Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are often perceived as “The Big Three” when it comes to social media networks, but Instagram is starting to catch up. In terms of active monthly users Instagram has already passed Twitter in March 2015 with a total of 300,000 million users according to Statista. Based on these figures, Instagram may soon be considered one of the top three, along with its parent company Facebook.
Even though Instagram has a large amount of users some marketers are still struggling to understand the value that it can offer. You can’t deny that visual content trumps all other content. The average post engagement rate is 3.31% on Instagram compared to 0.07% on Twitter when looking at the largest brands on both networks according to econsultancy. How does that affect your currently social media strategy?
There are many articles on how you can manage and support a following on Twitter and Facebook, but there aren’t that many on Instagram. Here are my 6 tips for engaging your audience and creating a lasting relationship with your Instagram followers.
1. Show off your culture
Share pictures that take followers behind the scenes, highlight what you offer and feature the team members. Photos with people get more shares. Use Instagram as an educational channel by posting instructional photos and videos to showcase what you do best.
2. Use Hashtags and Location
Try searching a few hashtags and see what’s out there. You can get creative and get in on hashtags like #TBT (Throwback Thursday) where you can show off your product in its beta form or before it was crafted. Also, engage on other users photos with likes and comments, they’ll probably be thrilled to see the recognition from a brand (and they’re likely to follow your brand if they don’t already).
Instagram photo maps lets you tag your location and those pictures that have locations set receive 79% higher engagement than those that don’t.
3. Reply to Comments
Responding back to your followers in the comments is important on any platform, but it’s often ignored on Instagram. Start conversations by asking questions, and engage with answers and comments of your own. Show your Instagram followers that your brand is accessible and wants to converse. Personal connections are the best kinds of connections.
Tip: Be sure to begin all of your engagements by tagging the person’s username so he or she will be notified like @erockfoutch.
4. Encourage Employee Involvement.
Comment and like your employees’ photos from your company account. It will boost relationships within your company and make your employees feel special. Let different employees take over the company Instagram account for a day. Make it a competition and see who can get the most shares.
Tip: Always have a social media policy in place before encouraging engagement!
VP of Talent at Hootsuite Ambrosia Humphrey says, “you can find employees on virtually any social platform, and communicating with them through these networks has the potential to elevate relationships both inside and outside the company.”
5. Encourage Users to Tag Their friends
Depending on your content, a lot of times users just tag their friends in your post instead of writing a comment. This can be a little discouraging since you can’t engage with just a username, but you should encourage it. The more eyes on your content the better. It will result in more engagement and potentially more followers.
6. Change The URL in Your Bio for Links
Instagram doesn’t allow you to include a URL link in the body of your message, but there is another way to drive people to a link. Change the link on your profile and direct people to click on that. Change it up as often as you need.
Instagram might jump to the big three as marketers and users start seeing the value that it can offer. Do you have a current Instagram strategy that includes tips that I am missing? If so, please let me know!