Instagram has become an integral part of our online culture both for personal life as well as for business. With more than 1 billion monthly active users, over 100 million more photos and videos uploaded every day, and 50 billion+ photos shared in only a decade, it is no wonder that there are 25+ million businesses on Instagram reaping the benefits of these impressive engagement statistics. So, why not you? Putting some time into optimizing your Instagram to grow your active and engaged following can pay off big time. Generally speaking, if you follow the trends of digital marketers, people who make their living every single day on these social media platforms, you are following the money trail. Case in point, according to HubSpot, Instagram is the social channel with the second-highest ROI among marketers, and 2018 saw a staggering 3.7 million brand-sponsored influencer posts on Instagram. Thus, learning how to increase engagement on Instagram is an extremely important skill.
Before you can profit from your platform on Instagram, you have to grow it in a responsible and stable fashion. Conducting research can be time consuming with so many rapid tips that flood the internet, but it will be worth it in the end. Luckily for you, we have compiled some of the most important pieces of information for you to teach you how to increase engagement on Instagram. With over 21+ years of experience, Vivid Candi’s full service digital tech agency has helped more than 7,500 clients grow their social media platforms. Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks we’ve learned from various users. Let’s go through some common misconceptions about how growth works on Instagram.
5 Myths Keeping You From Increasing Instagram Engagement
There are many misconceptions when it comes to knowing how to increase engagement on Instagram. Hot tip: do not believe ANYTHING written in the following list:
- You can grow from 0-100 followers to 1k followers overnight organically.
- You are guaranteed to grow quickly if you post something every single day.
- If you get on the Explore page, you will gain tons of new followers.
- You can get banned by joining an Engagement Group (see more below).
- Buying followers and story shout-outs is a good way to grow your Instagram following and improve your engagement.
There is no shortcut for growth. Instagram’s algorithm is a fickle beast. It is constantly evolving, you can seldom predict its patterns, and it is unlikely that it will promote your post way beyond your current followers. In fact, the algorithm starts out by showing your post to only a small percentage of your followers to gauge interest. The best thing that you can do is to put out regular, quality content certain to engage your followers. In other words, make sure that your content is relevant to what people signed up for. For example, if your posts are all beautiful nature shots, but you suddenly post a picture of a car, Instagram knows that most of your followers are probably not interested in the automotive category. This will lower your engagement on that post and will likely decrease your overall engagement as well.
There is not a single correct posting frequency or strategy. Posting schedules are different for every industry and type of account. In general, photo sharing accounts that curate the work of artists on Instagram post several times per day because their content is lighter, meaning it makes a near-instant visual impression and is by nature quicker to like and scroll past. However, if your posts contain more complex and rich content such as infographics, videos, etc., then you do not have to post as often. It also likely takes more time to generate this type of content, so your followers will understand. When working with a digital tech agency like Vivid Candi, you can create a schedule that works for you and your business. It’s important to also pay attention to your insights and analytics and tailor your strategy based on those results.
Getting onto Instagram’s Explore page is a great feat and definitely something to celebrate, but you will get a lot more likes than you will get followers. It is helpful to think about this from your own perspective. How often do you actually take the time to follow people when you are mindlessly scrolling through the Explore page? We would be willing to bet that you simply like and move on. So, you may see a spike in engagement on that post, but this will not translate to more engagement on your account after that initial growth dies off. However, within this achievement, there are important takeaways for growth. You should consider creating and posting more content similar to your post on the Explore page. If the Instagram algorithm sees that you can consistently produce content with high potential for virality, they will promote your account to more potential followers.
Joining Engagement Groups, DM groups on Instagram where fellow users interact and promote each other’s content through shout-outs and engagement does not get you an automatic ban or restriction from Instagram. In fact, when used properly, these groups can be the key to viral growth on Instagram.
To find an Engagement Group to join, first search for accounts in your niche. For example, if you are a travel influencer, find similar accounts who post travel-related content as well as accounts that repost this type of content. Leave them a comment to look out for your DM. This DM should be very personalized to their account so as to not appear spammy or bot-like and should emphasize co-promotion through this type of group. If they respond that they are not in any engagement groups, you can always create your own group chat on Instagram and add people with their permission.
The algorithm will send out your post to a wider audience if it sees lots of activity (i.e. engagement such as likes and meaningful comments of 5+ words, not including emojis) in the first 30 minutes of your post. However, you must exercise caution when sharing your new posts to the group. Stay away from sending the post directly as Instagram will know that you are sending it to an Engagement Group and will not value the engagement on your post as much. Instead, send a link to your post, or simply comment that you have a new post up.
As a side-note on the correlation between bot-like behavior and shadow-banning, make sure to follow/unfollow a maximum of 150 people per day and space these actions out over the course of several hours.
Avoid buying followers. Here is an easy red flag to look out for: accounts or services that promise THOUSANDS OF FOLLOWERS in an instant (after you pay them) through Instagram story shout-outs or other sketchier methods. Although it is most likely that you will simply get ripped off and lose your money, you may get the followers they promised you.
We have seen far too many businesses fall for this scheme and instantly regret it. Here is why. While your account may look like it gained a few thousand followers, the followers you receive, despite the promises, are more than likely inactive. In other words, these followers are not necessarily interested in your type of content and are not active engagers on Instagram anyways.
The word “active” is extremely important here, as engaged followers who interact with a large percentage of your posts are the most likely out of your followers to transition into future clients or customers when you monetize your account. If your main goal is to get a large amount of followers, then your followers to engagement ratio will suffer. This has all kinds of consequences with respect to how Instagram’s notorious algorithm functions. The algorithm will see that you have lots of followers who are uninterested in your content, so it assumes that your content is not interesting and is not worth sharing past your current, deceptively small core audience. As a result, your account will be crippled with little recourse.
The classic adage: slow and steady wins the race is especially relevant for growth on Instagram.
Off to The Races: How to Increase Engagement on Instagram
We hope this ‘How to Increase Engagement on Instagram‘ guide was beneficial and worth the read. Now that you know a bit more about how Instagram’s algorithm and engagement processes work, hopefully you can find the right strategy for you. Moreover, now that we’ve cleared the air about these myths, you can avoid the disappointment and frustration of wondering why you weren’t growing exponentially even though you were doing everything that online guides promised would bring this unrealistic growth pattern.
Learn more about Vivid Candi, a digital tech agency in Malibu, that offers full-service digital marketing services, custom web design and development, and more for our clients. Visit our website to learn more about how our agency can help you grow your business and brand. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram to see how the agency operates via social networking/media.