Well, there is a lot you can do to get noticed, and part of it is realizing that because Instagram is constantly reinventing itself, so should your brand-building strategy on the platform.
What Has Changed?
Since its inception, much has changed for Instagram, including how its algorithms determine the best feed for each user. Previously, feeds were populated with posts in chronological order. You saw newer posts first, and older posts would be way down on the feed. Now that is no longer the case. An old post can also be the topmost on your feed if it has continued high engagement. More so, if you have been interacting with publications of the same user or posts of a similar nature.
In other words, the algorithm now designs the display of personal feeds based on a predictive calculation of what Instagram feels the individual user is likely to be most interested in. It has sent many professional users of the platform in a scramble as clearly engagement is more important to stay visible on Instagram in present times. SocialBoss marketers believe that comments are the most valuable engagement signal as they require more immersion and attention. And attention on social networks is a modern currency that helps to stay ahead of competitors. However, long-term sustained growth of one’s account needs a more detailed content planning and marketing strategy. Let’s take a look at what counts as valuable engagement signals.
What Makes Comments Stand Out Among Other Engagement Signals
Have you ever wondered what gives one post a position over another if the chronology is not the basis of the presentation? How do the algorithms predict what one may prefer over other posts? Several parameters affect a post’s visibility and feed ranking. These include:
- Direct Messages,
While all of the above are essential parameters, the algorithms of Instagram aren’t very transparent on how each one affects post visibility. There is speculation that not all parameters have equal weight in determining the calculations. Recently, this move has also made the display of engagement a personal choice for each user. It is why, for instance, many users now choose to hide the likes and views received on each post. Comments, however, have a different story. Regardless of its percentage effect on the algorithmic calculations, they firmly hold user attention and are great for building social proof. Comments especially catch user attention as they signify that the user has spent time looking at and responding to a post. That the engagement left is not just an absent-minded click of a heart or bookmark. Each visitor can read publicly left comments to determine for themselves if the attention is dropped by genuine users of Instagram or by bots. They can also understand from the conversation how others receive your brand. It helps other visitors create opinions about your post and your products. In other words, apart from working on Instagram’s algorithms favourably, comments help build social credibility and consumer loyalty. They are essential for an overall brand-building exercise.
What Can You Do to Increase Your Chances of Receiving Instagram Comments?
Organic comments are the best for getting someone to leave a message on your post. Whether it comes from a smiley, appreciation, question, or acknowledgment, it carries the conversation forward on your post. It keeps your photo/video high up on the visibility charts. Here are a few ideas you can incorporate into your IG marketing strategy to get others to leave more comments on your posts:
- Ensure you are public
Keep your account and all your posts public. Instagram now has settings allowing you to turn private parts of your profile/ posts. You can have a public profile but publish a personal post or a post open to a limited audience. While comments collected on such posts still count towards engagement, they aren’t optimal as the setting restricts many from even seeing the post, let alone commenting on it. Therefore, ensure that your profile is in a public mode for the best engagement results.
- Study the trends
Research on what is bringing in the most comments for your competitors. Also, study your audience’s behavior and take note of the kind of posts they are commenting on most. People do not usually respond to content they are not interested in. To understand the trends that are catching your target audience’s attention. Ensure your feed is always fresh and brings in something new for your visitors. Even if you have a specific tone and posting trend established as a brand, there are always ways to ensure your content brings your visitors to engage with you.
- Put up a question
When we say put up a question, it need not always be serious. The aim is to get your audience to leave an answer in the comment section. You can put up:
- Fun questions regarding preferences of color, music, fashion, etc.
- Open-ended Opinion questions on recent events, posts, or anything about your niche or your audience’s interest.
- Product-related questions that you can use to better your business.
- Instagram-related questions -like what kind of posts the audience would want to see from you next.
- Use CTAs
If you want your audience to leave comments, use a call-to-action request and ask them directly. You can use simple requests like “drop a line for us below,” “do you have a suggestion?” or “leave a comment.” You can also aim to broaden your audience reach by asking your viewers to “tag a friend in the comments below.” The possibilities of using CTAs are endless, and you can combine these with Conversational Ads and Shopping Tags for the best results.
- Choose a visual that prompts others to talk about it
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In these times, you can say the same of videos too. Use an interesting photo or video as your post. People tend to react and talk about such visuals naturally, which is a great way to prompt them to leave comments without explicitly using a CTA. Some emotions that are naturally inclined to get viewers to leave comments include:
Anything that makes the user laugh, think, feel curious, or ponder can incite them to drop a comment. At times it can be highly emotional footage of an event, and at others, it can be a ridiculous photo!
- Host giveaways
Contests are a fun and easy way to get your audience to drop comments on your posts. Think creatively and host an Instagram contest that requires commenting as an essential part of eligibility. Here are some contests that could work:
- A caption contest – ask your viewers to use the comment section to put in their entries (you can also ask them to tag friends whose participation can earn them brownie points).
- A question-solving contest – give your viewers a fun riddle to solve and type their answers in the comments.
- An opinion poll contest.
- A CTA giveaway.
You can improve your post’s chances of increased engagement by allowing multiple entries and keeping it open for a long time.
- Be quick in responding
Communication is the key to successful engagement with clients, followers, and potential fans. When someone leaves any interaction on your post, be quick in responding, making the person interacting feel important and heard. If need be, use an auto-reply. Otherwise, you can turn your push notifications on so you are alert to when you are receiving any engagement and can quickly respond.
- Humanize your communication
Most users respond when you create a personalized response to their comments. In other words, when you let your visitor feel heard, they will be more inclined to carry on the conversation thread. You can add emojis, gifs, and other conversation fillers to make your answers more appealing and engaging.
- Host Q&A sessions
Use your Live feature by organizing question and answer sessions or talking directly to your audience. Ask your audience to leave queries, observations, and feedback on your comment feed. You can pin specific responses to continue your session and give the whole broadcast direction. You will be surprised at how quickly comments pile up on such sessions. Keep in mind that this works best when you ensure you have created sufficient awareness and publicity for your live session well in advance so that more people listen in real-time when you actually go on air.
Further, use features like Instagram Stories to promote conversations about future Q&A sessions. You can ask your visitors to drop a line on what subject they want for the Q&A session, and you can also ask them to leave a question in advance or suggest guests they want to see in your session.
- Find the right collaborators
You do not have to do it all by yourself. Find an influencer who matches your business ethics and values and collaborate with them. Influencers have a vast reach and often positively impact the audience they cater to. They are great to work with, creating brand visibility, and consumer loyalty is at the back of your mind. Get them to drop CTAs for comments if you aren’t receiving them already. In addition to influencers, make ample use of the mention tag and share your IG STORY space with other users. It will surely draw the audience’s attention and bring interesting conversations to your comment section.
- Have a budget for conversational ads
Conversation ads are a great way of generating comments and leaving new posts as organic offshoots of the initial conversation. Instagram lets you use an Ads Manager and promote existing posts as ads. Of the various ways you can create ads, you have an option to click on Instagram Direct Ads. This form of ads lets interested viewers begin a conversation with you through DMs.youcsn and run other lead generation campaigns simply by adding Shoppable tags and CTAs.
- Repurpose old posts
Whilecreating new content is always a must, it doesn’t mean your old posts need to become redundant and “dead.” Use hashtags and throwback trends to rekindle conversations on old posts and push them back into visibility. You can also repost old content with new captions to bring a new context or perspective to the publication. Many also use old content as contest posts to start interesting conversations. If you have a post that has done great in the past, you can promote it to get people to start talking about it.
Getting people to talk about your posts may seem complicated, but it is possible. IG Stories is known to bring in most conversations as they are often populated with polls and surveys. You can, of course, use any post to generate conversations. Keep in mind that comments often set off a loop of organic engagement on your post as more people respond either to your post or to the published comment. So, the more feedback you have, your likelihood of gaining employment increases. It gives you more visibility and a higher rank on feeds and the Explore tab. So, experiment, study and innovate. Post content that will appeal to your target audience and keep up the quality of your posts. You will soon find the desired comments flowing in.