How to gain Instagram followers and increase engagement
When I created an Instagram profile a few years ago, it was just a cool way to play around with photos of arb things I took to make them look “professional”. So, it was only after I took over one of our client’s accounts on Instagram that I started researching the platform and understanding what a great marketing tool it can be for any brand, but especially a travel brand.
Here are a few things I learnt about growing an Instagram account’s reach over the past few months:
1. Have a clear strategy
Make sure you know why you have an Instagram account and what type of pictures you want to share. Are you using Instagram to educate people about a place or activity? Are you only going to post your own pictures or perhaps other user’s photos that you’ll reshare? Strategies and plans can change over time but come up with something concrete and try to stick to it. You can always change it down the line. A few pointers to remember:
- Keep your posts consistent
- Write a great bio and profile for your page. Tell people what they’ll see when they follow you
- Think of clever and compelling captions to go with the photos you post, use the most important word first, ask questions and use emojis
2. Make your page and photos more discoverable
- Promote your profile wherever you can on your website, blog, other social media platforms, printed collateral etc.
- When it comes to tagging photos, research the hashtags and types of photos that are being used on specific days of the week by your competitors and followers, like #TBT, #Chooseday & #FoodieFriday or maybe #picoftheweek, #didyouknow or even an inspirational #travelquote. If you tag your photos with what they’re about, they’ll show up in specific user searches as well, like #sunset or #cruising. The locations of photos are also a nifty way of getting your photos to show up in users’ searches.
- Tag your followers, or brands that are featured in your photos. A big thing to remember around tagging others is to give credit (properly) if you use someone else’s photos, tag them and thank them for sharing the pic. Even better, ask for their permission before you share it.
- Don’t buy followers. Just don’t. What’s the point? They’re most likely to be bots anyway which won’t help you in your quest to create a big, engaged community.
Think of your goals and make sure you measure your account’s performance regularly. You can convert any account into a business account, which will give you access to Instagram Insights. This will give you a lot of info about your audience, as well as the results of each post, which can include the reach, likes, impressions, profile visits, follows etc. I also like to work out the engagement rate of my account monthly, by using this formula:
(Likes + Comments over a specific period / number of post over the same period) / number of followers x 100 = Engagement rate
So, what’s a good engagement rate? Less than 1% is a low engagement rate, between 1% and 3.5% is average and between 3.5% and 6% is a high engagement rate. Above 6 is a very high engagement rate.
This will give you a good idea of how your page is performing and if your engagement rate decreases, it’s time to refresh a few things…