It’s been a while since I’ve written about Instagram. Truth is, I’ve just not been that arsed about it. I post what I like on Instagram when I like. I follow only a couple hundred accounts that I enjoy, I comment when I feel like it and I like photos that I like. I guess you could say, I use Instagram organically.
I don’t have loads of followers, I actually removed about 2000 of my Instagram followers a couple of years ago from bot accounts, inactive accounts or just those rubbish accounts that are random online con businesses trying to sell you supplements that make you shit out everything before it’s digested so you can be sKiNnY.
Anyway, over the last few months, I’ve been too busy being pregnant, working from home, and trying not to have a total meltdown about having a baby during a global pandemic that I’ve really not paid much attention to the platform at all. I’m not saying I’m going to change that, but marketing still interests me and I enjoy keeping up to date with the latest trends and tips when it comes to social media and blogging.
I also enjoy sharing what I’ve learnt and helping others grow their own accounts and websites.
I am not an expert, I do not work in marketing. I do have a qualification in professional marketing but most of what I learn is things I’ve read on the internet. Or things I’ve tried myself. You could just say I like to organise the information that’s out there and pick out the bits that are relevant to bloggers like me and put that information in one place so it’s easy to read and understand.
How to increase your engagement on Instagram.
The first thing to know is how Instagrams algorithm works.
Instagram wants to show users what it thinks they want to see. Both in-home feeds and in explore pages. I’m sure you’ve noticed that if you haven’t interacted with an account in ages, but the suddenly go and like the last few posts on their grid, you’ll start seeing their content again.
Same with stories – if you always watch the stories of someone and interact with them, they will show first – if you don’t watch them, they’ll show less and less until they are at the back of the pile.
Try it for yourself, scroll to the back of your stories and watch some you’ve not watched for ages, even interact with them – they’ll then start to show higher up the pile.
Alternatively, you can click on your ‘following’ and loo at the accounts ‘Least Interacted With’. Bet you’ll come up with some accounts you totally forgot about, right? Comment and like on some, they’ll start showing in your feed again.
Explore pages are again suggestions of things Instagram thinks you will like, whether you’ve liked content with similar hashtags and topics recently or even searched them. You can read the official Instagram statement of what it recommends to you and what it doesn’t here.
So now you know this, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that to increase your engagement, you need to be actually showing up in the feeds of your followers!
So, there are a few things you can do to ensure this happens:
Interact with the people you follow.
You’ve got to get those relationships forming! Once you have formed a relationship with another user, don’t forget about them and start focusing on someone new. Nurture that relationship. Comment on their posts. And I don’t mean weak comments like:
- Killin it!
- I love that dress!
- *fire emoji*
Write a comment you actually mean. When you have a relationship with someone, this will be easy because you know them. You can have cute little jokes and relate it to previous conversations and get a real personal feel going!
Make use of DMs.
It’s easy to start a conversation with someone on Instagram just by reacting to or replying to their stories. This is another way to get to know someone, talk about shared interests and get your posts in their feed!
Start conversations in comments!
Reply to your comments, but not just with ‘thanks!’. Ask questions, answer questions, write something that will get the commenter to reply to again. This not only ups your personal engagement = you will show in their feed, but the more comments your post has, the more Instagram will show it to others.
Share other peoples content in your stories.
If something resonates with you, whether its funny, it’s triggered an emotion or it’s just something you REALLY like, share it and give them a shout out – again this builds relationships and encourages others to share your own content. Instagram LOVES you more if your content is shared and guess what – that shared piece of content will show up more often in your followers feeds and is more likely to show up on the explore page.
Your personality matters.
I know most Instagram tip posts bang on about nailing content, having a witty bio and having a beautiful aesthetic and colour scheme – but let’s face it, so many people have beautiful feeds but it’s not very unique. Like, how many more accounts do we need of homes full of grey and silver decor? Yes, they look lovely, but they are not unique.
Mrs Hinch did not get where she is for posting photos of her crushed velvet sofa. She did it because she made hilarious videos of her cleaning, naming sponges and just being funny while doing everyday things. It was her personality. She actually hardly ever posts. In September 2020 she posted 3 times on her main grid!
So yes, while having beautiful content that your followers relate to is great, it is not the only way to get popular on Instagram. You do not have to spend loads of camera equipment, props, buy online courses or go to ‘Intagrammy’ locations just for the sake of a photo. Just be yourself and be open to starting conversations with others and making long-lasting friendships.
Not only will it increase your engagement, but it will also increase your enjoyment of the app.