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21 Ways to Increase Instagram Engagement in 2019. Part 1

These essential tips here are for you to take your paid and organic posts to the next level.

December 2018 update: Instagram has continued to expand in 2018 with over 13% of everyone on Earth now using the platform. It has also continued to prove itself as a huge source of ad revenue with Instagram ads expected to generate nearly $11 billion in 2019. With impressive figures like that – it’s no wonder that many analysts are starting to see Instagram as the new engine behind Facebook’s growth as a company.

Our in-depth guide below contains 21 extremely useful tips for increasing engagement on both paid and organic Instagram campaigns in 2019 and beyond—so let’s get started.

For now – Instagram remains prominent in the social media scene for marketers. And it is not hard to see why when you consider it has over 1 billion monthly active users with 50% following brands.

According to Forrester, engagement – measured by likes, shares and comments from consumers – is also off the chart – boasting a rate of 4.21%. That’s 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest and 84 times higher than Twitter.

But apart from such impressive top line figures, challenges are emerging that point to Instagram’s marketing potential dimming because of reduced engagement rates.

From the social network’s introduction of its algorithmic timeline that has impacted organic marketing campaigns to conspiracy theories surrounding ‘shadow banning’, many in marketing are beginning to wonder if Instagram’s glory days are behind it.

Instagram Engagement Rate

Against this backdrop, proactive marketers are seeking ways to increase Instagram engagement despite such setbacks. That is why we have put together these 21 ways to ensure your paid and organic marketing campaigns continue to hit their mark and to safeguard your Instagram marketing tactics now and in the future. 

1. How often to post

Brands need to be active in order to attract followers and boost engagement rates – but how active?

As a guide – a great spot would be a consistent 1-2 post a day. Knowing when the best time to post on Instagram is also critical especially when dealing with Instagram’s algorithmic timeline.

Recommended post times can vary drastically depending on which expert you listen to. With some stating between 8am – 9am or 2pm – 5pm for your first post to even 2am for your second – this inconsistency can create genuine confusion for content planners.

IG Analytics Tool

Instagram’s native analytics tool which shows what times and days your followers are most active.

Uncover your own followers’ Instagram habits by using the Insights feature of your Instagram Business account. This will help you identify when your followers are most active and allows you to schedule accordingly – ensuring your posts continue to appear at the top of their feeds.

For extra help, try using a tool like Falcon’s Instagram Publishing and Measurement to expand your content delivery strategy further.

2. Tell a story – do not preach

Instagram is flooded with mediocre brand messaging that forgets the social network is supposed to be a ‘visual inspiration platform’. You should captivate audiences through images and video not simply preaching marketing messages all the time.

To increase engagement rates, become a storyteller instead of offering ‘micro-stories’ via your captions, videos, Instagram Stories and profile. Try sharing user-generated content that echoes with your brand.

For inspiration, follow innovative Instagram storytellers such as Airbnb, Red Bull, Lego and Nike. They can help kick-start your creativity.

IG Story
An example of a successful Instagram Story from Red Bull. Source: Your Charisma.

3. Make your Instagram branding work

Consistency, clarity and creativity are absolutely crucial for organisation aiming to expand and build brand awareness on Instagram.

An irregular, haphazard or erratic approach will not work. Focusing on core areas like presenting your profile, creating pattern styles that keep your images looking fresh and mastering hashtag use is essential.

You must interact regularly with your followers to build up engagement, trust and loyalty.
By refining your processes and best practices for Instagram – you can present a positive, engaging, trusting and consistent brand to your target audience.

4. Explore the range of Instagram video formats

A picture may be worth a thousand words but a video is worth 1.8 million words. While Shakespeare lovers might disagree with such statistics, there is no challenging the efficacy and popularity of online video content. Instagram recognises this and offers a suite of video options for marketers to deploy.

From Instagram Stories that can mash up videos and stills into a single ad to standalone 60-second videos ideal for long-form features – make sure you use the strengths of each video format.

Consider using Instagram Stories’ live video option for big reveals about new products or services. And use a pre-recorded ad to offer up authentic, behind-the-scenes stories to your followers to increase Instagram engagement.

Instagram offers marketers a variety of video formats, from live streams to Stories. 

5. Utilise Instagram video subtitles and closed captions

With video increasingly dominating this space, audio has become a poor cousin with the majority of users preferring not to enable sound when viewing a video. That is why subtitles have become so essential for marketers – enabling core messaging to be delivered on-screen alongside visuals.

Facebook research shows that captioning videos increases average video view times by 12%. Messaging effectiveness is also boosted massively – boasting a success rate of 82% compared to 18% with sound on and zero captions.

Auto-captioning is offered by Facebook (though be sure to check any captioning for errors) or alternatively you can create your own dedicated captioning file. 

6. Take advantage of Instagram’s video ad formats

With 75% of Instagrammers stating that they take actions “like visiting sites, searching or telling a friend” after being influenced by a post – mastering the platform’s range of advertisement formats is essential.

While photo ads remain a contender of the platform, Instagram video formats are an increasingly invaluable tool for targeting a selected audience.

The platform offers three key video formats to create Instagram ads:

Single video ads offer the opportunity to create up to 60-second commercials

Carousels allow more message real estate by enabling followers to swipe across for additional images or videos

Instagram Stories offers a vertical full-screen format where images and videos can be spliced together to create visually-arresting ads.

IG Carousels

Airbnb uses Instagram’s carousel video format to showcase travel opportunities. 

For more specific information on how to promote your business on Instagram using videos ads, use this step-by-step guide to get started.

7. Use GIFs to enhance

Research have shown more people watch to the end of videos that are 15 seconds or less – learning how to create and how to post a GIF should be mandatory for any marketing departments.

Celebrating its’ 30th anniversary in 2017, the GIF format is now more appealing than photos – GIFs are shared more than either JPEG or PNG formats – and are more cost and time effective than producing videos.

It is also the medium that clearly inspired Instagram to create its own riff on the GIF – the Boomerang – which records a short sequence of stills before combining and then looping them backward and forward – ready for upload to Instagram.

The tool has already produced some excellent results for brands who have experimented with the young medium to increase Instagram engagement.

8. Choose the right hashtags

Choosing the best hashtags for your Instagram posts can mean the difference between appearing as a top post or sinking to the bottom of the feed without a trace.

Make your hashtags too generic –#fashion or think #christmas – and your post will face competition from potentially millions of others. Use a mix of trending and industry-specific hashtags to find the best hashtag to connect with your targeted followers.

The number of hashtags you deploy is also critical. While Instagram allows for up to 30 – a mass of tags underneath your caption risks looks both untargeted and unprofessional. That’s why 91% of posts by top brands use seven or fewer hashtags to get many likes.

To help you decide what the right number for your brand is – identify how many hashtags your competitors and sector influencers typically use – then experiment with differing hashtag volumes on your posts until you find your ideal spot.

IG Hashtag

9. Increase website traffic using Instagram Traffic

Instagram traffic can help boost visits to your website with the platform allowing for a single clickable link in your bio. Maximize the potential of your link with special offers and promotions to encourage followers to click through. You should also combine strong calls to action with your URL in a text overlay on any images or videos.

Do not forget – all of Instagram’s ad formats offer a call-to-action button that followers can click on to take them to your website.

If you have partnered with an influencer, work with them to promote your URL in their own content as well.

Finally – to ensure you can view relevant traffic stats, deploy analytics software to learn and explore insights on which Instagram content is driving traffic to your website so you can target your campaign further.

10. Use SEO to ‘win’ Instagram

Instagram and SEO might not seem like the most obvious of companions – but creating an SEO strategy for your Instagram account is vital on this competitive platform.

The two key areas that affect SEO are your account handle and account name. The first is the ‘@’ name that you register with which should clearly reflect the sector in which your business operates.

Remember, Instagram can identify the content of your posts. If it doesn’t fit with your handle, then expect your posts not to appear in the Explore section.

Second is your account name – that appears under your profile picture and should reflect your account handle and industry. When people search Instagram using words or emoji’s, it’s your account name that Instagram will check searches against.

IG SEO

For more information and experience on Instagram Training

Part 1 comes to an end here, hope you are enjoying and learning a lot of information about:-

21 Ways to Massively Increase Instagram Engagement in 2019.

To continue to Part 2 –