Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Instagram is one of the most important marketing platforms for brands in 2021. Because user engagement corresponds with a greater reach to your target audience, Instagram engagement should be the center of any growing business’s social media marketing strategy.
Engagement is important because it is a key factor in Instagram’s post prioritization algorithm. This means if you have a high level of engagement, your post is more likely to end up at the top of your followers’ feeds — where they will actually see it.
Instagram engagement measures how involved your audience is with your content and is based on a combination of metrics such as comments, saves, shares, likes, view time and more. Here are a few simple steps that will improve your Instagram business account engagement and boost overall reach to your target audience.
1. Experiment with content
The best way to find out which marketing strategies work for your specific audience is to experiment. Try posting videos, story quizzes, polls, carousels, IGTV and giveaways to see which tactics perform best with your following. Consider establishing relationships with appropriate influencers in your space and building content with them. Explore Instagram ads.
Even if you think you’ve already nailed down which content does best on your Instagram business profile, it is still a good idea to experiment with different kinds of posts to make sure your business isn’t missing out on a valuable opportunity to expand or deepen its reach.
2. Analyze and track engagement
In order for your experiments to pay off, you need to analyze your engagement. As long as your page is set as a business profile, you’ll have access to Instagram’s free analytics tool (also referred to as Instagram Insights). This tool will let you see detailed interaction data on your posts such as the number of saves, comments, shares and total impressions your content receives.
These factors are important in determining your engagement score and will ultimately decide your place in Instagram’s algorithm. Keep track of the hashtags you use, which posts or stories do best, and use that information to grow your marketing strategy moving forward
3. Pay attention to timing
An important yet simple thing to remember when creating your “Instagram for business” strategy is to think about the time of day you post. If most of your followers are living in Australia and your team is based in the U.S., you will want to make an effort to post later at night or early in the morning to reach those Instagram users when they are awake and using their phones.
Also, your Instagram audience might be more active on the weekend. See if this applies to your following, and make sure to incorporate that information into your posting schedule if they are more likely to engage with content on a Saturday or Sunday.
While posting regularly is shown to improve reach and engagement over time, try not to post at the same time every day as predictability can be damaging to engagement.
4. Prioritize your captions
It only takes a split second to look at a post, but it could take four or five times as long to read a wordy caption. Rather than tacking on a string of emojis to your post, take the time to write long, captivating captions as a way to boost engagement on your business’s Instagram feed.
Your image just needs to be interesting enough to get your viewer to check out the caption, which can be up to 2,200 characters long. Captions are where you really get your audience to spend more time viewing your post and should not be underestimated when trying to boost engagement.
5. Be authentic
Instagram audiences aren’t interested in sterile marketing campaigns. Instead, your followers want to feel like insiders at your company. Showcase what goes on behind the scenes and be vulnerable. Honesty and authenticity on your professional account will create a stronger connection with your followers and will help you reach a wider audience in the long run.
6. Utilize the power of videos
According to a 2019 study, videos get twice as many comments as a normal post and generate the highest engagement of any content on Instagram.
Although creating videos for your page may seem daunting, don’t let the process scare you. You do not need fancy equipment or even a cohesive Instagram strategy (see above) to take advantage of the power of videos on your page. Candid behind-the-scenes footage shot on your iPhone could be enough to improve your Instagram marketing.
7. Create carousels
“Carousels” or “slideshows” are Instagram speak for posts with multiple images or videos. Users swipe left to view up to 10 squares of content. Hootsuite’s recent analysis of carousel posts finds that they get over three times more engagement, on average than a regular post, explaining why slideshows have taken over Instagram in recent years.
Incorporating carousel posts into your marketing strategy will boost the amount of time your followers spend looking at your feed and improve your overall engagement score. Create an authentic carousel with videos and text and pair it with a long, captivating caption for a foolproof way to post engaging content on the Instagram app.
Your business the Instagram creator
These days you don’t have to be highly experienced at social media management in order to become an effective Instagram creator for your company. By using analytics and other platform tools, and by following a few simple guidelines, you’ll be well on your way towards boosting engagement and even sales of your product or service.
Entrepreneur: Latest Instagram Marketing Articles