5 things you can do to drastically change your Instagram engagement
Are you tired of hearing the same advice over and over about how to grow your Instagram following? How you need to be more active, take gorgeous photos and like lots of posts?
Well, I thought you might be, and I figured you might have tried those things already and that you're still left wondering what's missing.
That's why I've made a 5-step list of actions you can take on your Instagram account that don't include generic advice on how to do more of what you're already doing, but rather elements that you can implement into your Instagram planning which will truly set you apart.
And that's inevitably what you're after, right? Standing out from the crowd!
All the tips on this list are things I implement on my own Instagram accounts, and which help me grow and maintain a large following with high engagement.
No bullshit, no fluff, just plain and simple strategies that will really make a difference on your Instagram account, and that you might not hear from everyone else.
But first, here are my Instagram accounts, in case you were wondering who I am to give any sort of advice (as you should!). The images are clickable.
5 changes you can make to your Instagram account that will make a huge difference
1. Divide your content into functional categories
One of the biggest contributors to messy-looking Instagram accounts are random postings. You know, the kind of posts that happen upon you in the spur of the moment, and that have no particular relevance to the 900 other random spur-of-the-moment posts you've shared.
But isn't that what Instagram is all about?
Sure! If you want to update your friends on the going's on in your daily life, then definitely. That's what you should be sharing.
If you're aiming to attract a large tribe of dedicated Instagram followers, however, you can skip the bathroom selfies and McDonald's visits. You might have really enjoyed that burger, but it's one of those "you needed to be there" kinda posts. It doesn't look quite as yummy to the world.
Instead, what you need to be doing is plan ahead.
Spend some time figuring out what it is that you want to say through your Instagram account. Who are you speaking to and what do you think they'd like to see? Then work out how you want to say it visually and content-wise.
I recommend splitting your content into categories, for example:
- Sharing blog posts
- Pretty & relevant imagery
- Pictures of yourself
- Graphics (text on image, quotes or similar)
- Promoting your service/product
- Asking a question
- Behind the scenes
You really don't need an overload of categories, just pick the ones that represent your brand well and that you have the skills and capacity to follow through with.
Then, all you have to do is actually stick to posting within these categories, create a functional schedule for when you want to post from each one, and leave the "hi, I'm at the shops" posts for your personal account.
You should try to keep a balanced mix, and if you have a product or blog to promote, make sure you don't do too much "selling" but rather try to make your account about the readers. Keep your content mix appealing, interesting and easy on the eye.
2. Pre-stock a library of ready-made content for easy posting
This is one of my favourite ways to save time and ensure regular activity on Instagram, without having to constantly come up with, and create, new content!
Each month, or sometimes rarer, I dedicate one of my office days to pre-stocking my social media library. I create or source imagery, format photos to suit the platforms I want to use them on, add text, filters, image names that reflect the content, and anything else that can be done to ease my workload.
I then save all my images in folders labelled with the categories I've created for each site, upload them to my Google Drive, and pop them into my scheduling tools for you guys to enjoy throughout the month!
Just like that, I've saved myself SO much work and stress for weeks on end.
This is such an easy tip, but it makes such a difference!
3. Pick a colour scheme
Some Instagram accounts just ooze of style and design savvy, and others pretty much say "Help me, I'm confused and desperate.."
Which one's yours?
Looking at the best of the best in terms of Instagram accounts, it's baffling how gorgeous and well put together they are. And it looks IMPOSSIBLE to get even close to that, doesn't it?
Well, take away the marketing professionals, PR-agents, stylists and photographers who buzz around the top Instagrammers and make them and their brand look friggin' awesome at any point in time, and I swear they wouldn't be able to keep that account as shiny and new either.
But, at some point, before they became Insta-celebs and could hire a personal branding team, they learnt how to get good at making their accounts visually attractive. And that's something us mere mortals can do too.
Starting with your overall Instagram appearance.
The first thing to make your account look messy, is a lack of a colour scheme. All those posts that are scattered across your profile, they might be awesome on their own, but they don't work that well together.
One fantastic trick, and probably the easiest way to get a cohesive look, is to stick with one or two main colours. The more colours, the more clever and talented you have to be to make it work. But one or two, maybe three, anyone can manage.
Just to clarify, obviously there will be more colours in your feed than two or three. Otherwise you'd literally be posting blocks of colour. The idea, however, is that the colours that really stand out and make up the visual expression on your account, are complementary to each other and cohesive.
For example, you may keep the majority of your backdrops in some shade or rather of white, with other images featuring largely white objects. Or perhaps you like pink, and you make an effort to include photos and graphics with various shades of your favourite hue throughout your feed.
There are a lot of ways you can give your colour scheme a cohesive look, and only your creativity limits your choices.
When you pre-stock your image library, you can consciously choose colours that work together and that fit into your scheme, and thus build your visual presence before it's even on your account!
4. Create real conversation
Did you know that Instagram uses the same type of algorithm as Facebook? In other words, what shows up in your newsfeed is decided by the amount of engagement it gets. The most valuable form of engagement is commenting, and, get this: Instagram also dismisses comments that consist of less than 3 words!
This means that all those thumbs-up or smiley-face-with-heart-eyes "comments" that grace your timeline, don't improve your presence at all!
Which is why you need to get people to write more than just "awesome dude!" when they visit your account!
One of the best ways to do that, apart from creating super attractive content, of course, is to literally ask them a question.
If you can think of an interesting question to ask your followers, one that they are likely to wanna respond to, then you may have earned yourself a valuable comment. And, because humans love to mimmic other humans in a little game called "social proof", one comment will most likely prompt another.
5. Join a comment pod
In my opinion, the most brilliant invention ever made by bloggers and Instagrammers!
Quite often, when your posts lack engagement, the reason can be completely unrepresentative of the quality of the post or the interest your followers have in it. In fact, your followers might have loved it to bits -if only they'd seen it.
Because that is the curse of social media algorithms.
Years ago, I built a large and active community on my Facebook page. I spent so much time and effort building it, and it was totally booming. Awesome, right! Only it wasn’t awesome, because when I woke up one morning, Facebook went public, and they decided to make some extra money by forcing me to pay for my followers to even see my posts.
Fair or not fair, I don't know. All I know is that bloggers have found their own way of sidestepping these larger-than-life algorithms that are tricky to keep up with, and comment pods are one of these tools.
A comment pod is simply a group of bloggers or Instagrammers who join up and support each other by creating engagement on each other's posts! Brilliant in its simplicity.
Look for comment- or engagement pods within your niche, or you can even start your own by contacting other Instagrammers in a private message.
The best part is that an Instagram comment pod isn't just there to increase everybody's numbers. It's there to inspire genuine interest and create a community of people who share thoughtful comments on each other's posts.
Plus, you can create new connections and build a network of social media buddies along the way!
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to leave a comment or share this post if you appreciated the info :)
What is your biggest Instagram challenge, and what are you going to change?
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HI, I'M KRISTINE!
I've been a full-time blogger for half a decade and a business and marketing professional a decade before that.
Now I help bloggers reach their goals, grow their income and increase their influence by giving them the tools they need to confidently pursue their passion.