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Instagram Tips + Tricks

So you want to increase your engagement on your posts? Perhaps you have a small business and you feel like your posts aren't getting seen? Or maybe you're a mom like me trying to do this whole influencer thing and want your engagement to be better? I'm sharing some tips and tricks that I've learned along the way to help you out and teach you how to best use Instagram.


It would be nice if Instagram weren't all about numbers, but let's not kid ourselves. It is. Most people want to reach the 10k mark so they have the swipe up feature for their followers. And a lot of companies tend to reach out to accounts with large followings. It makes sense, it's business. But don't let it get you down. I myself have 5k followers and I'm not letting that keep me from trying to grow my page and get out there.


So, let's talk engagement real quick. If you don't know what engagement means, I'll break it down for you. A lot of companies that work with influencers want to know what the engagement on your posts are like. That means they look at the number of followers you have, the amount of likes and the amount of comments you get on your posts.

If you have over 10k followers and you're only getting 30 some likes and maybe one or two comments, something is off. We can all tell that you probably purchased your followers at some point and that isn't a genuine following. I'm not trying to be rude, that's just the truth. You can tell when someone has a large genuine following because the numbers will add up.

Click here to see what your average engagement on your page is. It's super easy, all you have to do is add your Instagram handle and the website does the work for you. Don't be alarmed if the number is super low, most are. My average engagement for my page is 6.21% and sometimes that'll increase and decrease.

The best way to start increasing your engagement is interaction. My friend Stephanie over at Honestly Mommy calls it social media karma. We all want to succeed, right? We want our posts to do well and get a decent amount of likes and comments, especially on those collaboration posts. Well, don't be selfish. Plain and simple. People take the time out of their day to interact with you on your page. You know what that does? It boosts your engagement. So if you see a mom out there hustling to grow her page and doing collabs, help her out. Return the favor! It doesn't take long to comment on their post and hit the like button. Even on someone's business page, it helps so much if you leave a comment. And plus, no one likes people who only want success for themselves. ;) #communityovercompetition

I have my post notifications turned on for a lot of the women I follow that are trying to grow their pages so I can go comment and support them. That's been the easiest way for me to try and stay on top of interacting with others. There's a lot of times I won't see someone's posts on my feed so I rely on the post notifications so I can try to interact on that post as soon as I'm able to. If you don't use this feature on Instagram to see your friends' posts, I definitely recommend using it. Just tap the three little dots on the top of someones profile and there will be an option to turn on post notifications. That way you're on top of what they're posting. It's similar to subscribing to someone on Youtube and getting notifications when they have a new video.


Also, when interacting on other peoples posts you need to remember the 4 word rule. Instagram counts comments with 4 or more words and that's not including emojis. Keep in mind, it helps if you are commenting back with 4 or more words on the comments on your posts as well. I'm personally not always good about that and I typically just try to respond to every comment at least and call it good. But the 4 word rule helps your posts.

It's also best to interact the most you can on your post within the first hour of posting. So if I see some comments on my post after 10 or 15 minutes of posting, I try to respond right away. A good rule for yourself is to create your post and try to have that hour or so available so you can interact on your post and also use that time to catch up on others posts as well, or at least that's what I like to do.

Interaction feeds interaction. So use that time while you're on the app anyways to go comment on any posts you want to. One of my favorite tips I read from @ourvintagefarmhouse is to comment on pages that have large followings. So maybe a brand you love following like @ultabeauty or maybe a brand with baby gear you love like @dockatot (just some examples). You could go comment on their most recent post or even a couple if you've got the time. I can't tell you how many accounts I've stumbled accross because they've commented somewhere in the Instagram world and I decided to click on their profile. Think of it like this; if you're not active and engaging on the app, people aren't going to find your page. Put yourself out there, comment on different posts, and engage with your followers. This will all help a ton.

That brings me to a very important rule. Make your account public. My account used to be used for more personal things, which is why I ended up making a new personal account for family and friends. The things I don't want shared with the world go on that profile and everything else is on my public profile. I personally don't follow any private accounts unless I know them in real life. People like clicking on your name and browsing your feed to see if they want to follow you or not. If your profile is set to private, I bet you there's been a lot of people that have checked out your page but decided not to follow because they can't see your content. So go change that now if your profile is set to private and you're wanting to grow your page.

Another change to make to your profile is making it a business page. By doing this, you gain so many tools on your profile. You're able to see the actions people take on your stories (if they check out your profile, click on the link in your bio, click on the pages you tag) and on your posts (if it was saved and how many times, how many people the post reached, website clicks, emails, etc.). You are also able to see info about your audience and what time is best for you to post in regards to when your followers are on Instagram. I was also able to add an option for people to click on my profile to contact me by email! Isn't that so nice for collaborations? You don't have to list your email anywhere, they can just click a button and be able to contact you.



Also, hashtags. It kind of makes me giggle when people use lots of hashtags on their personal profile because that's not going to get anyone to see their page. Only the followers you allow on your profile will see that because your account isn't public. So, there's really no use for hashtags on a personal profile. I mean, I'll occasionally throw one on the end of my captions on my personal page just for myself or maybe it fits with what I'm posting, but I know that no one is going to click on that hashtag and see my picture because I have a private profile. So if you didn't know that before, now you know. ;)

When I create my posts though, I always add a cluster of hashtags. That is how people have found my public page and it really does help your posts get seen. It's good to use hashtags that are popular and used a lot. Some of the ones I always include are #momlife, #momblogger, #boymom, etc.


You can browse popular hashtags on Instagram or you can even type them out as you're posting and you'll see how often that certain hashtag is used. Make sure to either add the hashtags you want to your caption or create a comment on your post with all of the hashtags (that's what I do).

If a company that I'm collaborating with wants hashtags included in the caption, I always add those and then add my comment with all of my hashtags after I've made my post. I also try to think of hashtags that I search and include those. My hashtags typically change for each post so that they are relevant to what I'm posting. For example, some of my recent posts with my maternity photos (taken by In Focus Photography) I included hashtags like #maternityshoot, #maternitydress, #maternitypictures, etc.


Hashtags are also great to add to your stories. I've recently been trying to be better about this. I typically like using one or two hashtags that are relevant to my story so hopefully some people will come across my page. Even if only one person views that story because of that hashtag, I think it's worth it. You never know who is browsing and will come across your page.


The location tool on Instagram is also a HUGE help. I did this even when we lived in Kim, Co and now I'm doing it here in Hermiston. It is a great way for companies and other people in the area to discover your profile. I've connected with several people on Instagram because of using the location tool in my posts and stories. You don't have to do your specific city you live in if you're uncomfortable with that. You could always check into your state you live in or maybe if you're out for the night, check into that location. If we go to the movies or maybe a new restaurant, I typically browse the photos under that location to see what it's like.


In your stories, try to really use the tools Instagram offers you. Things like polls, the question sticker, really anything that allows your followers to interact with you. People like being involved and connecting with you, so give them ways to do that. That's also why it's so important to show your face on your stories. Research shows that stories are the next big thing (or already are) for Instagram. I even have a collab coming up where the company only wants me to use my stories! A lot of people are coming on Instagram just to check their stories and not browse their feed now, so if you're not using your stories start NOW.
  

And one more important thing is to tag all sorts of pages on Instagram. There are feature pages that you can tag like @mamahoodinsquares, @b1withletterboards (tag letterboard pages if you post a picture with a letterboard), @motherhoodunhinged, etc. Those are just a few I know of off the top of my head. Some of these feature pages are really small, but I don't let that stop me from tagging them or letting them share my photos. Because any exposure is good, right? You never know how many people will see that photo or who will come across it. Like I've said before, if one person checks out my page because of it then it's worth it to me. But also tag large companies because a lot of people browse through their photos to see what their products are like, to check out reviews, and to see content they're tagged in. So if your outfit is from Target, then tag Target. Or anything else that's in your photo and you know where it's from, tag that page! So for home decor, baby products, accessories, etc. I'll tag all the companies I can in a picture. I also tag myself so that there are more photos I'm tagged in on my profile. It might not necessarily help, but a lot of people browse through tagged photos and not just your regular feed. So just something to think about. :)




I know this was a lot, but I really hope you found some helpful tips in here. If it feels overwhelming, maybe write them down (engagement, interact with your followers on your post and on their posts as well, turn on post notifications, 4 word comments, first hour is most important, public account, business account, hashtags in post or in a comment, location tool, interact on stories, show your face on your stories, tag pages in your posts) and try to get used to doing one thing at a time. A lot of times I forget to do something, so I'll go back in and edit my post to add what I forgot which is nice that I'm able to do.

One thing to keep in mind is that Instagram is constantly changing. So, if I learn some other helpful tips in the future, I'll come back to this post and add them. There are also things that I've tried that don't necessarily help a lot, so I won't always do them. So test the waters with these tips, see what works for you and keep working hard. Some days your posts might not do well, other days your posts might take off and you'll get a ton of new followers. The online world is unpredictable and you never know what may happen. Just keep an open mind with all of this and you will do well!

I also want to throw some encouragement your way and remind you to stay true to yourself. I know there are accounts out there with prettier feeds than mine, with far more amazing pictures and they have amazing pages but they aren't me. YOU are unique and have your own style, whatever that may be. Create the posts you want, take the pictures you want and don't feel like you have to do what someone else is doing. You have complete control over your profile and what you make it. So don't compare yourself to others and what they're doing. Just do you and you will succeed. People are following you because they like YOU and what you have to offer. Just try to remember that. :)

So with all that being said, I am so thankful you checked this post out and that you are here. It means a lot. 

I hope you enjoy your day and can't wait to hear how these tips help you!

And if you feel like it, tag me (@mandythemomma) in any posts that you use some of these tips in. I want to see what you guys create and I want to support you! 

Best of luck,


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