Instagram is one of the best places to reach your target audience and build a community of engaged fans.

But knowing how well your content is resonating can feel like a bit of a challenge. Especially when there’s more than one way to measure your engagement.

Post Consistently

According to studies, the sweet spot is a consistent 1-2 posts a day. This way your feed stays fresh and relevant, and you have more opportunities to attract eyeballs to your content. Knowing when the best time to post on Instagram is is also critical especially when dealing with Instagram’s algorithmic timeline.

Recommended post times can vary wildly depending on which expert you listen to. With some advocating 8 AM – 9 AM or 2 PM – 5 PM for your first post to even 5 AM for your second, this inconsistency can create genuine confusion for content planners.

Just look at FashionNova and National Geographic. FashionNova, a global online fashion retailer, posts on average 30 times per day—that’s about one post every 30 minutes! This might sound like an overkill, but the brand’s 17.3M followers don’t seem to think so. With this many followers, the engagement rate is 0.07%. 

Don’t “tell stories”, create a savable content for your feed

As we mentioned, how we measure Instagram engagement is going to change in 2020 since likes are now hidden on posts.

Now, Instagram comments and saves are more important than ever. So the best way to improve your engagement for this year is to create more content that encourages your audience to tap that save button!

“Savable content” is anything you know your audience will want to read back again at a later time.

Start Conversations with Instagram Stories Stickers

500 million Instagram accounts use Instagram Stories every day, and we’re expecting to see that number rise in 2020!

Because of this, Instagram has been innovating by finding new ways for brands to engage with their followers, in the form of different engagement stickers for stories.

Instagram Stories stickers are a great way to encourage your followers to chat and share their opinions and experiences with you, which, in turn, will help create a loyal following that feels connected to your brand.

Here are a few ways you can get started with stickers to increase Instagram engagement:

The Question Sticker

Nothing sparks conversation more than a good AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Instagram Stories.

And while influencers have been known to use the Instagram Stories question sticker to help their followers get to know them more, there’s no reason why you can’t do the same for your business.

It’s a great opportunity for your followers to get to know your brand better, or get more information about your products.

The Quiz Sticker

The interactive Instagram Stories quiz sticker lets you share trivia-style multiple-choice questions with your followers and track the results.

When one of your followers “votes” on your quiz, they’ll be able to see whether they got it right — and you’ll be able to see how many votes each option received and how each person voted.

The Countdown Sticker

If you want to pique the interest of your followers and get more traction with your events and sales, the countdown sticker on Instagram Stories is perfect for your posts!

When you share a story about an upcoming something (like an in-store sale, product launch, or event), you can add a countdown sticker that counts down to a date and time that you set.

Your followers can then subscribe to your countdown event, which will send them a reminder when the time is up and your countdown is complete!

This is a great strategy for engaging with your Instagram followers and getting your audience to opt-in to exciting special events or promotions.

Regularly Test and Analyze New Content Types 

Some of the best content plans on Instagram come from experimentation!

Testing out new forms of content can feel daunting on Instagram, especially if you feel like you’re onto a good thing and seeing good engagement on your current content strategy.

But trust us: trial, error, and content experiments are key to being ahead of the curve and having a stronger strategy.

For example, on Later’s Instagram profile, we’d previously been using workdays as our core posting schedule. But with a bit of testing, we realised that Sundays were our best days for engagement as we were able to hold our audience’s attention for longer!

Not sure where to start? Here’s a couple of ideas you can try out this month:

#1: Try new content types! Memes, quotes, user-generated content, mini-infographics or even a selfie-style video could be great on your grid or stories!

#2: Experiment with video length on Instagram Stories and IGTV, some brands work well with long-form content on IGTV, while others still favor the short and snappy clips. Try something outside of your norm.

#3: Test out different Instagram Stories filters and see if they improve your engagement.

Most importantly, don’t forget to regularly check in on your analytics and measure how they performed!

Being able to track and measure all of your Instagram performance metrics in one place with Later’s Instagram Analytics will help you better understand which content experiments are the best!

Add an Element of Fun

Instagram Stories take time, effort, and planning to get right. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun with it!

We’re seeing more and more brands add elements of humor and pop culture references to their posts by adding memes and trending topics to their content.

And we think that might be down to the rise of TikTok in 2019! The new video platform is known for it’s fun and informal video style, and we think it’s a trend that’s trickling into Instagram too.

At Later, we’re actively injecting some fun into our Instagram Stories, and it turns out, you guys love it!

Encourage Instagram Stories Shares

Did you know that you can repost a feed post to your Instagram Stories?

It’s a handy feature from Instagram that allows your audience to share your content with their followers. Which in turn, will help you reach even more people without you having to lift a finger.

The key is making content you know your audience will want to repost!

Similar to creating savable content, shareable content needs to be highly related to what your audience likes and needs. Think about infographics and never before seen data that could shock or spark intrigue, relatable quotes, or fun memes:

Open Up About Your Brand and Business

Authentic content was a major trend for 2019 — and it’s set to become even stronger in 2020!

We’re seeing tons of brands and businesses getting on board and showing a more honest, real, and vulnerable side to their brand and business, and getting huge engagement returns from it!

A high level of authenticity can go a long way in building a stronger connection to your audience.

When you can showcase the good with the bad, the struggles along with the wins, your brand will be more relatable to your audience.

Write Longer Captions

Did you know that your Instagram caption can be up to 2,200 characters long? That’s a whole lot of space to share with your audience.

One of the factors that affects how your Instagram post performs in the algorithm is “time spent on post.”

So one of the easiest ways of improving your Instagram engagement is simply writing longer captions!

Now, we’re not saying that every caption has to be thousands of words long, but even writing a full sentence instead of just a few emojis could help you increase Instagram engagement.

So how can you write Instagram captions that will increase Instagram engagement?

This is a great opportunity to open up to your audience and keep them informed about your brand and business goals, your products, your business mission or anything else that can’t be said in a one-liner and a few emojis!

Share Data Your Audience Will Love 

Posting personalized and data-driven content is a big trend prediction for 2020 and we think it will really help drive engagement too.

Ready to try out the trend? Start by looking at your own data. For example, if you’re an online retailer, can you see when people like to shop the most? What made the biggest sale of the month? What percentage of your audience voted for a new product?

From this data, are you able to build a story about it to share with your audience or is there one key stat you know your audience will love?

Schedule Your Instagram Stories to Get More Views

Instagram Stories views are also a form of Instagram engagement, and acquiring more loyal viewers of your stories is a great goal to have for 2020 if you want to increase Instagram engagement.

But did you know that you could be really limiting your Instagram engagement by posting at the wrong time, or just not regularly enough?

To get around this, spend some time monitoring and tracking your Instagram analytics to learn when the best time to post is for your audience.

Start by checking your Instagram Insights by tapping the bar chart icon in the top right corner of your profile page. Anyone with an Instagram Business account will have access to their profile’s analytics.

Under the Audience tab, you’ll find a whole host of information about your followers, including when your audience is most active on Instagram broken down by day and by hour.

When you know your best times to post on stories, you can then batch edit all of your Instagram Stories for the week, and schedule them for your most optimized times using Later!

If you’re currently struggling with coming up with ideas of what to post on Instagram Stories, or you don’t have a lot of time to commit to stories, a good tip is to post your stories at the same time each day.

This way, if you were to schedule 3-5 stories for every day at noon, that would ensure that you always had active Instagram Stories running for your followers to engage with.

By Catherine Mungai

An Outgoing girl based in Nairobi, Kenya who loves life, writing and reading.

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