The best way to use the world’s most minimalist social platform remains a mystery to many businesses. With such limited functionality your options might seem to be fairly restricted, but in truth, there are a multitude of ways that you can work to increase your Instagram engagement. Here are seven of the most effective:
1. Put a link in your profile
The main aim of your Instagram account is likely to get more people to your website, blog or newsletter. It’s to introduce people to your brand and direct them to where they can enjoy more of your work.
While putting an external link in an Instagram post is a no-no (as it won’t be a clickable link), the platform does allow you to put a link in your profile. In order to drive engagement outside of Instagram, it is crucial that you make use of this function. Once you’ve added the link, you can then put text like “link in profile” on your next post to direct people to your site.
UPDATE: You can also add an external link to your Instagram stories.
2. Use relevant hashtags
According to this study, just a single relevant hashtag can increase engagement on a post by 12.6 percent. Instagram allows you to use up to 30, but if you don’t want to come across spammy 5-10 hashtags makes for a nice middle ground.
3. Call your followers to action
Sometimes people need to be told what to do. A call to action does just that. Include a CTA in the text that comes with your photo – something along the lines of:
- Double tap the photo if you like it
- Tag 2 friends that this reminds you of
- Comment with your favorite…
It may seem a little brash, but requesting that people like or comment on a photo actually works!
4. Use correctly sized images
With the rise in the resolution of smartphone displays, Instagram has recently changed from a standard image size of 612 x 612 pixels to 1080 x 1080 pixels. And while you now have the opportunity to upload images that are portrait or landscape instead of a perfect square, going too far either way will result in an image that is either hard to recognize or is cut off by the app.
Do your best to upload high-quality images that are as close to a perfect square as possible. Your followers will thank you.
5. Give your Instagram profile an aesthetic
The most successful Instagram businesses have a uniform aesthetic. This “brand” allows your followers to become comfortable with what you deliver, and begin to love you for it.
It could be as simple as committing to the use of one specific filter, or you could focus on uploading images relating to one specific subject. What you post on Instagram and how you post it (like the general look and feel of it) matters. Refinery29 has suggested that the right filter choice can increase exposure by 21 percent and comments by 45 percent!
6. Try out Instagram stories
Instagram’s battle with Snapchat is in full swing, and as such, they’re pushing their version of Snapchat – Instagram Stories – pretty hard. If you upload a story you’ll be placed at the top of your followers’ feeds, highlighted in an eye-catching circle. If you’ve got a lot to say Instagram Stories allows you to say it without clogging up your followers’ news feeds – perfect for when your business hosts a special event.
7. Pay for a sponsored post
Sometimes – perhaps all the time – you have to spend money to make money. Instagram ads allow you to reach a huge amount of eyes for a minimum spend. Because Instagram is a subsidiary of Facebook you’ll need to use Facebook’s Power Editor in order to set up your campaign, but with the ability to reach thousands of fresh eyes for very little cash, it’s more than worth it.
You may also want to look at influencer marketing or using social media influencers as a way to boost your brand and your following. Since these influencers garner tons of likes and comments from their own followers, it’s more likely for more people to notice you and your brand if they post about you.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, increasing your engagement on such a basic platform is largely about doing the basics well. But don’t let the minimalism fool you – despite its simplicity, Instagram is well worth the investment of time and resources for your business.