5 Tips for Creating an Engaged Community on Instagram

These days all we seem to care about is growing our audience. More eyes on your account, more followers, more notoriety, more brand deals. We always need more. engaged instagram community

When I say we, I group myself in right there with ya, because from a business viewpoint, my growth is critical to the survival of my brand. engaged instagram community

Social media, Instagram in particular, has become one of the pillars of owning and operating a successful brand. We’re always looking to others wondering, What’s the secret? How is he/she bringing in 1k new followers per day and I am barely breaking even? Why has my engagement dropped? I wonder if anyone else’s IG story views have been cut in half.

We ask ourselves the same questions day in and day out. Every once in a while, we’ll read a news article or a blog post titled “Instagram’s Algorithm, Explained” and get that butterfly of hope that someone has it all figured out and is about to share a gold mine of life-changing information. From shadowbanning to hashtag strategies, loop giveaways and engagement groups, sometimes the answer is simpler than we think, and we just have to take it back to basics.

In today’s installment of Behind the Blog, I’m sharing my tips for creating an engaged community on Instagram; how to keep your followers invested in what you have to offer, and how to seek out new members of your community.

Get to Know Your Audience
Like the Back of Your Hand

Your followers are not just “followers”. They’re real people (potential clients, brands, fellow bloggers in the industry, friends). They’re from different places around the world, on different schedules, all looking to gain different things out of being a part of your Instagram community.

+ Know when your followers are most active and create your content around those key times. Just like cable networks aren’t going to air their most popular shows on weekdays at 3pm when no one is around, you should be conditioned to post only when the majority of your followers are around and checking Instagram.

On average, my posts perform 78.2% better when I post during times when my followers are most active.

+ Study which types of posts perform best. I recently discovered that flatlays (previously not typically a part of my Instagram content), perform 87.5% more than styled outfits. Needless to say flatlays are now becoming a part of my regular content.

If you are operating your brand organically (ie: no automated marketing services delivering you thousands of likes), your statistics are going to give you incredibly powerful insight into your brand and how to engage your followers.

Note: Only Instagram users who have the Business Profile feature enabled will have access to detailed insights.

engaged instagram community
engaged instagram community

Take Time to Genuinely Engage

+ Respond to comments on your posts. If someone gives you a compliment or asks you a question face-to-face, do you ignore them? But seriously...if you think of it that way, how silly does it seem to just leave your comments sitting there without a response?

Of course, sometimes comments can become overwhelming and it can be hard to respond to every single one. I try to plan to stay on Instagram for at least 10 minutes after I post, responding to all initial comments. Not only will the constant activity help boost your post, but it will help you to get a jump on your responses. You can also respond over a few days to break it up.

Tip: Keep an eye out for newer followers you may not recognize and make it a point to interact and get to know them. On the flip side, always engage with your most loyal followers. I look at many of mine who have been around since the beginning as friends!

+ Answer your DMs. It can be daunting to look at a full inbox and think about the task of responding to every DM - but here's the thing - the people who are DMing you are taking time out of their day to reach out. Whether it's for advice, to pay you a compliment, to provide feedback or to just have a laugh with you about something funny you posted on Stories...respond.

I can't tell you how many times I have chatted with my followers via DM where they have said, "Thank you so much for responding!" or "Wow I can't believe you replied to me!". This should be second nature to us guys! We blog because we want to connect with others, so practice what you preach.

engaged instagram community

Shift the Focus Off of You +
On to Your Followers

Here's a thought...ask your followers to engage!

Being a one-woman show can often feel very egocentric. We're talking about ourselves - our lives, our careers, our favorite things all.the.time. Of course, that's all part of being a blogger. We're opening the doors to our lives for everyone to see and our audience follows along because of that.

But part of building loyal readership is to get to know your readers, and a great way to do that is to turn the tables and let them have a chance to share with you.

+ Ask questions in your post captions. This is such a fool-proof way to build engagement and get to know your followers. News flash...there are a lot of people out there who like to share...so let them! I try to pose a question in my posts 1-2x a week and find that people are much more likely to respond organically to post captions with a question as opposed to captions with a statement.

+ Utilize Instagram Story polls. Polls are the perfect way for your followers to participate as a part of your community with the click of a button, and if there's one thing I've learned from my Instagram Story analytics, it's that people love polls.

Tip: Every once in a while, direct your polls at your audience to get to know them better. For example, instead of asking what pair of shoes you should wear, ask your followers if they prefer flats or heels. 

engaged instagram community

Create Something Special Just for Your Community

Set yourself apart by giving your followers a reason to come back. Creating something of value that your followers know they can come to you and only you for is a great way to keep your community engaged.

Maybe it's a daily motivational quote or a weekly Q+A. Whatever it may be, create something special and implement it consistently so it becomes something your followers expect and look forward to.

For example, I started sharing quick "Behind the 'Gram" snippets on stories to give my followers a look into the behind the scenes reality of my posts. Another example is my Blogging Resource Library, where I've built a community of bloggers who all have a shared space to access free blogging tips and resources for building a brand.

engaged instagram community

Seek Out New Potential Followers

If you have a clear picture of your target audience and your ideal reader, you should be able to look at any given Instagram account, and know within seconds if they are a potential follower.

Think about how many billions of Instagram users are out there, and how many of the billions would find value in following along with your account, but simply don't know it exists.

There are plenty of ways you can seek out new potential followers, but the most foolproof way I have found is to pick out a few accounts that are similar to yours (style, aesthetic, voice - they can be any of these things) and to engage with their followers. You can do this by going down their follower list or by heading to their most recent post and going through their likes and/or comments. As I mentioned earlier, you should be able to determine if someone is a potential follower at first glance. Chances are though, if you're utilizing the audience of an account similar to yours, the majority of accounts you are engaging with will be a great fit as a potential reader!

When you seek out these accounts by liking or commenting on a post, most commonly (especially with smaller accounts), that person will see your notification and our of natural curiosity, head to your account to check it out. From there, it's out of your hands and up to them to decide if they want to follow along.

Remember, while it's important to cater to your existing community, it's just as important to continue to build it by getting new eyes on your account. 


Would love to hear any tips of your own for creating an engaged Instagram community the comments below!
Sign up for the Blogging Resource Library for access to tips, tricks, chats and more here!


Share:

28 Comments

    • Danielle
      Author
      July 17, 2018 / 9:18 am

      Thanks Jessica! <3

  1. Ada
    July 6, 2018 / 8:44 pm

    These are all very helpful tips. I’ve been trying to comment on posts quicker so that they feel instant gratification. I definitely think it has helped!

    • Danielle
      Author
      July 9, 2018 / 1:43 pm

      Yes! I think it definitely makes a difference in how likely our followers are to see our comments back if it’s done quicker 🙂

  2. Sarah K Tripp
    July 6, 2018 / 1:20 pm

    These are great tips! Authenticity has been so key for me

    • Danielle
      Author
      July 9, 2018 / 1:41 pm

      Totally. You’ve done such a fabulous job with projecting that to your audience! 🙂

  3. Anna English
    July 6, 2018 / 10:49 am

    These are such great tips girlfriend! Your content and strategy always inspires me!

    • Danielle
      Author
      July 9, 2018 / 1:40 pm

      You’re the sweetest, Anna. Thanks friend 😘

  4. July 6, 2018 / 3:54 am

    Those are that such great tips.. I need to get better At Instagram Engagement

    • Danielle
      Author
      July 9, 2018 / 1:39 pm

      I think we all do, but as long as you’re putting in some effort, I’m sure you’re doing just fine 🙂

  5. These are really awesome tips! The following we build up and work so hard to get is also hard to keep! Especially making sure to engage with people who follow us and those who don’t. Amazing tips!

    • Danielle
      Author
      July 9, 2018 / 1:37 pm

      Definitely hard to keep up with it – and I find weeks where I just don’t have the time or the energy! It’s all about finding a balance 🙂

  6. Taylor Aube
    July 5, 2018 / 3:41 pm

    Amazing tops, when it comes to IG I need all the help I can get haha! This algorithm is killing me.

    • Danielle
      Author
      July 9, 2018 / 1:36 pm

      Thanks Taylor! It’s been tough for everyone but I’ve found that the less you worry about it, the more things are bound to eventually fall into place!

  7. Mollie
    July 5, 2018 / 2:20 pm

    I love these tips – they are all SO important! It’s been hard for me to genuinely engage lately, and my engagement rates on my own photos have taken a dip! I need to jump back in!

    xx Mollie

    • Danielle
      Author
      July 9, 2018 / 1:35 pm

      It can feel like a full time job – keeping up with everything!

  8. sarah lindner
    July 5, 2018 / 12:59 pm

    Love this post! So many great and useful tips! I always think its best to engage with everyone as well!

    xoxo
    Sarah Lindner

    • Danielle
      Author
      July 9, 2018 / 1:34 pm

      Thanks Sarah.

  9. July 5, 2018 / 11:07 am

    I love all of these tips! Thanks for sharing!

    XOXO
    Cathy

    • Danielle
      Author
      July 5, 2018 / 11:14 am

      Thanks for stopping by Cathy!

  10. July 5, 2018 / 10:48 am

    Love this post Danielle, especially what you said about responding to DM’s and engaging with followers. I love now asking questions in captions and Instastories polls are so helpful!
    -Austen
    https://youtu.be/Igk-SQXZ0PA

    • Danielle
      Author
      July 5, 2018 / 11:13 am

      Thanks, Austen! Stories have become such a great tool when it comes to gathering valuable info. Couldn’t agree more!

  11. July 5, 2018 / 10:46 am

    I absolutely love the way you write! I’m so with you on seeing my Instastories drop engagement in half. I always want to ask questions in my Instagram posts but get so nervous that people just won’t respond to the question. Maybe I’ll try it on my next post and see what happens. Love this post girly 💕

    Xo Logan
    https://peculiarporter.com/

    • Danielle
      Author
      July 9, 2018 / 12:14 pm

      That’s such a sweet compliment Logan, thank you! My advice is to just put yourself out there. I always say, whether I have 500 or 50,000 people engaging with my content, it’s such a cool feeling to know that there are people out there who follow along 🙂

  12. July 5, 2018 / 10:27 am

    I Love these tips! especially the behind the gram idea, My Instagram has been getting a little stale lately and my engagement is dipping so I’m excited to try something new

    • Danielle
      Author
      July 5, 2018 / 10:32 am

      Yes! A lot of what my followers see on Instagram is so surface level, so it has been a really fun way to get a little more personal with some behind the scenes.

  13. July 5, 2018 / 10:05 am

    Absolutely love this post… it’s so true as a one woman show we can get caught up in just trying to get the ‘gram out, while it’s really everything that happens after that matters most. I also get messages about “thank you so much for replying,” etc and it shocks me that it’s apparently rare enough someone acknowledged that!

    Great post, and love how you format your content, too. 🙂

    alyson
    http://www.themodernsavvy.com

    • Danielle
      Author
      July 5, 2018 / 10:30 am

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, Alyson! I, too, am always so surprised at how often I get that same message from my followers. As influencers, replying should be something we’re all just conditioned to do. xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *