August 19, 2013

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!

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. Jenny I noticed that the more you follow people the more you learn how things are done. I love your tips but i do not do with instagram. I need to focus on that. Recently I have been attending social media symposium and I am learning. Thanks.

    1. I’m happy to hear that you are educating yourself and learning! Best of luck as you continue. And, I hope you learn to love Instagram too!

  2. Jenny I noticed that the more you follow people the more you learn how things are done. I love your tips but i do not do with instagram. I need to focus on that. Recently I have been attending social media symposium and I am learning. Thanks.

    1. I’m happy to hear that you are educating yourself and learning! Best of luck as you continue. And, I hope you learn to love Instagram too!

  3. Great suggestions!! These can go for any social media site! Question though, how is Pintrest different than Instagram? other than the name..

    1. Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. And yes, these tips aren’t isolated to only Instagram.
      Pinterest and Instagram are different in a lot of ways. I think of Pinterest as more of a search engine site – you go there to find new ideas, products, tips, etc. Also, practically speaking, the pinned posts usually take you directly to a website with more information.
      Instagram, on the other hand, is more of a showcase site and doesn’t direct you to any other websites. Instagram also doesn’t allow you to “separate” your posts into different categories, it’s one beautiful gallery of all your posts.
      Pinterest is typically more practical and Instagram is more creative/artistic in its posts. To be honest, I feel like it takes more planning and creativity to stand out on Instagram.

  4. Reblogged this on jsnitz08 and commented:
    Here are some great tips on engaging on not only instagram, but ALL social media networks. Engagement is key to success in any business, both online and Off. Love the tips Jenn!!

  5. Reblogged this on jsnitz08 and commented:
    Here are some great tips on engaging on not only instagram, but ALL social media networks. Engagement is key to success in any business, both online and Off. Love the tips Jenn!!

  6. Thank you for all of your great tips! How is it possible to have a personal Instagram account as well as a business one when you have to use your phone for the account? I know how to do this with every other social media platform that we use but I can’t figure it out with Instagram.

    1. Thanks Stacey! I’m glad you liked the post.
      As far as having multiple accounts, Instagram definitely doesn’t make it convenient. But it can be done. What you need to do is sign out of your current account, and create a new one. Go to your profile page, go to the options button and sign out. Then, rather than just signing back in, register a new account with a new user name. You’ll be all set.
      The downside though is that every time to want to switch accounts, you’ll need to sign out and then sign back in with the other account. It will get tedious but until IG allows us to toggle between accounts, this is what we have to do.

  7. Thank you for all of your great tips! How is it possible to have a personal Instagram account as well as a business one when you have to use your phone for the account? I know how to do this with every other social media platform that we use but I can’t figure it out with Instagram.

    1. Thanks Stacey! I’m glad you liked the post.
      As far as having multiple accounts, Instagram definitely doesn’t make it convenient. But it can be done. What you need to do is sign out of your current account, and create a new one. Go to your profile page, go to the options button and sign out. Then, rather than just signing back in, register a new account with a new user name. You’ll be all set.
      The downside though is that every time to want to switch accounts, you’ll need to sign out and then sign back in with the other account. It will get tedious but until IG allows us to toggle between accounts, this is what we have to do.

    1. Hi Mary. You can’t specifically merge two accounts. You can have separate accounts. You can also ask followers from one account to follow you on your other account. Using photos advertising the new account name would be a good way to do this.

    1. Hi Mary. You can’t specifically merge two accounts. You can have separate accounts. You can also ask followers from one account to follow you on your other account. Using photos advertising the new account name would be a good way to do this.

  8. I was just reading reply to Stacey and is the same question another question ,if log out of my current one I am gona lose my followers or is not gona affect that , thanks

  9. I was just reading reply to Stacey and is the same question another question ,if log out of my current one I am gona lose my followers or is not gona affect that , thanks

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