One of my big goals for 2017 is to create more authentic engagement around my content, brands, posts, and so on. It's a big time goal because real engagement can NOT be faked. It's going to take a lot of extra time, and I've only begun to dip my toe into the water. I recently started a Facebook Community for Caffeinate and Conquer - you can join here - all around networking with other bloggers/lady bosses and learning from one another. It's been an awesome first step and I love connecting with other creators.
I understand how important this real, authentic engagement is. Because of this, it's so important to me to continue to grow and foster it. While this engagement spans all my platforms and it's ideally going to be a holistic approach, today I wanted to cover how to create more engagement on Instagram.
For me, Instagram has always been a place of engagement. It's often I place I can chat with readers, share announcements, and so on. Even though the platform is around photos, there is a huge communication piece involved as well. I think in our race to cover all our social media bases we forget to stop, slow down, and enjoy the real, organic conversations we can have on each one.
Social media is meant to be social, not simply a box you check off - "yep, shared this on social media, I'm done." Brands, bloggers, and influencers need to be taking the time to have real connections and conversations across these platforms if they want their presence to be valuable.
How to Have Authentic Engagement On Instagram
Join Instagram Pods
Instagram Pods are essentially groups of Instagrammers (typically groups of about 12-14) who create a group message in Instagram. Whenever a new picture is posted to Instagram, you share it to your "pod," and they make sure to comment, like, and engage with the picture.
The idea for pods originally came because the Instagram algorithm started giving posts with higher comments and engagements boosts in visibility. While they do certainly help with that, what I've noticed even more since I've been using them is my increase in authentic comments. I developed some insta-friends through the process who I feel like I know better and have a better connection to. And, I now have more meaningful conversations on my pictures with them as well as theirs.
My shirt refers to my attempt at a "messy bun." For real, hair is hard. Spent all day moving 💪🏻 including this new rubber tree plant I bought even though Michael kept telling me I'll kill it, which is a fair statement because I kill all plants. But I've named him Melvin and am about 23% sure I'll keep him alive.
Post Longer Captions
Sometimes it's hard for your voice really be heard on Instagram. You can certainly have a photo style and themed feed, but your voice is harder since it's a platform all around pictures. Lately, I've started writing longer captions (2-3 sentences at least) and have seen a higher amount of engagement as people react and comment back to what I write about. Even if it's a platform about pretty pictures, people are still reading and reacting.
Utilize Instagram Stories
I did it, I've made a strong switch from Snapchat to Instagram Stories. It was sad, I'm still mourning the loss. The reason I did it at first was to just make managing all my social medias easier. But, now that I've been active on Instagram Stories I find that it is helping me develop strong conversations with my viewers on Instagram. It allows me to connect with them beyond just the "pretty picture," and allows them to get to know me and vice-versa.
Don't JUST Double Tap
I'm so guilty of being lazy and simply giving a double tap to pictures I really like. In my effort to be more connected on Instagram I'm taking the time to stop and leave comments on pictures, not just liking them. These helps me build connections with other people I'm following and I find that in turn, I'm getting more comments on my pictures as well.
Craft Authentic Comments
This goes hand-in-hand with the above, and it's all about "time." We're trying to manage all our social platforms, our blog, possibly a brand with products....like who has time for real authentic comments?! Well, you'll get what you give. Take the extra 20 seconds it'll take to read the caption of the image and write a genuine comment. Respond directly to the person, tell a personal connection, ask a question. Authentic conversations comes from authentic conversations. Feel my drift?
I hope these tips will help you have a more genuine connect with people on Instagram and start crafting real conversations around your pictures and content.