Is your engagement down? Are you annoyed with the algorithm?
You’re not the only one.
Even with the best strategies, I don’t think any of us are completely immune to the fact that social media apps like Instagram are becoming more and more of a “Pay to Play” space, which makes organic engagement a little tougher.
However, there ARE ways to keep your engagement alive. You just need to put a little system in place for every post (I’m a huge fan of systems, btw).
I’m often asked how I’ve managed to keep my engagement considerably strong even with the changing algorithms, and as a business account.
I’d love to give you a million tips but I’ve always found that I’m more likely to implement and see results if I have one, maybe two, clear steps to take. Even if you do one engagement strategy consistently until you master it – until it becomes second nature – it can be massively helpful.
So, how do you boost your engagement on that post you spent an hour getting just right?
Review Your Analytics Timing
It’s important to know when the majority of your following is online, and when your best engagement times are. Regardless of how big your following is, your post is going to have much more success if you’re publishing it to as many active users as possible.
If you have a Creator or Business account on Instagram, you should be able to see this in your analytics within the app.
If you have not converted your account from a personal account to a Creator or Business on account, you can use other tools like Tailwind, to see these insights.
Timing is Everything
Once you determine the best time to post, you’ll want to make sure you take full advantage of the engagement window after you hit Publish.
How a post performs in the 20-60 minutes after it is published is crucial to its success (such as whether or not your content be shown to more and more of your following, and possibly even land a spot on the explore page).
The reason this window is crucial because within this time frame, the Instagram algorithm essentially decides if a post is “good” or “bad” based on its initial performance.
The more engagement – likes, comments, saves, and story reshares – a post has, the more it will be distributed. In other words, more of your audience will see it and it has a better chance of showing on your ideal client/potential followers explore page.
So, you’ll want to do these steps for at least 20-30 minutes after posting, which means you probably want to be very strategic about the time you post so that it doesn’t interrupt dinner with your family or a coffee date with a friend.
In other words, don’t just sit there staring at your phone for 20-30 minutes straight if you’re not prepared for it. Set aside that time ahead of time, and if you can’t do it everyday (because you know, you have a life), then only plan to post 3-4 times a week so that you can give the posts you do make a shot at better success instead of posting a ton without actually stewarding that content.
Quality over sub-par quantity will provide more value to your audience anyway.
How to Maximize Engagement During the Crucial Window
To maximize your engagement, spend the next 30ish minutes doing the following (rotate through the steps) after you publish a post on your feed.
- Go back to the post you made prior to the one you just published and “like” people’s comments on that post. This essentially pings them because they’ll get a notification telling them you liked their comment, makes you top of mind, and increases the chances that they’ll check out your new content.
- Like and comment on your followers posts. Just go to your own followers list, and tap someone’s name, go to their profile, and like or leave a comment on their most recent post. This is similar to the first step in that instead of just posting, waiting, and hoping people will interact with your content, you’re actually interacting and engaging with them first. Again, doing this also pings them, makes you top of mind, and increases the changes they’ll check out your new content.
- Comment back to everyone who leaves a comment! The more comments, the better, because instagram counts ALL comments on a post as engagement. Also, the more you can create conversations in the comment section, the better! Try to make your comments at least 3-5 words in length vs just a heart emoji (“Thanks so much, person’s name” is stronger than “Thanks!”), asking a question or adding to the conversation in such a way that prompts them to respond. So, if you respond to each one, you’ve doubled your comments (aka engagement) and that tells Instagram this post is awesome because it’s generating a lot of chatter and should be more widely distributed! I’ve included an example of how I’ve commented back to create conversation below:
4. Share your post to your story and try to include a juicy headline or promise that creates curiosity. Remember, people are tapping through their stories quickly. You want to hook them and be super clear about what they’re going to get or answer they’re going to find by reading your post. Here’s an example of one of the many times I’ve done this:
For reference, this video amassed over 77,000 views – more than any IGTV video I’d posted before! It was not a professionally produced video…literally just an iPhone selfie video… but I believe it performed well because I followed these steps and also gave it a super CLEAR title that related to a large part of my audience, as many of them are newlyweds, or in the engagement (or soon to be engaged) season.
5. After sharing in your story, post 3-5 story slides with selfie videos summarizing or diving deeper into a concept you shared in your most recent post. Then, pull a quote from that post and share it as a story slide. Again, people are tapping through stories and scrolling quickly. Lots of people are trying to get them to read their posts or swipe up to read their blog or buy their widget. Also, people remember what’s repeated. So, you need to grab their attention by being IN FRONT of them and REPEATING yourself in a way that doesn’t feel repetitive. In other words, you need to find creative ways to essentially tell them the same thing over a few story slides. So, summarizing or diving deeper with a few slides of selfie videos, as well as a strong quote from the post, can be so powerful in driving people to go check it out!
Here’s an example of how I did both steps 4 and 5 on:
Juicy / Intriguing Heading + Story Series Sharing More Context on the Post I Made
Snuck in a poll for increased engagement 😉
Lastly, after that video series, I added a slide with a quote from the post. This put the same content in front of a follower three times in a row but in three different ways. The more they see it presented in a dynamic way, the more likely it is that they’ll go check it out. Plus, everyone takes action for different reasons. Some may have really resonated with something I shared in the video series, while others may have simply been curious by the big red headline on the first story slide that said, “Sorry not sorry. Needed to be said,” and still others may have really loved the quote shared here and finally been convinced they were missing out if they didn’t check out this post!
Give these steps a try the next time you publish a post and let me know how it goes in the comments below!