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If you are a micro-influencer on Instagram, then you know that having Instagram followers is important. However, in order to increase following you must increase engagement with them because, “Engagement is the new impressions. It matters as much, if not more, than someone’s reach” (Kristy Sammis). It is not enough to have your content viewed by Instagram followers, you have to constantly engage with them if you want to retain them. Luckily, there are many strategies that can be used to boost Instagram follower engagement and I will talk you through them below.
Step 1 – Post good content
I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to post good content. Ensure that the majority if not all of the images that you post on Instagram are of high quality. It is a big turn off for viewers to see posts where the image is blurry or very dark (unless that was the aim of the photographer). So choose a good time of day when there is lots of natural light available and fewer shadows. Invest in a good camera or even better if you already have a smart phone with excellent camera quality such as the Iphone 7 plus or Google Pixel. Now a days there are some apps such as VCSO cam that can help you adjust the exposure and contrast of an image. There is also Facetune which can be used on portrait images to smooth or conceal.
Additionally, make sure your Instagram feed is visually appealing. By having a great layout your account can look like a virtual magazine. Just because you are a micro-influencer does not mean you should only post pictures of yourself. Have a good balance of portrait images, quotes, lifestyle images, food and scenery. This helps break up an otherwise intense set of photos and adds some style. Think of it like adding accent pieces – vases, flowers, photo frames – to a room in your house.
Step 2 – Content Frequency & Consistency
This next step goes hand-in-hand with Step 1. Once you’ve mastered the kind of content to post, you then have to decide how often to post it. As a micro-influencer ideally you should post at least two to three times in a day, every day of the week. The way Instagram’s algorithm works is that the more frequently you post, the greater the likelihood of your photo appearing in peoples feed and the more chances of them liking and following you. Consistency is also key, if you post two days in a row, then skip a day, then post once, then skip another day, that way people won’t feel a connection with you and most likely will result in unfollows.
It is understandable that most micro-influencers are not doing this full-time, they usually have a full-time job, school or kids also. It can get challenging having to post content several times a day, 7 days a week. Fortunately, there are a few apps out there that can help you schedule all your posts well ahead of time. You can pre-plan your posts a month in advance, including captions and tags. How amazing is that? Two apps that are top in the market right now are Hootsuite and Sprout Social.
Step 3 – Insta-Story
Instagram stories is the coolest new feature added by Instagram. It is very similar to Snap Chat stories in a way that you can record 10 second video clips, post photos or even do live streaming. If you are looking for some serious engagement boost then Insta-story is best tool to use. You can easily post videos about your everyday happenings, whether it’s what you ate for breakfast or which mall you are at. These stories are available to view for 24 hours, and your followers can respond/engage with you by replying to you. As a micro-influencer you can talk to your audience through Insta-stories by telling them about your day, giving advice and also asking for advice. For instance; if you are at a store in the mall, you can ask your followers for advice on which pair of shoes to buy or which color eye shadow looks better on you. Here are some sample questions that you can ask;
- Which brand carries the best [insert product name here]?
- What do you think about my new hair cut?
- How was [insert a movie name] movie, is it worth watching?
- When is the next episode of [insert tv show name] airing?
By asking such question you are making your followers believe that you are almost entrusting them with your everyday issues. This will make them feel closer to you and more personal which will cause them to message you back. Shown below is how someone can reply to an Insta-story.
Step 4 – Caption Writing
The captions you write under the photos you post are another very key step to increasing Instagram follower engagement. Your captions must be meaningful, interesting and personal so people can relate to you. Ask questions related to your post or write a quote that can explain the photo in a few words. You can also write a small story to go with the photograph such as; ten things you didn’t know about me. People usually look for similarities in such captions, they want to relate with you on a personal level and if they notice something that they have in common, most likely they will comment and let you know.
Some other examples of questions to ask in your caption are:
- Which country are you from?
- What are your plans for the weekend?
- How’s the weather in your city?
- What’s your favourite face wash, blush?
These types of questions are personal and require a quick response so you know for sure people won’t mind responding to you.
Step 5 – Hashtag
Using hashtags is a quick and simple way to engage with people who have similar interests as you. For instance; if I post a photo of my morning breakfast bowl, I will use hashtags such as;
#morningbreakfast #breakfast #breakfastbowl #healthyeating
Now if anyone searches for any of the hashtags mentioned above, they will likely come across your post. If they had a similar breakfast or like to eat healthy, chances are they are going to like your photo and comment too. Basically you are connecting with each other based on mutual tastes.
When it comes to engaging with Instagram followers, there are several ways to go about it. People are always looking for influencers whom they can connect with on a personal level, and the more you share about your lifestyle the more likelihood of a highly engaged audience. Statistically micro-influencers have a more targeted audience because they focus on a specific niche market, and what this does is it results in followers who truly care about what you as an influencer have to say and do, thus resulting in more engaged followers.