Using Instagram Engagement touchpoints will help you able to reach more Instagram followers that already want to hear from! No more than chasing likes or comments or getting more new followers. Here are 7 Instagram Engagement Touchpoints you need to know in order to reach more of the people that follow you with your content.
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Instagram engagement is not just about likes – what you really want is conversations, and true engagement. You’re probably aware of some of the metrics that we know and love for Instagram engagement: likes – comments – views. But in this post, I’ll share a whole lot more that you should be aware of for Instagram engagement and how to use Instagram engagement touchpoints to your benefit. These are metrics that Instagram considers when showing more of your content to your followers.
First, let’s take a look at how Instagram Engagement works.
What is Instagram Engagement?
Instagram is ALL about engagement. You’ll hear all sorts of talk about gaming the algorithm and getting your content seen in order to get more followers. But it’s better to focus on the followers you already have rather than worrying about new ones. If you do the following to get more Instagram engagement, then you’ll be off and racing:
- Provide great content that gives your audience the opportunity to engage with you, and
- You turn up consistently to post and engage with your followers,
Why? Because Instagram actually wants your followers to get hands-on with your content and DO something with it.
I’m not talking about mindlessly and passively scrolling, or just tapping the Like button. We know that Instagram doesn’t value this highly because they took away obvious – public likes.
Instead, they want comments, conversations, swiping through slide images, answering your poll, tapping hashtags, asking a question, chatting with you in direct messages.
Instagram has actually publicly responded to confusion about the ‘algorithm’ with this Twitter post:
In summary, Instagram is saying that what shows up in somebody’s feed on Instagram is determined by a number of factors, including:
- the posts and accounts the person engages with the most
- the timeliness of posts
- how often you use Instagram
- how many people you follow
So, when we think about it:
What are Instagram Engagement Touchpoints?
What in the heck are Instagram Engagement Touchpoints. It’s about people getting hands-on and interacting with your content… hence touchpoints. These touchpoints tell Instagram that this person is interested in your story, so they show that person more of your content in the future. The result? You rank higher in the feeds of your followers.
Instagram wants to show you the most important posts from your friends and family and the accounts you care about and engage with. It’s the people you watch on stories and live videos, those that you direct message and that you search for and engage with.
In 2020, the savvy team at Later wrapped up even more advice from Instagram about the algorithm with this easy to decipher Infographic:
You can read more on their post here, but this is a summary of what Later has said recently about their algorithm and how content is seen on the platform:
- Comments, Likes, Shares and (video) Views Impact Feed Ranking. Take note as these are the engagement types that are most important to feed ranking. Keep this in mind when planning your content.
- Photos and Videos ARE equal. Instagram prioritizes the content that your followers engage with the most – so if they love watching videos, they will be shown more videos. It’s about them, not you.
- The algorithm is always changing based on user trends. So, expect changes. It’s powered by machine learning and is always adapting and improving how it works based on new data.
- Fake interactions don’t count. Thank goodness. We didn’t like bots anyway. Instagram’s machine-learning is getting better and better and they can identify the pesky bots and rank them like the insignificant things that they are.
- All comment lengths count as engagement. This is often mentioned and has been debunked by Instagram as a myth. It doesn’t matter how long a comment is to be counted as engagement by Instagram, so a quick emoji still counts.
- All account types are equal. So it doesn’t matter if you have a Personal account, Business Account or Creator account. Each of these account types have different purposes and benefits but when it comes to engagement, they are all equal to the algorithm.
- The 1st 30 minutes does NOT determine ranking. Instagram cleared this up and the posts are not prioritised by the algorithm just because they get more engagement in the first 30 minutes. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to post when your audience is engaged and the times you get best results.
So, now that we know a little about how the algorithm works, let’s jump in and take a look at the different strategies and Instagram engagement Touchpoints you can use to boost your results:
7 Instagram Engagement Touchpoints to help you reach more of your followers
The following Instagram Engagement Touchpoints are not only great ways to boost your Instagram engagement, but they also tell Instagram that your current followers are engaging with you. This heightens the chance that Instagram will show them more of your content. And so on…
Aim for some of the following Instagram engagement Touchpoints (or actions) in no particular order. I wish I knew which was the most powerful, but alas, I don’t. If you can get more than one of these, then even better:
Comments are the start of a conversation, and should be coveted on your feed posts. If somebody comments, always reply if you can. As I mentioned above, Intagram have confirmed that comments of any length matter, and the real issue here is not how long they are but how you respond to them.
If somebody is engaging with you, engage back! Leave no decent comment un-replied to.
One way to encourage comments is to follow up a great image with a great caption. Start conversations with your captions by doing the following:
- hook us in with the first sentence. Ask a question, start a story, share something personal or announce something super interesting. We’re more likely to respond with a comment back when you do.
- Share stories that relate to your post. Stories in your caption are everything and they are a great way to encourage comments.
- Ask engaging questions or ask for opinions. Use short answer questions that just require a few words or a short phrase at most.
Hot Tip: Even if somebody leaves a short comment, reply with at least 4-5 words in your comment reply. This shows the person that you show up and respond. Who knows, next time they might say more to you!
2. Direct Messages
Direct messages (DMs) are a great way to network with other people on Instagram, including your followers, customers and potential customers. Sending somebody a direct message is a way to take comments further into a deeper conversation.
Encourage your followers to DM you via Stories or your feed wherever possible – the connections you make can be quite powerful.
3. Poll Stickers on Instagram Stories
Run a poll for instant Instagram engagement. These are an easy way for your followers to interact with you. You give a binary choice (Yes-No or whatever creative combination you can think of). When somebody responds, it’s a touchpoint for Instagram!
Remember, you don’t you have to use Yes/No. You can get creative (and cheeky) like Andrew and Pete:
4. Question Stickers on Instagram Stories
Asking a question is a definite touchpoint for Instagram engagement. These are highly interactive conversations that allow you to continue the chat in the DMs too.
Here is an example of one of my favourite brands, SmartSweets asking a question of their audience:
Hot Tip: once you get answers from your followers, feature their replies in your Story, like this:
Hot Tip: Insert “any type of engagement sticker” for these examples. Intstagram is always rolling out new types of
Stickers for engagement, so check out other types like Quiz Stickers in this post:
5. Swipe Ups
Swipe Up functionality (where you can add a link for somebody to swipe up and visit) on Instagram Stories is available to those with 10,000 followers or more on their accounts.
When somebody engages with your Story and follows your link, it’s another touchpoint for Instagram Engagement.
Hot Tip: If you don’t have 10,000 followers, there are still plenty of opportunities on this list to engage with people. Or you can take the conversation to DMs (Direct Messages) and send them a link there.
6. Slideshow or Carousel Engagement
Instagram Slideshow posts or Carousel posts are the unsung heroes of Instagram and are quite powerful in terms of engagement. I wrote about them in this post below including ideas for what to post on Carousel posts:
Here are two things you should know about Instagram Slideshow posts:
- When somebody swipes through your Instagram Slideshow, it is considered another touchpoint for Instagram Engagement, which is a good thing!
- Instagram Slideshows/Carousels are ‘the gifts that keep on giving’ when it comes to content being seen. The images and videos in your post are shown on rotation to followers at different times on the newsfeed. So you get more bang for your visual content buck!
7. Saves and Holds
Lastly, don’t forget Saves and Holds. Both of these actions tell Instagram that your followers are interested in what you have to say.. even if they are saving it for later, and especially if they want to view it more than once!
This is where your followers can tap the ‘bookmark icon’ in the bottom right corner of any post. This will allow them to save the post as a “saved post” and even add it to folders so they can find it again.
Don’t try to tell me that Instagram is not watching whether your followers are saving your content for later! It’s another touchpoint to consider. And even if it doesn’t impact the algorithm in any major way, there has to be benefit in your audience saying “I want to keep what this person is saying to refer to”. It shows that your content is worth saving!
Hint: I have Saved folders for everything – from brands I love, to great marketing examples, to posts to feature, post ideas, animation examples, creative accounts, and things to read and buy!
Post content that is eye-catching and makes your followers want to pause for a closer look. This leads them to Post tap-and-hold to pause on the screen of your video or image.
Any content that makes us take a closer look for detail is ideal for this. Think about agendas, images with text or cartoons and stickers that require us to tap-and-hold the screen to pause it. Tap-and-hold is a touchpoint!
In summary, these 7 actions listed above are highly interactive and engaging. They reflect that the person interacting with your content really likes it, and wants to hear from you. Be sure to include them in your Instagram strategy.
1. USE Instagram’s Features (especially the new ones)
It makes sense that Instagram likes us using a range of features on the platform. It’s not just about whether they click through on your Instagram Story. It’s about whether they are interacting with your Polls or sending you Direct Messages or responses to Question Stickers.
And Instagram loves to introduce new features with fanfare, like Create Mode:
With features like Create Mode, Instagram makes it easier than ever to use tools like stickers and polls in your Instagram Stories. The more someone interacts with you via the features of Instagram… the more likely it is that they will be shown your content in the future.
So take advantage of new features for engagement on Instagram – Instagram wants you to use them!
2. Post Consistently on Instagram Stories
More and more people are spending time in Instagram Stories than their Instagram feeds (over 500 million users per day!), so consider storytelling on Instagram for more engagement. And when it comes to the algorithm, users will see Stories show up first from the people you engage with the most (which makes sense). So definitely spend more time posting to Stories.
The key with Instagram Stories is to do it consistently. It doesn’t have to be daily (although that’s great) but regular is best. You’ll have more chance of being seen this way, as Instagram Stories appear at the top of the feed and give your users more opportunity to see your content during the day.
And the more people that interact with your stories, the more likely it is that the algorithm will favour your content.
3. Use the Preview Feature for IGTV
Initially, IGTV videos stayed solely in the IGTV channel which was a bit clunky when trying to attract views and engagement. Now, it’s different!
Now you can attract more views of your IGTV videos by setting your posts to share a 1-minute preview on your Instagram feed. I’m sure you’ve watched quite a few IGTV previews already, right? They’re hard to resist!
Your followers can access IGTV videos in three places:
- On your Instagram profile (via the small IGTV icon that sits above your images in the centre).
- Via the IGTV library. They can search on people they are following, find popular videos or save content to watch later. Popular videos show up on search for discovery.
- Via your newsfeed by allowing IGTV previews.
Lauren Bath shares her series of “Lauren Bath Shoots” Photography tutorials to IGTV with a preview to the newsfeed. The result? More eyeballs and Instagram engagement for her content:
4. Find a Common Interest
I’m not talking about your products and services here. What I mean is that you should find a common interest between you and your followers that’s maybe NOT about your business.
It could be that you have a dog that you feature all the time on your Instagram Stories, or perhaps you’re a huge target fan (as well as being an Instagram expert), like Tyler:
These topics might not be the core content that you share but by sharing a common interesting with your audience, it gives you another way of connecting with them and having conversations.
A final Tip
Here are a couple of things that we can do to help with our Instagram results:
- Post more consistently – to improve engagement and signal to the algorithm that your account matters! Choose a consistency that you can realistically maintain week in and week out.
- Respond to comments – use a tool like Agorapulse to monitor your comments and respond to people that want to engage with you – that way you won’t miss a beat!
- Use Instagram Insights – to see how your account is working but also to find the best times to post on Instagram as you’re more likely to get engagement if you do this. You can also use a tool like Later to find out these times with magic fairy dust or whatever smart tech they use to work it out!
That’s a Wrap
Phew, that’s a lot of strategies and tips to help you boost your Instagram engagement.
Of course, there are dozens of ways you can increase engagement, but these will help you to get results over time.
What Instagram engagement strategies work best for you, and what new strategies will you try next?
Donna is a Visual Content Strategist and founder of Socially Sorted, listed by Forbes as a “Top 5 Social Media Blog You Need to Know About in 2019”. Donna helps brands leverage the power of visual storytelling and content strategy in their business. Her content has been featured in publications such as Forbes and Entrepreneur Online and she is a contributor to Social Media Examiner. Donna speaks about digital and visual content for the marketing and tourism industries internationally.