If you’re a business that has successfully been using Instagram for some time in the last few months you will probably have noticed a change in engagement to your posts. For some businesses an increase in likes and comments will have happened, but many have also seen a drop in their Instagram engagement.
Why has Instagram engagement dropped?
Back in March Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, announced that it was making changes to its algorithm. This change would mean that users would no longer see posts in chronological order on their feed, but instead be in the order that Instagram believes is of most interest to that specific user. This means that a post can be lost down a user’s feed making it easy to miss, while a competitor’s post can be in a prominent position at the top of a user’s feed; and each time a user logs on the order changes so that your post may never be seen.
How Instagram is determining which posts it believes is of most interest to a user is unclear, however it is likely to be similar to Facebook in that the more a user engages with your posts, or posts similar to yours, the more they are likely to see your posts.
This new algorithm started being rolled out in June and a few months on content creators are beginning to see the impact this is having on engagement to their Instagram posts.
How can businesses increase Instagram engagement?
Unfortunately, this new algorithm has created a catch-22 – the more engagement your post gets the more it is likely to be seen, which will result in greater engagement. The problem for businesses is that they need to get that initial engagement with their posts in order to build their followers and the prominence of their posts and then retain the engagement to ensure that their posts continue to be seen.
Fortunately, there are a few ways businesses can increase their Instagram engagement.
Create great images and videos
Instagram is one of the most image-based social media platforms around, so it is vital that images and videos created are visually appealing to your target audience. When creating images for posts don’t just think about how they will look as an individual post but how it will look with the other images in your profile feed. Often users will have a look at your profile before deciding to follow you, so it is important that all the images in your profile work well together as well as standalone posts.
Use searchable hashtags
Users will use keywords to search for images that they are interested in; in order to appear in these searches it is vital you use relevant hashtags related to your business and the image. The hashtags used can be descriptions of the image or short phrases that add extra meaning to the image. The more search friendly your post is the more likely it will be seen by a wider audience and increases the chances of users engaging with your post.
Engage with users
Engagement is the key to all social media success and this is just as true on Instagram as on Facebook and Twitter. Searching for and following relevant Instagram users is a great way of getting your brand noticed on the platform. As well as this, use the search bar to search for key terms that are relevant to your business and like posts that are found. Another great way of encouraging engagement is to comment on relevant posts and always make sure you respond to users who comment on your own posts.
Consider paid campaigns
One of the quickest and easiest ways of getting your posts seen and increasing engagement is by implementing a paid campaign. Setting up a paid campaign on Instagram is simple and allows you to have your posts seen in a prominent position on your target audience’s feed. Paid campaigns are a great way of building up initial engagement with posts and your Instagram profile, as well as this they are a fantastic way of increasing the prominence of posts that are promoting a specific product.
Instagram is a great social media platform for businesses with visually appealing products and services, however as with all social media it is vital that posts are created and promoted correctly in order for businesses to gain the full benefit of using the platform.
Written by Derin Clark, Content Strategist