Very frequently do I hear phrases like:
“Organic social media engagement is dead”
“Instagram has evolved into a pay-to-play platform”
While a pay-to-play platform does seem to be the case for a lot of businesses on Facebook; Instagram; however, still has a wide variety of actions that can lead to an increase in our organic engagement (and following that, growth).
Genuine engagement alwaaaaaaays leads to growth. (Okay, maybe 99.99% of the time it leads to growth).
Here are a few tips and tricks on how to get your audience active on your Instagram page.
1. Get in Engagement Groups… Now!
A long time ago, I was very ignorant on the practical uses of engagement groups. A bunch of people just liking each other’s posts? What’s the big deal, right?
It turns out, that this is one of the most dominant ways to grow on Instagram… just make sure you keep all the likes and comments within your niche, as straying into general niche engagement groups can be tricky. If you’re looking for more engagement on your posts, do exactly this:
- Find 50 other accounts that are incredibly similar to you (relatively same size, same niche, same type of content, etc)
- DM all of them individually and ask them if they want to be in your engagement group. Here’s a few example messages you can send them.
“Hey! I love your page – it’s pretty similar to mine. I have a quick question for you! Would you be interested in notifying each other when we post so we can like & comment on each other’s content? Because of the nature of our accounts, doing something like this can really help both of us grow because we’ll increase the chances of us landing in the explore page! We’ll gain more followers and our accounts can grow together! Would you be up for that?”
“Would you want to do like-for-likes so we can grow together?”
- Get into a habit of liking and commenting on posts within you niche (through these DM engagement groups). Combining several people into one large group is also ideal. Build a relationship with the people in the group, as you might be able to learn from each other!
- Share your posts with everyone in your engagement groups (or just DM individual accounts) immediately after you post. The faster, the better.
- Make sure you return likes and comments to the accounts that you ask for likes. Sharing is caring.
Doing this will inevitably lead to more explore exposure, which will lead to an increase in organic engagement. There isn’t necessarily a “minimum” requirement to start engagement groups, but the effectiveness of these groups is determined by who is liking your content – and if you’re still a small fish in a small pond, then you’re probably not going to see a lot of results, so keep that in mind. But if you’re a small fish in a big pond (and you get likes from big fishes), then it can be beneficial.
2. Post More. And More. And MORE!
When I do Instagram account audits, this is usually my first recommendation to people: Post more. If you are trying to grow your personal account, you should be posting at least every day. If you are trying to grow your brand account, then you should be posting anywhere from 1-7 times per day. Seriously. Usually the more posts, the better.
The more you post, the more you are going to appear on feeds. The more you appear on feeds, the more you will appear on the explore (assuming you get likes from feeds), and the more you appear in explore, the more you will get likes, comments, and followers. It’s simple math.
Now, don’t dumb down your posting quality just to maximize your chances on the explore. Posting several times per day can be tricky, so you’ll have to get creative here and look for more content sources to keep things fresh, but if you can maintain the quality and increase the quantity, you have a gold mine.
3. Ask for likes and comments. Seriously.
I’ve mentioned this before, and I’ll mention it again. There’s no shame in using creative call-to-actions for likes and comments.
“Like this post if you want to see more content like this” <- Also a great way to crowdsource how your audience really feels about your content.
“Comment below what I should do next!” <- This is a clever way to source new content ideas.
You can get as creative (or uncreative) for this as possible. There is a ton of potential here if you can do it correctly. Get your audience interacting with your content, and you will see more organic interactions in the future.
4. Build A Positive Environment Around Your Brand
According to a recent study performed by Social Sprout, people check social media before purchasing a product or service from a company. In this study, 71% of customers said that they will more than likely buy a product if the experience on social media with that brand was a positive one.
However, if there is a negative social experience (like a customer complaining about a product) this is a golden opportunity to turn this around from a negative experience and solve the issue with the client, thus making it a positive experience again. If you can do this through (and on) social media, other people will see the effort you as a company put in customer happiness and they will be more likely to buy your products or services.
Got an angry comment? You have three options. Delete it, ignore it, or respond. If you decide to respond correctly, then that can be a massive boost, on what not only that individual thinks about your page, but what others do too.
5. Listen and React Thoughtfully
Engagement is key on Instagram, and often people will leave comments on your content. If you truly want to build a faithful audience, take the time to reply to the comments. Don’t just say “Thanks!” but think about a thoughtful reply that adds value to the commenter. This is especially practical for smaller accounts.
People use social media to express themselves, and they will do so on your page. Each time someone does so, it’s an opportunity to recruit a loyal fan. Even if you don’t have the time to reply to every comment, pick out a few. And for the rest, just like it (unless they are aggressive or insulting comments of course). This shows your audience that you are engaged and care about the community.