In recent weeks I’ve been asked at least a dozen times if I know of a “better” alternative to Instagram.
Flickr? Vero? Facebook? Tumblr?
Those are alternatives. But I don’t know that they are better than Instagram.
I’ve come to discover, though, that what most people really mean when they ask me that question is, “I don’t have as many followers as I’d like, so I want to try to get a ton of followers somewhere else. Where should I go?”
Relocating your content probably isn’t going to have the desired effect. Besides, being successful on Instagram is more attainable if you measure success in terms of engagement rather than follower count.
Below you will discover three simple ways of encouraging more engagement by your existing Instagram followers.
Provide Interactive Opportunities
People like to feel involved with the content they consume. The easiest way to provide such an opportunity is to ask a question.
For example, if you post a vacation photo, write a short caption about the location and ask your followers, “What is your favorite vacation spot?”
You can also provide prompts. If you like posting shots of old cars, encourage your followers to “Like if you think this car is a classic.”
The Instagram Story feature allows for an even greater degree of interactivity by giving you an assortment of poll, question and quiz options that your followers can respond to.
Make All Your Content Easily Accessible
You want people to get their eyes on work that you don’t post on Instagram. You can facilitate this by putting a link to your blog/website in the bio section of your Instagram profile.
Want to get more eyes on the things you do post on your Instagram feed? The key is to know that for some Instagram users, the feed is secondary; these users defer to Stories. So when you post a new photo to your feed, make sure to also post it in a Story (perhaps with a snazzy “New Post” sticker) so that you’re maximizing its visibility.
This is probably the most effective method of increasing engagement on your posts. Instagram, as is the case with social media in general, can feel inauthentic and impersonal even when wonderful content is involved.
Sometimes it’s about more than just the content, however.
People can easily appreciate a beautiful photo and hit the Like button, but you can cultivate a relationship with your audience by occasionally posting a bit of interesting info about yourself and your work.
You might even, dare I say, post a selfie from time to time.
It’s quite simple — people want to know the person responsible for the work they admire. When you give your audience a little bit of yourself, engagement is more likely to increase.
There are plenty of people out there using Instagram as a means of boosting their ego. They’ve managed to acquire thousands of followers who provide them with thousands of Likes and leave everyone with the impression that this is all that matters.
The degree to which Instagram matters at all is debatable, but if you’re going to use it and want to use it effectively, abandon your chase for followers and focus instead on engagement.
With greater engagement, more followers will come and you can have more confidence that most of your followers actually appreciate your work.
Be sure to respond to everyone who comments to show how much you value them and to build friendships with your followers. This will lead to stronger connections and more involvement.