It will not be wide of the mark to call Instagram an extremely powerful social media tool and a leading social networking site of the 21st century, considering the authority it has acquired in just a little over a decade since its launch.
The sheer popularity of Instagram is represented by the fact that it now holds the title of the 6th most popular social media platform boasting more than a billion users around the globe.
Although a platform this vast directly suggests valuable and seamless opportunities for brands, businesses, influencers, and anyone looking to amass a huge audience interest, the point that it makes the competition one has to face equally fierce is often overlooked.
Apart from good quality content and innovative ideas, ways to present them to the audience and strategize to use the tools provided by social media efficiently all play an important role in deciding how well one does online in terms of engagement and authority build-up.
What’s more, since algorithms of platforms like Instagram are regularly updated in an attempt to enhance the user experience, there is a little pattern as to what might be called an effective way to grow organic reach, meaning any trick that might have worked in bringing good results in the past being no longer valuable.
The following article discusses the latest and finest Instagram strategies for 2021 to build engagement everyone must know about –
Using Instagram Stories Stricker as the conversation starter
It is needless to mention how hugely popular and beneficial the Instagram story feature has been for the platform since it was first launched back in 2016.
Five years later, there is little wonder how it has now successfully transformed from just another eye-catching feature to a widely used Instagram marketing strategy, given the 500 million active users who engage with Instagram stories daily, which is set to ace new records before long.
Shortly after, the platform also launched the Instagram stickers within the stories, something that made starting a conversation easier for both audience and the account holder, whether it is an opinion poll, experience, or a question sticker.
But, how could stickers be used to increase engagement? Let’s find out –
Driving sales through product sticker
Instagram has become an integral segment of the social media marketing strategy for businesses big and small, and a part of the credit goes to the platform’s continuous efforts in availing beneficial features for its users.
Direct sales through the platform might not be anything new but can certainly be more beneficial when done through stories, somewhere people engage more. The product sticker does precisely that, from raising awareness for your brand and services to converting the interaction into sales.
It gives a person an easy way to display multiple items, especially beneficial for small businesses who witness comparatively less traffic on their websites or wish to boost local-level sales.
Spark conversation with Ask me anything sticker
Nothing works quite like an Ask me anything sticker when it comes to starting a conversation, credibility boosting, or building personal level confidence in the audience.
While this particular sticker is imperative for influencers in letting people know them better as a person, brands can benefit equally from the same, if not more, in terms of letting people learn more about their brand, which is not quite evident from the page at first glance or unveiling your future plans and services with feedbacks in what was audience’s favorite and they would want to see more of in the future.
Letting people know that the best question would be answered in the stories is a great way to develop interest and receive more questions.
Feedbacks and testing new ideas through stickers
The poll stickers, quiz stickers, emoji slider stickers, etc., can efficiently help one gather different feedback depending on the survey one undertook and the results they are looking for.
The fact that stories disappear automatically after 24 hours makes them all the more worthwhile in testing out a new idea or gather quick data before putting something out as a product for profitable results.
While the poll sticker can help you pick a side on a choice you are confused about making; an emoji slider sticker can be used to get an audience rating on a product and so on.
The method will not only give you a rough estimate of the anticipated outcomes of a new product or service but will also save you the cost and effort of real-time estimations, improve audience relations, and help strategize better.
Experiment with your content
One of tha easiest ways to lose audience interest or halt one’s growth metrics is to stop experimenting and repeatedly presenting the same content before the audience.
The popularity of Instagram to a great extent lies in the versatility and resources it offers to all, regardless of their background or talent, which is also what intrigues a lot of Instagram users in terms of the new and innovative content and ideas they come across.
This availability of new content, while it does expand the scope of the platform, also elevates the competition to the level where anyone not keeping up with trends or pulling new ideas to keep the audience entertained easily loses growth and attention.
Though daunting, trial and error is certainly the only way to keep one’s Instagram game strong.
Some examples of ideas one could try include – memes, user-generated content, mini-infographics, quotes, different style stories, reels, videos, IGTV, clips, behind-the-scenes, themes, and much more.
Checking the analytics can further help one realize what worked and what did not, making it easier to plan better.
The expanding scope of emojis
One of the most apparent differences in interacting online and that in real-time was that of expressionism and proper exchange of emotions, a gap that was required to be filled for the online world to succeed.
The exact goal was achieved with the creation of emoticons back in 1999 or what is now known as emojis, something that eased communication between individuals and gave life, value, and emotions to what would be a plain and boring text.
Though it is not hard to understand how emojis spiced up the online world, it will not be wide of the mark to say that its actual scope was not realized until recently. Let’s see how emojis could be used to increase engagement on Instagram –
Adding value to the interactions
Does not matter if you are an influencer or have a brand; the online image you make for yourself plays a significant role in deciding if or not people engage, and a big part of that image is not in the quality content that you post or your views but the way you interact with people whether it is in the comment box(on your posts as well others’), in the DMs or as replies to Instagram stories.
Using emojis as a part of the conversation you hold adds value, interest, and meaning to it, making the discussion worthwhile for both ends. It also builds faith and confidence in the audience and does not let your replies stick out as mere formality.
However, make sure the emojis you use fit the context and do not in the slightest offend anyone or imply something you do not mean.
Boost discoverability and Instagram profile using emojis
Though everyone knows how effectively Instagram bio can help construct your page’s image for anyone visiting the first time, did you also know that they can expand the chances of people coming across your page or discovering it under their niche-specific search?
That is to say, adding a relevant emoji to the bio and description of your Instagram profile does not just make it easier for people to understand what your page and content are about but also leads your page to the top of the search results whenever someone runs a niche-specific or emoticon-based search.
To give you an example, if a person is a writer, they could benefit seamlessly with emojis such as a pen, pencil, or a notepad in their bio. Although overusing emojis or putting up irrelevant ones are a few mistakes one needs to avoid, as they can well enough be a put-off.
For anyone unsure as to what might be the right one to use, a trending emoji or one that has been searched the most in the context of their content is the best way to go.
Use the insights well
Insights could be more than just a feedback manifesto for one’s brand and business if properly made use of.
While a lot of people use them to gather info on how a certain service or product has been received by the audience, the fact that it could also suggest pivotal growth points for a booming online presence often goes unnoticed or, better said, not adequately made use of.
Though there are endless factors that could be studied through the pattern on one’s Instagram insights, such as what to post depending on audience interaction, whom to post for depending on the target audience, etc., when to post is indeed the ideal one for those looking to attain maximum engagement. Let’s see how –
When should you post on Instagram?
A lot of times, the low rates of engagement on a post you certainly know for a fact is quite good is not due to the disinterest of the audience but simply because you posted it at the wrong time.
That’s right, Instagram algorithms are built such that they regularly update a person’s feed, and anyone who missed the peak time to post as per their insights is on little luck of getting it seen by most of their followers.
Insights on Instagram can be easily utilized to understand and curate a posting schedule as per one’s followers, their location, and active hours, so that the post can be seen by the maximum number of followers, suggesting a high engagement rate.
Apart from insights, one could also calculate favoring factors to get a rough idea of the best time and days through general dynamics such as posting on weekends as people are mostly free at the time, etc.
Videos but with subtitles and closed captions
Though it is needless to mention how video formats have dominated the online world over pictures among other formats such as text, etc., is simply adding video enough to reach the engagement one seeks?
The decreasing attention span of the current generation has surely presented us with an idea of a perfect video which includes it being entertaining, to the point, easy to understand, informative, as short as possible, and so on. However, the fact that videos can easily and successfully use subtitles and captions given the vast audience on the platform with different backgrounds is often not talked about.
A survey conducted by Facebook, which also happens to be the parent company of Instagram, reveals that subtitles in a video increase its average chances of being viewed by 12%.
The prime purpose of adding captions to the video is to make it easier for the audience to grasp the message while making the visuals more appealing, though what is not talked about is how it also increases the possibility of a video being viewed by people who typically prefer to keep the sound off while watching.
One can always create their own dedicated captions to the video, which alternatively can also be done using the feature of auto-captions on Facebook, which is as simple as creating an auto-captioned video, saving and posting it on Instagram.
However, auto-captioned videos have a high chance of errors and mistakes, which, needless to say, must be taken care of before they could be posted on other platforms.
‘Micro,’ not ‘Macro’ influencers for Brand Authenticity
Influencer marketing is one of the most basic engagement tactics used by a plethora of brands and businesses for exposure and sales, with the prime focus of any brand for collaboration being someone with a large following and for all the right reasons so, but is it something effective, or will it be in the coming times?
To say that people are now more aware of social issues, know what goes behind influencer marketing, and are not particularly affected by the traditional advertising methods will be an understatement, therefore, altering the major requirements for an effective marketing technique, including the influencer a person chooses to represent their product.
Partnering with micro-influencers is not just an affordable alternative but beneficial because such people are generally more closely connected to their audience, have a better authority and voice, and are perceived as more authentic and reliable than some out of the world glamourous and high paid influencers or celebrities.
What’s more, a study even suggests higher engagement rates for micro-influencers compared to macro.
Understanding that an influencer campaign is not just a shoutout from someone with a major following is imperative, deepening the need to find the right collaborations and carry out smaller campaign trials to acknowledge how receptive a particular person’s following is and how one could possibly benefit from the same.
Tell stories using longer captions
Forming a connection with the audience such that they could relate to your brand and content at a personal level is a major step in increasing one’s authority and engagement rates on the platform, but let me tell, it is also one of the hardest ones to achieve.
The entire purpose of social media marketing and popularity revolves around captivating and inspiring people through multiple formats such as videos, images, and even texts.
Simple marketing memos as captions are no longer an effective way to persuade people. One needs to integrate storytelling in their content to enhance user experience and, above all, make them feel like a part of the journey, which in turn increases the chances of interaction with the content and profile.
Many of you might already be informed of the expanding scope of longer captions on Instagram, which, when combined with the elements like behind the scene or an inspiring tale, makes the brand seem more human to the audience, which they could resonate with, forming a deeper connection.
Not to mention, the boost longer captions give to the average time people spend interacting with your post, a determining factor in the engagement.
Create sharable and savable content
The features to save a post one might later want to revisit and share the same through DMs with people you know will be fascinated with are hugely unacknowledged areas with unrealized potential to boost engagement.
Apart from creating a framed content to fill the niche requirements of your profile, everyone can agree to the fact that something like memes, quotes, and other relatable formats are often the ones bringing in the results one seeks.
Infographics, data, key points on a certain subject, valuable tips and information, etc., are also a few content types that have high chances of being shared and saved, something that will not just increase the value of your overall profile but will also boost platform metrics to favor how your well your content reaches new prospects.
Hosting an Instagram contest
Even though an Instagram contest can generate 3.5 times more likes on a post with 64 times the comment rate, many brands, businesses, and even influencers fail to employ it successfully in their Instagram strategy.
A contest can be anything from a discount offer to an Instagram story quiz with prizes for the winner or a simple post that includes a shoutout offer for anyone tagging most people on the post and so on.
It does not just act as a different content type to maintain audience interest but also offers quick exposure to a multitude of newer prospects, considering how such posts are among the most shared content types across the internet.
For anyone who has never experimented with a contest, giveaways are the best way to kickstart the journey as it does not require a grand strategy but only an offer where a person gives away a product or a service, and to participate, users have to like, share, follow, and tag a certain number of people on the post.
If mindfully implemented, a giveaway alone can bring seamless results, though that includes efforts promoting the contest using methods like Instagram ads, website banners, emails, cross-promotions through other social media handles, apart from monitoring it and announcing the results.
Take part in social conversations
Although the need to not get involved in any negative controversy or put out comments that can be slightest of offending to any person online cannot be emphasized enough, taking part in social conversations and standing up with communities in a social movement holds importance for brands and influencers.
The Internet is slowly becoming a hub for social reforms worldwide, and therefore, anyone with power or a voice is expected to present their stance in public. People tend to invest faith in a person who actively speaks on social issues and takes action against the same; that is to say, think beyond personal gains.
Being socially active in communities also increases the chances of your content and opinions reaching new prospects, not to mention the positive influence it creates on your brand image, boosting loyalty among those who already follow you.
The same goes for when replying to controversy or a triggering question in the comment box or DMs.
Add aesthetic to your profile with the right filters
Filters have been the game-changer for several social media platforms and not just Instagram, and for all the good reasons.
While many brands, to expand sales, have been using AR filters that allow people to virtually try on a product such as a lipstick shade or sunglasses before buying them, there is much more one can achieve using the right filter.
Not merely images but videos too can successfully enhance the user experience with filters to please the audience in an aesthetic sense, something the audience has been fondly greeting since release.
Filters can also add an aesthetic appeal to the profile, making it so that people can easily distinguish your profile at first glance in a plethora of other online, which increases the chances of them clicking the follow button among other interactions as it makes your profile seem more familiar and relatable, a rather appealing factor to many.
Though the above mentioned are just 11 tricks to boost Instagram engagement, one should know that there are indeed many unexplored arenas on the platform with booming scope.
Experimenting and analyzing previous posts’ results is the best way to record the methods that have worked for a person. However, keep in mind that Instagram algorithms are regularly updated and strategize likewise for the best outcomes.
Take time, give out quality content, and watch as those likes, shares, and follows roll in. Happy Scrolling!