Five Ways To Engage An Audience On Instagram

Five Ways To Engage An Audience On Instagram
January 31, 2017 John McCallum

Five Ways To Engage An Audience On Instagram

So you’ve mastered Facebook, what’s next? It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with social media so it’s important to explore other networks because you never know you might just find your target market hanging out there. Don’t get us wrong, you don’t need to be everywhere because we all know that saying ‘jack of all trades, master of none’. Spreading yourself too thinly will be counterproductive and a waste of your valuable time so make sure you focus on what actually brings home the bacon.

If you work in the food and drink industry one bandwagon you should be jumping on is – Instagram. While most companies have already caught on to Facebook and Twitter, many of them haven’t yet tapped into Instagram and its incredible opportunities. According to Statista, in December 2016 Instagram reached 600 million monthly active users – the numbers say it all. If you want to get ahead of your competitors then keep reading.

What we love most about Instagram is that you get higher engagement on this app compared to Facebook and Twitter and engagement is a key ingredient in cooking up a successful social media strategy. There are plenty of ways you can drive engagement on Instagram and we’ve compiled a list of our top 5:

  1. Reply to comments

Nobody likes to be ignored so make it a golden rule to reply to your comments. When someone takes the time to leave you a comment it’s common courtesy to reply, after all opening up a dialogue with your audience is what engagement is all about.

  1. Use ‘regramming’

Regramming,or to use a term that you are more familiar with ‘sharing’, is a really easy way to engage your audience. Not only do fans getting excited about getting a shout out from their favourite brand but also it encourages them to start sharing more content with you. If you want to attract user-generated content make sure you use compelling hashtags; run photo competitions; keep on top of your tags and encourage people to share photos during live events.

It’s not just content from your fans you can share – the world is your oyster. However, time is precious so you don’t want to be spending endless hours trawling through everything. The great technique for finding shareable content is by monitoring keywords using the likes of Google Alerts, Social Sharing and Hootsuite.

  1. Run competitions

If you’re already social media savvy then you’ll know that competitions are one of the best ways to engage your audience. Everyone loves a freebie, right? And, contrary to common belief Instagram isn’t just for sharing photos, you can run competitions too.

There are lots of different types of competitions you can run on Instagram. One of the most common types is a photo challenge. All you have to do is think up a hashtag then ask users to post a photo to their personal account using that specific hashtag. For example, the whisky brand The Macallan ran a photo contest where they asked people to post a photo of themselves with a bottle of their whisky or a shot that represents their love of the brand with the hashtag #meandthemacallan. At the end of the competition, they picked five lucky winners who scooped up a special prize.

You can also run a ‘like’ contest where you simply ask users to like your photo. This isn’t the most creative competition out there but it’s an easy way to increase your engagement. You might want to make your audience work for their prize but from our experience the simpler the competition the more likely people are to enter. If you’re looking for something a bit more creative you might decide to run a ‘comment’ competition and you could even ask people to tag their friends, that would also boost your reach. If your mind is blank and you need help with ideas please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

  1. Reach out to influencers

Another great way to engage your audience is by reaching out to influencers. Social media influencers have turned into online celebrities and by collaborating with them you can reach even more people and increase your brand awareness. One of the important things that you should remember when teaming up with influencers is that they need to fit your brand so as well as having a big following they should have the right following.

  1. Use engaging captions

Yes, Instagram is a photo sharing app but you can also add some words to your photos. Instead of leaving it as an afterthought, you should spend some time on carefully crafting an engaging caption to help spark discussion. The term ‘caption’ is a bit misleading here because it suggests that you just use a few words but the best captions on Instagram are actually longer in length and tell a story. Other things you can include in your caption to make them more engaging include questions, emojis, fun hashtags and most importantly always remember to include a call to action.

After reading this blog post, you should be ready to take Instagram by storm. If you’re new to Instagram taking the first steps might be a daunting task but it’s really user-friendly so you’ll get the hang of it in no time at all and once you start engaging with your fans you’ll soon have them eating out of the palm of your hand. If you have any questions regarding Instagram or you need some help with your social media strategy then please get in touch.

Written by Jacqui Keiss, Digital Account Manager at Root & Toot. You can follow Jacqui on Twitter at @JacquiKeiss  and you can follow Root & Toot on Instagram at www.instagram.com/rootandtoot/

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