How to engage with others to organically grow your Instagram
Community before numbers
Be social if you want organic engagement
No one will engage with you if you don’t engage with them. It’s that simple. You can’t attract people to your page unless you use the app how it’s meant to be used.
I already wrote about how to write captions that make engaging easy, but there are so many ways to get people clicking on your profile in between posts.
First, I want to clarify that for this post, I’m going to focus on the daily actions I take to engage with others. Your complete engagement strategy should actually use all of the features available on the app, including, but not limited to:
Use appropriate hashtags
Geotag all your photos
I’ll dive into these on another day. For today, it’s all about creating a community with likes and comments.
Engage Efficiently, daily
Lately, Gary Vaynerchuk’s $1.80 Strategy is blowing up online. He says you should “leave your personal .02 cents on the top 9 trending Instagram posts for 10 different hashtags that are relevant to your brand or business every single day.” That puts you in front of 90 new people every day. Like a few of their posts, comment on at least one, then move onto the next.
I don’t agree with everything Gary V says, but I think that he’s onto something here.
Because I’m running a business and liking and commenting takes a lot of time, I tried something a little different. I dedicate time before and after I post to engaging with people. I never post and run!
I spend 30 minutes before posting engaging with new people in the hashtags I use. I respond to comments on the previous post and engage with those I follow in my own feed. I scroll through my explore page to find new people there, but also hide posts that aren’t relevant to my feed to help the Instagram algorithm figure out my niche or community. I leave genuine comments on every page that looks similar to mine. I follow those whose work I love... but not everyone. You don’t have to follow everyone back!
The key is that I comment. Spamming people with likes or liking a single photo and moving on is not a strategic use of your time. Comments are genuine. Comments make people click.
Even if you can’t get to Gary V’s full $1.80 or my 30 minutes before and after, at least try for a few minutes. Genuine comments should catch enough eyes that click back to your page. Some might return the favour.
Despite all this strategy, it’s okay if you don’t see that little follow back bubble. The goal here isn’t about the numbers, but about positioning yourself within your community. Social media is social. Create and engage without expecting anything in return and you will attract the right kind of attention.
Share who you love
Aside from tagging your friends in posts you like (such a great way to engage!), sharing what you love on your own feed makes your community feel good too. I think that the “Add Post to your Story” option on Instagram is one of the best features they’ve added recently! I love to share the work of other creatives I’m following.
Why, though? Because I’m all about #communityovercompetition in everything we do. There is space for all of us at the top. Another person’s success doesn’t dampen your own. It feels good to cheer others on, especially if you do it with no expectations. Loaded compliments don’t get you anywhere except disappointed.
Also, your followers might like the people you follow too! Share the wealth by sharing your friends in your feed and stories. Bring attention to them with the goal of fostering your community.
Focus on relationships, not followers
Organic growth is hard to come by these days. It's better to ignore the numbers and focus on your community. Grow your relationships instead of follower counts.
The best piece of advice I've ever read/heard/received is to act like you're already there. Act like you already made it. Speak to hundreds of thousands instead of tens. Don't wait until you reach a certain point to start chasing your dreams. It can happen now. You never know who is already listening. The goal is to bring your message to a few more people each day.
What do you think? Let me know your Instagram engagement tips in the comments or follow along on the adventure over on the app!