Reply to DM’s
Direct messaging is an important part of Instagram, especially now that they’re hinting at building their own standalone app to use DM’s (think Facebook Messenger). Some people will post comments, other will send you a private Direct Message. So be sure to check your inbox daily (both visible DM’s and requests). Take the time to reply. They have gone through the effort to contact you, so take full advantage of that contact.
Post User-Generated Content
It can be hard to create content every day. Luckily, your followers will also create good content. Post frequent call-outs for User-Generated Content (UGC) and repost it (with their permission of course). Tag them in the image and mention them in the caption. This will make sure that the creator will like and reply, and probably even share the post with friends.
Activate Your Audience with Stories
Stories have certainly become a huge part of the content posted over the last year and will continue to rise in popularity. Try to post at least one story daily. Be sure to leverage polls, this is an excellent engagement driver. If you don’t have any inspiration, just ask your audience how their day is going and have them reply with ‘good’ or ‘bad’ (or thumbs up, thumbs down). Call out to reply on the story with a ‘why’. Simplicity is key.
Leverage Live Video and Go Behind the Scenes
Another excellent way to engage with your audience is through Live Video. This is excellent for taking people behind the scenes of your company, business, or page. Announce a live stream through a regular post/story and start it on time. Ideally, you’ll want to do it when a big part of your followers’ base is online, so be sure to get some analytics in first.
Live Video allows you to do a wide variety of things, but what has worked best is, as previously said, just taking people behind the scenes. This can be how your factory looks, who the employees are, how your design process works, etc… Another wonderful way to use Live Video is to do a Q&A. We are all aware of how popular those Reddit AMA threads are, and Live Video allows you to do similar things on Instagram. It works wonders!
Give It Away
Everybody loves a good giveaway, and the people on Instagram are no different. This can potentially be one of the fastest ways to stardom (or at least, a big rise in followers). But, it can also be very destructive. Remember that bathing suit company that gave away the red bathing suit in the summer of 2017? They rose to 200,000+ followers in a matter of days but couldn’t live up to the volume of bathing suits they had to deliver. Their reputation was destroyed in the weeks following the giveaway.
Be sure that your giveaway is reasonable, and that you can deliver on what you promise. Set clear rules and create clear instructions on how people can participate in it.