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Authentic Online Marketing with Ruthie Gray
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Ep. 21: 3 Overlooked Instagram Hacks to Boost Engagement (and keep them coming back!)

Here are 3 {simple} Instagram hacks to boost engagement that work if you feel like you’re wasting time on Instagram!

Planning posts only to watch them fall flat is no laughing matter.  And frankly, I see way too much of this – it makes me sad because I remember a time when I felt the same way.  

But the reason this was happening to me was because I was missing the point;  I didn’t realize the strategy of Instagram.  

There is a reason why people either stop and comment, or keep on scrolling.  If you’re tired of being a bystander at the busy intersection of Instagram Influencers and Cat Memes, stick around.  I’ve got the scoop. 

*This episode contains either affiliate links or links to my products. Should you choose to purchase, the show will go on! Woo hoo!


Listen to Ep. 67: Top 5 Instagram Features For Marketers In 2023

Listen to Ep. 64: Building A YouTube Channel From Repurposed Content

Listen to Ep. 63: Leveraging 2023 Instagram Trends

Listen to Ep. 58: 7 tips for repurposing Instagram stories

What you’re about to hear is an insider Zoom call with my Instagram pro coaching membership.  You’ll hear me refer to “Group A” and “Group B”,and listen for a familiar voice asking a question – it may be someone you know).  You’ll find I give a healthy dose of tough love, but I think you know I’m just trying to help my people (like you) develop their message so they can get in front of their target followers. Here we go!

I want to give you three to three overlooked Instagram Hacks to boost engagement because group B is having trouble with engagement. that is the biggest overall theme of the struggle that they mentioned to me. So if you, no matter what group you’re in, if you have trouble with engagement, you need to be doing these three things.

Instagram Hacks to boost engagement: Hack #1

Number one of the 3 overlooked Instagram Hacks to Boost Engagement: Answer your comments. I know that’s a duh, but do it.

Stay on to answer those comments, don’t just let them sit, go answer them. And try to answer with integrity and value.  It doesn’t have to be super long, but the more comments you get right after you drop your post and the more you respond to them, the more that pushes your post up and Instagram pushes it out to more people.

Because Instagram senses, “Oh, people are engaging with this. So that’s number one

Engagement: Hack #2

Number two, generate longer, valuable comments. When you go into a share thread and you are loving on everybody else’s posts, don’t just say, Oh, I love this…heart, heart, heart. Don’t do that. Say something valid and valuable.  And go seek new accounts and followers to interact with.

Think of a connection that you have with that person or with that post or with that picture, some value you can give to leave a longer comment. Take the time. 

And the reason you want to do that is twofold:

Number one, people come back and reciprocate on your account.

And number two, other people that don’t know you but see your valuable comment think, “I want to get to know this person because I have a connection with this person.”

Let’s say you homeschool your kids and leave a great comment on someone else’s post.  Another homeschool mom sees your comment and thinks, “This person really knows what she’s doing. I want to follow her. Cause she’s homeschooling”… or she’s an empty nester. She is going through grief, letting go of her kids. I see that. I want to connect with that person.

This is why you want to do that.

Instagram Hacks to boost engagement: Hack #3

And then the number three engagement  tip is this.

This is really important. I do this every week, 10 to 15 minutes before you post, go on the app, connect, engage, and leave valid, valuable comments on follower posts or reach out to new people. Do that for 10 to 15 minutes before you post, because Instagram knows if you post and ghost – they know it.

And so if you go post, wait five minutes, and answer a few comments,

it’s not going to get as much exposure as if you use a platform for social media (for what it is meant), which is to be social – so you’ve got to connect. So 10 to 15 minutes before you post. And then when you post hang on for 10 to 15 more minutes, because those people that you just commented on before you posted, they’re going to come over and reciprocate and you gotta be there.

] You gotta be present to answer your posts. So do that. And then if you need to get off the app, go do whatever, but check back in one or two times.

Question: So if we were trying to be as efficient as possible on Facebook, and I know, again, this is social media, we’re supposed to be social, but we also have people that are developing journals and podcasts and everything else.

Once more for the people in the back

So what I’m hearing you say, Ruthie, and correct me if I’m wrong. We want to be on for about 15 minutes before we post. So if we’re planning out posts – if I know that I’m posting every day at 11 o’clock, I want to be on at 10:45 ish to start priming the pump for Instagram, and then it posts and hopefully Instagram goes, Oh yeah, she’s already here. Look, she’s engaging. 

And then you stay for another 15, 20 minutes after that. So ideally. It could be a half hour, half, hour to 45 minute gig based around the time that you post. Is that right? Okay. That’s where I’m falling down.

That’s what I needed here. Thanks  okay.

So  one more thing about this. I know that sounds like , a lot. But it works. This is how you’re getting exposure for your product, for your launches.

If, and here’s the other thing, just try to work one platform at a time. You’re here to learn about Instagram. So let’s do it. Let’s be all in and stop trying to be everywhere else. And let’s just go for it. You’ve invested money.

A startling statement about necessary time spent on engaging

I heard this on a podcast the other day, and it was from a guy that teaches Instagram. And he said the rule of thumb should be however long it took you to create that post,  you should spend twice as much time on engagement.

[00:05:26] Boom. And that’s what I do now. I spend a lot of time on my posts because I want them to resonate. I want them to be educational, entertaining, or, encouraging. I want them to be valid and valuable. That’s why I only post three to four times a week, usually because I want this to be something that people really enjoy.

[00:05:51] I’m not just blowing up their feed. I’m not just posting because here I am on Instagram. Everybody look at me. No, I’m delivering value. So that’s what you want to do. 

Wrapping up: Overlooked Instagram Hacks to Boost Engagement (and keep them coming back!)

So let’s recap.  Here’s what we learned today, and this is what you can put in practice going forward – along with a special free tool I have that I’ll mention at the end so stay with me:

  1. Answer your comments
  2. Generate value comments on other’s posts
  3. Spend longer on engagement than on your posts

NOTE: The platform is free and you’re playing the long game.  This paves the road for when you’re ready to launch your product.  Who’s up for free advertising?  Me! Be there to deliver value – just like my guest, Pat, mentioned in episode 19 – people don’t buy products, they buy results, and you have to position yourself as the middleman.  You’re the solution, so develop the relationship.  Be that go-to person who’s always delivering value whether it’s educational, inspirational, or entertaining.

If you want to learn how to be a part of my coaching membership, sign up for my newsletter, the Instagram Insider, where you’ll receive Insider tips beyond this podcast, plus stay in the loop for the next membership launch.  I’ll leave it at the top of the shownotes, and right now my special offer with sign up is the free Instagram Caption Blueprint – it’ll show you how to write those stop-worthy posts before you practice these engagement tips!

  Now go forth and…ENGAGE!

Instagram Hacks to Boost Engagement

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