Here are seven tips for building an engaged Instagram following, which will lead to more likes, comments and followers.
1: Include clear Calls to Action
On Instagram, Calls to Action appears in either the image itself or the caption.
According to the SocialMedia Examiner, this fun image approach from Brisk has the like built into the CTA. The company asks fans to double-tap their favourite flavour. Any double-tap on the image will result in a like.
A simple way to get more engagement is to ask followers to “tag the person you love most” in the caption. They will likely tag others in the comments.
2: Use location for Calls to Action
Since Instagram only allows advertisers to share a clickable link in their posts, adding text to location is a great workaround to highlight a call to action.
For example, in the highly visible location spot, GoPro tells their followers to go to the “link in our profile” to be a featured ‘Photo of the Day’.
You can also add text under an image’s location on Instagram.
First, upload an image to Instagram and share the post. Next, tap the three dots in the bottom corner of the photo and select Edit. The keyboard will then pop up along with the option: ‘Add Location’.
Tap ‘Add Location’ and a pop-up asking you to turn on location services will appear. Press ‘Cancel’, and then tap the ‘Find or Create a Location’ search bar. Then, type in your CTA. Instead of a CTA, you can also just input your company’s URL. Click Create a ‘Custom Location’.
Click ‘Done’ (or hit the checkmark for Android) and your CTA will show up directly above the image. Feel free to include emoticons in the location area to grab your followers’ attention.
3: Leverage relevant hashtags
Hashtags are a great way for brands to stand out on Instagram and find people who are not yet following their account. Hashtags help organise and categorise images and video content, which aids in the process of content discovery. Just make sure to use Instagram hashtags that are relevant to the audience you are attempting to reach.
For example, a cupcake company should add Instagram hashtags that are specific to their industry, like #EEEEATS or #Instafood, rather than hashtags about technology or photography. No one likes a brand that stuffs posts with unrelated hashtags.
One of the most popular (and all-purpose) hashtags on Instagram is #TBT, or Throwback Thursday. For example, Pepsi leverages the hashtag’s popularity by adding a relevant image.
When you are building up followers on Instagram, reach is everything. You need to do whatever it takes to get your content in front of the right audience at the right time. Nothing helps Instagram visibility like a relevant hashtag.
4: Do shout-outs for shout-outs
On Instagram, you may notice people commenting on your photos with the acronym S4S, which stands for shout-out for shout-out. A shout-out is when you promote someone else’s account to your own followers.
To get the ball rolling, look for pages with a similar target audience, as well as companies with a similar or greater following than your page. That way, it’s a mutually beneficial situation. To find these accounts, type keywords in the Instagram user search or do a web search for your specialty plus “Instagram accounts.”
After you find appropriate pages, reach out to make a request publicly or privately. To make a public request, comment on one of the page’s posts. Otherwise, send a direct message to the account.
Upload a photo as you would any other image on Instagram. However, instead of selecting Followers, click Direct. Then, type the name of the user you will like to message in search, and select the correct name.
Add a caption asking if the user is interested in doing a shout-out for shout-out. When this user writes back, Instagram will let you know through a home screen notification.
5: Vary caption length
While Instagram is primarily considered a photo sharing application, some brands use it as a platform for sharing the written word. Each Instagram post allows 2,000 characters for captions, so why not push the limits and try something different?
For example, this post from Instagram includes a detailed description of their Weekend Hashtag Project, along with a compelling photo. This caption with a unique approach has more than 1,200 characters and generated more than 578,000 likes.
Don’t underestimate the power of words. If your brand has the ability to tell a story using written words, go for it. Try different long and short captions to see which type of content resonates better with your audience, and pick a winner.
6: Interact with other users’ content
Don’t just use hashtags to distribute content more effectively, also use them to find like-minded users who do the same thing.
For example, if you are in the fitness industry, search for hashtags like #Fitspiration or #FitnessAddict. Then engage with users who are sharing content with this tag.
When you like or comment on someone else’ content, the user will receive a notification that shows your avatar and name. In some cases, the user will check out your profile, and, if they like what they see, they will follow you and engage with your posts too.
7: Promote your account on other networks
After you have established a nice presence on Instagram with lots of quality content, share your posts on other platforms. It is an excellent way to encourage new people to follow you on Instagram.
Promote your Instagram account on other channels such as Twitter, Facebook and even Snapchat. Get creative with your Instagram marketing. In addition to sharing your Instagram account name or URL, give users a sample of the great content they will only find on Instagram.