By Mark A. Leon
The magical phenomenon of Instagram has taken the world by storm. Are we truly surprised at its overnight success? As humans, our response to visual stimuli is much higher than audio, verbal or context. It is under the umbrella of one of the largest digital firms in the world. It lets us become magicians without needing the expertise of Photoshop.
I think we have explained that spike in popularity.
But what makes one Instagram grow faster than another?
What makes one have a higher engagement level?
Disclaimer: Now, before I go on, let’s throw out the established brands, the celebrities, athletes and “what do we call reality stars these days”? This is normal folks that live normal lives every day.
Next, let’s eliminate those that “buy” followers. How can you tell someone that “buys” followers? Very simple. If they go from 150 to 1500 in a matter of two minutes, purchased!!! If they show that instant growth, but total engagement does not increase at the same rate, purchased!!!!
For those that do not understand engagement, let us explain. Engagement is when you take the total number of engagements (likes and comments) and divided by the total number of followers.
Example: You have 1000 followers. You post a picture that gets 100 likes and 10 comments. Your total engagement is 110/1000 or 11%. So 11% of your followers are interested in your post. In social, we often mistake raw numbers for success. Engagement is the critical element you want to pay attention to.
If I have 50,000 followers and 500 likes, that is only 1% engagement. If I have 5000 followers and 500 likes, that is 10%. I’ll take the second option anytime. That just means higher conversion to whatever message, idea, product or service I am selling.
Now the reason you are all here: How do I maximize my engagement and continue strong organic growth?
- Quality. Whether it is 1900 AD or 3000 AD, quality will always be critical to success. I don’t care if you are sharing a picture of the cutest dog in the world. If it is blurry, you won’t get the interest.
- Respect your community. Community is everything. Every follower is choosing you because you have something they can relate too and thus want to be part of your “community”. Don’t post and ignore. Respond to comments, engage with your followers. Show them it is a two-way street.
- Variety and diversification. If you are selling tires that is great. If you put a picture of a tire up every day for 100 days, you will lose more than you will gain. People want variety. They want change. Put the tire in a hat. Dress one up as Santa. Get creative.
- Don’t post more than twice a day. Over-saturation of anything is bad. Think about those spam emails. I think you understand.
- Timing. If nothing else, pay very close attention to this bullet point. Timing is so important in your strategy for success. So when is the best time to post? Glad you asked.
- Weekend and mid-day week day are bad. If you are in a holiday or vacation spot, even worse for weekends. People are out on weekends and working during the week days. Yes, they have their smartphones that never leave their side, understood. Honestly, with staff meetings, desk audits and Pokemon searches, it is hard to keep up with Instagram during those times.
- Mornings and evenings between 8 PM and 11 PM are big success times. When we wake up, Instagram. When we are home eating or watching commercials, we Instagram. Between innings of the game, we Instagram. Having that special alone time on the toilet, Instagram.
- Bonus: If you post between 9:30 PM and 11:00 PM, you have the carry over effect. That means you will get a push in the evening and then a follow up in the morning for those that missed it due to the late posting time.
- One thing to keep in mind is that most brands are regional (local). If you are focused on an international audience, these rules do not apply due to time zone differences.
- Keep it clean – We clean our rooms, our kitchen, bathroom, cubicle, office and car. Why not keep your digital environment clean? Hmmm, valid thought. Every now and again, go through your posts and delete those that have lost relevance and treat your account as a re-birth every few weeks or months.
There we have it, your simple tips to a successful Instagram account. Be creative, diversify, respect your community and most of all, have fun.