How to engage your online audience?
So, you have punchy captions, spot-on pics, and edgy hashtags but all of that is trivial unless your audience engages with your account. First things first - what do we mean by "engage"? We're talking about users liking, commenting, and sharing your content. An engagement rate of between 3% and 6% is what you should strive towards. This is important for two reasons. The most obvious being that you want your already loyal followers to enjoy what you post and keep them captivated and informed of what you do. The second reason why user engagement is so important is that it puts you on the map. A platform like Instagram calculates every post's likes, comments, and even the length the average scroller spends on it. If the stats are in your favour your post could be added to Instagram's suggested options. That means that users who are attracted to the kind of content you offer can find you without really searching. Through this, you're attracting your target audience and adding to your followers. And in a competitive cyber world that functions with these kinds of algorithms more followers are always the goal. So we've defined what "user-engagement" is and stressed its importance. Now we need to know how to actualize engagement and lucky for you we're sharing all the tricks of the trade.
It's as simple as asking.
If you want your followers to like, comment, or share content - why not just ask? When we ask for things outside of cyber parameters we usually employ sneaky strategies like the "puppy dog face" and saying "pleeeaaase *insert a massive smile here*". However on Instagram, your readers can't see your batting eyelashes or best grin - so you need to use the visual tools that are at your disposal. Grab attention by using arrows, a megaphone icon, or an emoji. Actionable words are also a must - urging the reader to react to your post. Even a "double tap if you agree" can tip the scales in your favour. Don't be afraid of asking your followers questions or to share their experiences. Not only will this add to your engagement rate, but also help you better understand what your clients want and how they perceive your brand. A fun and private way of doing this is creating interactive stories. By asking multiple-choice questions you can ensure clear and focussed answers. But always add a "leave a comment" option for the Karens of the world. Your audience might feel inclined to give you tips or recommendations. This could be an ideal opportunity to truly turn your potential weaknesses into opportunities.
Play a game: Tag - you're it!
Competitions are a sure way to ensure user engagement and brand awareness. Hosting a comment-to-win competition allows you to show off your cool products/services, cement trusting relationships with your followers, and invite new potential clients. Use the "social" element of social media and ask your followers to tag friends. This works best when you are hosting a game or a competition. The most important thing however is making sure these tagged acquaintances not only visit your page for a couple of seconds but become lifelong friends and loyal followers. Something businesses often forget is to treat those well who have tagged their friends. Don't only be in a constant search for new followers. Make sure you cherish those who have been with you since the beginning. Even a simple double tap on their tagged comment will do!
It's a two-way street
For any potential relationship, you need to put yourself out there. So, you've uploaded your well-thought-out post and a follower has made a comment or should we say the so-called "first move". A "first move" only works when both parties participate. They've engaged and now it's your turn to make them feel seen and heard. Like their comment and send a personalized reply. A healthy relationship follows a 50/50 rule and your online relationships should be no different. Another way to guarantee engagement is to give a @mention shout-out. By doing this you can tag celebrities, other brands, or a particular follower of yours making them feel like a celebrity for a day. Collecting user-generated content is also a clever hack. Ask your followers to snap a pic of them using your product and share it in your story! It's called appreciation, babe.
A couple of concluding remarks
Engagement of your followers is paramount in creating a successful account. Without engagement, a page's worth becomes null and void. So make sure you call your audience to action, host worthwhile competitions, impress taggees, and treasure your loyal followers. It's a relationship like any other which means you need to keep the flame burning even after the initial sparks have died down. Now, couch, scroll, double tap, and engage!