If you’re on Instagram, you have likely come across someone who has a huge following and gets an incredible amount of engagement with every photo or video they post. I have maintained an Instagram account for about five years now and, while I’ve always sought high engagement, I’ve only just now started to really focus on gaining a larger following and on increasing engagement on every photo or video I post.
The number of blog posts about increasing engagement and growing a larger following are abundant to say the least. A recent example from Margot da Cunha gives “5 Free Tips to Increase Your Instagram Followers,” which speaks from a marketing point-of-view.
Most of her tips are specifically geared toward companies looking to use Instagram as a social marketing tool. In one such example, the author suggests sending out “a company-wide reminder to add a link to your company Instagram in employee email signatures.”
In an article by Ross Simmonds on convinceandconvert.com, the suggestions speak from a more general perspective with tips on building community through engaging content, using relevant hashtags and establishing relationship with influencers.
Both articles include a list of actionable steps you can make right now to start building up your Instagram community and tricks to begin increasing engagement on each post you send out. The articles are definitely worth the read, but I would like to argue that building up a following and increasing engagement starts with the content itself.
Here are three steps you can take to build a larger following and increase engagement:
- Post high-quality content. This is easier said than done, but it really is important to post only your best images and videos. Lately, I have been focusing on posting high-quality images, which means I shoot in RAW format using a DSLR so I can edit the photos in post using Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop before I ever upload it to Instagram. even then, not all images make the cut.
- Post consistently. I typically try to post once or twice per day, but only if I have a high-quality image to share with my followers. If you’re a marketer using Instagram, it would be wise to put together a content calendar specifically for Instagram to ensure that you always have high-quality images and videos to share. From a personal standpoint, this means I’ll often take several shots of the same subject so I’m sure to have plenty of content for the coming days, weeks and months.
- Tell a story. I couldn’t agree more with the first tip from Ross Simmonds, which is to use emotion in your content. Some of my more well-received Instagram posts tell a story both in the image itself and in the caption. For example, I recently participated in a compensated social media campaign for Mazda. I was hesitant to post an advertisement in my feed, but by uploading a high-quality image that matched my style and by including a short narrative in the caption, the photo was well-received.
Again, there are myriad articles about increasing your Instagram follower count and boosting engagement, but feel high-quality content is your best arsenal. Only share your best images, be consistent and tell a story. Below are several additional resources for tips on increasing engagement and growing your Instagram following:
- 6 Effective Ways to Get More Instagram Followers
- 50 Free Ways To Increase Your Instagram Followers
- How to Increase Your Instagram Engagement by 182% (infographic)
Eric Wheeler is a social media specialist based in Massachusetts. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications from Northwestern Oklahoma State University and his Master of Science degree in Mass Communications from St. Cloud State University. He is currently taking Northwestern University’s Social Marketing Specialization MOOC offered by Coursera. Follow Eric on Twitter and Instagram.