Instagram is an incredibly valuable marketing resource for today's business owners. With 800 million users as of September 2017, the potential to market your business on the platform is huge. But how do you leverage this traffic to grow your business? Here are 3 ways to boost engagement and grow your Instagram community.

1. Use Hashtags Wisely

Content posted with hashtags gets more engagement than content posted without them. A posted video or photo that utilizes hashtags well can vastly increase the likelihood of people finding and engaging with your content. So how do you best utilize this tool?

  • Use branded hashtags. These are hashtags specifically for your brand. They can be the name of your business, taglines, or your motto, as well as keywords that are related to your brand identity. Use these branded hashtags consistently so that followers in your community understand your brand and what you have to offer them.
  • Community hashtags are hashtags that are already trending around the Instagram community as a whole. Throwback Thursday (#tbt) is a great example of a hashtag that is used community-wide. Instagram users post photos of themselves from the past with the hashtag #tbt, and the whole community is on board. The #tbt hashtag has become so popular it is also used widely on Twitter and Facebook as well.
  • Lastly, use hashtags that businesses in your niche are already using. The narrower your scope is, the more engaged your users are likely to be and the more growth you will see.

2. Get Personal

Increasingly, consumers want to feel as though they are connecting to individuals as opposed to a brand that may feel cold and aloof. Show your audience behind the scenes videos and photos of the product in the making. Share personal stories of victories and triumphs. Be honest about the gratitude and appreciation you have for your clientele. Showing the person behind the business enables people to feel invested and want to further engage in your brand.

3. Make it Communal

The purpose of social networks is to be social. Encourage your followers to share pictures and videos of themselves engaging with your product. Start conversations by asking the opinion of your consumers. Adding calls to action on your content helps get your community involved in what you are posting. Create polls, ask what your followers are thinking, feeling, or doing that day. Fostering genuine connections with your followers will boost your engagement and grow your community.

At its core, growing your Instagram platform is about engagement, authenticity, and wisely utilizing the tools available to you. Do this and watch your platform soar.

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