12 Tested Ways to Surge Engagement on Instagram

Note: This is the third in a 4-part series on increasing engagement on social media. Click here to view #1 – 16 Outstanding Ways to Increase Engagement on Facebook and #2 – 25 Sure Fire Ways to Boost Twitter Engagement. 

Ever felt like you’ve done everything you know to do to boost your engagement on Instagram and nothing is working? Are you putting time and energy into great visuals and status updates and all you hear is … crickets?

Most school marketers are aware that Instagram is an important marketing channel. With the right strategies, you can grow your school’s Instagram presence from infamous to influential. Having a solid engagement rate means the Instagram algorithm recognizes your school as more shareable and valuable. By using a few key actions each day, you can grow your engagement on Instagram.

Instagram, and all social media marketing, for that matter, is a long-term strategy. Becoming an Instagram influencer is not going to happen overnight. However, with a few key actions, you can actively encourage more engagement on Instagram for your school.

Here are 12 tested way you can grow engagement on Instagram for your school.

  1. Be friendly and engaging when responding to comments

You want Instagrammers to feel they are a welcome, important part of your Instagram community. Reach out to them and show them they truly are.

When someone leaves a comment on your feed, treat them like you are meeting them for a first time in a social situation, like at a barbeque.

Here’s an example:

Guest: “Hey, I love your t-shirt!”

Most people would respond with something like “Thanks, friend! *insert 8 emojis*”

This is where you can stand out.

Your response: “Thanks! I got this t-shirt on a blue light special table and had to fight my way through the crowd to get it! Ha! Do you want me to send you the link where I found it?”

Treat engagement on Instagram just like you would if you were trying to make friends. Because you are.

  1. Ask questions

The best and easiest way to engage with people on social media, including Instagram, is to ask questions.

Try to incorporate a few questions into your posts to give your followers something to engage about! It can be something simple, like asking your followers what plans they have for the weekend, or something more complex like their opinion on a topic related to education.

Most people can’t resist answering a question on social media, especially if you are asking for their opinion or for their help.

Regardless of what the responses are, asking questions will give your Instagram a personal touch, and help make your followers feel more involved with you and what you’re thinking.

  1. Always have a call-to-action

People like being told what action to take next. Try to encourage them to take the next step in a relationship with your school by asking them to take an action.

Types of action followers can take in Instagram include:

  • Encourage them to tag their friends
  • Ask them to Like your post
  • Ask them to Share your post
  • Ask them to check out your other channels
  • Use power words, such as:
    • Get
    • Visit
    • Try
    • Learn
    • Build
    • Sign up
    • Register
    • Click
    • Discover
  • Ask them to cut and paste a URL into their browser
  • Ask them to leave a comment
Exclusive FREE Bonus: Download the pdf 12 Tested Ways to Surge Engagement on Instagram to reference in the future and/or share with colleagues at your school.
  1. Engage with your Instagram account every day

Check in every day with your Instagram account.

Spend time getting to know your followers, what they are interested in and what their pain points are. Offer value and authentic interest and they will come back.

Remember you can scroll through all of your members at the top of your profile, even if you aren’t following them back. A simple Like or Comment on their photos is a great way for them to know you are paying attention to them and care about their concerns, interests, questions, and objections.

  1. Build your community

Once you have some great conversations happening, grow your community by searching on hashtags (or geo-location tags) to find your target market. You will soon find potential followers. Engage with thoughtful comments and make each person feel like you are interested. Don’t leave superficial comments like “Nice job” or “Love this.”

Instead, try re-posting their posts (be sure to credit their work) and leaving thoughtful comments that shows you’re interested in them.

  1. Post videos

Instagram video is an amazing tool to build engagement on Instagram. Not only will you get likes and comments, but you’ll get views, which will add more power to your account. There are simple tools you can use to create videos using images. Learn more about how to create videos for social media here (even if you’re shy) and how to use Instagram to promote your videos here.

  1. Use hashtag hacks

To find really targeted audiences on Instagram, search for the most popular hashtags using Hashtagify.me or Tagboard. To learn more about how to research hashtags for your school’s social media posts, click here.

  1. Use Instagram Ad insights

Want to know how well your Instagram ads are performing? You can view your ad insights in Ads Manager. Instagram Ads use the same reporting tools that Facebook ads use. You can see how well each ad and ad set is performing, schedule and save reports, and customize your columns so you only view data you are interested in.

Once you know how well each ad is performing, you will be able to run the most effective ad and optimize the ad to get the best return-on-investment.

  1. Post when your followers are active on Instagram

Know the best time for your school to post. The best time to post is when the most followers are active on Instagram because this is when you will get the most engagement on Instagarm.

Most social media schedulers will let you select the optimum time to post. It is helpful to know:

  • The best time to post
  • The best time to get the most engagement
  • The best day of the week to post
  • The best day of the week to interact
  1. Track your best performing posts and post more like them

Your top posts are the ones that get you the most engagement and growth. Once you know which ones are your top posts, analyze them by asking:

  • What is the image of or the design of the graphic?
  • What colors are in the photo?
  • What is written in the caption?
  • What hashtags were used?
  • On what day and at what time was this image posted?

Your top posts are the ones people most like to see. Post more of these to keep growing your account.

  1. Plan the visual nature of your feed

Instagram is all about visual imagery. Posting the right images at the right time is an art. Look to other Instagram accounts for inspiration. One of my favorite Instagram feeds for visual inspiration is the GoPro Instagram account. A school Instagram feed that inspires me is Middleburg Academy. I love that they show a creative variety of in-school and extra-curricular activities, without ever feeling forced.

Exclusive FREE Bonus: Download the pdf 12 Tested Ways to Surge Engagement on Instagram to reference in the future and/or share with colleagues at your school.
  1. Be entertaining

Everyone wants to have fun. Share fun photos, quotes, and quizzes because they tend to receive a lot of engagement on Instagram. Try giving your audience a sneak peek of something coming up in your Instagram Stories. You can also do #fridayintroductions once in a while. If you haven’t heard of this hashtag, #fridayintroductions is a hashtag community where people introduce someone. They usually share a post about what they do, what they are passionate about, and even some fun facts about them. Then, invite people to introduce themselves in the comments. It’s like a big Instagram party at the end of the week!

What tips can you share with the rest of the school marketing community for increasing engagement on Instagram? What has worked well for your school?

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