Last year, Instagram reached one billion active monthly users, surpassing that of parent company Facebook and once-competitor Snapchat. But. between constant algorithm alterations, experimental changes, and a surplus of daily content, it’s becoming more difficult than ever to create engaging posts for your audience on “The ‘Gram.” And, with more than 80% of businesses considering engagement to be their most important metric, this poses a major concern for brands and influencers alike.
Below, we take a look at what’s working for brands on Instagram in 2019 and share some quick tips for boosting your post engagement.
#1: Post type matters
While still images remain the most popular type of posts shared to Instagram, it’s no secret that video reigns king of engagement. Why, you ask? Videos allow users to tell stories in a format that feels immersive and natural (aka “IRL”), which is inherently more interesting for viewers. And, as we've discussed before, they can provide a big boost in visibility for your next experiential marketing campaign. However, video can also be the most difficult, time-consuming, and expensive form of content to create. While it’s often worth that investment, carousel posts still see a significantly higher engagement rate than single images while telling a comparably well-versed story. According to Quintly, video posts see 49% more interactions over images, while carousel posts come in at 24.9% above. When building out your content calendar, test a variety of formats and see which is optimal for your audience (and budget).
#2: Have a hashtag strategy
Despite the rumors, more isn’t always merrier when it comes to hashtags on Instagram. In fact, the larger your following, the less you should use if you want your audience to engage with your posts (0-3 is optimal for accounts with over 100k followers, while smaller accounts should use 4-10). With this, hashtag popularity doesn’t necessarily correlate with heightened post visibility or interactions. In fact, using a hashtag that is too vague and cluttered can hinder opportunities for engagement, eliminating the purpose altogether. Typically, you’ll want to implement a combination of 1-2 popular hashtags, 2-3 mid-sized hashtags, and 1-2 niche hashtags per post that are fundamentally related to your content. Remember, it’s not so much about quantity as it is about relevance.
#3: Don’t sleep on emojis 😎
While it might not align with every brand’s identity, new data from Quintly shows that emojis are worth using where possible. Particularly for users with a small to mid-sized following, interactions increased with the amount of emojis used. With this, the majority of brands (52%) are currently not using emojis, while 38.2% are using a mere 1-3, which leaves a lot of room for opportunity. Consider using emojis to break up lengthy copy, create lists within captions, or add a quirky tone to your post.
#4: Keep it short and sweet
Despite a trend amongst brands to create long, story-driven captions for their posts, data supports the idea that Instagram is, first and foremost, a visual platform (as intended). As it stands, 65% of brands are using 150-300+ characters in their post captions, which could actually be working against them when it comes to engagement. In contrast, posts with 1-50 character captions saw the highest levels of interactions, meaning users prefer simple copy that’s straight to the point. When planning your creative for Instagram, it’s best to lead with visuals and keep the copy brief and conversational in nature.
#5: Tag with purpose
Tagging users and encouraging others to tag your brand can help increase your engagement and grow your audience. With that being said, the days of aimlessly tagging popular accounts with the hopes of increasing post visibility are long over. Instead, thoughtfully tag accounts that are meaningful to your brand, such as influencer partners and fans/customers. Keep in mind that user-generated content sees a 28% higher engagement rate than standard brand posts, and tagging plays an integral role in that process. When sourcing and sharing UGC, be sure to tag and give credit to the appropriate creators, which will, in turn, build relationships and generate engagement from their respective communities.
Contact us today to learn how experiential strategies can propel your business forward and create social buzz about your brand.
Sources: HubSpot Instagram Engagement Report What Your Company Needs to Know in 2019, Quintly Instagram Study 2019 What We Learned Analyzing 5.4 Million Posts, Telescope User Generated Content 10 UGC Stats You Need to Know