Something major happened with Instagram recently, my friends. Did you catch it?
Instagram removed likes from all their posts. Yep.
Now, instead of seeing a tally of likes on a post, you’ll see something like “your mom and hundreds of others like this post” or “liked by thousands of people”.
Kinda weird, right?
It’s not all bad. Instagram’s idea here is to take away vanity metrics (people were obsessing about likes) and replace them with measurements that really show how valuable a post is.
AKA… they want us to start focusing on engagement. And I can get behind that.
(Besides, as a content creator you can still see the exact # of likes your posts are getting when you look at your own profile).
But if you’re sitting here starting to sweat a little because you don’t know how to optimize for engagement - or where to even begin to figure it out - you’re gonna wanna pay attention here.
Grab a ginger shot or a whiff of peppermint oil for a quick energy boost because you’re about to learn 3 ways you can hack your social engagement for free (in other words, no ad spend required).
1 - Activate your ambassadors
Are you scratching your head a little? Let me explain.
Maybe you’re familiar with the term “brand ambassador”? If not, here’s a brief explanation: a brand ambassador is any person who is such a superfan, they willingly and often recommend a brand to their friends and family, simply because they love it.
Like, I recently became a brand ambassador for Daily Harvest because I’m obsessed with their smoothie cups.
I’m betting you already have people who love reading what you put out there and just simply need to be activated into ambassador status.
You don’t have to pay people to do this, either. It’s a very simple process. Here it is:
Step One: Check who’s watching your stories.
On Instagram you can swipe up on any of your current, unexpired stories and see who has viewed it. On your desktop, you can view who viewed Facebook stories by clicking the eye icon.
Now, begin scrolling the list and look for people who have a highlighted ring around their profile picture - which tells you they’re also posting stories.
You want these kinds of people only because it means they actively use the platform.
Pick a few people at random and go view their stories. Visit their profile and their bio. Read a few posts. You’re analyzing this person to see if they may be an ideal client. If they are, then it’s time to activate them. #winner
Start replying to their stories in a genuine way. Don’t just send an emoji. If someone posted a story of their kid singing a song, send a reply that says “Aw, how cute! Reminds me of my kiddo.”
Then, head to their feed and choose a few relevant posts that jump out at you and put a thoughtful comment on them. Keep it friendly not salesy.
You’re accomplishing a couple things here: building a connection to someone who’s already interested in you and opening a door to private conversations where you can go deeper.
And guess what that means?
The next time you’re promoting something, they’ll be front and center ready to tell others about it.
Because you activated them as your ambassador.
2 - Extend your social post’s lifespan with comment timing
Social posts don’t last long. At all.
If you’re lucky, a post will coast along for a few days but more than likely its lifespan is 24-72 hours.
Which is hugely disappointing when you consider the amount of work you put into sourcing an image, writing a caption, planning out your hashtags… all that good stuff.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was some way to revive a post right before it was ready to die?
Well… there is. It’s called timing your comments.
This requires a little self-control in the form of not immediately replying to every single comment that drops on your post.
Give it time. Experiment with how long is a good range for you - I’ve found 4-5 hours is best.
Here’s why this works:
The original commenter will receive a notification when you reply. Which means you’ll bring them back to the post hours later, and they’ll more than likely reply back.
Then your post will resurface in their feed and on the regular newsfeed as well. It’s a signal to the algorithm that this content is still worth getting some eyeballs on it.
And hey… no comments? Not a problem.
Add hashtags to your original post to refresh it. Instagram recommends 5-6 hashtags per post.
Or, add your own comment - tag an ambassador you activated with a comment like “Thought you’d be interested!”
Or, get real wild and crazy and, on Facebook, comment on your own post with a relevant meme or gif that will get people reacting and engaging.
3 - Invite interaction (these are social networks, after all)
As entrepreneurs, it’s very easy to think of social media as one more vehicle to achieve a business goal.
But that isn’t what it’s for. It’s for social interaction. Conversations. Connection.
Not every post needs to teach something. This is super important to understand.
What every post can do, though, is invite interaction in some way - as in literally weaving into your copy a way to get a conversation going.
Give your readers instructions on something you’d like them to do.
Here are three creative ways you can do this:
Ask for opinions on something and provide 3 choices, then ask to comment with their votes (1, 2, or 3)
Ask an open-ended question where you invite feedback on an idea
Ask “this or that” style questions on topics people can’t help but give their viewpoint on
This last tip is actually totally killer because not only will it increase engagement, but it will also give you incredibly valuable insight into how your fans or followers think, what they like, their preferences, etc… #totalwin
Now, if you loved these tips i have one more thing I can send your way. It’s a link to download my biz hacks eBook that’s packed with more info just like this.
Stay engaged, my friends