Your social media content has to do more than catch a person’s eye – if you want it to bring you business, it has to get that person to act.
To help, here’s a step-by-step approach you can begin today that will increase your Instagram engagement.
1. Find Your Hashtags
Hashtags are the secret sauce to getting your content engaged with on Instagram. That’s because people use hashtags to find content instead of relying solely on scrolling through the news feed. Without a hashtag, your content could get buried faster, making it harder for you to reach a target audience.
Instagram makes this research easy. Start by typing in #keyword and Instagram will show you several other hashtags being used with that same keyword.
For example, typing in #yoga you’ll also find #yogapants, #yogaeverywhere #yogalove #yogaeverydamnday and more.
Underneath each result is the number of times people have used the hashtag. The higher the number, the more popular the hashtag.
2. Complete Your Profile
With your hashtags in mind, take a look at the foundation of your Instagram presence – your profile.
You might be thinking, “people don’t engage with profiles, why should I think about this?” You’re right about people not engaging, but having a strong profile is what drives new people to you, so it’s important to focus on.
Here’s an example of a strong profile on Instagram from the folks at Whole 9.
In it, you’ll notice several components.
1. They use hashtags. Use the research you found in step 1 to add your top hashtags into your profile.
2. They also use keywords to describe their business. “Healthy” and “balanced life” are some keywords that represent their business well.
3. They tag others. This account is co-managed by a couple of other accounts under their brand’s umbrella, including the founder @dallashartwig and their product @Whole30. By tagging them, they’re driving engagement on other profiles too.
4. They add a link to the profile. This drives people beyond Instagram and over to their website, which helps them make money from their social media presence.
Look at your profile and see if you have the same components. If you’re missing any of these, add them in where appropriate to help attract more followers.
3. Create Your Images
Although Instagram was originally created to allow users to upload images taken on their mobile devices, it’s evolved. Now, brands can add social media images that contain text and pictures combined.
These images pop out in a news feed. They get people to stop scrolling and start reading. As soon as you get a person to stop scrolling through the newsfeed, you’re at a huge advantage. You’re far more likely to attract a like or a comment when the person spends a little more time with your post.
4. Weave in Hashtags
Remember those hashtags you researched in Step 1? It’s time to put them into practice.
With your images in place, it’s time to attach some copy to the graphic. This copy is how Instagram’s algorithm determines how others find you and who sees you. You must use your hashtags to get found and get engaged with people already looking for you.
When writing your post, be sure to keep it easy to read and engaging. If you want to tack on hashtags, do so at the end of the post or wherever it makes sense in the readability of the post.
Here’s an example:
In this, the copy reads, “Oops only just discovered split screen” followed by several hashtags.
She made a statement and then followed it up with relevant hashtags to the post. Some of these are highly targeted, such as #fashionillustration and #artistsoninstagram while others are more general, such as #amazing and #design.
In either case, she used hashtags to help her post get found
5. Sprinkle in Emojis
Engagement isn’t all about getting found by the right people. You have to be entertaining too.
Emojis are an easy way to break up the black and white text, and make your posts pop out on the page.
6. Create an Editorial Calendar
You know the expression, “if it’s not on the calendar, it’s not going to happen?” The same is true in social media.
Once you have your hashtags in place, plan for how you’ll use them. If you don’t, you probably won’t post often enough with them to pay off. Scheduling your posts increases the likelihood that you’ll incorporate your hashtags and maximize your engagement.
7. Comment on Other People’s Pictures
You’ve gone the distance to get your content found. Now, it’s time to find others and bring them to you.
Social networks are about building relationships with other people. As in the real world, you shouldn’t wait for people to come to you. You should also seek out relationships that make the most sense for you.
it’s not enough to just post and hope people will engage – these seven steps will turn your account into a magnet for engagement.