By Aimee Tariq
One survey said 72 percent of teens use Instagram. That’s a ready-made audience you need to consider.
Instagram has rapidly grown into one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, especially among the younger demographics. In fact, survey data from Pew Research revealed that 72 percent of teenagers polled said they use Instagram, compared to the 51 percent who use Facebook.
Pew reported similar usage statistics for individuals aged 18 to 24.
Instagram’s high engagement rates and younger audience make it an especially attractive option for brands trying to improve their online presence and reach new customers. But to be truly successful on the platform, brands need to find ways to engage on a daily basis.
Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be as challenging or time-consuming as you might initially think. Here are the steps to take:
1. Unleash the power of Instagram Stories.
Instagram Stories are still relatively new, but they are quickly becoming one of the most popular ways for brands and influencers to produce daily content. Stories tend to serve as a more “unfiltered” view of your brand, in part because they are visible for only 24 hours after they are initially posted.
Followers don’t expect this content to be super-polished. This gives brands the freedom to experiment with different types of content, such as special promos for social media followers, a preview of special events or even a behind-the-scenes look at a company’s team.
As digital strategist Michelle Martello explained in a guide on Instagram growth platform Kicksta, “Behind the scenes videos are a fantastic way to get your fans excited about what you’re creating. These don’t have to be polished or perfect — don’t be afraid to show the messy parts. People love feeling like they’re part of the process — and they’ll feel more invested in you and your creations.”
2. Interact with others in your niche.
Remember, Instagram is a social media platform — and that means you should take some time to interact with content posted on others’ accounts. This can be a great way to grow your account by helping you find new audiences in your niche and even give you advance notice of rising trends.
Be strategic as you choose accounts to interact with. Niche influencers, thought leaders and curation-style accounts are all great places to like and comment on posts. You can also use hashtags to find popular relevant content.
Don’t be self-promotional in your comments — but do be genuine and authentic, like a friend commenting on another friend’s post. Engaging with others’ content around the time that your own posts are scheduled to go live can also help you get more interactions on your post.
3. Dive into your analytics.
Using an Instagram business account gives you direct access to Instagram Insights, the platform’s proprietary analytics tool that lets you take a look at profile activity as well as interactions with individual posts and Stories. Insights will also give you a better idea of your audience demographics.
If you’re following the best practice of posting new content each day, then it makes sense to regularly check in on your Insights so you can gain a better understanding of how each post is performing. Impressions, reach, website clicks and other metrics will give you a better idea of which content is helping you accomplish your marketing goals.
Such insights can help you fine-tune your content — even for decisions such as when you should schedule posts — to better appeal to your target audience. Such improvements will foster stronger engagement for future content.
4. Use branded hashtags to re-post.
Producing new content each day can be a challenge, particularly if you have a lot of other marketing responsibilities on your plate. However, many brands have found great success in curating content from their followers.
The Vans Instagram account is a great example of this. This shoe and apparel company actively encourages its fans to post photos using #MyVans. High-quality photos are re-posted on the official Vans account with permission from the original photographer/contributor.
This creates an active community of enthusiastic fans who regularly post about the Vans brand. Vans employees can search the branded hashtag, find photos that match the account’s style and then re-post them to fill content gaps.
5. Monitor your comments — closely.
Sometimes, the simplest tactics are among the most effective. Engaging with your audience members after they comment on your post is a great way to keep users interested in your brand for the long run.
As Instagram marketing specialist Lesya Liu explained in a blog post, “Check your comments and respond to the best of your ability, acknowledging your real followers and commenters. Besides, it shows people who are just browsing through your profile that you do pay attention to your community, which gives them an extra reason to follow your account … A number of comments are a much stronger engagement indicator to the algorithm, so encourage conversations and discussions!”
Prioritize which comments you respond to, especially when you have limited time. Always try to answer questions to the best of your ability. Give thanks for praise and positive comments, and be professional when addressing negative comments.
When longer responses are needed, leave a comment telling the follower that you will send him or her a direct message so others know you’re paying attention.
Overall, simply having an Instagram presence isn’t enough. If you want to build a loyal following, daily engagements should become a top priority. By utilizing these tactics, you can ensure daily growth for your Instagram account without creating an unwanted time burden.