5 Ways To Boost Your Instagram Engagement In 2022
Cam Wilkie is the Co-Founder of func.media, a digital marketing firm with over 300 clients since 2017 – from startups to global brands.
As we head into 2022, the social media landscape continues to evolve. Setting aside the recent buzz around Meta and the metaverse, TikTok has emerged as the most intriguing platform for marketers in 2021, surpassing 1 billion users in September — a 45% increase since the start of the year. Instagram, on the other hand, has lost some of the glamour that it once had. While it hasn’t updated its official user numbers since 2018 — when it passed 1 billion users — it’s estimated to currently have around 1.38 billion users. Needless to say, while TikTok is on fire right now, Instagram remains a force to be reckoned with.
Perhaps more importantly, Instagram’s largest demographic is millennials, at 33.1%. This demographic also happens to hold a large share of buying power in the market, with 91% of millennials preferring to shop online. These insights, when paired with the sheer size of Instagram’s audience, mean the channel can’t be ignored any time soon.
With that said, standing out as a brand and getting meaningful traction on Instagram isn’t as intuitive as it used to be. Here are five ways to boost your engagement in 2022:
1. Make the Most of the New Collab Feature
When Instagram introduces a new feature, there’s no guarantee it will have a general appeal for marketers. The Collab feature is an exception to the rule as it provides broad value across the board as a meaningful tool to maximize the impact of collaborations with other users and tap into new audiences more directly.
With the Collab feature, each collaborator is shown as a co-author of a single post and it gives each collaborator the option to share the same post immediately. Where before, two separate posts would be required to highlight such a partnership, the feature allows each collaborator to have the same post in their feed, along with the same likes and comments. This results in an uninterrupted path to your collaborator’s followers and an increase in legitimacy by association. The immediate use cases include influencer collaborations, brand partnerships and special announcements.
2. Pair Giveaways With Influencers
The value of giveaways on Instagram is no secret. One study found that giveaways can help grow an account’s followers up to 70% faster, with 64 times more comments and 3.5 times more likes than typical posts. Partnering with an influencer, however, broadens your reach even further.
Influencer marketing is exploding. By the end of the year, it’s estimated that the influencer marketing industry will be worth $13.8 billion. And Instagram is the platform of choice, with 68% of brands considering it the most important platform for influencer marketing. Couple that with the fact that many consumers depend on influencer recommendations, and you have a very potent marketing tool. Combining the value influencers bring with the benefits of a giveaway is a proven recipe for success.
3. Encourage More User-Generated Content
Just as influencers can help lend legitimacy to your brand, so can user-generated content, or UGC for short. UGC results in a similar output as an influencer post in that you’re asking a collaborator that aligns with your target market to provide you with content that looks more natural than traditional advertising.
With the rise of TikTok, audiences are looking for authenticity in their content. This is evident in Instagram Reels. Based on TikTok-style posts, Reels has exploded in popularity over the last two years. Why? Because they’re typically organic, non-curated and more “spur-of-the-moment.” They don’t feel like advertisements, which, in turn, can lead to greater engagement and longer watch times.
UGC of any kind is an excellent supplement to an Instagram profile as it lends legitimacy to your brand. Showing real people using your product or service in real situations can connect with audiences on a deeper level than a standard ad. Initiatives like brand ambassador programs can be a great way to generate consistent, high-quality UGC that can be utilized regularly.
4. Listen To Your Audience
Never underestimate the value of asking questions and listening to your audience. It makes them feel involved, and it can provide valuable insights into your product or service.
A quick and easy way to do this is through polls. Instagram Stories are already a powerful tool for brands, with 58% of people saying they become more interested in a product once they see it in a story. Polling your audience via a Story has the potential to be even more effective, as you can receive immediate feedback that can be utilized in a number of ways.
Brand ambassador programs can also be a powerful tool for consistent feedback from your most loyal customers. By setting up Instagram groups where you can interact with ambassadors directly, they can help you get a pulse of what customers are thinking at the ground level. By listening to ambassador feedback, brands have a better chance of connecting with their target market at large and accelerating the growth of a loyal fan base.
5. Provide Recurring Value
As much as marketers would love for this to be the case, people don’t follow brands on Instagram to be constantly sold to — they also want something of value, whether that’s entertainment, knowledge or incentives. You want your audience to have a reason to engage with your content regularly. Whether it’s a weekly themed giveaway, a behind-the-scenes video series, or useful tips and tricks, providing value to your customers will ensure they keep engaging regardless of where they sit in the customer journey.
Instagram Can’t Be Ignored in 2022
Just because TikTok is exploding in popularity doesn’t mean you should throw all your marketing efforts into it quite yet. Instagram remains a popular platform for brands to connect with their audiences, especially millennials. Its new features, along with its established base of users and marketing tools, make Instagram a valuable tool that shouldn’t be ignored in 2022. TikTok may be the new kid on the block, but Instagram is an established veteran.