That’s the number of people using Instagram monthly. As a marketer, I’m sure you can see the opportunity on Instagram. What’s more?
200 million Instagram users visit at least one business profile each day. When people stumble on your business profile, what they see should increase the chances that they’ll stay and devour your Instagram content. You’ll see how to do this in a jiffy.
But first, here’s a formula for calculating your engagement rate for content you post on Instagram.
(comments per post + likes per post)/(total number of Instagram followers) × 100
To get the number of comments per post, you’ll calculate the average number of comments the Instagram account has over a while. That can be anywhere from six to twenty days. Add that to the average number of likes per post in the same period, and divide it by the total number of your Instagram followers.
To get the rate, you’ll simply multiply the quotient by 100. If you’re anything like many people out there, you don’t like maths. An easier way to get your engagement rate is by using a tool called Phlanx.
Here’s what the engagement rate looks like for Buffer.
You’ll get to see metrics like the number of current Instagram followers, average likes and comments per post, and the overall engagement rate of the Instagram account. If you’re planning to work with an Instagram influencer to promote your brand, it’s a good idea to check these numbers.
That said, here’s how you can engage and delight your followers with Instagram content.
1. Use Instagram stories
Instagram introduced stories in August 2016, and the live stories feature was added later in November 2016. Three years on, more than 500 million people use Instagram stories daily. But, statistics from stories are not included in the engagement rate calculator, so why bother anyway?
First, as the numbers show, people love Instagram stories. When you create Instagram stories, your followers and even visitors to your profile can view and interact with these stories. Here’s software giant HubSpot using Instagram stories for an interactive poll on their followers.
Which app was more popular for holiday shopping in 2018?
I don’t have the numbers, but I know I clicked to test my knowledge, out of sheer curiosity. Apart from polls, you can use Instagram stories to direct attention to your site or store, and even other Instagram posts. You’re only limited by your imagination as to the type of content you create for your Instagram stories.
If you feel it’s too much work to strategize and create content only to have it disappear after 24 hours, there’s a feature you might be interested in – story highlights. Anyone who visits your profile can see them automatically. This is what it looks like in practice.
You can see how long the stories have been there. The one below from Buffer is 38 weeks old.
Do you know the best part?
You can add stories to your story highlights in just three steps. According to Instagram itself:
- Go to your profile and tap Story Highlights below your username and bio.
- Tap to select the story or stories you want to add to highlights, then tap Next.
- Choose a cover photo and enter a story name for your highlight, then tap Add (iPhone) or Done (Android).
62% of Instagram users say they become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in stories. Start using the Instagram stories feature to enhance your engagement with followers and visitors to your profile.
2. Tell stories about your work
Storytelling has aged well. As long as there are brands and products, there will be storytelling. As a rule of thumb, the folks at Fresh Essays mention five lessons from TV shows you can apply in writing stories.
- Show don’t tell.
- Be realistic and accurate.
- Examine all parts of a problem.
- Deliver the profile.
- Show how change happens.
If we were to tackle every lesson above individually, we’d have enough room for another full article. So, instead, let’s see examples of brands on Instagram applying these lessons to engage and delight their followers and visitors.
PetSmart Charities helps to find homes for pets and the people who love them. Their posts are often a little story about how their pets found a new home from the perspective of the people who adopt them.
National Geographic does a wonderful job of “showing” on their Instagram page. They have long captions that go with their beautiful pictures of places, events, people, or animals. Depending on the picture, it gives facts, describes the work that went into getting the picture, while giving credit to the photographers.
There are several other ways you can naturally incorporate stories in your Instagram posts.
- Post videos showing you review a product or service and how useful it is for you.
- Create a picture with an interesting statistic on it and explain why that number is accurate or important.
- Tell stories about how your product/service improves the life of your customers.
Scour other Instagram profiles for inspiration if you’re stuck. When you tell good stories, it will resonate with your audience and improve your engagement rate.
3. Create contests/giveaways
This tip is an oldie but goodie. Instagram accounts that hold contests grow 70 percent faster than accounts that do not hold contests.
Here are some steps to creating successful giveaways on Instagram:
- Determine the purpose of the giveaway.
- Decide what you’ll giveaway and how long your giveaway will run.
- Set metrics you’ll use for measuring the success or failure of the giveaway.
- Design or create photos and videos you’ll use for your giveaway.
- Create the giveaway post with its unique hashtag.
- Amplify the reach of your post by using ads, posting on contest sites, or tagging people in your niche who may be interested.
- Keep promoting the giveaway.
- Engage with the giveaway entrants.
- Select your winner.
- Give the prize.
One tip you should note from the steps above is choosing the right giveaway prize. At best, choose prizes that are directly related to the products and services you’re offering.
For example, if you run a fashion brand, it may not be realistic to run a giveaway with iPads as the prize. A more suitable prize would be clothing from your store. For a software company, a suitable giveaway could be a long-term subscription to one of your products or services. You get the point.
Here’s an example from Blue Paw Co. Pet Supplies.
The prize is a $50 gift card to be used on Blue Paw’s site.
Or another example of a giveaway prize is a discount on your products and services as in this example from Fashion Drug.
Additionally, you can partner with a complementary brand for a suitable giveaway prize. For example, a female clothing store could partner with a female shoe brand to give female shoes as the prize in the former’s contest. Again, this will mean several things for you depending on your business.
Try contests on your Instagram account and watch your engagement skyrocket.
4. Show daily applications of your products or services
In this age of “what I ordered versus what I got” memes, this could be the single most valuable tip for growing your engagement on Instagram. This type of Instagram content will also increase your brand loyalty because people will see that what they get from you is what you advertise, not a cheaper product.
For a fashion brand, this goes beyond using mannequins. Heck, it goes beyond using models for advertising your clothes. It’s better if customers see what “real” people using your products and services look like when they do.
Fashion Nova does this. It’s no surprise they have over 16.9 million followers. Almost all their posts are features of their customers using their products. During their Black Friday campaign, followers could get a 50% to 90% discount on clothes featured by Fashion Nova.
Here’s what it looks like in practice.
In this case, these posts don’t just increase engagement but I’m sure it will increase brand recognition for customers who are featured too. I’m pretty sure some models have kickstarted their career simply from being featured on Fashion Nova’s account.
If you’re recommending products on your Instagram account, you can show how you use those products in real life. That’s what Jake Jamie does in this video where he shows himself applying a face glitter mask.
For inspiration, search hashtags like #diy, #doityourself, #diyer, #diycrafts, and others you’ll see when you perform a search for anyone I’ve listed. Like this:
There are more options when you use the app.
Scroll the “related” to the left to see more hashtags
You’ll breathe new life into your posts on Instagram and create raving fans for yourself.
Instagram doesn’t have to be difficult
You don’t need to create an Instagram account and wait around forever hoping to figure out how it all works. You can use these tips for creating Instagram content to enchant your followers and attract more people to your brand. If you experience any difficulties along the way, seek inspiration from brands following these tips successfully. You’ll have little to no regrets when you do.
Guest author: Vikas Agrawal is a start-up Investor & co-founder of the Infographic design agency Infobrandz that offers creative and premium visual content solutions to medium to large companies. Content created by Infobrandz are loved, shared & can be found all over the internet on high authority platforms like HuffingtonPost, Businessinsider, Forbes , Tech.co & EliteDaily.