Pump up the volume on Instagram engagement

Pump up Instagram engagement

Gone are the days when you could simply post a photo on Instagram, close the app immediately and reopen it later to new likes, comments, and ideal followers.

Sure, it worked in 2014, but Instagram has changed drastically over the last few years, and banking on strategies that worked long ago, won’t translate to success today.

Why? Because the way we engage with the app has done a complete 180. I mean, do you remember a time when Instagram wasn’t prioritizing Instagram Stories because well, they didn’t exist?

Now, Stories are the first thing you see at the top of the app the minute you open it, constantly updating with the new stories people post. There’s a reason for that!

Instagram wants its users to hang out on the app longer, engage with the people they follow, become “obsessed” with the behind-the-scenes, and have people be in a constant creation mode!

See how the 2014 strategy of pushing a post natively (in the feed) and praying for the best is a surefire way to limit your reach on Instagram?

Let’s dust the cobwebs off that strategy and give it a quick makeover with methods that will help your brand increase Instagram engagement in 2020:

Pump out value

The question should always be “How can we show up for our ideal audience today?” not “How do I want to show up today?” At the end of the day, your customers are the lifeline to making sure your business keeps its lights on, so ensuring that you’re creating valuable content that speaks to them is key.

Great ways to do this include answering their FAQs, doing tutorial videos on how to use a product, explaining the key benefits of your product in a way that resonates with the customers’ pain and pleasure points, etc. By doing this, you’re inevitably becoming the thought leader in the space and are building trust with your customers. This will have them on the lookout every time they’re on the app to ensure they’re not missing anything you have to say!

Hop on stories

Instagram Stories are getting updated every other week, as they continuously add new features like music, stickers, polls, questions, etc. Instagram has even gone on to build a ‘Create’ mode to better help businesses and content creators develop their messaging within the app. The platform is also prioritizing accounts that utilize this feature by heavily serving content to audience members who engage with the stories themselves.

Tying back to the point of providing value, Instagram Stories are a great way to provide value to your audience, as well as develop market research through polls and questions.

Dive into hashtags

Hashtags get a bad rap because they can often come across as spam, especially when brands use hashtags that aren’t relevant to what they just shared on Instagram, let alone their business in general.

Most think that hashtags that are very broad and have a lot of people using them are ideal to use for the posts because more eyes, more reach, right?

Wrong-o. Using a hashtag that’s been used three million times versus a hashtag that’s been used 150,000 times is a surefire way for your post to get lost in a sea of other people who are posting at a faster rate than the one that has less.

What to do instead is to use a variety of hashtags (30 max per post) that fall in a certain size category like:

  • 10 in the 1,000-100,000 range
  • 10 in the 100,000-150,000 range
  • 10 in the 150,000-500,000 range

Following a guideline like this will allow your content to be shown to new people that are also engaging with these hashtags, allowing your content to become more discoverable simply by narrowing down hashtags with less volume.

Is Instagram something that you want guidance on? Say no more. ? Contact SWBR to see how we can help your social media thrive.



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Ernie Thomas



Advertising is in Ernie’s DNA as he’s a third-generation family member to join the business his late grandfather founded. With that pedigree comes an almost six sense of identifying the “it factor” needed to create campaigns that spark customers to action. Ernie (or ET) uses his outgoing personality to connect with clients to build strong collaborative relationships. He digs deep to uncover new opportunities that will make a measurable difference for each client’s business. A graduate of Eastern University and Saint Joseph’s University (MBA), he has the book smarts and experience to elevate brand communications with strategies that challenge the status quo. He’s always guiding Team SWBR toward the correct target audiences, smartest campaign messages, right digital channels and best traditional tactics suited to boost sales.

When he’s not working, Ernie enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter. He’s also an avid golfer still searching for his first hole-in-one.