Success in the online world is constantly changing. What worked for a brand that started online 2-3 years ago, or even one year ago, hardly works today. Which means something on the user end must have changed. On Instagram, brands are learning the hard way that great photos and big numbers (aka Instagram glitz and glam) simply aren’t what users are drawn to anymore. It’s all about engaging online.
In today’s digital environment, if you’re not commenting, you’re not connecting.Audrey Buchanan, Founder of Let’s Bee Social
Sure, having a lot of followers looks great, but do the numbers and the engagement add up? If you’re wondering what that means, we’re referring to the number of likes and comments your content receives on a daily basis. Nothing screams false advertising like an Instagram account with a 5-figure following that gets less than 100 likes and 0 comments per post. With most online-savvy consumers today, that will earn you an instant #unfollow. Here are 3 ways you can create conversation, encourage engagement and increase your organic reach on Instagram.
3 Ways to Engage on Instagram
Using the Story Feature
Instagram has made it easier than ever before to encourage your audience to engage with you. Through the many sticker features such as: the poll feature, the slider feature, the quiz feature and the question feature, you now have responses from your audience literally in the palm of your hand. You can ask simple yes or no questions using the poll feature, ask for in-depth responses via the questions sticker to test your following’s knowledge with the quiz feature.
Whichever feature you use, make sure you’re using them on a regular basis and always make sure you’re sharing the results! People want to feel important and they go to the internet to feel heard, by asking for their opinion and sharing the majority results, you’re truly giving the people what they want! And in return, you’re gaining their loyalty (and their likes).
PS. This isn’t the first time we’ve talked about the importance for using the Instagram Story Feature.
Did you know the number of comments a post receives is a factor in the Instagram algorithm? It’s true, the more comments a post receives, the more likely it is to get featured to more of your following and increases your chances of making it on the explore page. And get this: it even factors in your responses and the time it took for you to respond! That’s why it’s crucial to respond to every single comment your post receives. It may not seem like a big deal to respond to the thumbs up emoji someone leaves on your post, but trust us when we tell you that if it matters to Instagram, it should matter to you too.
Responding to Direct Messages (DMs)
Not only should you leave comments, you should also be responding to direct messages. Even though no one will see your responses, this is a great way to create a one-on-one connection with your followers. When followers reach out via a direct message, even if it’s just in response to your story, you’re showing them you care when you take time to respond. When people feel like a brand they follow cares about them, they’re more likely to want to engage with that brand. It’s a way to build a connection that builds loyalty and that is worth more 1000 of followers in our book.
Make Engaging Online a Priority
The more you ask for feedback, solicit comments, and respond to your followers, the more responses, comments and messages you’re going to get. People love to feel heard, and they love to see that the brands they like/follow care about them. By sharing their opinions, giving them what they want, answering their comments and messages and reposting the content they’re tagging you in, you’re effectively saying that they matter to you.
If engagement is not a part of your social media marketing plan, it should be and here’s why: The more one-to-one connections you make the more meaningful your brand will become to the people who matter most aka your target audience. Rather than trying to be barely known by everyone, focus on being well-known by those who have the highest chance of becoming a regular customer, loyal consumer and 5-star referral for your company. As Brodie always says, “It’s better to have 1 person who will buy your products than 100 who never will.” So, let’s get back to using social media platforms for what they’re intended for: making connections!