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Engagement. No not the kind where the ring gets put on your hand (although that is nice too)… I am talking about the type of engagement business owners and brands are after. More specifically, Instagram Engagement.
I bet you didn’t know that Instagram growth and Instagram engagement are two completely different metrics. And though they can work hand in hand, the strategies to achieve either one are different.
In this post / podcast episode, I wanted to go in deep on why having good Instagram engagement matters, and how to achieve it in all the different aspects there are on Instagram. With an ever growing platform it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. But my hope is that this episode is going to inspire you, and motivate you to pour a little extra into this app in order to truly see the benefits it can create for you.
Are you ready? Let’s saddle up and jump in!
WHY IS HAVING A GOOD INSTAGRAM ENGAGEMENT RATE EVEN IMPORTANT?
There are several reasons why you want to have a good Instagram engagement rate. As a business owner, high engagement means your content is being received well by potential customers or clients. The more engaged these people are with your account, the more Instagram is going to push your content to them as well as new people.
Another reason why having good engagement can be useful is for brand collaborations. If you are an influencer or aspiring to be one, or just someone who wants to work more with brands you need to have good engagement. A misconception is that these brands only want to work with people who have a ton of followers. But the truth is, you could have 100k followers but terrible engagement and at the end of the day, that is going to keep brands from working with you.
High engagement rates mean you have trusting followers and an authentic audience or community. And when your followers trust you, they are more likely to buy from you. Which is exactly what brands are wanting when you promote their products.
DEFINE WHAT AREA YOU WANT TO INCREASE ENGAGEMENT ON
Do you want to get more story views? More likes and comments? More plays on Reels?
Always reference your IG insights. You can look at these for the last 3 months, 6 months or even the last year. Look to see what stories you posted were the most popular. And along with that, look to see what your least viewed stories were.
It’s normal to have your views be all over the place. They can come and go with seasons, certain days, the times you post, what you talked about and so on. Certain times of the year such as Christmas time, less people tend to be on social media because they are spending time in person with their family. So there is a chance your views are going to be down.
If you want to increase your stories engagement.. here are a few things I do to give them a little boost:
- Let your stories expire. Stories will stay up for a full 24 hours, so let that clock run out and start with a clean slate. This can give your Instagram a little reboot and so when you come back, Instagram engagement will be up. Usually I do this on Mondays because I don’t go on stories much on the weekends. So when I come back on Monday I know my engagement probably went down from Saturday to Sunday. So the first few stories I post Monday morning are going to be highly engaging and include things like questions boxes, polls, etc.
- Use those stickers and applications. Instagram has these tools provided for a reason and they like when you use them. Meaning the more involved you are with Instagram, the more they are going to push your content. Ask questions to your audience. Let them help you make decisions throughout your day with polls. The new “share yours” sticker is a fun way to interact with your current followers but it also leaves room to reach an even wider audience as well.
- Give people the opportunity to share their opinions. Everyone LOVES to have an opinion on something. It’s just human nature. So sometimes rather than having my followers only ask me questions, I will actually ask their opinion on something. And more times than not this gets a ton of responses. This can be something innocent like “What is the proper way to cook a steak? Medium Rare or Medium Well? Or you can go a more controversial route if you are brave and have thick skin.
Controversy is not a bad thing, but you do need to be prepared for some people to go the extra mile, get upset, potentially DM you about it, and so on. Not saying that I know this from experience… cough cough
- Keep the content mixed up! Often times my stories will do better when I talk about a variety of things that aren’t even related to my niche. 80% of what I post is business related but lately I have been leaning more into my pregnancy and baby content and it has been crazy how much Instagram engagement it’s given me. Just goes to show yet again… people want to see the real you.
- Utilize those DM’s. Yes this actually does have an impact on your stories. The more you are having conversations with people in the DM’s the more likely they are to see your stories and interact with them. When you are having these private engaging conversations, Instagram see’s this as you being close friends and will push your content out to them more.
If you really want to dive into Instagram stories and learn all the ins and outs of them, check out Episode 069 of The Branded Cowgirl Podcast. I did an entire episode on this topic and go into depth all about IG stories!
MAIN FEED POSTS
Again, you always want to start with your insights and check to see which posts are the most engaged and which posts are the least engaged. This is going to be the most useful information for you when creating content moving forward.
Things to do when it comes time to posting on your feed:
- Spend about 15-20 minutes before posting to your feed commenting and interacting with other people’s content within your industry. In other words, commenting on your competitors most recent posts as well as commenting on your ideal clients most recent posts. I also like to search hashtags that are most related to my niche and go to the top posts using those tags and interact with them as well.
- Post to your stories before you post to your feed. This gives Instagram a little wake up call and tells them that you are live on the app and currently very active. And when it see’s this, it’s going to push your content out to more people after you post.
A few things you also want to make sure you are doing:
- Go to yesterday’s post or the last post you did, and make sure to “like” all the comments left on it. What this does is it pops your name into people’s notifications and lets them know that you are online. Just as a little reminder that you are there and they can come back to check out your content if they want.
- Make sure to respond to ANY and ALL new comments you get on a post. And not just like an emoji response, but make sure to leave thoughtful responses to each comment. Yes it takes time but it’s going to be so beneficial. A general rule of thumb is to always leave a comment with at least 4 words.
- While you should be engaging with new people, you also want to spend an additional 15-20 minutes commenting on posts from people who already follow you. I would argue that when it comes to sales this is the MOST important part. You want to be showing the people who have already decided to follow you, that you actually care.
You guessed it. The first thing you are going to do is check your insights. With REELS there is a lot to categorize by so make sure you know what you are looking for. For example you need to decide if you are wanting more views or more engagement, more likes, more comments, etc. You can sort your insights to show you all those things specifically so that it really helps you break down the info you need to get better in that area.
A lot of plays or views on a REEL doesn’t always mean it had great engagement:
- Treating REELS in a similar way that you would an In Feed post tends to work really well. Engage with people for 15 minutes or so, before and after you post and everything else we talked about.
- Post your REELS to your main feed first. This guarantees that your REEL is going to be seen by your followers and allows you to pick up some momentum for engagement as it moves into the explore pages.
Now I will say there is some back and forth on whether or not posting to your feed is helpful or not. And what it really comes down to is your personal goals, your audience and the type of content you posted. Some REELS you post may not be beneficial to your followers, therefore you may not need to post to your feed. In my own personal experience though, posting to my main feed always seems to boost my engagement. To each their own. I suggest trying it both ways and see what performs the best for you.
- Post your REEL to your stories, but also make sure to not overdo this. I see a lot of people just sharing 10 REELS in a row to stories and it gets really annoying for people who are trying to watch stories… not REELS.
Also on that note, make sure you are not putting a gigantic sticker that covers the REEL on your story. I see this a lot too as a way to click bait people into clicking on their reels… but this is hurting you more than it’s helping. When someone watches your REEL directly on stories, it counts as a view for the REEL and also it keeps people on your stories longer without skipping, which boosts story engagement. So it’s like a doubly whammy for Instagram engagement boosts.
When you cover it with a sticker, more people are likely to skip it which hurts you. So just post it and show it with all it’s glory.
- Be controversial and share REELS about unpopular opinions. Going back to what I said earlier, this isn’t for the faint of heart, but when you are confident enough to share something like this and accept the negative comments that are about to come… this can be a Gold mine for your account and overall engagement.
Now with that, I would like to say that before sharing something controversial.. check your heart. Is that a hill you are really willing to die on? Like… I fully believe in speaking up about the things you believe in but often times people feel the need to start unnecessary drama over topics they really aren’t that passionate about. Make sure if you make an unpopular opinion REEL that you are ready to defend your choices.
For a deep dive on Instagram Reels tune into Episode 007 of the Branded Cowgirl Podcast.
OTHER POSTS YOU’LL ENJOY //
- 03: 3 Tips To Grow Your Instagram: https://sarahelrodblog.com/instagramgrowth/
- 052: Should You Have Multiple Instagram Accounts? https://sarahelrodblog.com/multiple-instagram-accounts/
- 041: If I Started My Instagram From Scratch: https://sarahelrodblog.com/instagram-from-scratch/
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I'm Sarah Elrod
I'm a Cowgirl turned serial entrepreneur.
I'm a horse trainer, western wedding photographer, business coach and ranch wife.
I help women in the western industry grow thriving businesses from rural America.
When I am not strategizing new marketing tactics, you will find me riding my horses, cuddling my cattle dog, or kissing my hot husband.
There is also a good chance I am buying way too many outfits from western boutiques.
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