Instagram has made some changes to its software, which has caused a decrease in user engagement. First of all, Instagram began to crack down on accounts that had a large number of fake accounts, as well as accounts where they were buying likes and comments. Ultimately, you can buy engagement, but it only hurts the user in the long run. Secondly, they changed the structure so the immediate performance of your post dictates how many people see it. Without solid engagement immediately after posting, your posts aren’t likely to receive the engagement they should. Never fear, though. Here are seven tips to help you boost your engagement on Instagram in light of the recent changes.
Limit Yourself to One Post/Day
Instagram’s new algorithm means content can pop up for a longer period of time, which means it can be detrimental for you to post too frequently. Some users only check their feed once a day or less (who are these people, btw?). Instagram, therefore, curates the posts they haven’t yet seen by placing the content at the top of their feed. If you post more than once per day, it causes your posts to compete with each other. Instagram suggests that rather than posting a second time to start using Instagram Stories instead. While I’m not a huge fan of stories myself, which I’ve mentioned in other posts, it does make sense form an engagement perspective.
Optimize Post Timing
As you begin posting, find times when your followers are most likely to be online. If they are anything like me, it will be first thing in the morning, during their lunch break and when they are home, relaxing in the evening. Those are peak times for me, but usually before bed as opposed to during the relaxation hours. You can also use a tool like Owlmetrics to see what time your posts are getting the most engagement.
Hashtags allow you to appear on more discovery pages, giving you a boost of engagement. Understanding which hashtags appeal to your demographics and are best aligned with your content. If you do this well early on, you might find yourself being featured in the “top posts” section for a hashtag, which will give you extended exposure.
That being said, watch what your hashtags are. Make sure it’s related to your content. I think we’ve talked here about the overuse of hashtags, especially in Instagram. Instagram also limits users to 30 hashtags. But honestly, why do you need that many? They will also shadowban you if your hashtags are too spammy. Think: #likeforlike or #followforfollow. Make sure your hashtags are related to your content and aligned with your audience. And don’t over use them!
Join an Instagram Pod
An Instagram pod is a group of users in a group message on Instagram who share posts in the group message whenever they post. All the users in the group like the post and leave a meaningful comment. Usually these pods have a set of rules for members. These rules may involve liking and commenting within a certain time frame and have penalties if you don’t follow through. If you join one of these groups, it will give you a head start and allow you to gain more exposure.
Add Calls to Action
One of the largest problems accounts have is figuring out how to get users to leave comments on pictures. Because Instagram’s algorithm for engagement factor into the comments, it’s important to structure the captions in a way that encourages that engagement. An example of a call to action might be “which pair of sneakers would you buy?” Or “what would you name this puppy?”. This will promote engagement without you having to do a lot of work.
Host a Contest
Contests are a great way to get users to engage with your posts and increase brand reach. The way that this is typically done includes collaboration between two different accounts. Usually two influencer accounts or one influencer and one brand.
The post will be about something that people want – an expensive product or a vacation destination. The caption will state that it’s a giveaway, and then outline the rules. Which might include following both accounts, liking the post, leaving a comment and potentially tagging some friends. The winner is chosen at a specified date from those who have completed the required tasks. Contests is a great way to grow your audience.
Understanding the changes made to Instagram is more important than ever for success of your brand’s content and channel. Follow these tips to engage more with your followers and see your profile grow.