In this week’s edition of Ask Emma, I’m answering Shorty’s question: “how do you build an engaged audience – especially if you have a smaller following?” In 2019, I know the struggle and frustrations of trying to grow an engaged audience on Instagram. Even though Instagram continues to update their algorithm, building an engaged audience is vital to steady growth and building your online brand.
Today I’ll be sharing a few strategies I’ve implemented for my personal Instagram account Emma’s Edition as well as a few lessons of content creation I’ve learned over the years.
This blog post is for anyone who is focused on growing an engaged and authentic following on Instagram. Whether you’re a blogger, a small business, or a fitness influencer, I hope these tips help you bring your Instagram engagement to the next level!
Before we jump into tips on building an engaged audience,
we first have to talk about content.
As a blogger, youtuber, or content creator, you must create something of value for your audience to engage with. When someone stumbles upon your Instagram profile, are they inspired? Have they learned something new from your Instagram post? Are they entertained?
Your content must compel action.
So when you sit down to write that caption or snap that photo, think of what your audience is going to engage with.
If creating content is new to you, I recommend taking a step back before you hit publish on Instagram. Ask yourself, does this photo….
Or educate my followers/readers about something?
Example: In this Instagram post, I share a tip on How to Look Good in Photos:
View this post on Instagram
How to look good in photos tip #6: Wear what you’re CONFIDENT in! Whether you’re getting ready for Santa photos 🎅🏽 or a Christmas party with your friends, always wear what you feel comfortable and confident in! 🙌🏽 Because if you’re uncomfortable with what you’re wearing, you’re face will probably show your discomfort on camera. For the holiday season, I’m personally most confident in dresses, sweaters, and a bright lip color 💄💋 My full 8 tips on how to look good in photos is up on the blog and instagram stories! Do you plan on taking photos with friends and family this Christmas??🎄📷: @hollypopss #christmasoutfits #christmasootd #aexme #holidayoutfits #holidaywear
This specific Instagram post educates my friends and followers. I encourage my audience to wear what their confident in as well as direct them to more tips on the blog.
Advice: For your next 3 Instagram post, ask yourself what that content will do for your audience.
Here are 7 tips to build an Engaged Audience on Instagram:
Build an Engaged Audience on Instagram Tip #1:
Ask questions at the end of your captions and Instagram stories
One of the simplest strategies in starting to build an engaged audience is to ask your followers and readers’ questions. If you look through my captions, I rarely post without a question. If people take the time to read your caption and answer your question, make sure you respond back!
Here are a few questions I’ve asked my followers in the past:
“What’s one goal or adventure you’re planning for the New Year?” – Dec 2018 Instagram Post
“What’s something you’re grateful for this Holiday season?” – American Eagle Outfitters Campaign
“What do you think of my Ultra Violet Eye make up look?” – Bobbi Brown Instagram Campaign
Build an Engaged Audience on Instagram Tip #2:
End your captions with a Call to Action
If you’re promoting a new blog post or video, make sure you end with a call to action (CTA). You can end with: “click the link in the bio to read the rest of my tips for….” Or “Swipe up on Instagram stories !”
My biggest tip with writing an effective CTA is to share with your audience what they’re going to get after they click the link or swipe up on Instagram stories. In 2019, it is NOT ENOUGH to say: “New blog post. Link in bio”. This may have worked in 2012 but this doesn’t work in 2019. There are too many people saying the same generic thing that you have to differentiate and show the value you’re going to bring.
Here is an example:
In this Instagram post, I share one of my favorite blog post this year: 6 Major Tips to Build Your Online Presence. Here is the caption:
“2018 was filled with color, adventure, and growth!
One of my favorite blog posts I shared this year was 6 Major Tips to Build Your Online Presence. ☺️ If you want to grow your audience on your blog and social media 2019, you have to invest and develop your skills. (This sentence my audience what type of tips they’ll get when they visit this blog post)
For me personally, I’m always working on my writing and posing/photography skills. You can check out some of my favorite blog posts from 2018 on Instagram Stories!” – Call to Action
My readers could go to my Instagram Stories and read through 3-4 blog posts I re-shared that day! I made sure to link the blog post, add the blog title, and add a “swipe up” title to encourage my readers to visit the content.
Build an Engaged Audience on Instagram Tip #3:
Spend 30 min-1 hour a day responding back to comments
If you aren’t taking the time to reply back to your Instagram comments, you should start here. Your audience will engage if they see that you engage. You can start by just replying with “thank you!” to the comments left on your photos.
Build an Engaged Audience on Instagram Tip #4:
Spent 30 min-2 hour a week engaging with other people’s stories
One way I continue to build my engagement on Instagram is engaging with other peoples’ stories. I’ll literally block out 15-30 min a few times a week to just go through people’s stories to engage with them. In many ways, I think engaging on Instagram stories is more personal. Your message appears in the person’s inbox and away from the normal sea of comments.
Build an Engaged Audience on Instagram Tip #5: Take the time to read and watch other people’s comments on their platforms
If you’re trying to grow your blog traffic or gain more subscribers to for YouTube, you know the struggle of getting people to your website and channel. If you truly want to build an engaging audience, you have to take the time to visit other people’s blogs and channels.
One strategy that’s really made a difference for me is that I go to people’s blogs, read or skim through it, and I hop back on their Instagram page and let them know what I enjoyed about their blog post. While this seems pretty simple, most people building their Instagram today are not taking the time to do that. People will remember that you took the time to read and consume their content and they’ll most likely reciprocate the action back.
Build an Engaged Audience on Instagram Tip #6:
Feature others on your Instagram Stories
I’ve been doing #onTrendforTuesdays on my Instagram account for a few years now. When the Instagram Stories feature rolled out, I realized I could feature other people’s outfits that I loved throughout the week. Now when I see cute outfits that inspire me throughout the week, I screenshot and save them to feature on my Instagram stories.
Again, as a content creator, you know how challenging it is to get people to see your content. When you take the time to comment, screenshot someone’s photo, and tag them on Instagram Stories, people see and remember that.
Build an Engaged Audience on Instagram Tip #7:
Use the Geotag locations to engage with your local community
If you’re looking to engage with people and brands from your hometown or city, I highly recommend using the Geotag locations. When you add the location to your photos, you can click on that location and see the rest of the people who visited that place.
I usually go through a handful of other Instagram posts and accounts who tagged that location and leave a comment on their account. This strategy has helped me build a strong local following in the Seattle area!
What are your tips for building an engaged Instagram audience?
Quick shout out: Thank you to the City & Stars for gifting this adorable blouse!
For more Instagram tips to take with you into 2019, you can also check out:
10 Everyday Tips to Grow Your Instagram
7 tips to help you determine your Instagram Aesthetic
How you can take photos for your blog – With and Without a Photographer
Thank you for reading!
Photos: Karya Schanilec