Instagram can be an amazing source of traffic and leads. But is it working for you or have you noticed less than favorable results for your marketing efforts?
If you’ve noticed this, it’s time to get serious about customer engagement on Instagram. Instagram, like all social media platforms, is constantly changing its algorithms. The latest change is that Likes – which used to be the gold standard of customer engagement – will no longer be displayed on your feed.
DON’T PANIC. You’ll still be able to see your Likes in your analytics and insights, but this new reality signals a change with Instagram engagement.
Here are 5 things you can do to engage your customers that go far beyond a simple Like.
#1: Organize Your Stories into Highlights
Instagram Stories can be a terrific marketing tool, but they only stick around for 24 hours – or do they?
One of my favorite tips for Instagram Stories is to feature them as highlights on your profile page. Your stories can provide new subscribers with an overview of who you are and what you do.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Log in to your Instagram account
- Navigate to your profile page and tap Story Highlights (underneath your name and bio)
- Tap the plus sign to add a Story to your Highlights
- Tap to choose the Instagram Story you want to feature
- Tap Edit Cover
- Choose a cover photo for your Highlight
- Tap Done
Once you have added an Instagram Story to your highlights, it will remain there until you remove it. This simple move gives new life to your Stories and increases engagement by giving new followers something substantial to view when they visit your profile.
As a local business you have a lot to share. A few great ways to leverage highlights might be to feature behind the scenes of your business or to inform, educate and entertain. Another opportunity might be to feature your audience’s posts to your stories and then to your audience. Showing the human side of you and your business will often resonate with your audience.
#2: Use Geotags for Local Engagement
For local business owners, the Holy Grail of Instagram marketing is attracting local followers. After all, these are the people who are most likely to patronize your business and convert to loyal customers. One local follower is worth hundreds of followers who only look at your photos and never buy from you. And it is so much easier to sell more and more often to an existing local customer.
One of the easiest ways to amp up your local engagement is to use geotags when you post on Instagram. You can create a Geotag specifically for your business, but you can also use state, city, and even neighborhood geotags to pinpoint your location.
Here is something really cool that you may not have been aware of, geotags can have their own Stories on Instagram. Using a geotag for your city, your posts will become part of that day’s Story, making it that much easier for local customers to discover you and your business.
We highly recommend leveraging geotags as part of your Instagram campaigns.
#3: Post Videos to Get More Comments
In their 2018 Instagram Engagement Report, Mention revealed that videos on Instagram receive 46% of all Likes. Since there are far more photos posted on Instagram than videos, these numbers show that videos attract a ton of engagement on Instagram.
With the importance of Likes on the decline thanks to the new algorithm changes, it’s also interesting to note that videos seem to get more comments than photos. If you haven’t already started posting videos on Instagram, 2021 is the year to start.
The current rules for Instagram video are as follows:
- Up to 60 seconds for videos posted on your feed
- Up to 15 seconds for videos posted as part of an Instagram Story
- Up to 60 minutes for Instagram Live video
- Up to 60 minutes for IGTV video
Posting more videos can help you grab your audience’s attention and hold it.
It may seem unnerving to get yourself on video, but if you are looking for results and increased engagement, you have to find a way to get over putting yourself on video!
Think of it as a massive opportunity for new and existing customers discover and engage with your content!
#4: Create More Savable Posts
One of the things about Instagram is that it’s easy to miss posts or to gloss over them. But what if there was a way to keep your audience engaged by getting them to revisit a post frequently?
There is! More brands are recognizing the importance of creating posts that their followers will want to save and return to. That’s unlikely to happen with a simple photograph, but there are ways to create content that’s suitable for Instagram and provide ongoing value to your followers. Here are a few ideas:
- Create carousel-style posts with multiple images organized around a theme. For example, a local restaurant may do a “Meal Prep” carousel, “Recipe” carousel or a “How To Cook This” carousel.
- Create mini-blog posts that provide information that your followers can use, such as a checklist or packing list.
A carousel in the feed encourages viewers to swipe left and right on your post. You can have up to 10 images within the carousel. This also encourages viewers to ‘stay on’ you post that much longer.
The key is to think about what your target audience will find valuable and provide it to them, Instagram-style.
#5: Add Instagram Stickers to Your Stories
Instagram Stories are great for engagement, especially if you let your followers now how you want them to engage with you. A great way to boost Story engagement is by using interactive Instagram Stickers.
Instagram Stickers appear on Stories and offer your customers an easy way to interact with you. The options available include:
- Question stickers: Ask your followers a question, such as which products they’d like to see from you. The question sticker is a great way to collect valuable information from your followers.
- Quiz stickers: Offer your followers a multiple choice question to boost engagement.
- Countdown stickers: Add a countdown to your Story to build excitement for a new product launch or a big announcement.
Here are the steps to add a sticker to your Instagram Story:
- Add a picture to your story
- Click the peeling smiley face icon to bring up your sticker options
- Tap to add the sticker you like
- Rearrange it on the page – you can make it bigger or smaller and choose where to place it and add a question or countdown
Another fun sticker to use is a ‘slider’ sticker. A great way to use it is to position it on your canvas in a manner that allows your viewer to slide the dial left or right…or…up or down. Now consider having an image that has 3-5 choices and you leverage the slider to have the viewer engage with your image. You can get very creative and have a lot of fun with it!
Engaging customers on Instagram isn’t just a numbers game and the new algorithm changes mean that Likes are only the tip of the iceberg. These five engagement tips here will help you take advantage of the updates and make it your best year ever on Instagram.