Keep reading on these tips to increase Instagram engagement in 2021.
Tip 11: Create custom stickers and filters
Sprinkle a little of your brand dust onto other users’ posts by making custom stickers and filters available in Stories.
Sephora launched a special “Holiday Beauty Q&A” AR filter for their makeup fans to use on their own Stories over Christmas, to help spread the Sephora brand and build community.
Tip 12: Respond to questions and comments
When the comments start increasing — in response to all your fun new photo and video content, of course — it’s only polite to respond.
Acknowledging your commenters and taking part in conversations makes followers feel seen and heard, and excited to chat with you again in the future.
Sunscreen brand Supergoop not only prompts followers to share their favorite products in the comments of this post but also happily chime in to share recommendations and offer positive support for everyone’s choices.
Tip 13: Get experimental
You’ll never explore what works the most effective for your brand until you test, measure, and tweak.
The strength of social media is that it’s made for experimentation. If something is effective, you know pretty quickly; if it’s a flop, lesson learned with little risk.
So get creative… just make sure to keep a close eye on metrics to actually see the impact of your grand ideas. Explore a guide from Hootsuit about social media A/B testing here.
Tip 14: Post consistently, and at strategic times
The more posts you publish, the more opportunities your followers have to engage. Commit to a consistent schedule to keep your feed fresh and your followers engaged.
Of course, posting consistently at the right times is key, too… if you’ve got a post going up when your audience is asleep, you might struggle.
Tip 15: Drive traffic from other sources
Get your Instagram to handle out there in the world that everywhere you can: share it in your Twitter bio, include it in your email signature, and put it in your company newsletter.
London (yes, the city) uses its Twitter bio to drive attention to its Instagram handle and content.
The more you can point people towards the platform, the more eyeballs you’ll get on your content and the more chances for engagement.
Tip 16: Join the conversation
At a dinner party (a fun one, anyway), you wouldn’t just wait to be spoken to, right? Some of the time, you’d be promoting the conversation.
The same goes for Instagram. Responding to questions and comments is good; getting out there and starting convos of your own on other posts and pages is even better.
Think of it as a balance of reactive (responding) and proactive (conversation starting) action.
Tip 17: Create topical content
If there’s already a buzz around a current event or holiday, squeeze yourself into that conversation.
When Taylor Swift’s 2020 album drops got everyone talking about cottagecore (everyone), clothing brand Farewell Frances was wise to tag some of its coats as #cottagecoreaesthetic.
Particularly if there’s a trending hashtag involved, you’ve instantly given your content a “why now” topical hook.
Tip 18: Get active on Instagram Stories
Satirical news site Reductress shares its cheeky headlines both in posts and Stories to catch readers’ eyes in two different places.
Not only will people be watching, with Stories, but you’ve also got the opportunity to engage with stickers.
Questions, Polls, and Countdowns are all chances to spark conversation and connect directly with your fans.
Here are some creative Instagram Story ideas to get you started, plus all the hacks and features every master Instagrammer should know.
Tip 19: Add strong calls to action
Want engagement from your posts? Sometimes, it just comes down to asking nicely.
Welks General Store didn’t just tell the world it had puzzles with this post: it gave specific information about how to purchase them.
A compelling call to action can prompt engagements, likes, responses, or shares when done with care. Check out our guide to writing the CTA of your dreams here.
Tip 20: Harness the power of hashtags
Instagram hashtags are a double-edged sword. Used correctly, you can drive some serious traffic and build buzz. Overdo it, and you come off looking spammy.
Be thoughtful and strategic about the hashtags you use, to reach a specific community or industry, join a trending conversation, push a branded campaign, or identify your service offerings.
Illustrator Cecile Dormeau, for example, tagged her sweet drawing with both art-related and mental-health hashtags.
The consensus is that 11 or fewer hashtags are the perfect number to look professional but not desperate. More info on making the most of Instagram hashtags over here.
Tip 21: Boost your posts
Getting your post in front of more eyeballs is one simple way to get engagement (and hopefully increase your follower count while you’re at it).
With a potential audience of more than 928 million users on Instagram, your next superfan could be out there, just waiting to explore what you have to offer.
Using Instagram ads or boosted posts can be a strategic way of putting your name in front of the right audiences. Check out our Instagram ads guide here for more details on maximizing your reach.
Tip 22: Slide into their DMs
Sometimes, the strongest engagement can happen in private.
Direct messages and story interactions are great examples of engaged audiences, and amazing direct connection to a passionate fan. So when someone reaches out in your DMs, make sure to reply and treat ‘em right.
Tip 23: Embrace Instagram Reels
Instagram Reels joined the Insta fam in the summer of 2020, ostensibly offering an alternative to TikTok. With Reels, users can create and edit short multi-clip videos with audio and effects.
Drag artist Eureka O’Hara is using Reels here (well, a repurposed TikTok video within Reels, anyway) to promote an upcoming season of their show We’re Here.
Because it’s a shiny new Reel, this will get boosted in the newsfeed higher than a standard video. More eyeballs mean thousands of more people get to enjoy these sick dance moves.
Any new feature to social media tools typically gets a boost in the algorithm, so it’s in your best interest to try out the latest and greatest offerings. Reels are appearing prominently on the Explore page, so embrace this new content form, and you might just find yourself in front of some fresh faces.
Whew! There you have it: your crash course on Instagram engagement. For a more in-depth dive into building a successful social strategy, check out our social media marketing guide.