Unit 3 Community & Engagement

Welcome back to Week 3! This week, we’re focusing on possibly the most important strategy you can employ to get the most out of your social media use.

No matter which platform you are active on or how any followers you have, this strategy will succeed over and over again, and that is because it is at the core of all ‘social’ media – simply being social. This strips social media back to its intended use rather than just a one-way platform for followers to admire from afar. No matter how great your content is, you won’t experience true growth until you embrace community.

Building on our content in Week 2 - which discussed attracting and retaining your ideal audience through aesthetic components - it is vital to become part of the community you build and attract through your chosen theme and content. In fact, the Insta algorithm which determines the exposure of your posts, hugely favours accounts that have an engaged following that you too reciprocate by participating in.  

If you dream of becoming a travel blogger, follow other travellers from low to high following ranges, and become a part of the conversation – meaningfully engage in their content, and they will too. Even if the account you’re engaging with is small, still interact if they are in your category and you appreciate their content; remember every connection counts!

A hot tip if you’re really wanting to get serious with Instagram is to only follow and engage with other accounts in your niche – this tells the Instagram algorithm that you can be lumped together with popular content creators in that category and makes you appear as a suggested follow when someone follows that account. We recommend having a private account for family and friends for more personal interaction!

Also remember to let your current followers know you’re listening and that you genuinely care about their comments by interacting back. Comment replies count as engagement, alerting the algorithm of a hot post, leading to higher exposure. 

Engagement is easy. Here’s some simply steps you can work on daily:

  1. Search the top 9 posts daily in the areas you’re focused within – think back to our Week 1 blog on Hashtags – which hashtags did you identify within your category? Pick a few ranging in popularity (how many times the hashtag has been used) and leave a like and a genuine comment on these posts. Mix them up every other week. If you haven’t read our Hashtag Strategy Blog, read here.
  2. Pre-post warm up: Jump on Instagram 30 minutes prior to posting a new photo and engage with other accounts you already follow. This way when you post, the community will hopefully share the love back!
  3. Watch your comments. Avoid one or two worded comments (4+ worded comments are most effective) that appear as a mundane compliment as these won’t drive the account to engage back with you. Try to draw on something unique to the content, engage with other’s comments and create meaningful conversations or provide some value. Tag others you think would enjoy the content.
  4. DM accounts you truly admire and let them know how much you love their account – this can be more personal than a comment in building a reciprocal social relationship.
  5. Find a group of accounts within your niche (from 10-30 accounts) and create a private network that communicates via DM’s to share new posts, so members can reciprocate genuine engagement with one another’s photos which encourages others to do so as well. Ultimately, this will mutually increase exposure to grow quicker together. 

Gaining loyal and engaging followers in your niche isn’t the only advantage of getting social on your social media. By immersing yourself in your niche, you’ll learn everyday about the culture within your category and actively consume trending and successful posts that will inspire and help you grow in your own content creation.

Yet the most the fulfilling of all; you’ll build real relationships through platforms often deemed inherently unsocial in today’s society. The truth is... we’ve just been doing it wrong with a one-way approach!