Instagram is quickly gaining popularity in the social media world. After being bought by Facebook in 2012, the app has evolved from the photos-only platform launched in 2010 to include new features and a variety of mediums to share your brand with the world. Instagram is a great way to engage different demographics, especially millennials, in ways that Facebook can’t.
Growing a following on Instagram can be difficult because users are generally more selective with following businesses. The average Facebook user likes around 40 company pages while the 80% of Instagram users follow at least 1 business account. Instagram users tend to curate a more intimate feed, following family, friends, and businesses that they personally use. Instagram makes it easy to integrate an e-commerce site that links directly through the app. Because of this, 75% of users are likely to take action after seeing your post – like visiting your site – and are 70% more likely to make a mobile purchase than Facebook users. Interacting with your followers and catching the attention of new followers is the best way to get them to return the engagement and increase business.
Here are 5 ways to improve your engagement and grow your brand on Instagram:
1. Find the best times of the day to post your content.
A Sprout Social study found that the best time of day to post new content is weekdays between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. So, to maximize engagement, make sure that you’re posting closer to lunch time or the end of the work day rather than right away in the morning or before going to bed. The engagement may be slightly different for your target demographic and it can take some testing to figure out exactly the best time of day to make your post.
Source: Sprout Social
2. Utilize Instagram stories
Since Instagram stories were introduced in 2017, they have proven one of the most used features on Instagram with 300 million daily users. Unlike the rest of your feed, Instagram stories do show up chronologically to all your followers. This is a great platform to engage with your followers by creating polls and including “swipe up” links to your website. Just like normal posts, you can include hashtags and mentions which can increase engagement with your brand. Recently, the app introduced the Highlights feature for stories. This is a back-log of stories that you can keep around for longer than the normal 24 hours. These are great to highlight events you’ve hosted, product launches, or other stories that center around the same topic. The highlights can be added to at any time and will help keep your favorite stories around for good!
Foundr utilizes the highlights feature to keep their favorite stories permanently
Nike Sportswear features a new product on their story with a “swipe up” link to their website
3. Take advantage of new Instagram features to vary content
Instagram has added several new content sharing features since the photos-only-app launched in 2010 including videos, boomerangs, and carousel photos. These help you increase engagement and vary your content. Videos and boomerangs generate more consumption than photos but, are liked less. Make sure that your videos are well-made and really highlight the culture of your business. Carousel – the feature that allows you to post multiple photos in one post – is great for showcasing a collection of photos from events and projects or before-and-after’s.
Fortress creates a poll using the carousel feature to make a poll that increases engagement resulting in 35% more likes than the average single photo.
Entrepreneur consistently posts high-quality videos that are less than one minute long to boost engagement and increase awareness of their services.
4. Post consistently
Whether you are using all the new Instagram features or are loyal to the original concept of the app, posting consistent, high-quality content is important. All else aside, your followers will not engage with your content if it isn’t worth engaging. So, make sure that you’re following a variety of similar accounts to draw inspiration from, creating a feed that is consistent and relevant to your target audience, use captions that draw in and captivate your audience and relevant, original photos and videos.
Forbes posts daily or twice daily to produce a cohesive feed that is relevant to their followers including article-specific photos as well as inspirational quotes relevant to business.
5. Stay up to date
Just like any other app, Instagram is constantly pushing out new updates with new features and improved functionality. On June 20th Instagram unveiled its newest feature, IGTV, allowing users to post videos up to an hour long. This competes directly with YouTube and gives Instagram another useful feature all contained within one app. Each new feature can open new doors for your brand to interact with your followers and gain their support. IGTV is not the last new feature that Instagram will add to its fleet so make sure that you stay up to date with the app and all that it can do for you.
Instagram posts a 17-minute video creatively introducing the new IGTV feature to their 241 million followers. This video received over 1.5 million views.