Sometimes, we get so caught up in the amount of likes and followers that we have that we forget all about the ‘social’ aspect of social media. Business owners that receive hundreds of likes and comment s on their Instagram posts everyday may find it difficult to directly engage with customers on regular basis.
But regular engagement on Instagram is incredibly important if businesses want to promote their brand and increase their customer reputation. Our guide will tell you everything you need to know about engaging with your Instagram followers and customers and why it’s important.
Why Engagement is Important
This seems pretty self-explanatory. If you engage with your existing customers, you’ll earn more sales and more customers. You’ll also increase your Instagram follower count. Seems like a win-win situation, right?
There are also some hidden benefits of direct engagement. Here are just a few of them.
- Increase customer reputation. Your customers will be impressed with your account if you consistently respond to customer concerns and comments. They’ll be even more impressed if you like relevant customer posts and repost relevant user-generated content.
- Humanize your business. It’s difficult to comprehend how large some businesses have become. Some conglomerates have millions of employees all across the world. For these businesses, it’s difficult to know who sees and responds to a comment. Luckily, if you run a small business and control your Instagram account by yourself, your followers will know who they’re talking to. In the age of automation, real, human connection matters more than you think.
- Get to know your customers. Analytics will tell you a lot about your target audience – age, gender, location, interests. The list goes on and on. That information is invaluable, but you need to connect on a deeper, personal level by actually talking to your followers. That connection can tell you what your customers’ passions are, why they frequent your business, and so much more.
How to Directly Engage with Customers
This may seem straightforward, but there are some right and wrong ways to go about interacting with your customers on Instagram. Here are a few ideas on how to engage effectively.
- Respond to comments. This one is pretty obvious. If your account receives hundreds of comments a day, it can be impossible to respond to all of them. However, you should try to respond to all relevant comments when you can, especially customer service enquiries and negative reviews.
- Like other people’s posts. If your followers have uploaded a photo or video and tagged your account or business location, you should like it! Not only does this show your appreciation for your customer’s post, but it also proves that you’re active and engaged on Instagram.
- Ask your followers questions. Do you have any exciting events coming up? Need ideas for a new project? Asking your followers’ opinion on something makes them feel valued and appreciated. Customer input is invaluable for brand evolution. If you want your customers to be an integral part of your brand, make sure to ask for their input as often as you can.
- Use custom hashtags. If you haven’t already, you need to create a custom hashtag for your business, and encourage your followers to upload content using that hashtag. Try to think of something witty or relevant to your brand. This will make the hashtag more memorable and prompt your customers to use it.
- Ask “fill in the blank” questions. This is similar to one of our other points, but the formatting is a little different. Let’s say you run a coffee shop, and you want your followers’ input on who should be employee of the month. You might upload a photo of all your employees and caption it, “My favorite barista is ___, because ___.” This gives your followers a chance to show their appreciation for your business and your employees, and it will give your employees a confidence boost. Need some ideas for questions to ask? Here’s a complete list.
- Create daily or weekly hashtag themes. #ThrowbackThursday and #MondayMotivation are popular all across the globe. Who’s to say you can’t create your own daily hashtag themes for your business? Just like a custom hashtag, try to think of something funny or relevant to your business.
Tips for Maximizing Engagement
It’s hard to run a business and manage all your social media accounts at the same time. You may fall behind in responding to comments and engaging in other ways. Luckily, we’ve got some tips on how to fix that.
- Hire a social media manager. Technically, if you’re overseeing your business and your social media accounts, you’re doing the job of two people. Social media managers exist to take some of that burden off the business owner’s shoulders. While social media managers can handle the majority of social media engagement, you should still make an effort to respond and engage personally when you can.
- Be consistent. If you’re going to engage with your followers, be consistent about it. Set aside a specific amount of time each week or each day to respond to comments and like photos. If you only respond sporadically, your followers might think you’re a little scatterbrained, and no one wants that.
- Don’t shy away from negativity. If someone leaves a negative comment on your post, you need to address it. No one likes negative comments, but if you don’t respond, it may tell your other customers that you don’t know how to handle complaints. Always respond to negativity in a professional way, doing your best to resolve the customer’s complaint.
Connecting with your customers isn’t just something you should do in your spare time. It’s imperative if you want to achieve optimal Instagram success and customer reputation. Engaging on a consistent basis is difficult, but necessary. That’s why you should set aside time each day or each week to actively engage with your customers. If you hope to hire a social media manager, they can help you figure out the best time to engage.
Responding to the most important comments and concerns doesn’t take a long time, but it’ll enhance your customer reputation, humanize your business, and establish a deep, personal connection between you and your customers.