When I started my 28K+ community, @sheislight, on Instagram, I knew that I would have to create compelling content if I wanted the account to stand out, and if I wanted it to grow rapidly.
I sure didn’t grow the account to 9,000 engaged followers within a couple of months by just ‘fluking it’. ;)
I created a very specific post formula - and it converted.
But I didn’t just post any old content that ‘sort of’ related or ‘looked OK’ or would ‘do the trick’.
I was intentional - because I wanted each Instagram post to be as engaging as it could be.
Here are four strategies I used to grow an engaged Instagram following.
1. Post high-quality images.
The images I used were clear. They represented my mission - to empower young women to know their worth. And they represented the kind of content I knew my target audience would identify with, and love to see, time and time again.
My target audience were young women who wanted to be empowered and inspired; young women who were interested in blogging, writing, and reading; young women who championed ‘community over competition’; young women who were willing to walk boldly and live lives filled with purpose.
And so I posted photos of 20-something women - some taken from a photoshoot I coordinated, and others gathered from around Instagram and the web (with permission, of course!). And I posted images of flowers, and cups of tea and coffee, and empowering quotes.
Think about the types of content that your audience would love and connect with, and then create it, making sure it's high quality!
2. Write captivating captions
It was very natural for me to devise captions and content for 20-something women - because I was one!
While the words often naturally spilled out onto the page… or screen ;), I focused a lot of my energy into making sure they were the right fit for my audience.
And I always paid special attention to how the captions were received - which ones worked, which ones didn’t work. This helped me reassess and refine my strategy going forward.
3. Include calls to action
A call to action is like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Seriously!
If you don’t have one, you’re missing out on engagement, BIG time.
One of the key ways I fostered engagement in the early days (and how I still do in every single post) is by inviting my audience to say something back to me!
If people aren’t prompted to say anything, the chances are they won’t.
So I made sure that with every single post, I asked people a question - whether that was asking for their suggestions, or asking them to share something that was going on in their life, or asking them to tag a few friends to share the message.
4. Put yourself out there and add value to other 'grammers
When it comes to Instagram land, you reap what you sow, my friend! ;)
Just like you can't expect any relationship to last without each person putting in effort, you can't expect people to engage with you on Instagram unless you're engaging with them, too.
So you've got to give. ;)
Like, follow and comment on accounts that fit the profile of your target audience.
The key to this kind of engagement is being AUTHENTIC.
I strongly advise against commenting random emojis or generic words like 'cute', 'beautiful', 'fun', 'love'.
Come on, you can go deeper than that. I know you've got it in you. ;)
Instead, add value to what that person has got to say.
For example, if their image is of a place they've traveled to, then ask them questions about the destination, and tell them about your experiences traveling.
Remember, people want to talk to a REAL person, not a robot. So the more authentic you can get, the better.
Who knows, you could even form a valuable networking relationship or long-term friendship while you're at it! I have done just that, time and time again. :)
Engagement doesn’t happen by magic, and it sure doesn’t happen by chance.
It happens when you apply the right strategy.
I used a clear step-by-step strategy to reach my target audience, attract my target audience, and rapidly grow my engaged Instagram following.
And I believe you can too.
You don’t need any qualifications to make it. It’s not rocket science, either. But it's not something you can just 'fluke'.
This is not something that happens by magic. It's not rocket science either. But it's not something you can just fluke.
All you need is access to the right strategy.
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