organically. And be sure to use it BEFORE you post something. Engage with other users and their content 30 to 45 minutes BEFORE you plan to post. This in essence “wakes up” your account and makes you appear as an active user. Don’t post cold (meaning don’t just pick up your phone without using the app and post; no one will see your post because Instagram views you as an inactive or ghost user).
- Use relevant and popular hashtags for your niche (50,000 to a few million tagged posts is a good range to stay in)
- Think of hashtags as search words. Instagram uses hashtags to catalog and categorize content and we use them to be found, so be sure to use them and use them often. Depending on your niche (area of focus), your hashtags will be different from mine and vice versa. There are several websites that can help you find popular and relevant hashtags to help increase visibility on your posts. Google is your friend in this space, so google hashtags for your niche and try a few and see which ones work best. The maximum number of hashtags you can use in a post (caption and comments combined) is 30, so be sure to keep that in mind. Also, if a hashtag is broken (not formed correctly #thisisahashtag #soisthis ) none of your hashtags will work, so be sure to do a quick check to make sure that all tags are correct before posting them.
- If you don’t have a business or creator account, GET ONE!
- If you are using Instagram for personal reasons, this blog post probably wasn’t for you anyway, but if you are using Instagram for business purposes, you REALLY SHOULD have a business or creator account. Now this tip won’t inherently increase your engagement, but having access to the analytics that you get from having a business or creator account will definitely help you assess how your engagement and strategy is doing and allows you to tweak and make changes when needed. The analytics gives you an idea of when to post, what hashtags worked well, how far you content has traveled in and outside of your following and more. Knowing these things helps you determine what is working and what isn’t, and that is extremely important in increasing your engagement and growing your audience.
I know there are so many people how claim to have insight on how to beat the algorithm. Everyone is an expert. I won’t claim to know how to beat the algorithm because I don’t know how. I promise I’m still figuring it out, just like you. But I do know how to consistently show up for my audience and using the above tips have helped me stay relevant in my space and at least keep up with the constant changes. I hope that these tips help. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or an email for more information. Have a great day!