Instagram has so many different ways for creators to grow. If you’re spending any time making social media content for your business, engagement is a crucial way to make sure that content reaches not only enough people but the right people. At Backcourt Marketing, we stick to five fundamental best practices when performing engagement for our clients to help maximize their reach on Instagram. We want all that content we make for them to be seen, after all!
- Know your audience
Instagram may or may not be the social media platform your target audience likes to hang out on. A general understanding of Instagram’s demographics is good knowledge to start with. As a general summary of the current state of Instagram in 2023, we know that the majority of Instagram’s users are between the 18-34 age range (millennials and Gen Z users), users are almost exactly evenly split between male and female, and 60% of households that bring in over $100,000 use the platform. With that in mind, some questions to ask about your target audience might be:
- Where does my target audience fall within this demographic?
- What does my audience value?
- What types of pain points does my target audience experience? Better yet, how can I solve those pain points with my products or services?
From there, you can start looking for some Instagram communities. Look for accounts and hashtags that already include your target audience and potential partners. Instagram now allows you to discover content by typing in keywords, not just hashtags, to get you closer to creating a customized feed that reflects your audience.
- Use Your Hashtags
Hashtags might not be exactly what they used to be when it comes to discoverability, but they haven’t lost their value. Hashtags still work as a helpful search engine tool on Instagram. Find the best hashtags for your business using your industry jargon or trends, or your location. Here’s a sneaky idea: Visit your competitors’ pages to see what they’re using. People who are interacting with their page are the same people who have a need for what you offer, after all.
Having trouble finding the right hashtags? The internet, unsurprisingly, has a solution. Here are some great hashtag generator tools you can use right now.
Make yourself a handy list of hashtags that map out where your target audience is and save it on your phone, since your engagement will primarily be mobile.
- Search with Intention
Have your top 5 hashtags ready to plug into the search engine. These will be your key to engaging with your audience. Put your first hashtag into the search engine.
You’ll notice after searching the hashtag that there are 2 sections. The “Top” section is the section that has all the most popular posts under that hashtag. These will be your industry leaders. These posts might be anywhere from a few hours old to a few days old.
If you’re using “Top,” and you want to interact with the industry leaders, click on the username from a post. After that, you can go to their most recent post and interact with them and their audience there.
The other section is “Recents.” This includes posts from everyone who recently used the hashtag. Usually, if you have the right hashtag plugged in, you’ll find that these people are your target audience. Like and comment on these posts.
Remember that the best time to engage isn’t necessarily when most of your audience is active, although that is a great time. The best time to engage is within 20 minutes before or after publishing a post. We recommend engaging with “Recents” at this time because they’ll most likely still be active after creating a post of their own.
Like and respond to comments on old posts after uploading a new post, as this also can get someone to become a return visitor to your profile. The hope is that they’ll check out your latest post!
- Use Your Competition
Are you finding it hard to directly search for and target your key audience on Instagram? Let your competition do the digging. If you need to find more people to follow, check out an account with a similar target audience. Your competitors might have a list of people who just haven’t interacted with you yet.
Your competitors also might not be doing all they can to engage with their target audience, especially if it’s a big account. Find comments under popular posts with questions you can answer. Answer those questions! These people are more likely to look you up after you answer their questions for them.
- Use Stories Daily
Analytics repeatedly show us that Stories are a significant contributor to overall engagement. Instagram has given you some great features to add to your Stories. Stories have engagement stickers, from polls to quizzes, to free-response buttons. When people respond to your stories through these stickers, Instagram’s algorithm recognizes that and shows your story to more people.
Here are a few ways you can use the engagement buttons:
- “This” or “That”
- True or False
- AMA (ask me anything)
Other stickers, such as countdowns, can be used to build suspense for a new product release, for example. Your target audience will ultimately tell Instagram whether your content is worth bringing in front of more people, so make sure all of your engagement provides some sort of value and excitement to your target audience.
Your social media engagement practices and interactions with your audience are a reflection of your brand’s personality and tone, so make it count! Dedicating time each day to share Stories, cater to your audience, and be intentional about your interactions will ensure your Instagram presence is serving you well and working for you.
Need some more help with Instagram Engagement? Contact Backcourt Marketing today for a customized social media strategy for your brand.