Alright guys. I’m not a pro or anything, but over the last few years, I’ve learned a thing or two about having an engaged audience on Instagram. Now I didn’t start out with these guidelines and set out to create an engaged audience but for me, it’s just something that has happened organically over time. And so from that, I’ve pulled a few things that I think help with creating an engaged audience on Instagram. We all want to know that what we’re doing is being well received and that our audience likes the content we are putting up. If you’re like me, you work really hard at planning outfits, editing and getting your posts together. And it’s human to want affirmation for all that hard work. No matter how proud of yourself you are, it’s nice to know that other people like it too.
There’s a problem though because, let’s be real, everyone these days is a fashion blogger. And like I mentioned last week, chances are someone is either currently wearing and posting a similar outfit to yours or by next week they will be. BUT do you know what everyone is not? Everyone is not YOU. In fact, no one is you, and if you can let your audience know who you are, through your posts, chances are they will start liking you. Because honestly we’re just as cool in our mismatched pajamas and topknot we’re wearing on our day off as we are in our best outfit we ever posted on Instagram. And when your audience starts feeling connected to you, they will start engaging with you. So how do you do that? Well I’ve come up with a few tips to help you out.
UTILIZE YOUR INSTAGRAM CAPTIONS: I know it’s hard to believe that Instagram captions matter because we are such a consumer generation, and you think if you actually take the time to write something meaningful, it will get scrolled past after a quick glance like everything else. Which is true for probably a lot of your followers, but there are going to be those few who stop to read. And after a few times of stopping to read and liking what they read, you will quickly become their favorite.
So, let’s talk about what should be in your caption. I can’t tell you how many times I see a photo on Instagram with a caption like “Pretty Floral Dress” or “Delicate Layers” followed by a few emojis. You guys. One, people can already see exactly what you’re wearing. Dontcha know, pictures are worth a thousand words?! 😛 So ya, let your picture do the talking. (I understand there are times you’re pointing people to a blog post or perhaps you are working with a company and you do need to explain a little about the photo or your outfit. Or there are those days where you’re literally just really excited about your outfit!) But otherwise, let’s get a little more creative! And two, unless the person on the other side of your photo is an avid commenter or just really really loves your outfit, they aren’t going to comment on your picture with a caption like that. You may get a like, but that’s probably it.
So now I know you’re wondering, well what the heck should go in my caption??? Something. Anything. About YOU. It can be some random thought you had that day, something funny that happened, something someone said to you, a questions to help you get to know your audience or maybe even something emotional or meaningful that you’re thinking about or that’s going on in your life. Or maybe just a hook about what you’re talking about in your blog post that makes them want to go to your blog. (Example: I started doing this thing every few weeks where I tell my readers “Five Things You Don’t Need to Know”, and I’ll include one of them or a teaser about one of them in my caption.) People crave human connection and relationship more than a pretty photo. And if you can generate two in one, you’ll have an engaged audience.
USE INSTASTORIES. And show your face. Remember Jesus loves you and you’re awesome just how you are, and then just start sharing your life. 😛 I’ll post on my Instastory all the time sans makeup, post workout, after a long day at work, etc, and I don’t really care that I’m not “put together”. Because that’s exactly how I am at that moment. #nofilter And they’ll see me back on there a little later after I’ve showered and done my hair and makeup, and I highly doubt my followers care either way. I actually have had a client/follower tell me that she loves my stories and loves that I don’t care if I sometimes have no makeup on because it makes me real. Being comfortable with who you are is attractive to people and they’ll probably relate more to your post workout self than your Sunday best.
Instastories are an amazing way to create engagement. Respond to people who write to you. Answer their questions. I know we are all so busy but a quick thank you or sending them the link to your outfit you were wearing that they asked about only takes a few seconds. So many girls have told me how much they appreciate that I actually respond to them. And I have noticed that once we have engaged on Instastories, I’ll see them commenting on my photos or liking them!
SHOW YOUR PERSONALITY. If all you talk about is clothes non-stop, people might think you’re shallow or that’s all you care about. Show them that there’s more to you. Half the time my captions on my Instagram have nothing to do with my outfit. And then really use Instastories to share more of your personality. Be yourself, share your hubby or boyfriend etc! And maybe even sometimes include a funny photo in your Instagram feed that shows your personality. Because ya’ll, I’m not a model, and chances are you would see me smiling if you met me in real life not doing my best RBF.
TALK ABOUT REAL LIFE. Life isn’t always just a perfectly curated Instagram feed. There are hard days and really really really good days. And a photo can only tell so much. So share your real life with your followers. Yes, there is some level of privacy to be considered, but there’s also so much that can be shared. For me that means talking about anything from my long day at work to having to switch to drinking black coffee (So lame. Not that I talked about it. That I now have to drink it that way. 😛 ) to the fact that being a fire wife isn’t always easy. Real life is appealing because it’s something your followers can relate to. I lose interest in bloggers over time who don’t share real life stuff. Don’t be the one they lose interest in.
DON’T POST JUST TO POST. If you’re a blogger, you probably have a system about when you post and what time of day you post. You know when it’s best for you, and you try to get up photos throughout the day at a specific time. But I think it’s so important not to post just to post. If something was forced or you didn’t have much to say, your followers will notice! So take time to think about what you’re posting and if it will create engagement, and go from there. I know there will definitely be times you just need to get a photo up, but even then try to think of at least a good one liner that your followers might relate to!
Phew. I feel like this was so long for me. If you made it through, congrats. And thanks for engaging with me! Do you guys do these things? Do you have any other things that work for you?
Hope your week if off to a great start. I’m about to get Mexican food down at the beach so you best believe mine is.
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