Read my blog posts from a year and a half ago and you'll see that I didn't include Instagram in my Big 5 social networks. It just wasn't there yet. Well, the moment we have all been waiting for is here. Instagram is officially a network you need to consider. In such a monumental moment, I'm declaring this post the post I change the Big 5 to the Big 6. Welcome aboard Insta! I'm in love with Instagram engagement!
Ok, I'm glad we got that out of the way. Instagram deserves the title and has been making strong strides to end out 2014. In the past month alone, Instagram hit 300 million monthly users to surpass Twitter, is launching verified accounts, they launched 5 new filters, and businesses that use Instagram get almost 50x more engagement on Instagram than Twitter.
Let me repeat that for a minute. Instagram gets 50x more engagement than Twitter. Now that's some serious stuff!
Another thing Instagram is up to currently is they are flushing the spam and fake accounts out causing a lot of people to scream and shout with anger. I think this is actually a good thing as they are keeping it authentic. If you are noticing a drop in your user count it is normal. It's something Facebook should do, and something Twitter should do as well.
If you are upset that you just lost followers look at it like this. Active and engaged followers are worth so much more than spam accounts and buying likes. When you have 1000 followers and only 2 likes it looks silly to the regular user. Believe me, you aren't fooling anyone. So focus on the quality users who actually like your content and move from there. It's worth it.
You know all those accounts that bought followers. Waste of money. DO NOT BUY FOLLOWERS! On any network. Ever. Just don't.
Ok, my mini-rant is over. Now let's get to the beef. How can you engage your Instagram audience.
Hashtags are everything on Instagram. They are great for getting found, finding relevant content and users and just looking cool. Use those that fit for your business and your industry regularly and consistently. I'd even brand your own and use that over and over and over again.
2. Comment & Like
Do unto others what you want others to do unto you, right? Right. Like & comment on photos and accounts that make sense for you and your business. It's important. Believe me.
3. Post Great Content
This is the number one rule on all social networks. If you want to get found, if you want to stay relevant, if you want to grow your following, you must create and post content that hits home with your customers. Period.
4. Follow People
This is also good etiquette. Instagram has a great community and one that is very complimentary. If you follow the right people they will follow you back.
5. Regram With Permission
I never steal images. It's just wrong. But you can regram to build community or to engage. I think it is best to ask for permission first, but I may be old fashioned. Plus it can cover your butt if you need it.
How do you engage on Instagram?