Let’s face it. It’s 2020, and social media is becoming a more and more competitive place among businesses. Since you’re here, I’m guessing you’re not seeing as much engagement as you would like on your Instagram account, and that’s ok! This is a common problem for many small businesses, because it can be hard to grow your following when you are first starting out.
First let’s talk about the Instagram algorithm. Instagram’s main goal is to keep users on the app for as long as possible. The longer you’re on the app, the more ads you will see, and the more money Instagram will make. For this reason, Instagram is going to prioritize posts that keep users more engaged, so that in turn, they stay on the app for longer. Basically, the more engagement you get on your posts, the higher up you will be placed in your followers’ feeds. When it comes to posting, here are some mistakes you might be making and how to fix them so they are no longer holding you back.
- Mistake #1: You don’t have a defined niche
The key to getting a more engaged audience is to define your niche. The more specific it is, the better. Think about it, where are you going to stand out more? Being on the list of top ten restaurants in Boston, or the top ten vegan ice cream places in Boston? The more you narrow down your niche, the better chances you have of finding that really engaged and invested audience.
In addition, the Instagram algorithm essentially reads your captions and pictures to determine what your business is about so that it can promote you to other users who are interested in the topic that you post about. If you post about ten different topics, you might confuse both users and the algorithm, which will result in a much lower engagement rate. So, the first step is to make sure you have a narrow and defined niche.
- Mistake #2: You are writing short captions
The more detailed your captions are, the more users are going to engage with your posts. If you pose a question or write a story in the caption, users are more likely to leave a comment and engage in conversation. Your captions need to add value! Instead of just posting a short quote or empty sentences, try to educate, inform, inspire, or entertain your audience. And, because Instagram learns from your captions, this will help them understand what your business is about, and can therefore show it to the right audience on the explore page.
- Mistake #3: You’re not posting on stories
The Instagram algorithm prioritizes content from accounts whose stories we watch the most. The more you post on your Instagram stories, the higher up your posts will show up in your users’ feeds. The truth is, you really can’t go wrong with stories! They are a great tool for developing stronger relationships with your followers as you can get a lot more personal with them there. Polls, quizzes, and behind-the-scenes footage can really make users feel more connected to your brand and encourage them to watch more of them.
- Mistake #4: You’re focusing on growing and not on building relationships
Of course, we all want our Instagram accounts to grow, but in order to do that, you have to focus on your existing followers first. Work on keeping the followers you have now engaged, and new ones will come. If you only focus on getting these new followers, you will lose your existing base and will not gain any more either. Start small, and really focus on making your existing followers feel special. You can post their content on your story, answer their comments and questions on your posts, and ask them what kind of content they want to see more of from you. Whatever you choose to do, always aim to please your followers and strengthen your relationship with them!
Now that you’ve learned about some mistakes you might have been making on Instagram, try to implement these changes, and look to see the difference it makes! Whether you’re just starting out or have been on the app for a while, these tips are going to help you increase your engagement rates, master the algorithm, and start seeing results.