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Instagram is A L L the rage these days. If you aren’t using Insta on the daily, I would be willing to bet you will be soon. With 24/7 access to people’s lives along with exclusive behind the scenes access to your favorite brands via stories, it’s no surprise Instagram has grown to over 1 billion monthly active users.

The gram has almost become like an addiction and recently released a feature found under the settings tab that allows you to see how many hours you spend daily using the app.

It even gives you the option to set a “daily reminder” to tell you when to get off the gram:

So yeah, it’s that good. And everyone is using it.

Still think it’s just for photos of your sister’s cat? Wrong. According to this article, 90% of the top 100 brands have an Instagram page. And if you’re a progressive brand or business, you should too.

But the biggest question business owners and brands find themselves asking: how do I make Instagram work for me? How can I drive new customers, followers or revenue from this social media platform?

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Instagram Is More Than Posting A Picture

If you’ve decided to dip your toe into the Instagram content marketing pool, at one point you might have felt like you were a little in over your head.

There’s SO much freaking work that goes into it: from sourcing the actual content, editing the photo to look candid but artsy, writing the most catchy-memorable-sexy caption of the century, using the most relevant hashtags and finally having the nerve to hit “post”.

Then stories take precedence over actual posts and you start to realize you should probably show up more often for your followers in order to remain relevant.

But seriously: who wants to fall behind and be the 100th circle someone clicks on after watching 99 other action-filled, raw, behind-the-scenes stories?!

Once you get the hang of it, you find out Instagram has changed its algorithm – yet again – andddd you’re back at square one. #FML

Now what?! All this content for what?!

Well, according to my research (thank you @Magic School Bus), there is one very crucial thing about Instagram that I notice MANY brands, businesses, and content creators are not doing enough.

#1 Secret to Instagram Success

Social media is meant to be a place where you go to be social. So it all boils down to a simple concept called engagement.

Yes – you need good photos, good captions, good consistency, good CTAs and good branding. But what you need most is engagement.

What does this specifically mean? Let me give you some ideas:

  • Commenting on the posts of your followers
  • Commenting on the posts of your target audience who are not yet followers
  • Commenting on the posts of your competitor’s followers via the comments on their photos
  • Responding to other user’s stories
  • Responding to each and every comment that someone leaves you on your posts

That’s just a couple of ideas. But what I’ve noticed is anyone who has a following engages on a very regular and consistent basis.

And it’s not meant to be a comment using one emoji or “LOVE”! The comments that get the most visibility from the user are the ones that show you actually read the caption and are wanting to engage with their post.

Every time I set aside an hour or two to just go balls to the wall with commenting on other people’s posts – I get new followers instantly and a TON of notifications.

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Instagram for Businesses

If you are more in the B2B space – look at your current customers and find potential customers through their pages. Start researching your target customer’s profiles within the search field and start engaging with them.

Follow them, like their posts and most importantly – start commenting on their posts. If you make this a daily habit, you will start to see an ROI with your Instagram page.

It’s really quite simple -yet the hardest part is finding time to do this. I’ve found that if you can dedicate an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening to simply engaging – you will grow at a record pace.

The big brands hire virtual assistants or have actual teams that do this for them. But if you’re like me and are roughing it out here in the wild wild west AKA the world wide web – it takes some grit and good old fashioned hard work.

Hard Work Pays Off

But I believe in you. And if you believe in you – I know you can do it. Heck, start small and make a goal to log in 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening to engage.

Do that for 30 days straight and then start to increase your time.

To get better brand deals, to get more engagement, to grow your following – it really is going to take time and effort. There’s no shortcut.

Now take this little piece of advice in order to turn your business page or brand page into a follower and engagement generating machine!

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