Instagram Blueprint: 16 Steps to Blowing Up Your Engagement

Almost every business should be on Instagram. You need to be on Instagram because the engagement opportunities for brands with customer’s and prospective customers are off the charts. It’s a social network that allows users to upload pictures or up to :60 videos… oh and they just added stories to compete more directly with Snapchat. This isn’t a one-trick pony.

digitalAIM: Marketing Agency. Instagram. Social Media.

Here are some eye-popping stats:

The engagement rate with content is 50x greater than on Twitter or Facebook.

Instagram now has over 400 million active users, 60% of that log in at least once per day, and the rate of use has doubled since 2015.

Over 80 million videos are shared each day.

Engagement with brands on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter.

You can’t look at that as a marketer and not understand the value. To put it simply, you get more attention on Instagram than other social networks. That’s why it’s a must.

Here are 16 Tips to building a massive and highly engaged Instagram following.

1) Bio = Good Impression

Pay attention to your bio, profile pic and your website link. Your bio is the first chance for someone to interact with your brand on Instagram, make it a good one. Make it clear who you are, what you do, how to connect with your business and relevant hashtags or links. You only have 150 characters, so test out your creativity and make it sharp.

2) Links In Bio

You get 1, count it, 1 clickable link in your bio to take a prospect somewhere. This is a great way to drive traffic to a site or page. Change the link often to draw attention to new products, programs and offers you feature. A quick image of the item or program you want to feature with “info in bio” is a quick and subtle way of driving more traffic to your site.

3) Be creative, Be Original.

Use your own photos and be creative about what you shoot and when. It’s easy to repost others photos, but you want to focus on your business. Take 20–45 minutes once per week and shoot various pics. Give yourself a pipeline of pics that you can choose from and utilize to grow your brand.

Utilize sites like to help enhance your posts and produce watermarks and text over your pics as needed. Wordswag is another great option that you can use to produce great posts.

4) Captions = Attention

Attention is what you want and need. The more attention you get on Instagram the more your brand will grow. Remember that Instagram is the preferred social platform of Millennials, an age demographic larger than Boomers with a growing amount of wealth that is only going to get larger.

Captions give you a chance to tell your story. Twitter has a character limit. It’s all about telling short stories or getting attention with something catchy. With Instagram, you are using the video or picture to get attention. Utilize the caption space (which is not limited) to tell more than is possible in the picture. This is your chance to go into detail and utilize hashtags to connect with others talking about this subject.

5) Question Your Audience

Ask your audience a question to get engagement and find out more about your followers. When they give you answers you find out more about who follows you and why. You can use that to dig deeper and potential connect 1–1 with certain prospects. It may also give you an idea of what topics you can touch on that will be valuable to your audience.

6) Pareto Principle Still Applies

The 80/20 Rule (Pareto Principle) applies on Instagram. This network is all about value add, so give 80% of the time and sell the other 20%. This is where you can be creative and discussing who you are, what you do, why you matter and what others have to say about you. That’s a ton of potential content that allows you to not be a social sales pitch each time. You need to pitch, just 20% of the time.

7) Shares

Shares are great ways to get the attention of other brands you want to work with, share your audience, share your values, and share a similar message. When you share pics, give them credit and talk about that business. Acknowledge who they are and what they do, and then bring it back to how it aligns with your business.

8) Frequency + Message

Posting 3 to 4 times per day will connect you with your followers and prospects more frequently allowing you to grow your list and be seen more. Don’t post the same thing each day, however. Focused on a product? How can you touch on that product 3–4 different ways throughout the day? Be creative and develop a more complete way of sharing your message.

9) Hashtags

I know, it’s a pound symbol, but let’s move on. Hashtags connect you with other people talking about the same topics. Creating a hashtag is hard, but using what others are already using is smart. When you click on a hashtag you see others talking about the same thing. Finding trending tags is a way to get into a larger conversation, meaning more people to connect with your brand.

You can use up to 30 hashtags. Use all 30. Yes, all 30. You’ll need to find and work through 30+ relevant hashtags that you can use to build your audience, find people to engage with, allow others to better find you and have a bulk of the content. No, you shouldn’t write them all out each time. Write them into notes on your phone and copy and paste them. Hashtags are clutch for your business and ability to grow, use them and use them often.

10) Tags

Who is on Instagram that has a great following that you can connect with? Tag that business or person on your photos. You can tag up to 20 users per photo, but that’s a bit excessive. Fans of these other businesses will see the tags and will see your photo, checking out your page.

This can also work if you know of a specific person that follows you. Offering a product or service that they would like? Tag them directly. What a better way to get in touch with a customer than to say, “this is perfect for you.”?

11) Comments

Get to know your followers in the comments. Yeah, you might have some people post silly or irrelevant things, but those who really have something to say are worth talking with. Build a relationship through the comments and you’ll connect in a new way.

12) Video

Make sure you are using video once a day in your posts. Video can be creative, funny, and share a lot of information in a very short period of time. Videos can be of your team, products being used, sharing the culture of your business, sharing your philosophy or customer testimonials. Get creative with your message and how you can use video.

13) Multiple Accounts

There are some businesses that utilizing multiple accounts is a great idea. You can utilize these accounts by working them off of one another, giving the appearance that they are separate.

Your clothing boutique offers clothing for both men and women. You have an e-commerce store and can sell worldwide. Your primary account touches on all clothing and focuses locally. Your second account focuses on women’s clothing, fashion tips, and trends and promoting your e-commerce store sales. Your third account does the same this, but for men’s clothing and shoes. Three different accounts, all with the same overall focus, different categories and different purposes all tied together on the back end under your business.

14) Takeovers

Instagram takeovers can be very successful when done with the right person. A takeover allows someone outside of your business to take over your account for a period of time. The intention is to grow your followers utilizing that persons influence and command of a network. The person that takes over your account needs to have an impact on your audience, there needs to be some type of connection here that creates demand enough to pay attention to the takeover. There needs to be a plan for what this person will do on the takeover. Plan it out in advance. Review what your objectives are, what the goal(s) of the takeover are and how you can help them in return.

15) Competitions

What can you give away? A product or service? Gift cards? Swag? Book? Break down a list of all the things you can give away. Then, begin to craft your content and schedule a competition once a month, every other month, etc.

The objective of a competition is to grow your followers and create raving fans.

With any giveaway or competition you want to ask people to do 2 things:

1) Repost your photo or video

2) Tag 1–5 people

These need to be requirements to win. Give value but you must get value in return (followers and raving fans).

16) Stories

Stories are new to Instagram. They were introduced in August 2016 after the success of Snapchat stories. You can use videos or pictures, add filters, and draw on the images. It gives you a chance to produce something else, in a unique way and send it out to your followers. It’s not a post, but it is at the same time. Once you post a new story, the previous one goes away.

This creates a great opportunity for limited time offers. You control the message, when it goes out and when you can take it down. Offer a 75% off flash sale for a limited time. Once you post a new story, that sale offer is gone and your followers can no longer take advantage. Great way to create a captive audience, have them pay attention to your stories and drive an increase in sales.

Instagram is where your business can connect with the ever-evolving millennial generation. The use of video and images will allow you to present your brand in the best light, being authentic and sharing who you are and what you do. Capture your business effectively and you will capture the attention of your audience.

digitalAIM is not your typical agency. With several small offices throughout the country, we live locally and work nationally. To better understand your markets and your business, we strategically place our offices in communities both large and small, allowing us to better understand the various businesses we work with and their audience. At digitalAIM, we are one team in many places. With full creative, video production, content creation, as well as campaign creation, placement, execution and reporting, digitalAIM is a comprehensive agency that exceeds your needs.

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