Most businesses around the world have been active on Facebook and Twitter for the last few years. But there is one social network that has been around for just as long, yet it is only just becoming more mainstream over the last 12 months. That is Instagram.
Every week I see more and more brands using the photo-sharing social network, but this only half the job. The other part is maintaining an engaged audience. Here are 10 simple ways to drive engagement on Instagram.
1. Share good photos… regularly
This might seem like an obvious piece of advice but you’d be surprised at the number of people who share awful photos or who don’t share photos at all.
Before engaging in this channel have an idea of when you’re going to share images. Is it daily? Is it twice a day? Will it be every other day? Once you know that, before you share anything stop and ask yourself ‘Is this a good image?’ If it is, share it. If it isn’t, don’t – it’s that simple.
One thing to remember here is this – you don’t have to take the photos with your smartphone. If you’ve got a standalone camera that takes amazing photos, DSLR or otherwise, share those ones.
2. Think about the description
While a picture tells a thousand words, the right words can help tell that story even more. So even if you have an image that makes you say ‘Wow’, don’t stop there. Think of a caption that will inspire people and will make them take even more notice of your photo in their feed.
3. Follow relevant people
Building a following on Instagram, Twitter or any other social network can be easy sometimes – you could simply follow a bunch of people and wait to see which ones will follow you back. But it isn’t this straight forward though – you need to follow the right people.
There are different ways to do this. You might want to follow people who follow your competitors. If they like them, they should like you, right? Search for people by hashtag and follow those people. Or you might want to follow people because of where they’ve shared images. All are relevant tactics.
4. Use the right hashtags
While hashtags are generally deemed a Twitter phenomenon, they’re arguably even more important on Instagram. Mix your hashtags between generic ones such as #bestoftheday and #travel along with ones more specific to your product and location.
5. Share your photos and promote your account on other channels
I’ve publicly stated before here on this blog that you shouldn’t tweet your Instagram photos and I stand by this - you simply shouldn’t. There are other channels to share your Instagram account on, namely Facebook and your website. To increase awareness of your Instagram, spread the word about your account in as many places you can.
6. Use video
It might seem like video is only making it big right about now, but this isn’t the case. It’s been around for a very, very long time. It’s just that now it’s more prevalent than ever. There’s a reason for that – it makes content easy to consume and it’s engaging. If you want to drive engagement on Instagram in 2016, then make sure to jump on the video bandwagon.
7. Have a theme
Having a theme on Instagram is important. It will mean you’ll share content regularly and it will give you focus. It could be landscape photos or maybe it’s street art. Whatever it is, choose one and stick to it. This way people who follow you will know what to expect when you share photos. If they know what to expect, you can expect (or hope!) that they like it, thus increasing engagement on your page.
8. Look at the right analytics
Once upon there was a website called Statigram that provided free analytics for Instagram. That website became Iconosquare which provided the same information free of charge. Things have changed unfortunately and today, to see what is the best time to share and what filter generates the most engagement, you’ll need to pay USD$28.80 for 12 months. Not much to spend when you think about it and very worth it.
9. Leverage User Generated Content
If a customer shares a piece of content from your tour then take advantage of it and share it! Tweet the photo, share it on Instagram and Facebook it too. Make sure to tag the original publisher for two reasons – to credit them and to trigger some engagement by way of comments, likes and retweets.
10. Run Contests
If there’s one thing you can be sure of when it comes to social media it’s that people like free things. If you give away a free spot on your tour or activity on Instagram you’ll see better engagement than ever before.
Interested in growing your following on Instagram, here are 10 ways to do so.
Have you got any other tried and tested ways to improve engagement on social media? Share it with us in the comments below!
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Written by Colm Hanratty
Colm is Founder and Managing Director of digital marketing agency Sixtwo Digital. After running Hostelworld.com’s content and social media for almost 11 years he felt it was time to branch out on his own, using all his experience to educate others in the travel space.