We've all heard it before. "The reason you aren't getting engagement on your Instagram has to be because your content sucks!" "Improve your content and you'll get more followers!" "Good content conquers all."
I'm here to call bullshit on ALL that.
There is absolutely amazing content floating around out there that is languishing from lack of attention. The content is top tier, the content creator is a skilled and insightful leader, but it just isn’t getting any reach.
That’s because content is only 50% of the IG game. The rest? The rest is all about engagement.
But if you’re playing by the 2019 handbook, you’re just going to be frustrated. Gary V’s $1.80 method? It just doesn’t cut it anymore. The follow/unfollow method? Don’t even get me started on that one.
With Instagram constantly changing the hashtag rules on us and bots annoying us in the comments, what’s a business owner with goals of mastering Instagram lead generation to do?
THE GOOD NEWS
It’s easier than ever for people that value authenticity to build and grow on Instagram.
You into making genuine connections with people? Talking 1:1 your jam? This is your moment to shine!
Engagement in Stories is where you want to be. Sure, you want great feed content (in part so that people will share it to their stories, but that’s a different post for a different day.) but what’s going to really grow your reach and your connection with your audience is all going to go down in the Stories.
Let’s face it, a comment on the feed post just doesn’t register the same way as a comment on a Story.
Commenting on someone’s Stories on a regular basis brings you virtually face-to-face with them. You’re in their DMs, you’re getting your name and face in front of them over and over again. Talk about Know, Like, and Trust.
THE BAD NEWS
This takes time. And social energy.
A thumbs up emoji response to a bunch of Stories isn’t gonna get you far. If you want real results, you have to have real interactions, thoughtful comments, relevant conversations.
Can you hand off this task to your VA and see success? Maybe, a bit, in the long run. But nothing is going to ring as true than if it were you, ACTUALLY you, going in there and interacting.
These days, a lot is expected of personal brands. Whether it’s fair or not, healthy or not, is a whole other in depth conversation. But the current reality is that when we talk to someone, we know that we’re really talking to them. We may see a feed post and know that their copywriter likely did a great job on that long form post, but we still expect that real person to be talking to us in DMs.
THE “INTERACT WITH LIST” METHOD
So...what am I actually proposing as an engagement method here?
An Interact With List.
This is where you pinpoint who you want to engage with on the platform, specifically. That list should include:
Past clients (that you maintain a good relationship with)
Goal clients (they’re not dreams, they’re goals!)
Referral partners (whether the arrangement is formal or not)
Spend 15-20 minutes a day engaging with those particular people. Share their relevant feed posts to your Stories. Answer their polls and respond to their questions in Stories. Let them see you and let them know that you see them and value what they have to say.
What happens from there? Increase in shares of your content. Increase in followers. Increase in client retention. Increase in referrals.
Stop chasing random people based on hashtags and start genuinely engaging with people who already know you, and you’ll be surprised at what can happen!
And I’m gonna make it even easier for you. I’ve created an Interact With List template for you, where you can write in their names, links to their Instagram, and type of relationship you have with them, to save and use. Once you fill it out, all you have to do is open it up and click on the links to do your engagement without getting sucked into the feed scroll of doom. Once every 3 months, go back in and reevaluate and refresh your list!
When you hit that 3 month check point, make sure you give me an update and how this method has worked for you. I want to hear all about it.