When I ask my coaching clients what they are hoping to get out of our coaching sessions, 90-95% say some form of higher engagement on their social media platforms.
It’s one thing to entice someone to follow you. It’s another for them to stay engaged. (Tweet it!)
Engagement on Instagram is more important than ever, largely due to the new algorithm. There’s a lot of talk about how to use the best filter for your brand photos or how to style your flat lay, which are useful tips, but there are many more variables that factor into a post’s engagement.
Let’s break it down.
First, what is engagement really? It’s a buzzword that is often thrown around but rarely defined. Think of it as any action your audience takes regarding your post. This could be in the form of double tapping a photo to like it, leaving a thoughtful comment, or even clicking the link in your bio.
Have a call-to-action (CTA) in every post
This does not mean changing your website link and saying ‘link in bio’ at the end of every. single. caption. It’s important to change up your CTA to keep things fresh, unique, and unpredictable. The most overlooked CTA is asking your audience a relevant question. It’s the most simple way to start a conversation.
Adding a question at the end of your caption gives your followers a quick, clear way to share their thoughts rather than having to mentally search for something to say on their own. Once you’ve got your audience’s attention, keep it until the end with an engaging question.
Tell a story in your caption
Every now and then it’s okay to have a witty one-liner, but people are following you on Instagram because they want to get to know you. The more you open up (see buzzword: transparency) and share your heart along with your work, the more you’ll make a lasting impact.
Match the story in your caption to the story in your photo
The stories in your caption and photo don’t have to match up perfectly but they should be similar enough to make sense when blended together. When they have a similar mood, vibe, and sentiment, you’ll be able to share a variety of stories within your brand.
For example, if you have a picture of a beautiful sunset you are dying to share but your primary goal with Instagram is promoting your handmade goods, you can post the photo and talk about a recent highlight or “ah-ha” moment that changed your approach to business or a new sales or subscribers goal that you reached with the help of Instagram friends.
Include *relevant* hashtags
You’ve probably heard a lot about how important hashtags are to your Instagram’s success because it’s true. When you use relevant hashtags, you’re able to find and attract dreamy clients, buyers, and readers who are already interested in the subject matter of your post. I chat a bit more about hashtags in my Instagram captions post.
Make the most of the characters you have in your caption before ‘Read More’
Remember when Instagram showed the entirety of post captions in our home feeds? Oh, those were the days. Now the tool gives you about three lines before it hides the rest of your caption behind a ‘read more’ link.
Think of it like Twitter. You only have a few dozen characters to make an impact so your first sentence should act as a hook to entice your audience to take action. The action in this case is reading more. Keep this in mind when you’re crafting your captions.
Optimize your time for engagement
One of the best ways to increase your engagement is to free up more time for it. You can plan your content (photos, hashtags, CTAs, and captions) all in one sitting so posting everyday becomes an ultra simple task.
My favorite tool for this is Later, formally Latergramme, which allows you to schedule and plan your Instagram posts from your mobile or desktop. It even sends reminders to your phone if you have a tendency to forget like me. (Oops!)
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What has helped you increase your Instagram engagement? Let me know in the comment section!