Let’s get real, Instagram is a tough cookie to crack. Just when we’re feeling like we found our groove, they drop a new update, a new feature, or some new way the algorithm is burying our posts and we’re left feeling dazed and confused (and straight up frustrated.)
If you ask me, there is no way to officially “crack the code” when it comes to marketing because we are always forced to pivot, get creative, and adapt, BUT there are some surefire strategies in ways to organically boost your engagement on the app and I’m excited to walk you through them. It’s time to make Instagram work FOR you and your business, ya ready?
1.) Post diverse content: as business owners, it’s easy (and comfortable) to hide behind your service and product, but it’s time to take a note from some of the biggest marketing companies and recognize that your brand needs a story to sell. When you focus on building a BRAND and not just a business, you’re inviting a broader audience to connect with you in a more meaningful way.
TIP: As Seth Godin says, “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.” Pick different facets of your brand story and share them in a way that allows people to know, like, and trust you. You can earn more trust by sharing the stories than just selling your goods.
2.) Invite interaction: It sounds so easy but so many of us forget to invite people to interact with each post we hit publish on. Using a “call to action” is a surefire way to gain engagement on every post. You want to get your audience comfortable with engaging with you in small ways so that the next time you have a bigger “ask” they are willing to tack action without hesitation. Every single post should have some sort of action for your audience to complete and don’t fret if only a few people engage, THOSE are likely your dream clients rising to the top.
TIP: Use a simple prompt in every post you are publishing, it can be as simple as “Double tap if you agree that…” or as complex as “Use the link in my profile to grab your FREE…” Every post should have some sort of action for your followers to take and pay close attention to those interacting, those people are likely your dream clients.
3.) Use Hashtags Intentionally: Gone are the days that we can slap on 30 generic hashtags and call it a day (thanks a lot, shadow ban.) It’s been proven that posts that include hashtags get over 12% more interaction, so it’s no secret that hashtags can be an easy way to boost your engagement. The trick here is to use intentional hashtags that will help you reach a broader audience and your ideal clients (not just your industry peers!)
TIP: You can use up to 30 hashtags with each post you are publishing, hedge your bets thoughtfully when choosing which tags to use and do a little research before typing in random tags. Don’t be afraid to get specific with the hashtags you are using (ex: #wisconsinwedding vs. #wedding) and test out different tags to see which ones are most effective for you.
4.) Engage with your Followers: We all wish we could get paid to hang out on Instagram but since that’s not a viable profession, it’s important to use our time on the app wisely. Engaging with your community can boost your level of interaction in big ways. Your followers will notice that you aren’t just posting and logging off and they will feel seen, heard, and invited to converse with you.
TIP: Set a timer for 20 minutes and take some time to comment back, “like” and engage with the people who are following you! It makes your followers feel like they are a part of your community and helps foster true relationships that can lead to paid clients over time. A little bit can go a long way.
5.) Find Your Voice: Something weird happens when we feel like we need to put on our marketing hat and sell. We go from a normal human being to a sleazy car salesman within a matter of seconds and write captions that sound like the TV commercials you laugh at (because they are just that bad.) It’s important to not join the screaming match that can be social media marketing. Finding your true voice and extending your offer as an invitation and not a sales pitch will go a LONG way for you.
TIP: Ask yourself who exactly you’re speaking to and what problem you are solving for them, then introduce it in a way that you are sharing it with a friend. How would you talk about it? What would your tone be? What exact words would you use to describe your offer? When you stop yelling into the void and start whispering to the RIGHT people, you’ll see how effective your messaging can be.
Instagram can be a confusing territory to navigate as an entrepreneur and more so, it can be frustrating when they continue to change things up often. When it comes to the algorithm, engagement is the name of the game. Focus on speaking to the RIGHT people and encourage them to interact, at the end of the day it’s better to have 100 devoted followers than 10k followers who scroll past your posts!