| Victoria Zurakowski
Our Top Tips to Increase Instagram Engagement
At Sand Dollar, we're big believers in the adage "the secret to getting ahead is getting started." This applies to everything we do - marketing and social media included. Whether you want to market your brand or use your influencing powers online, there's one online platform that has proved its worth and sustainability over the years - Instagram!
Regardless of what many may say, Instagram still matters, as do your followers, likes, and click-throughs. With new competition appearing almost daily, Instagram is one social media platform that people rely on to advertise, promote, and share content and products.
As well as its visual appeal, Instagram is still the most widely used social media platform for influencing and promoting. With over 1 billion of the world's population having at least one Instagram account, it's fair to say that using Instagram for promoting purposes isn't going away any time soon.
At Sand Dollar, we've tried and tested various social media platforms for marketing. Instagram has never failed us. Yes, it has taken us some time to learn how to market on Instagram. We did our research, we experimented, at times we failed, and then we tried different tactics until we were able to increase our Instagram engagement organically.
While it took many years for us to create an online presence, we believe if we had had the information we know now readily available, using Instagram to influence and market our products would have been a walk in the park. So, whether you want to gain more followers on Instagram, gain more likes, or learn how to beat the Instagram algorithm, read on.
We've decided to take the stress out of your Instagram influencing and marketing and share our secret sauce when it comes to learning how to create an online presence, specifically on Instagram. Here are our top tips to increase Instagram engagement. You're welcome!
Understanding the Instagram Algorithm
It sounds scary - anything with the word "algorithm" in it does, but don't let the notion of the Instagram algorithm put you off.
Over the years, as individuals and brands have grown with Instagram, the Instagram algorithm has changed to adapt to the current social media marketing trends. Today, your stories are just as important as your posts. Until 2016, there wasn't even such a thing as Instagram stories, so bear this in mind when you try to master the Instagram algorithm.
There are a few scientifically proven things that you need to keep in mind when it comes to the Instagram algorithm.
Your Instagram Engagement
Instagram engagement is probably the most important thing to consider when thinking about beating the Instagram algorithm. Instagram considers how likely people are to like, comment, save, or tap on a profile or post.
To improve Instagram engagement, consider the following questions when you plan your Instagram content and captions:
- What is the likelihood of someone commenting on this post?
- Is this Instagram post something someone is likely to save and return to later?
- Does this Instagram post have a CTA?
When you plan to create content to improve Instagram engagement, you're halfway there to hacking the Instagram algorithm. But how can you improve your engagement on Instagram without being OTT?
People use Instagram daily. Therefore, as a brand or an influencer, you need to be active to gain those coveted followers and likes. However, there's also a thing as being too active, so what's the deal?
Studies state that you need to post once or twice a day to improve Instagram engagement. This is how to keep your Instagram content fresh and relevant. Previously, it was believed that if you wanted to increase your Instagram engagement, you had to post at a certain time, but this myth has been debunked over the years. As long as you keep it consistent, that's all that matters. On average, we post 2-3 times a day, and according to our Instagram analytics, engagement continues to grow.
Become a Storyteller
No one likes a preacher. "Do this, do that..." - it's bossy and, when you think about it, condescending.
When you post on Instagram, you're telling a story, a visual story. Images, videos, and text are the three ingredients to tell a visual story. No one wants to hear or read marketing messages that just try to sell.
Become a storyteller. Instead of "do this, do that" posts, use Instagram captions to tell a micro-story. In today's world, especially during these pandemic times, people want to connect, and the best way to do that is by creating a story or an experience for your Instagram followers. Creating personal and real stories, even about your daily life, while subtly promoting yourself or your brand, shows that you're human. This also helps you build a deeper connection with your target audience. Interacting directly with your audience using direct address and questions also helps build engagement on Instagram as an emotional connection is built.
Another way that is proving to be successful in storytelling and building engagement on Instagram is through longer stories - AKA the micro-blog. When done right, longer captions build curiosity and stop Instagrammers in their tracks while scrolling. This increases the time they spend reading and looking at your post, boosting engagement on your Instagram page. Not only this, Instagram claims that such posts encourage people to save and share your Instagram posts, which also helps you beat the old Instagram algorithm.
In a nutshell, while posting product pictures is great and necessary, to sell on Instagram, you also need to mix it up. Think about your target audience - think about what it cares about - think about what might help them - and think about what they like to see. We've discovered over the years, our Instagram followers like to get into our lives as well - they like the human touch of family, friends, and behind-the-scenes posts
Build A Bad Ass Brand
We always say believe in your brand, but you also need to build a strong one. It's a tough ol' world out there when it comes to competition, whether you're selling luxury beachwear or promoting travel, so the 3 Cs are essential - clarity, creativity, and consistency.
Many Instagrammers make one rookie error: going in blind and taking a haphazard approach without direction. Determine your core areas and focus on these. For example, our Instagram followers love our style boards.
Instagram Hashtags For The Win
Another best practice for Instagram is mastering hashtags. Knowing how to use hashtags for Instagram will also increase engagement and help you gain new followers. Hashtags on Instagram are super important as you can directly search them and find photos and content about what you're looking for.
Today many people try and pay for followers. But the best way to increase Instagram followers is to get back to basics and look at Instagram's roots and organically build your following with the help of the right Instagram hashtags. Think about your Instagram hashtags as a form of extra credit - they cost nothing, and they help grow your brand online at the same time.
A case in point is customer X. Customer X is going to Barbados for a sunny getaway. She wants a new sexy bikini (or five). So, what does she do? She consults the place where she always gets inspiration from - Instagram. With a simple search for #sexybikini in the search bar, she then can view various "sexy bikinis", including your post, in which you've used the very same hashtag. She clicks on your profile and sees that you also stock more of what she's after. She hovers a little and then moves towards that little blue follow button and clicks - and voila! Just like that, you've gained yourself a new follower!
When using hashtags to increase Insta engagement, numbers matter. Although Instagram's hashtags allow up to 30 hashtags in one post, that's far too many. Posting too many hashtags will be detrimental to your brand as it looks unprofessional.
Remain Visually Driven
Many would argue that that "finished look" is going out of fashion; however, with Instagram, it's slightly different - Instagram is driven by highly visual content, and this is something that's not going to change as long as people use Instagram for marketing. Whether you use Instagram filters or go for the "no-edit edit look", you need that visual consistency.
Make The Most Out Of Videos
Previously we mentioned that a great Instagram picture is worth a thousand words, so where does that leave videos? Priceless!
You've just got to look at all the video options Instagram offers to understand how engaging videos can be, whether that's 60-second feature videos or video stories.
For example, Insta stories can help you with a big reveal, which is something we like to do at Sand Dollar Dubai; a case in point is our famous slippers post that got over 1000 views in a short period.
And what about Reels? We love Instagram Reels, which are also said to improve Instagram engagement. This shiny new star of Instagram allows you to produce high-quality "Tik Tok" quality videos without joining Tik Tok.
In a similar fashion to Tik Tok, Instagram Reels allow you to record short videos that automatically get added to Instagram's Explore feed, which immediately gives you more Instagram exposure.
Like Instagram Stories, but better - Instagram Reels have even more video editing tools, speed controls, and AR effects. They also allow you to combine several videos into one in a seamless way, just like in one of our most popular Reels - the 2021 Recap.
We're all over Reels at Sand Dollar Dubai to boost Instagram engagement. Fashion and Instagram Reels are a match made in heaven. From online video outfit changes to other cool video curations, Reels are a way you can create the best Instagram content your audience is craving in a more personable and approachable manner.
Include Video Subtitles and Closed Captions
Approximately 60% of Instagram videos contain sound, so where does that leave the other 40%? People often purposefully choose to watch a video without sound for several reasons, which is why it's not a silly idea to include subtitles to accompany your videos to cater to that 40%.
Facebook (Instagram's parent) allows you to add captioned videos, and according to research, this also boosts Instagram video view times. These closed-captioned videos can then be saved to your Instagram.
Boost Instagram Engagement With CTAs
If you're like us and you're promoting products, you need to encourage your followers to click, which can be done with a short and sweet CTA using imperatives. Whether it's a "Swipe up to buy" or "Pop in to see our collection", inviting your Instagram followers to directly engage improves trust.
Several Instagram analytics tools can also help you out. Our marketing team uses them to get a better insight and increase our Instagram followers. However, it's important to get the basics down first. Once you learn how to boost your Instagram engagement organically, you can look at more sophisticated online analytics tools. But remember, over everything else, Instagram is a visual platform, so your images need to be engaging. If you're in the UAE and need some Instagram location inspiration, check out some of the best spots in the UAE to have an Instagram photoshoot.