Now that we have begun a new decade, some of the challenges in business is how to increase Instagram engagement to help your business thrive.

There are a multitude of brands competing for people’s attention and now with Instagram’s new ultra-smart-algorithm it is going to be even harder to increase Instagram engagement.  Before we dive into strategies to create engagement, let’s look at what this algorithm is. Instagram announced they would be updating their algorithm to create a more chronological and “fresher” look.  What exactly does that mean?  According to Instagram, this algorithm will display videos and photos in a chronological order, along with a “New Posts” button to give the user control of when they want to refresh their feeds.

Your Instagram feed will no longer be about who you follow, it will be personalized to “you” and on “what you like”.  According to TechCrunch, “Instagram relies on machine learning based on your past behavior to create a unique feed for everyone.  Even if you follow the exact same accounts as someone else, you’ll receive a personalized feed based on how you interact with those accounts.”

The goal of the new “algorithm” is to help you view content from your “family and friends” first, people will now see 90% of posts from family and friends before other content.  Instagram determines who your “family and friends” are by your interactions with followers.  For example, if you follow a celebrity and constantly comment, share or like their content, the algorithm will “think” they are a “family or friend”.

Even with this new “ultra-smart-algorithm”, Instagram is still one of the best social media platforms to market your brand online.  So, the question becomes, how can you work with this new algorithm to ensure your content is being seen by those Instagrammers you are targeting?

10 Tips to Increase Instagram Engagement in 2020:

  1. Create “Savable” Content for Your Feed – Saves are becoming increasingly important in 2020 to improve your engagement. You need to create content that encourages your audience to hit the “save” button!  Savable content is anything your audience will want to read time and time again.  The content must be important and contain value for your audience, for example, add a call-to-action to save your posts.
  2. Write Longer Captions – Should your Instagram captions be inspirational, funny or serious? Should you use hashtags, emojis or call-to-action?

Did you know your caption can be up to 2,200 characters?  That is a valuable deal of space to share with your audience, in fact, the new Instagram algorithm that affects how your posts performs is “time spent on posts”.  The longer the caption, the better the engagement.

  1. Begin Conversations with Instagram Stories Stickers – Instagram stories stickers are a great way to encourage your followers to chat and share their experiences and opinions with you. This type of behavior also encourages a loyal following that feels connected to your brand.

One of the best stickers to use in stories is the “Question” sticker.  This sticker sparks conversation more than any other sticker.  Not only does it engage your audience to ask questions about your brand or product, you in turn can ask your audience questions.

  1. Create More Video Content – 2019 was a big year for video content on Instagram. Video content seems to help brands increase their engagement rates.

Firstly, when you post a video on IGTV to your grid, that video takes up more space on your viewer’s screen grabbing their attention.

Secondly, if your IGTV appears on the “Explore” page, it tends to give you 4X more space on the page than a photo making your video seen by a larger audience.

If you aren’t proficient at creating videos, no worries, even using “Boomerang” for creating a video post helps your feed!

  1. Pay Close Attention to Hashtags – Understanding which hashtags drive more engagement to your post is key in 2020. You NEED a hashtag strategy.  Statistics state that a post with at least one hashtag increases engagement by more than 12.6% than posts without a hashtag.  Once you’ve honed in on your hashtag collection, check your Instagram analytics to see how effective they are.  This can always be found in your Instagram Insights.
  2. Add an Element of Fun – Instagram posts and stories take planning, effort and time to get the recipe right, but have some fun with it as well. More and more brands are adding elements of humor to their posts, by using memes and trending topics.  Of course, if humor doesn’t fit into your brands tone or theme, it’s better to leave this element out of your strategy.
  3. Be Honest About Your Brand – Being open, real and honest about your brand or business shows a vulnerable side that is becoming more popular and getting an increase in engagement. Being authentic builds a stronger connection to your audience.  If you can show your brands struggles and wins, your brand becomes more relatable to your audience.

This year, more business leaders will be taking to Instagram Stories to share live Q&As, information about the company or just getting their mission and message out to their audiences.

  1. Schedule Your Instagram Stories – Instagram Stories are a great form of increasing engagement. Understanding when it’s the best time to post for your audience is crucial in your strategy.  Also posting on a regular basis is a must to increase engagement.  By knowing when the prime time and day to post your stories, you will be able to schedule them ahead of time. This keeps your audience wanting more because they know you will be posting on certain days and times.
  2. Encourage Instagram Stories Shares – Repost a feed post to your Instagram Stories. This feature allows your audience to share your content with their followers.  Just as creating savable content, sharable content needs to be highly relatable to your audience.  Think of infographics about your industry, quotes, or fun memes.
  3. Regularly Test and Analyze Content – Instagram content is all about experimentation. Trial and error on different types of content is key to being ahead of the curve and having a much stronger strategy.  Without experimentation you will never know which content, days and times bring in the best engagement from your followers.  Being able to constantly measure and track your Instagram performance will help you better understand which content works the best!

In Summary:

The social competition is becoming more competitive as more brands are using social media to understand their audiences, but there are still many ways to stay ahead of your competition and increase your Instagram engagement.  When planning your 2020 Instagram strategy, try to incorporate these tips to understand how your audience responds.  One of the best attributes about social media is you can always change your strategy quickly if your current strategy isn’t working!

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