Effective Techniques For Instagram Engagement – By Debbie Bookstaber

by Sara Szado on August 17, 2019

“Is organic growth still possible on Instagram?”

As the founder of a digital marketing agency and the CMO of Hashtracking.com, this is one of the most frequently asked questions.

While I highly recommend Instagram advertising to clients looking to grow their accounts and increase their engagement, organic growth is still possible on Instagram.

However, it requires consistency, time, and strategy. Here are my top tips for Instagram growth and engagement in an hour a day or less.

Start with Hashtag Research: Instagram’s artificial intelligence (AI) studies how you use hashtags when posting and when engaging on Instagram. To build authority, you’ll want to start with a list of targeted and relevant hashtags. Don’t use hashtags inaccurately as it will hinder the growth of your account, and the use of “banned hashtags” will result in your posts being hidden from the hashtag feeds. You can research hashtags manually on Instagram by observing what the most influential users in your niche consistently use. Or you can save time by using a tool such as VitaminH by JuicedSocial.com to find an updated list of hashtags for your niche.

Identify Key Influencers: Hashtag research is like keyword research for SEO. It’s only the first step. What you DO with the hashtags/keywords is what matters. Once you have your list of hashtags, use them consistently in your posts and in your engagement. Make a list of key influencers for each targeted hashtag. In some cases, this is obvious. If you aren’t sure who has the most influence for a particular hashtag, use a tool such as Hashtracking.com to research the hashtag and get a list of top contributors. Once you have a list of key influencers for each targeted hashtag, engage consistently with them.

Use Hashtags Appropriately: Use 3-5 hashtags in your profile. Use up to 30 hashtags in each post or story. You can even use hashtags when commenting.

Don’t Post and Run: It is most beneficial for you to engage immediately after posting your content. Plan to post when you have time to engage with other relevant content on Instagram. Shortly after each post, make a point to engage with others using the same hashtags. This puts you in their notifications at the time you have posted similar content. Comment on their posts in a relevant, useful, non-spammy way.

Be Practical: While it would be ideal to get engagement with the biggest influencers or gain momentum on the biggest hashtags, think realistically. Divide your time between small, medium, and large hashtags. Not sure how to determine what’s a small, medium, or large hashtag? Tools such as JuicedSocial. com will sort your hashtags by size or you can check the hashtag size manually using the Instagram search tool. Spend at least 10- 15 minutes per day engaging with tags from each group (small, medium, and large hashtags). Don’t limit your engagement to only the biggest influencers, as small to medium influencers may be more likely to reciprocate and build a relationship.

Measure Your Results: On a weekly basis, evaluate your results. Once you know your top hashtags and top influencers or fans, make a list. Spend at least 20 minutes engaging with your top tag and top influencer lists. The remaining time can be spent engaging and testing hashtags from your small, medium and large hashtag groups.

Debbie Bookstaber is President of ElementAssociates.com, a digital marketing agency, and CMO of Hashtracking.comThis article appeared in issue 47 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in July 2019. Visit here for the full edition.

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