Instagram Cheat Sheet: 14 Tips for Better Engagement [Infographic]

camera and instagram

Instagram is a major driver for sales. With over one billion monthly active users, the platform offers plenty of opportunities for businesses to grow — that is, if it’s utilized well. Forget pumping up that follower count. Let’s delve into something more important. We’re talking about engagement – shares, likes, comments! If your content isn’t generating enough of these things, then you’re not getting the most out of your Instagram account. So, how do you do it? Keep reading for your Instagram cheat sheet and 14 tips for better engagement.

instagram cheat sheet infographic

Instagram Cheat Sheet: 14 Expert Tips

1. Aim for Audience Engagement

If you’ve been using Instagram long enough, you might have experienced something like this: seeing a number of notifications telling you that 20 people started following you, only to see that number disappear into thin air the next day. That was the old practice – and it’s a bad one.

Now, thanks to Instagram’s algorithm change, that’s no longer an issue. However, the change requires us to focus more on another thing: audience engagement.

This means marketers now have to do what marketers should be doing in the first place: planning a good strategy and creating relevant, high-quality content that can catch the audience’s attention.

Here are some ways to do it.

2. Be Visually Appealing

Instagram is an image-based social media platform. Your content must not only be relevant but also aesthetically pleasing.

Stick to a Theme

Sticking to a theme doesn’t just enhance the look of your Instagram profile page, but it also helps increase brand awareness by making it easy for your followers to identify you.

Choosing a color palette for your theme and editing your images before you post them so that those colors stand out can be a good way to do it.

Use Consistent Filters

It’s also good to use consistent filters on all of your uploads. If possible, take the photos in the same lighting and edit them similarly for uniformity. Using tools like Canva can help you maintain a consistent look and feel.

eClincher has Canva integration, so you can edit your images quickly and easily before uploading them.

Size Images Right

Aside from the theme and filters, you also have to size your images properly. Choose a dimension for your photo posts and keep your photos sized the same way. Once again, eClincher helps you accomplish this in a snap, with pre-sized photos optimized for each platform.

Post Relevant Content

Your audience wants to see content that’s relevant to them. Before you tap share, ask yourself if what you’re uploading is something that your audience actually wants to see.

thought catalog on instagram

3. Host Instagram Contests

Instagram contests, when done right, can be an excellent strategy to help you get more exposure and engagement, and also gain relevant followers.

Just a short reminder: When you’re holding contests, try to keep your giveaway related to your brand. Avoid generic prizes, like gadgets, that everyone wants to have.

This way, you can filter out those who aren’t interested in the industry that you belong to and get the people who are your target audience to participate.

4. Repost User-Generated Content

People want authenticity. It’s good to have professionally taken and edited photos, but posting user-generated content (UGC) is also beneficial for your business. Many social media users trust what their peers say (even more than what you say!), and posting content that your actual customers made can help convince them to give your brand a try.

Furthermore, user-generated content can also help build relationships with your existing clients. So, constantly monitor your mentions and hashtags and schedule a few of this type of content to boost engagement.

5. Tell a Story

Aside from providing beautiful visual material, try to tell stories on your uploads. You can show people behind-the-scenes footage, photos of employees having fun while working, images of your brand helping the community, trivia and other interesting facts about your brand, and other things that can provide value to your audience.

women smiling in nature

6. Post Promotional Content in Moderation

It’s all right to post promotional content occasionally, but avoid doing it too often. Otherwise, your audience might get bored. Remember to keep things interesting, so spice up your feed with some variety.

7. Post Regularly

Set a consistent schedule for uploading your content. It can be difficult to do this manually, so using a social media management tool like eClincher can help you manage this efficiently.

8. Stay Updated on the Latest Trends

Algorithms change, and this is something we cannot control. To keep your posts optimized for the current algorithm, you should make it a habit to read news about the industry and stay updated on the latest trends. This way, you’ll be able to take advantage of new opportunities for your brand to shine.

Social media is not a “set it and forget it” practice!

9. Optimize

To make sure that your content reaches as much of your target audience as possible, you should make it a point to optimize it before you hit share.

Promote Across Platforms

Promote your Instagram content on your other social media platforms. This can be done simply by adding the link to your Instagram page.

It’s also good to include a link to your Instagram page on your website to let your visitors know where they can find you on social media.

Tag Your Location

Instagram can filter content by location. If you want to be seen whenever someone searches for the location you’re in, then add a location tag to your photos and videos.

Include Hashtags

Hashtags are Instagram’s keywords. They can help you get seen, so add relevant hashtags to your captions whenever you upload new content.

eClincher will save your IG hashtags so you can easily insert them into any post.

hashtag written in sand

10. Include a Call-to-Action

If you want engagement, then you should encourage engagement. One way to do this is to add a call-to-action on your caption. Here are a few examples.

Ask a Question

Make the question relevant to your post.

Tag a Friend

Encourage your audience to tag their friends or someone they know. This can help with your brand’s exposure. You can also incorporate this into your Instagram contest.

“Contact Us”

Entice people to make a move to know more about your product or service. A teaser image can be helpful.

11. Utilize Instagram Stories

Over 500 million people use Instagram Stories daily! This means it’s possible to reach a huge chunk of your target audience through it.

Instagram Stories are fun to do. They have a vast library of stickers – location, poll, questions, hashtags, and so much more – that will not only make your Story look good, but also help with your engagement and exposure.

12. Be Active

Like with other social media sites, you have to connect with people. Simply posting content isn’t enough. To encourage other people to engage with your content, you’ll have to do your part.

Start by liking other people’s posts or dropping a comment below their content. Also, remember to reply to their comments on your feed to encourage them to engage with other posts in the future.

like written in board game tiles

13. Study Your Metrics

The only way to determine whether or not your strategies are working for you is to monitor your insights and analytics. So, consistently study your metrics. This way, you’ll be able to replace or modify strategies that aren’t doing well and keep those that are improving your engagement.

14. Set Clear Guidelines

To be able to respond quickly to comments and direct messages, you sometimes need a lot of people to handle your brand’s Instagram account. This is required especially if your Instagram traffic far exceeds what one person can handle. When this happens, you have to set clear guidelines.

Make sure each person on your team knows your brand’s voice for consistency. It’s also good to plan a strategy on how to reply to negative feedback so it can be handled appropriately.

When done right, Instagram can offer plenty of opportunities for your business. These tips can help you get started in improving your Instagram engagement. But remember that now and then, developers decide to change the algorithm to suit the needs of their users. You’ll have to make an effort to stay updated on the latest happenings and to adjust your strategies in response to those changes. Use this Instagram cheat sheet as your guide.