There's this one thing out there nearly all Instagram marketers simply can't live without - social engagement. In large part, the success of their careers relies on it, but the depth of engagement-driven commitment delves even deeper than that. Sure, likes, comments and direct messages are great, but the kind of engagement today's Instagram marketers crave actually stands for something of far greater worth - more sales.
So, in light of Instagram's latest algorithmic announcement, how can brands and Instagram account managers increase the likelihood that a heightened level of engagement regularly takes place? High-quality posts are one thing, but there's yet another that's often overlooked - post captions.
Though by no means a comprehensive analysis, the following four points promise to help improve your Instagram captions, resulting in more brand fan engagement:
1) Pose a Question or Two
Use your captions to provide post background and pose a question. When done correctly, you're much more likely to see a boost in post engagement. And no, this isn't just some random hunch -there's actually something to this.
In fact, Facebook once conducted in study in which it found that posts that ask a question receive substantially higher engagement rates than those with solely affirmative statements. Not much of a shocker, but considering that few business accounts take advantage of such a strategy, you stand to benefit.
2) Use Your Profile's 'Website' Link Wisely
As a general rule of thumb, it's best to try to not inundate your brand's Instagram followers with links you want them to click on. Think about it - though Instagram has made a number of moves to make the platform a better place for marketers, clickable hyperlinks outside of the 'Website' link on a user's profile wasn't one of them. Instagram is meant to be an immersive social experience. Needless to say, links often detract from this kind of environment.
According to Kickstagram, a San Diego-based Instagram marketing company, though you don't want to overwhelm followers with this tactic, every now and again, include a call to action within a post's caption, inviting followers to check out the link that's part of your Instagram bio.
No, this isn't a like or comment, but a single click could very well lead to the acquisition of a new customer.
3) Take Advantage of Cross-Platform Sharing
Makes sense, doesn't it? If you're going to put so much time, effort and money into snapping great photos, editing them and then crafting the perfect caption to go along with them, you might as well get as much value from each post as possible, right? If you and your brand are new to social media marketing, this is the mentality you need to have.
Fortunately, Instagram allows users to cross-promote their posts on different social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Keep this in mind when writing captions for posts that are first scheduled to go live on Instagram, as hashtags, usernames and links will automatically adjust to meet the standards of other social outlets.
This can provide incredible for exposure, but make certain to adjust your caption copy accordingly.
4) Forgive the Buzzword - Storytelling
There's an old adage which claims that "a picture is worth a thousand words" - and unless you've spent much of your life living under a rock, you've probably heard it a time or two.
Yes, Instagram is a visual social channel, but it doesn't hurt to have a few words on hand to help Instagram followers connect with the story you're telling - once again, this is where your captions come into play.
Rarely will your business' Instagram account be pushing the 2,200-character limit on its posts' captions, but you will want to provide some context for each post you publish. Whether telling of a funny work-related experience, granting behind-the-scenes office access or allowing a customer to brag about your brand, there's a story that needs to be told. Provide context in your captions, and an emotional connection will be easier to establish with your followers.
There's a reason Instagram boasts an active follower base of just over 400 million users - it's an incredible social medium for all kinds of people. Beyond a shadow of doubt, the type of person your brand is looking to sell to is in there somewhere.
Employing the powers of the above four strategies, use your captions to find them and begin the sales process.