Launched in 2010, Instagram has progressively increased in popularity and has gone from being a mere portal to share photographs to being one of the most influential brand tools on the planet.
According to the Pew Research Center, Instagram is the fastest growing social network. There are now over 25 million active Instagram business profiles, 80% of which have bases outside of the USA, competing with you. So, in this new world of instant gratification and users with short attention spans, what can you do to keep your Instagram feed up-to-date with interesting and engaging content?
Here are 12 tips to help you to not only stand out from the crowd but retain and entertain your loyal band of followers.
1. Create a Daily, Weekly or Monthly Series
Be consistent! Randomly posting photos of your product or idea won’t keep your audience engaged with your brand. Get them used to seeing and looking forward to your content by creating a series. Decide whether you will post on a daily, weekly or monthly basis and stick to it! You can also add a creative hashtag to help your followers find your series.
Pro tip: Add bulk reminders to your calendar to stay on track with your content creation. That way, you can avoid missing dates in your series.
2. Run a Contest or Giveaway
What do you think is the number one way you can attract more followers and get yourself to stand out from your competitors? Create attraction by running a competition! Who doesn’t love a giveaway? People can’t resist the power of “free.”
All you need to run a contest or giveaway is the following:
- A prize
- A creative way to enter
Take your time to think about this. After all, the purpose or a giveaway is brand awareness.
- A deadline
Factor in the date of the announcement of the winner(s) before choosing a deadline for your contest or giveaway.
- The terms and conditions
This will help make your contest seem more legitimate and not like a potential scam.
Pro tip: You can encourage your followers to share the contest with their friends – they’ll be especially enthusiastic if they think that sharing your post will help them to win!
3. Host an AMA (Ask Me Anything)
Show off your personal side by engaging with your followers. Try hosting an AMA session to open the mic to your fans. Not only will this help your followers learn more about you, but you will also benefit you in learning the concerns or interests of your followers. Don’t underestimate the power of engagement! Fostering an intimate relationship with your fanbase results in follow loyalty, which equals social proof.
Not all of the content on your Instagram feed has to be your own. Share the love by Regramming other people’s content (or share someone else’s Instagram post in your story). A Regram is relatively painless in that all that is required is a rework of the caption. Perhaps people will return the favour by sharing your posts and, if nothing else, it will make a more interesting feed for your followers.
Pro tip: Try going for the shock or comic factor by regramming unusual posts that will encourage your followers to comment and further engage with you and each other.
5. Create Bite-Sized Video Clips
Bite me… Instagram followers, in particular, want instant visual satisfaction. Bite-sized video clips are a great way to grab the attention of your followers whilst enabling you to get your all-important brand message across. Considering that video content gets exponentially more shares than photo or text, the short amount of time it takes to shoot one would definitely pay off.
6. Co-market with another Influencer
Team Up! Partnering will immediately double your audience and a well-chosen partner will complement, not compete with, your brand. Look for a partner who has a large audience that is relevant to your business. Co-marketing with another influencer can also be fun by taking each other’s existing ideas and products and adding a new twist.
Pro tip: Collaborate with a good cause or not-for-profit that supports your brand or business values.
7. Share Your Knowledge via How-to’s & Tutorials
Teach. Give them something to remember. Create a short step-by-step guide that is so useful it will leave your fans saving your video to return to at a later date or share with their friends. Giving them something of value in this way will help to firm up their commitment to continue to, or to start following you.
Pro tip: Head your post with a question that highlights their pain and answers it, for example, “Need more room in your holiday suitcase? Follow our easy step-by-step guide to how to roll your way to more space!”.
8. Go Live
Let’s have some fun with this! There’s nothing quite like the atmosphere you can create by going live. Create anticipation by announcing your intention to go live beforehand. Don’t reveal too much in advance, instead ensure their engagement by asking them to guess what you are going to show or where you will be. Offer them a unique “behind the scenes” look at something relevant to your brand or business.
Pro tip: Ask them to set a timer so they don’t miss out on your live broadcast.
9. Make a Meme
Break up the repetitive posts that lead your followers to feed-scrolling almost robotically with comedic Memes. Don’t be shy to show some humour. Inject some light-hearted comedy by creating a topical meme to instantly grab your followers attention and put a smile on their faces. They’ll start to think of you as more than just a great account to follow and will talk about you to their friends.
Pro tip: Before creating the meme, ask yourself, “Will my audience think this is funny?”. Also, make sure its relatable to your brand. If your audience doesn’t think it’s funny or doesn’t have any connection to the meme, it likely won’t be successful.
10. Ask Followers to Tag-a-Friend
A surefire way to increase engagement on your social media is to ask your followers to tag a friend. Asking users to tag their friends in the comments of your post or contest will expose your brand to people who may not have heard of you before, or who may not yet be following you on Instagram. The tagged friend will get a notification and will likely click to see your post. If your post resonates with them, you may end up with a new follower!
Pro tip: Make sure your post is tag-a-friend worthy. Your followers are more likely to tag a friend if they think your content is worth sharing. Also, you don’t have to wait to host a contest to use this method. You can try this on a post that doesn’t normally get a lot of engagement.
11. Respond to Your Followers
Communication, communication, communication. Like all relationships, the key to keeping your followers devoted to you is to communicate. Nobody likes being ignored so take a few minutes out of your day to respond to comments and encourage further discussion. You’ll find commentators reaching out to you more and more if they think you’re not a robot after all, but actually a human being who will talk back!
Pro tip: Use their name in your reply so they feel connected to you.
12. Share a Milestone
You’ve done well increasing your follow count or posting daily for 1000 days for example. Show off those hard-earned milestones! Create a buzz of excitement as they approach by counting down in your feed beforehand. Be proud of your achievements – being shy and modest doesn’t increase influence, just look at Donald Trump for example. His rise to become President of the USA came about through his absolute confidence in himself and habit of declaring his great achievements.
So, share your story, be great and most of all, have fun with it!