Instagram engagement: the checklist

What is engagement and why is it important? Engagement is the number of likes, comments and saves a post receives. It gives us an idea of how active our audience is. It also tells us whether or not the stuff we’re putting out there is working.

It’s not just about numbers. It’s much, much more than that. It tells us how interested our audience is in the stuff we’re doing.

Good Instagram engagement requires you work hard before and after posting content.

Here’s the stuff I do before and after I post to Instagram, a checklist I live by to ensure my audience remains active and engaged:

Before posting

  • The idea: Taking a picture, clicking the button, that’s the easy part. The art is in the idea. Think about stuff that interests you, research it, and think about ways you can present your ideas in pictures. My guide to making better pictures might help!
  • The final shot: Only share your best pictures. I’m definitely prone to the odd panic post (you probably already know). But if you’re not completely happy with your final shot, you’ll only go back and delete it later.
  • Grid flow: A curated feed is certainly not the be-all-and-end-all, but the stuff that goes hand in hand with that, consistency, variety, thoughtfulness, certainly add a great deal of value to a loyal follower. Using an app like Unum can help you plan your feed a little better.
  • Caption: Think of your caption as a sort of journal instead of a quick Brainy Quote copy/paste jobby. Your audience want to know what you’ve got to say. It allows people to get to know you, to trust you.
  • Hashtags: Hashtags won’t help you maintain the interest of your current audience, but they’re an opportunity to have your content seen by potential new audience members. Do some research. Find 30 hashtags specific to your content, community and audience. Use notes on your phone and copy them ready for when you post.

After posting

  • Time: Only post when you have time to engage. If you’re not willing to put time into your own stuff, why should anybody else? It’s a good idea to choose a time and stick to it.That way, you’ll be more prepared and your audience will have an idea of when to expect you.
  • Do your bit: Spend time after posting going through pictures people you follow have posted, like those pictures, and leave meaningful comments. Check out pictures in the hashtags you’ve used. Like and comment on the stuff you love. If you’re not actively engaging with your people, why should they engage with you?
  • Respond: Reply to comments people have left on your post. You might not be able to reply to every comment. But reply to as many as you can. Acknowledging your audience is certainly a sure-fire way to get them to stick around.

Do you struggle with engagement? What’s your process when it comes to Instagram engagement? Any tips I haven’t already mentioned?