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Design + marketing obsessed, dog mom, San Diego resident, and your website's new bff.
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Last week we talked about growing your Instagram engagement by showing up with more of your personality, more of your stories, more of your experiences. (Listen to that episode here) This week I wanted to drop an episode with actual strategies you can test to help you boost your engagement.

Give it a listen and then share a screenshot on Instagram, tag me @xosarahmorgan, and let me know which strategy you’re going to try!

Resources + links

Instagram Weekly Workflow Training: xosarah.com/igworkflow

Too long, didn’t listen…

Before we dive into today’s episode, quick reminder: With any strategy or tactic, make sure you taking the time once/month or once/quarter to analyze your data. If you’re getting stuck for what to post, the first place you should go is your own insights. Often we look to outside sources for ideas or confirmation of what works, but no matter what strategies you try, you still have to double check that it works for your audience. 

Test as many of these as you want and then set a date in your calendar to look at your insights and see which posts have generated the most comments, clicks, saves, shares, messages. And then you can repost those exact same posts and use that data to create something similar. Whether that’s a post on the same topic, the same format, or a similar photo or graphic.

Let’s dive into the strategies:

Start your post with a headline

When Instagram displays your post in the feed you’re only seeing about the first 10 words, which means you need to write something that makes people click the MORE button.

IG pays attention to all actions users take. When they stop scrolling it tracks that, when they click more it tracks that. The more interaction your posts gets the more likely Instagram will show it to more of your audience.

So what does a good headline look like? Take a look at any news or media site – all the titles of their posts are HEADLINES.

You can tell your audience what they’re going to learn: 3 tips for getting more Instagram comments. The one thing to never do on Instagram posts. Or write a headline that hints at something The best investment I made this year. Or The Instagram tip I should have ignored.

From my years in journalism school and at the news station, plus years blogging, I can tell you that writing great headlines takes practice. So test often and check your stats to see which ones get the most action.

Add a call to action (CTA) to most of your posts

You don’t need a CTA on every post, but if you’re working to get more Instagram engagement and/or more sales, you need a CTA multiple times/week to get your audience into the habit of responding to your requests for action.

There are two types of CTA you want to include on your Instagram posts – calls to action that lead followers toward your products or services and calls to action that lead to comments.

CTA for sales:

  • Click the link in my bio
  • DM me for more info
  • Leave a thumbs up in the comments and I’ll send you more info

CTA for comments:

  • Tell me what you think
  • What’s your favorite?
  • Have you had that experience?
  • Yes or No
  • A or B
  • Tag a friend

If you aren’t getting comments on your posts it’s probably because you aren’t giving your audience anything to comment on. 

Create an image carousel 

Did you know that Instagram will show your post to again if your followers didn’t swipe through your photos the first time?

Take advantage of this by posting multiple photos or taking the tips from your caption and sharing them as slides. This can be graphics you create or, if you want to make it really quick and easy, take screenshots of your tips written out in an app like notepad. Add lots of space between each tip so you get one per photo.

Carousels of tips are great for saving, so make sure to remind your audience to hit save. You could even start your caption with a headline like Save this for later – 10 tips for boosting your IG engagement.

DM the last 5 people who followed you

The more personal an action the more value it has for Instagram. So the algorithm favors comments over likes and DMs over comments.

If someone follows and they are your ideal client/customer – send them a message. You can simply say Hi, thanks for following. Or Hi – great to connect with you. (Or however you would say it if you were meeting someone in person for the first time.)

Most people don’t do this so it will immediately help you stand out. 

It’s also a great way to give someone an opening to ask about your products or services. Often when people DM or email me they say something like I’m sure you’ve busy or I’m sure you get tons of messages. So being the first one to reach out can help bridge that gap and show that you’re open to chatting from the moment they follow you.

Follow a hashtag

This is a great way to boost your Instagram engagement if you’re starting from zero. It’s almost like going to networking events – but not terrible and you can do it from the comfort of your desk.

Type in a hashtag – something that your ideal client/customer would follow. At the top of every hashtag page you’ll see the option to follow – this will allow posts from this tag to show up in your feed. 

Every day, spend about 10 minutes responding to posts, following people who would be a good fit for your product or service, and sharing their posts to your stories.

This helps to connect with more ideal followers quickly without being that awkward person cold DM-ing people without interacting with them first.

Respond to all your comments 

The algorithm shows your post to a small percent of your audience – generally those that engage with you most. The more those people who like, comment, share, save your post, the more of your audience it will be shown to.

And YOUR comments count toward that engagement. Instagram doesn’t just want people commenting on posts – it wants discussion and real interaction. 

Plus the more you respond the more your audience feels like they aren’t just sending comments into the void, but actually interacting with a real human.

To make this happen, on the days I post check in a couple times a day just to respond to comments and DMs. Easy as that!

Schedule posts in advance

No matter how many times I recommend this I still have people who tell me they’re struggling to be consistent and grow their Instagram engagement aren’t using a scheduler. 

You should not be opening IG to write your post on the day you are going to post it.

Plan your content in advance, even if it’s just a week ahead. That’s what I’ve been doing for the past year to stay consistent – every Monday I take an hour (maybe two) to plan, write, and schedule my content. And the weeks I skip are the ONLY weeks I’m not consistent.

So pick a day of the week, pick a scheduling platform, I use Planoly (affiliate link), and then commit to scheduling your posts in advance. Because if you aren’t posting consistently then your engagement isn’t going to grow consistently. 

Track your actions 

This is different from tracking your insights. What I mean by tracking your actions is:

  • How often are you posting in your feed?
  • How often are you hopping on stories?
  • Posting content that teaches?
  • Selling your products/services?
  • Promoting your freebies?
  • Commenting on other people’s posts? 

You might actually be surprised when you look at a week how little you’re taking these actions versus how much time you spend on Instagram.

I like to use a habit tracker for this, but you could also create a spreadsheet with the dates along the side and those actions at the top and then track yourself for a week or two. And maybe even tracking your daily engagement as well.

This way you’re holding yourself accountable, and I have a feeling you’re going to see more engagement on the days that YOU actually show up to post, share, comment, and interact.

Alright – take a few of those tips, put them to the test and send me a message on Instagram @xosarahmorgan to let me know how they work!

And if you want to see my weekly posting workflow in action – like exactly what I do every Monday to schedule my content for the week. Head over to xosarah.com/igworkflow and you can watch the training for free.

Instagram: 8 ways to boost your audience + engagement TODAY

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