How to Build an Engaged Community on Instagram
Increasing your following and building a community are two very different things. Each has its merits, but if you’re seeking constant engagement, a community is what you’re seeking. Achieving community status can be a complex process that requires set steps on your part. Here’s what you can do to build a more engaged community on your Instagram.
Know Your Followers
Knowing your followers is the first step in any engaged Instagram platform. You’ll never receive engagement if you can’t connect with them with your content. When you know what your followers want to see, your engagement will instantly improve.
Start by creating consumer personas. Write down their ages, occupations, interests, median income, and more. Most importantly, determine what problems they’re facing on the daily basis that you can help them solve (or distract them from to make their challenges easier).
Then, check out your analytics page to learn what time they’re on Instagram and which of your posts have received the most engagement. You can also use tools to monitor your competitors to learn which posts they have made that have been most successful. Try to mimic these posts and improve your engagement as a result.
“The quickest way to build a following on Instagram is to monitor and engage with different hashtags,” Taylor Loren wrote in a Hootsuite article. “To do this, you’ll first need to find popular hashtags that your community is adding to their photos and engaging with. Research which hashtags other industry influencers or competitors are using, and then spend time each day monitoring the content of each tag.”
You might also make your own hashtags and try to get user-generated content out of it. For example, the New York Public Library uses the hashtag #bookfacefriday to get user-generated content of individuals putting their faces on the covers of books. It’s wildly successful, and their dedicated followers love the intimate connection with a favored brand.
Work with Other Instagrammers
Influencer marketing is one of your best tactics when you’re trying to get a more engaged community, particularly if you leverage micro influencers. This group has between 500 and 10,000 followers.
Typically, their followers are fiercely loyal to that brand, so they often see greater engagement than other brands. By befriending and collaborating with these influencers, you can mutually grow your community into a more dedicated following.
“What separates a good post from a great post is how much your followers like, comment, or share it, and because they have fewer followers, micro-influencers are often able to maintain active relationships by replying to most comments or inquiries on their posts, and quickly,” explains Brett Farmiloe of SocialMediaToday.“This constant connection can make followers feel like they actually have a relationship with the influencer, and they, therefore, they tend to make a habit of engaging with more of that users' posts.”
Besides that, you can build more authentic relationships and it’s usually cheaper to work with micro-influencers, a win-win for your situation.
One of the most impactful things that any Instagrammer can do is to be themselves, especially if they want to get more Instagram likes. Followers are looking for a strong personality that’s consistent and clear. If you’re constantly trying to be something you’re not, you’ll never maintain authenticity for your brand.
Blogger and Instagrammer Aby Moore of You Baby Me Mummy suggests using emotion in your posts to foster a stronger connection. “Don’t be afraid to share emotion, both positive and negative in your captions,” she writes. “Shared emotion helps people connect with you. I always see a greater engagement rate when I share things that are from the heart.”
By far one of the simplest and most effective forms of engagement is asking questions. If it’s relevant, your followers won’t be able to resist posting a comment, and the more comments you receive, the further it will spread.
“Ask your followers how their day is going,” suggest Jessica Keller in a MelyssaGriffin article. “Take a photo of what you’re working on and ask them for their opinions. Share about your upcoming summer trip and see if your followers are headed anywhere, too. Anything to get them talking. It may feel a little awkward at first, but just go for it, friend! You’ll be surprised at how many people will reply.”
Watch Current Trends
In the digital realm, a year feels like a decade. Things are moving and progressing that quickly. Because information is right at the fingertips, individuals can quickly latch onto new ideas and trends before you can.
That’s why it’s essential to keep up with the latest trends in both your industry and Instagram tactics. For example, if you’re not using Instagram Stories you should be because Instagram recently updated their algorithm to prioritize brands that use Stories daily. That’s just one of many updates you miss if you’re not closely paying attention to current trends.
Reach Out to Followers
Although it’s nice if followers will find you organically, there’s nothing in the rule book that says that must be the case. You can find them. After understanding exactly who your target audience is, consider reaching out to individuals who can align with your content and following them and asking for a follow in return.
“You can locate these like-minded individuals by searching for popular hashtags relevant to your industry — a sports apparel company might search for content with the hashtag #NFL, for instance — and you can connect with them by commenting on their photos,” suggests an article from the marketing platform Olapic.
Together you and those who follow you in return can create a more like-minded community that’s more likely to engage and create long-lasting connections that will keep you bonded for the life of your brand.
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