Engagement strategies on Instagram

This is originally a podcast episode. Listen to it on different platforms!

Today we’re talking about the posting part of the Plan-create-post on Instagram process. Well, actually, something that comes after posting: engagement.

A lot of brands think that, once they post their content, their work on Instagram is done. But that’s far from the truth. That’s when the “social” part of the social media kicks in.

After, even slightly before, you post, it’s time to engage with people on Instagram. Why? Let me explain the Instagram algorithm just a little bit.

Engagement strategies on Instagram

Instagram algorithm

Once you post your content, Instagram will show it to a fraction of your followers. If those followers decide to engage with your content, it will push it to more of your followers, and eventually, it will push it to non-followers. Engagement is the key.

So, the more people engage with your content in the first hour of posting, the more likely you are to end up on the explore page. Explore page is definitely a topic on its own, so make sure you stay tuned for that. Today we’re going to stick to engagement.

What does that all mean? It means that if you go to other people’s profiles and engage with their content, they are more likely to do the same with you. They will probably reciprocate.

So, the more time you spend engaging with other people on Instagram, the higher your engagement will be. It’s really that simple.

Simple task as the first step of engagement strategies

Now, I have a very simple task for you. Go to notjustanalytics.com, add your profile there by analyzing it with their tool and calculate your engagement rate. This tool will do all the heavy lifting for you, really. All you have to do is enter your Instagram handle and click Analyze.

Now, check your engagement rate. If it’s below 10%, that is quite low. If it’s above 10%, you’re doing a great job! Keep it up, but listen to the rest of this episode, because it could be even higher if you implement some of my tips.

A higher engagement rate is very common with smaller accounts. Meaning, if you have 200 followers, your engagement rate can be over 20%. However, if you have a large following, it will probably be a bit lower. Especially if you haven’t been engaging recently. If it’s really low, that means you may have a dead account.

I will talk about dead accounts in my next week’s episode, but if it is dead, it doesn’t mean it cannot be revived.

Engagement strategies

Now let’s talk about some of the engagement strategies that can help you.

First I’m going to talk about 2 strategies that are quite popular, and then I’m going to talk about a few of my own.

10×2 strategy

The first one is the 10×2 strategy.

This strategy is pretty straightforward. You need to find 10 creators in your niche that you already follow. Then you will find 10 new creators in your niche using hashtags. The easiest thing to do is search the hashtags you would normally use for your niche and go to the “recent” tab.

Now leave 2 forms of engagement for each of those creators. This can be a like+comment, comment+save, comment+share, like+share, etc. I would recommend leaving a comment, because that way, other people can see your comment as well and potentially follow you. Also, the comment should always be something meaningful. Don’t just say “great post” or a heart emoji. Say something nice, ask questions, compliment the person, share your opinion on the topic… Make sure it’s relevant to the post itself.

One thing I like to do for this one is mark some big accounts in my niche as favorites. That way, I can go to the favorites feed on my home page, and engage with them easily, without searching for them every time.

This should be repeated at least once a day, potentially more, if you can, and if that is your only engagement strategy.

The $1.80 method

The second really popular engagement strategy is the $1.80 method. This method was developed by Gary Vee. I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of him. For this method, you will go to your favorite niche hashtags and find the top 9 posts. You will leave meaningful comments for those 9 posts, meaning you will leave your 2 cents, hence the name, and repeat that for 5, ideally 10 different hashtags.

This method is amazing for reaching new people. Since those are posts in the top section of the hashtag, other people are very likely to go to it as well. They might see your comment and visit your profile.

Once they visit your profile, they are more likely to follow you.

My engagement strategies

Now for a couple of my engagement strategies. These really depend on how much time you have. All you need is your phone and a timer.

15-minute engagement strategy

The first one is the 15-minute engagement strategy. Ideally, you would repeat that a few times a day. But even once a day is better than not engaging at all. Regardless of whether you do that once or more times a day, make sure you do it at least once 15-30 minutes before you post a new post.

So, you will set your timer to 5 minutes. The first 5 minutes, you will spend liking and responding to all the comments on your previous post and responding to all the DMs.

The next 5 minutes, you will spend leaving a meaningful comment for people who commented on your previous post.

The last 5 minutes, you will find influential people in your niche (on hashtags or the explore page) and leave meaningful comments on their posts.

30-minute engagement strategy

The second one is the 30-minute engagement strategy. If you can, repeat that one a few times a day as well. Try to do one session before you publish your next post, just like the previous one.

Once again, all you need is your phone and a timer.

Step one is to spend 5 minutes liking and responding to all the comments on your previous post, and responding to all your DMs.

Then, step two is to spend 5 minutes leaving a meaningful comment for people who commented on your previous post.

Step three is to spend 10 minutes leaving meaningful comments for influential people in your niche you already follow. Again, you can use the favorites feed for that.

Step four is to spend 10 minutes leaving meaningful comments for people on the hashtags you used in your previous posts. You can go to either the top tab or the recent tab on the hashtags.

However, when you set a timer, you might find yourself scrolling endlessly, and once the timer goes off, you might find yourself on funny cat videos, not having interacted with anyone really. So, there is a different way.

Set a different goal

You can set a different type of goal. Instead of setting the goal to 5 or 10 minutes, set a goal to how many people you want to interact with in each of those categories.

So, you might say: respond to all the comments and DMs. Leave a comment for 10 people who commented on your post. Leave a comment for 15 influential people you follow. And leave a comment for 15 people on your niche hashtags.

That might be much easier to achieve, if you find yourself scrolling endlessly and not really interacting with anyone.

If you remember my last week’s episode, or my blog about My reel creating process, where I talked about finding cool audio to use for your reels, as you do that, once or twice a month, you can also leave comments for the ones you decide to save. That’s a great way of getting into the engagement part of Instagram.

Of course, you can mix and match all of these strategies. Of course, you might not have time for any of that every day. It’s okay. Life does happen sometimes. Just try to do it as often as possible.

I haven’t had time to do too much engaging lately, and my engagement has dropped significantly. I did have a bunch of pressing work that was a lot more important, so I neglected my Instagram a bit.

Engagement strategies challenge

So let’s create a challenge. Let’s engage for at least 15 minutes a day for the next 10 days using one (or more) of the strategies I mentioned. Make sure you screenshot the engagement rate before you start. Once the 10 days are over, make another screenshot of your engagement rate, and send it to me on Instagram.

I would love to hear your results!

I am also going to do the challenge starting today, which is on Friday, May 12th. On Sunday, May 21st, I will post about my results on Instagram. If you’re listening to this podcast at a later date, you can still join the challenge!

My engagement is currently 5.73%, which is super low, since it was over 15% just a few months ago, and I currently have 975 followers.

You can send them to me on my Instagram, I’m really looking forward to hearing about the results of this challenge!