Every piece of content you post to Instagram has the potential to reach the platform’s 1.074 billion users worldwide. You have the ability to build a massive audience of like-minded individuals who not only appreciate your content but want to engage with it too. In this post, we’re showing you tips on how to create quality content that promotes community engagement with and among your followers.
Let’s get started!
Tip #1: Plan Your Feed
To build an audience of engaged Instagram followers, you have to consistently post content that speaks to your target audience. Study your target audience in detail. Figure out what they like, what they need, and what they’re passionate about. Then, set up your content calendar full of a month’s worth of quality content your followers will enjoy. Once that month is up, analyze what worked and what didn’t and use that data to create next month’s strategy. The key is to create and schedule content in bulk to post throughout the month. That way, you’ll never have to worry about running out of content or, worse, rushing to post content your audience doesn’t find engaging.
PLANOLY Pro-tip: Our drag and drop feature on IG Planner helps piece together the images you want to post on your grid before actually posting. Visualizing helps create consistent, cohesive content.
Tip #2: Follow the 30-Minute Rule
Responding to comments and DMs within the first 30 minutes a post goes live is critical for fostering community engagement. Not only does your audience see that you’re paying attention, but they also see that you care, and it encourages them to interact with you and other followers. These interactions will only grow the more times you actively participate with your followers in the comments section.
Tip #3: Post at the Right Time
There are 95 million photos and videos posted to Instagram every day. If you don’t post at a time when your audience is online, chances are your content will be drowned out by newer posts before they have the opportunity to engage. You can check your Instagram Analytics to see when your audience is online, or you can use PLANOLY’s built-in best time to post feature to quick schedule your posts to go live at the optimal time, every time.
Tip #4: Use Instagram Stories Stickers
Instagram Stories stickers provide an easy avenue for engaging with your audience. All you have to do is ask a question or create a poll. Your Story viewers can easily type in their answers or answer your poll. You can even show their results or answers on later Story slides. Curious users will keep coming back to check out what others are saying.
Tip #5: Optimize Your Hashtags
Instagram hashtags are a key to audience growth. Adding hashtags to your post will get more eyes on your content. Use the right hashtags, and those eyes will be interested enough to click your profile and give you a follow. A good rule of thumb is to use around 11 hashtags in each post. They need to be relevant to your content, or they’ll look spammy and reach an uninterested audience.
Tip #6: Post Videos (Yes, Reels too!)
New social media features tend to be favored by the algorithm, and Reels are no exception. If you’re really trying to boost your engagement, posting Reels is a must. Videos also tend to generate twice as many comments as photos do, making them a valuable tool for boosting your overall engagement. Plus, showing your face in a video is one more way to foster authentic connections with your audience, which is what Instagram engagement is all about.
Tip #7: Create Savable, Sharable Content
Don’t focus so hard on likes and comments that you overlook saves and shares. Saves are called the super-like of Instagram for a reason. The more saves you get, the more the algorithm will push your posts on the Explore page. So, how do you create savable, sharable content? You have to understand what is entertaining and valuable to your audience. Experiment with different content types such as educational content, tutorials, an Instagram post series. Just make sure it aligns with your industry and space. Then check out your analytics to see what type gets the most saves and shares and then continue to build on that.
Tip #8: Try Longer, Authentic Captions
The longer your captions, the more personality you can inject into them. You want to form connections with your audience. If they feel an authentic bond, they’ll be more likely to engage. Fill your captions with engaging stories about yourself and/or your brand or customer testimonials. This gives your audience a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes of your business or brand. Other ideas include sharing industry-relevant data and advice as well as asking questions to start a conversation in the comments.
Tip #9: Schedule Your Content
Consistency is key for growing your Instagram. You need to put out a steady stream of targeted content. It’s easy to get caught up in the shuffle while brainstorming ideas, creating content, and tracking your metrics. The last thing you want is to throw off your engagement rate by forgetting to post at the right time. Scheduling your content ahead of time with a tool like PLANOLY is the best way to guarantee you’ll never leave your audience hanging by forgetting to post.
Tip #10: Go Live
Instagram Live is another one of the newer features the algorithm tends to prioritize. Beyond this, it’s a great way to engage with your audience. You can answer questions, have real-time conversations and address your viewers by name, and co-host with another creator or business your audience also follows. It takes the authenticity of video to the next level.
Tip #11: Track Your Metrics
Your Instagram marketing strategy should be constantly evolving based on your analytics. Use Instagram Analytics to increase engagement rates by tracking key metrics that show what content gets the highest engagement from your audience. Every Instagram audience is different, so fine-tuning your engagement strategy will ultimately depend on your audience’s behavior over time.
PLANOLY Pro-tip: Avoid doing manual calculations by trying out PLANOLY's analyze feature. Receive premium Instagram analytics you can apply to future posts.
Bonus Tip: The $1.80 Strategy
You can have 1 million followers, but that number is meaningless if they don’t engage with your content.
Use the $1.80 strategy to grow a community of highly engaged followers. Start by identifying the top 10 hashtags in your industry. They should be the most popular, but also the lesser-known, more impactful hashtags.
Scroll through each hashtag, choose a post, then click on the profile. Read about the Instagram user, check out their likes, dislikes, and activity, then give your $00.02 by engaging.
The follower count doesn’t matter here. You’re looking to interact with posts that have high engagement rates to build your community of engaged individuals.
Do this for the top 9 posts on each of your 10 hashtags, then leave your $00.02 by engaging thoughtfully wherever possible. This can be answering a question, replying to a comment, etc. Tag and share if you think the content is relevant to another Instagram user.
When you make this a practice every single day, you’re bound to grow an authentically engaged community on Instagram.
After learning more about fostering community on Instagram, remember that community engagement always requires active participation. Try out a few of these tips the next time you're planning, scheduling, and posting your content. Your audience will appreciate it!