Getting more followers is often the goal of Instagram account owners. However, just having followers isn’t enough. A huge following without engagement can actually be detrimental to the Instagram algorithm.
What really matters is engagement. Instagram looks at several metrics including: likes, follows, views, comments and clicks to decide if your account has high engagement. Accounts that interact with followers and with the accounts they follow have higher engagement. Instagram looks at those accounts as active and shows its appreciation by increasing your visibility.
The big Instagram buzz word for 2020 is authenticity. Instagram expects you to be real and authentic. Here are some ways you can do this on your account:
Captions matter more than ever
Long captions are growing in popularity because they work well with Instagram’s algorithm by keeping the reader engaged longer. Captions in 2020 are averaging 65-70 words according to Later.com, more than triple the length of captions in 2016. We are now looking at multiple paragraph captions, not sentences.
Long captions work well by telling mini-stories that let your readers learn more about you, your brand and what you stand for. If possible, take your followers on a journey, teach them something new, make them laugh, or create intrigue. Your story can be told through the captions to create an emotional appeal. Give them a tutorial or a guide; share a personal story or give them a valuable take away. The more you engage them with your caption, the longer they will stay on your post and the more likely they are to comment. And remember the "hook". You need to hook them with an intriguing line right out of the gate if you want them to click that "read more" button.
Here’s an example:
Authentically engage with those you follow
Instagram awards accounts that actively engage. Doing a Follow for Follow is one way that people try to grow their Instagram account, but that only works if you actively engage, and it should not solely be a means to get more followers. Remember more followers does not mean more engagement. It’s not a numbers game, but an engagement game.
That means you are not only liking posts, but you are commenting. Instagram’s algorithm looks at that communication relationship and likes what it sees. But beware that Instagram is not a fan of spam Follows, in fact, it limits the number of Follows to around 150-200 a day, depending on how high your profile ranks. It is recommended to start at no more than 50 per day and to add on each week.
Remember you need to actively engage, so following thousands of sites may in turn give you more followers, but if there is no active engagement, all that work will be for nothing. So match who you follow to your brand and mission, and then actively engage with those brands. If there is not authentic engagement, Instagram decides the account is not worth following. That is the main reason that having non-engaged followers can actually hurt you. If you have followers you never hear from, it would actually be to your benefit to delete them. Also, if you are a brick and mortar business, you want local followers who can actually come to your business!
The key here is to put yourself out there and actively give worthwhile comments that encourage responses. That means going beyond an emoji or a single word, both of which Instagram algorithms do not like.
The other thing you can do is to respond to each comment that is on your posts. When you respond, ask a question to further engage them. The longer the engagement is and the more engagement there is, the better for your account.
So...Make sure you engage back with at least 4-5 words. Anything less may be appear to Instagram to be less than authentic. Maybe even bot-ish....and you definitely don't want that!
And.... comment back with a question. Like "I know, right? Isn't is so pretty? What's your go-to color when it comes to lipstick?
Here’s an example of authentic engagement:
Do some research into your market and followers and see when they are engaging and post for their most active times. You should do this a consistent number of times a day or week as well as at consistent times of the day. Some studies say that posting 1-2 times a day is ideal.
Your followers and potential followers come to you for information, text, videos, and photos. Use a variety of different ways to engage your audience. And while you post consistently, you do want to vary what you are posting. If all you post are reminders about your business or why they need to buy your service or product, you are going to lose followers.
The 4-1-1 Rule is recommended. Break your content into three categories: original and relevant content; re-shared content; and promotional content. You should have four original/relevant posts for every one re-shared post and every one promotional post. If you keep a content calendar this will be easy to track.
Instagram cares more about authentic engagement than it does the number of followers. Knowing that strategy you can increase engagement by using longer, detailed captions that captivate your reader, leaving comments on accounts you follow and responding to comments on your own posts, and posting consistent, relevant content.
Those three tips will get you on the right track to building your business and engaging your audience. It’s time to get social!
Speaking of getting social...if you are a fellow beauty boss and you want to build your beauty biz and have access to tons of social media and marketing tips and tutorials then come hang out in my kick-ass Beauty Boss Society Facebook Group!
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