I have repeatedly talked about how Instagram is a great tool for social media marketers. But, just like other platforms, it's imperative that you are actually interacting with your audience. So, here are some tips to help get you interacting successfully!
First and foremost, I am a firm believer in social karma. The more you like, comment on, or share others' posts, the more you will get in return. I have to admit that I get frustrated listening to brand managers complain about lack of engagement when they wholeheartedly admit to never engaging on other pages themselves. You get what you give in this business.
So, if you want people to interact with you, interact with them!
Follow more people
I've heard numerous "experts" say not to follow more than 50-100 people on Instagram. I think this is ridiculous. And you can look at my Instagram account and see I follow a lot more than that! I often describe Instagram as the photo version of Twitter. And just like Twitter, Instagram has a lot to do with reciprocation. If someone who has similar photo interests or business interests follows you, follow them back! It's more than just courtesy. It's a networking opportunity.
Follow competitors and see what they're doing. What's working for them? What are they neglecting to do? You can learn a lot to position yourself ahead of them.
Follow engaged fans. If your customers are liking and commenting on your posts, return the love! Follow them and like their posts occasionally. Make it a two-way relationship.
Respond to comments
When people take the time to comment on your posts, respond to them directly! Even if their comment is as simple as "beautiful" or "great photo", send them a thank you. Trust me when I tell you this goes a long way.
If they ask you questions about your product, service, business, or anything else of relevance - answer them! Use this as an opportunity to connect with them and convert them into buying customers!
A note here though: make sure you @ mention them in your response. People do not receive notifications if you comment on a photo after them. The only way to notify them that you have responded to them is to include their @ handle in your response.
Welcome new followers
I understand that it can be difficult to welcome every new follower. However, if you get someone who likes a lot of your old posts and follows you as a result, I recommend showing them a little love. Just head over their profile, like one of their photos and leave a short message thanking them for liking your photos and following you. If you actually like more of their photos, return the love and "like" them. Let them know that you appreciate them.
Check your notifications regularly
Because Instagram is a mobile application primarily, you do not get email (or other) notifications of interactions on your posts. The only notification you will receive is a little Instagram icon on your phone. My Android notification looks like this:
When you see this notification icon, I recommend you access your Instagram account and check for new notifications. It may be a new follower, or someone commenting on your post. See who is engaging with you and in what way. Then you can respond accordingly.
I also recommend you do this frequently because, as far as I know, Instagram only shows you your last 80 notifications. So, if you have a highly engaged audience, you don't want to miss out on opportunities to respond.
I hope these tips help you increase your engagement and your community on Instagram. If you want more tips and advice, please sign up for my blog notifications. Just click on the big "Follow" button up on the right side-bar menu. This way you won't miss any of my Instagram posts!