Instagram is one of the largest social networking platforms, and it has steadily risen in popularity over the past few years. By the look of the latest statistics from its business resources, Instagram does not show any signs of slowing down.

The photo-sharing network currently boasts the following:

  • 70+ million new photos a day
  • 5 billion likes a day
  • 300 million active Instagram users
  • 30+ billion shared photos

This type of engagement cannot be faked. With this massive following and strong engagement, it comes as no surprise that businesses have swarmed the Instagram community.

If you want to turn this fast-growing photo-sharing community into a business leverage, you must know the rules of the game.

Here are four engagement tactics to grow Instagram followers:

Engagement Tactic #1: Tell a Story

There was a period in search engine optimisation history when marketers crammed keywords into their blog content just to pull up their website ranking. Although Google banned this tactic, this strategy still squirmed its way into social media – this time in the form of clickbait. With a few differences, the basic strategy is the same: use a few strong keywords to reel people into clicking a link and directing them to a page.

This black hat SEO tactic is not something you should follow, but it does reveal a gem of truth: people love stories.

Good storytelling turns visitors into avid readers and in Instagram, your pictures are the tales you use to regale your followers.

If your company organises events, frame your visual content to showcase a story from the planning stage up to the after-party. This will show the audience your commitment to a project from start to finish. You convey a message to prospective clients that you strive to make an important event as memorable as possible.

Engagement Tactic #2: Interact with Followers

You can pre-schedule your posts, but when it comes to responding to direct messages and comments, you must meet people real-time or as soon as possible.

If this proves to be too much work for you, outsourcing this task to a virtual assistant is the smartest move. Along with responding to messages and comments, you can also delegate the tasks of following established users or influencers of the same line of business and liking or reposting content from followers who mention or tag your company.

Engagement Tactic #3: Don’t be Stingy in Posting Videos

Instagram has expanded from photo-sharing to video content. According to research, 40% of people prefer visual content to plain text. Of the numerous data transmitted to the brain, 90% of this is imagery. No wonder videos are a big hit!

When Instagram introduced videos, not many people tried it at first and yet, those who did gained massive engagement from viewers.

Videos are a creative and dynamic way of connecting with followers. With 3-60 seconds to run your video, you can vary your content, get straight to the heart of the matter, or include a longer insight into your day. This is what will make your Instagram video memorable to your audience.

Engagement Tactic #4: Always Leave a Call to Action – And Some Rewards

Engagement is a two-way street. How would you know that a story resonated with a follower? Ask them to double tap if they agree. Is your new product a hit? Tell them to tag a friend to try it with. Leaving a call to action rouses your users into active followers.

Don’t forget to reward fans who commend your product or participate in the contests you host. You can mail them samples of upcoming products or you can give away tickets to exciting events, concerts, or shows.

Instagram is a goldmine for business owners, but you must have the right tools to tap into its marketing wealth. These top 4 engagement tactics for Instagram followers will get you on the right track.

Catherine vanVonno, the author, is the President and Executive Director of 20Four7VA, a global Virtual Assistant (VA) Service Provider.