How to Engage Authentically on Instagram

Have you ever posted a picture on Instagram and gotten a generic comment from a stranger? Something like: “Great post!” or “Cool picture!”

Most likely, this was a bot, paid to get as many likes or follows as possible without creating a genuine connection between their page and other Instagram users.

If you are unfamiliar with Instagram Bots, they are designed to help you build a following by liking, commenting and following other accounts on Instagram through automation. Bots take parameters that you provide, like specific hashtags or accounts to target, and they proceed to do all the work for you. This can sound really tempting - especially when it frees up so much time for yourself - but can be a terrible idea for you and your brand (not to mention that using bots is against Instagram policy)

Bots can sound like a good idea because you’re increasing your followers, but your Instagram will lack authenticity that most people can see right through. A huge tell-tale is when an account has thousands of followers but little to no engagement on their posts.

Instead of using bots, here are some ways to engage authentically on Instagram:

1. Engage

The actual process to grow authentic followers can be slow and steady. Don’t get discouraged when you’re not getting as many likes or followers as you think you should. It’s important to have regular engagement on your Instagram by personalizing your comments and always “liking” and replying to those that comment on yours.

2. Post with Purpose

Try to post content that will benefit your audience. When you’re posting, ask yourself some simple questions like:

  • Who do you intend to serve?

  • What will the audience get out of seeing this?

  • Is this content consistent with your feed?

  • Will this create engagement?

3. Be Strategic

Instagram hashtags are still one of the best tools for receiving engagement on your posts. Instagram currently allows 33 hashtags and you should use all of them! Along with hashtags, you should consider peak times when engagement is the highest on Instagram. If you post when your readers are most active on Instagram, you’re more likely to drive engagement. Research has shown that the best times to post on Instagram are Tuesday through Friday 9 am to 6 pm. Sunday is the least engaging day for Instagram. Of course, each target audience varies, so look into the best engagement times depending on your demographic.

Authentic engagement is a huge building block when it comes to creating and fostering positive relationships between your feed and your customers/followers. Building your followers takes time and effort but it’s worth it for the health of your business. Once you get the hang of it, it should come naturally. Good luck!

Written by Miranda on Thursday November 15, 2018
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