Social Media Tidbit: Engage With Your Audience (Instagram)
It's the end of the month and that means it is time for another lil nugget of social media advice! This time we want to talk about ENGAGEMENT on Instagram!
As we were trying, endlessly it seems, to crack the Instagram code, we found a new clue! It has been suggested that the Instagram algorithm prioritizes profiles that exhibit authenticity through engagement. Engagement here refers to liking AND answering every single comment left on a post with 4 words or more. This kind of interaction between accounts and their engaged followers shows a genuine connection - again fostering AUTHENTICITY (the buzzword that just won't go away). As we have seen, Instagram has been taking steps to increase authenticity and return to a more social, social media, like hiding like counts. Well, putting effort into actually building some sort of genuine voice and connection to your community is actually rewarded with prioritization. This means that the more engagement, the more views your profile and posts will get both in feed and via the discovery page. Your posts will actually start getting pushed up as more relevant the more real you are.
Don't believe us? Believe our data!
To test this for ourselves we conducted a 2-week A/B test (which you can also do if you have business insights!).
Week A = We went silent. We did not respond to any comments left on any of our posts. We continued liking each comment the way we had always been doing, but otherwise zipped our lips completely.
Week B = We commented back on every single comment left on each post during this week. That included responding to people tagging their friends, people who only commented emojis, and YES even solicitors! The important thing here was every single response we posted contain at least 4 words. We also continued liking each comment, as we had in Week A and before, to keep that consistent.
Importantly, we kept the number of posts for Week A and Week B the same, and also made sure that the content was consistent (i.e. if we had 3 funny kawaii posts in week A, we also had 3 funny kawaii posts in week B). This is a really important measure you guys need to take in order to decrease the chance that something other than what you are testing is affecting your results.
So what happened, you ask? Well, we measure success based on Impressions (total # of times your posts have been seen) and Reach (# of unique accounts that have seen your posts), as these show the frequency at which posts are displayed across viewers.
By boosting our engagement in Week B, we were able to increase both Impressions and Reach by over 200%! For us (with our shopping feature), this also increased the number of sales made during Week B.
The lesson here is if you want to grow your visibility, and get more eyeballs on your profile, you should be engaging with your audience. It can be hard to keep up with comments, but as long as you are trying, and engaging as much as possible, that is a start.
Pro-tip: Don't know what to say to solicitor comments? Just say something like "hey, looks cool, will have to check it out!".
Again, we want to be clear that all of our research has been based on Instagram testing, so it cannot be generalized across platforms...but hey, it can't hurt to engage with your followers on all of your social media channels 😉
Be kind, make connections, and promote loyalty!