Sometimes it feels like I have a bit of a complicated relationship with Instagram. Can you relate? I mean, don’t get me wrong—I am obsessed with using it to connect with followers and friends. And I absolutely understand and appreciate its power in building a brand and business. But…when it comes to our Instagram engagement strategy, I also realize the ‘gram can come with a heavy sense of obligation and pressure to perform instead of being a place where we’re excited to show up, share, and connect!
It’s easy to become obsessive or just plain discouraged when you pour yourself into a platform that doesn’t seem to reap any results. If you use Instagram for business, you’ve probably felt the same way. On the one hand, it’s a bottomless pit of opportunity for growth and connection. But on the other, it’s hard not to pay attention (and feel downtrodden) when numbers dip or there are crickets after you post something.
I firmly believe that consistency wins in the social media world. When YOU show up, post on your feed and stories, and interact with others’ posts on a regular basis, you’ll experience bigger and better engagement. But I also have a few more tricks up my sleeve for making sure your Instagram engagement strategy is working for you. Beyond being consistent, here’s how to get, and keep, people interested and engaged! When you’re looking to amp up your Instagram strategy, try one of my 5 easy “e’s” to help!
01. Emphasize your first sentence.
Lead with the top line of your caption being as important as a blog title, an email subject, or a headline on your website. You know how on IG you only get 125 characters before the “read more” button? Those 125 characters can be make or break.
You want to pay the most attention to that first line or sentence because it either captivates someone to continue reading your caption… or leaves them scrollin’ on by. You need to get them to stop their scroll and engage.
A few ways to do this include:
- Leading with a bold or fun question.
- Sharing an unpopular opinion.
- Starting with a call to action, for example: “TAP THE HEART IF YOU AGREE…”
- Beginning a story with the climax or most juicy part.
Avoid more contemplative or soft intros, like “I was thinking the other day about family.” While this isn’t a BAD intro for, say, a chapter of a book… For Instagram, it’s not catchy enough to get most people to pause, read, and interact.
02. Experiment with carousels.
Another way to get people to pause on your posts is through the use of carousel images. I came across an article from Sprout Social about recent algorithm and engagement numbers for Instagram. It shared that the MOST highly engaging posts on Instagram are… carousel posts. Play with a carousel series that gets people scrolling through. A great way to do this is by using graphics that share something educational or valuable on each slide. You can do a carousel highlighting five facts or tips, share a series of images, highlight the features of a product or service.
When you think about Instagram’s goal as a platform, they want to serve the users content that will make them stay on and engage with it. The longer a user stays on your post, the better and the most potential for engagement, which is why carousels are a win/win for the platform and for you. Carousels give you a chance to share more and give the consumer more content to mull over and increase the likelihood that they will read the caption to learn more about the series.
03. Encourage people to save your posts.
In your captions, ask people to save your content! And focus on content that is “save-worthy” by including some quick-win strategies, helpful tips, or advice in your images or captions.
Saves on Instagram aren’t as much of a vanity metric as likes and comments, but the algorithm actually views saves as EVEN more valuable! (Some people call saves “super likes.”) They tell Instagram that the content is super valuable because people like it enough to return to it, and Instagram rewards valuable content with better feed placement.
At the beginning or end of posts that you deem save-worthy, include calls to action like:
- Save this post for later to remember these tips!
- Hit the bookmark so you can save this post for another time!
- Want to remember this strategy/recipe/tip/etc.? Save this post!
04. Enable post notifications.
Trust me on this one, these are notifications worth seeing, especially if you find yourself mindlessly scrolling on the app anyways. This is such a huge (and easy) way to boost your own following and your engagement. How? Set post notifications for a few of the top accounts you follow whose audiences are likely aligned with yours. Turn them on (and start small if this is new to you) and when they post, you will be notified! Pop onto the platform and take the time to leave a meaningful and thoughtful comment!
Not only will you be boosting someone’s day and connecting with a creator you love, but their followers will also see you in the comments section with your genuine engagement and be far more likely to click on your profile and follow you! And even beyond your own boost, this can be a huge way to create connections with people you admire. Who knows, over time, you might just form a relationship with the people who run those accounts you admire, which can be a great way to build your network.
05. Embrace new features, like Reels!
It’s easy to want to resist change, it’s only human! But my challenge for you? Embrace it! One of the best ways to increase your engagement is through following Instagram’s lead. Instead of fighting the algorithm, join forces with it! Right now they are promoting their newest feature heavily and for the users who are early to adopt the new feature, they will see significant opportunities for growth. For reels (pun intended), creating these 15- to 30-second video clips is a huge way to boost your impressions, gain new followers, and share your content in a new way. And I promise, once you get the hang of them, they’re so much fun! It’s just another creative way to get your knowledge out there.
You can educate, entertain, inform, share a system, spark joy… whatever you’d like. Just start showing up using Reels as a way to boost your engagement! Don’t be afraid to show your personality, either. Who knows… you might just be the next viral video!
There you have it, the five “e’s” to boosting your engagement on Instagram! I hope that these tips help you to show up on the platform with a heart for service and with confidence! If you’re looking for more ways to grow your following and your impact, click here to download my free guide to the 5 apps that are my can’t-live-without tools for rocking IG!