Hello, hello! I’m so excited to bring you today’s 1st post in a new Increasing Engagement Series here on the blog! To me, the most important part of social media is engagement. It doesn’t matter if you have thousands of fans and followers if nobody is saying a word.
Especially as a small business, you want your audience engaging with you. Many people like and purchase products from small businesses because they are more personable and fun to interact with.
Engagement is key to being more personable on social media. I’ve rounded up my best tips for increasing engagement for each social platform and plan on sharing these posts in the upcoming weeks.
First up is Instagram!
Can I share a secret? Instagram is my favorite social media platform. You can follow my business account here.
One reason I love Instagram is the visual format. As a visual learner, many times I can interpret an image I’m seeing much faster than I can reading an article. It also feels like a mini-blogging platform where you can be a little bit more personal than you can on other social platforms.
Alright, well I’ll stop my gushing about why Instagram is awesome and we’ll move on to the meat of this post, getting you more engagement!
Hashtags. If you’re a super celebrity then hashtags aren’t nearly as important to getting your images in front of new eyes. But I’m assuming no Kardashians are reading this post, so it’s probably safe to say your celebrity status isn’t going to get you the engagement you want.
But hey, that’s okay! Who wants to be super famous anyways?
Anyways, hashtags! Hashtags are a great way to get recognized by followers who wouldn’t have normally found you in the first place.
Search on Google for “your niche + Instagram hashtags” and I bet you there would be at least one article out there detailing popular hashtags in your niche. You can also check out this top hashtags list for ideas too.
If you want to be an ultra pro, add your hashtags as a comment on your on photo. Steph Gilbert does this with her Instagram posts:
Why do people do this? One main reason is to help keep your picture description clean and clutter-free. Some people are turned off from your Instagram posts if you have 30 hashtags on the photo description. Adding the periods and then the hashtags let the followers who aren’t as into hashtags read your comment without seeing a zillion hashtags as well as let new followers find you.
One of the quickest ways to increase engagement? Ask a question! It sounds so simple, but people will respond to questions if they are asked.
People want to feel a part of the conversation and that you as a business owner care about what they think (as you should…they are your potential customers!). The key here is to make the question conversational. It doesn’t need to directly relate to your business or products, but it needs to feel like a question you would ask if you were speaking with a person, face-to-face.
Whitney English had a great example of how to use a question to get your community involved:
Whitney primarily sells planners, so while this Instagram post isn’t directly about her business, it shows some of her personality while asking her followers a genuine question.
Asking questions isn’t limited to the comments section either. Your visual image can also be used as a way to pose a question. This will grab the attention of those visual learners out there (hey, girl, hey!).
Another reason why I love Instagram is that it doesn’t always have to be perfectly curated. Yes, there are plenty of accounts that only post the most perfect photos and that have a pristine looking account but what I love most is when someone shares a personal side to their business.
People need to remember that there is a person behind your small business. A real, live, hard working, caring person that only wants to serve their customers the best products. Giving them a reminder that “hey, I’m not just a faceless corporation trying to get rich” will help your customers make an emotional connection with you.
Melyssa Griffin recently posted this photo. She gets real and explains how she’s started to miss interacting with her followers on Instagram in a more natural way. Instagram doesn’t need to be all business all the time. In fact, I would suggest the opposite of that. People want to connect with other people, not brands.
Another “duh” suggestion but you wouldn’t believe how many people don’t do this (I can admit I’m one of them too!). Sometimes, people need to be told what to do. And I don’t mean in a “clean you room or else you’re grounded” way.
They need a call to action (CTA) from you so they know exactly what you want them to do. If you have a new product out, how are your followers supposed to know unless you tell them about it?
Nesha from Nesha Designs shares an upcoming webinar she has including driving people to sign up from the link in her Instagram bio. She could have easily not shared this on Instagram but why wouldn’t she? Her followers want to know when she’s doing webinars and selling products so they can be a part of them and use them.
Tell your followers exactly what you want them to do and they will follow.
People often look to Instagram to be inspired by an account. There are many ways to share inspiration, whether it be a quote, sharing a healthy recipe (if you’re a food blogger), or sharing your story.
Heather Crabtree recently shared this post and how can you not feel empowered by it? Giving those motivational mantras give your audience a boost in confidence, and most times they will share their own motivational message back to you!
Since Instagram is a visual platform, your pictures need to be on point. Here are some things to remember when choosing a photo to use for Instagram:
Some people have a very strict schedule of how often they post, and while I don’t think that’s absolutely necessary, you should have some sort of goal of how often you will post in a week. Once or twice a day is perfectly fine. If you’re posting more than once a day, space out the time between you post your other photos, so they aren’t all posting to your feed at once.
I hope this post was helpful! I can’t wait to share the other engagement series posts!
P.S. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram!