Digital, websites, social media



Engaging audiences across Instagram


Instagram is growing at a rapid rate year after year. In June 2016, there were 300 million monthly active users. Fast forward 6 months to December 2016 and there are now 600 million monthly active users. Wow, that is a huge increase. There’s no doubt the popular photo sharing app is here to stay. We’re glad as we love it!

Sometimes Instagram isn’t for you

Instagram isn’t for every business as it’s all about photo’s. Some businesses are better suited to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. If your business isn’t a visual business and what I mean by that, if your business is about statistics, accounting, legal – you get the gist, then Instagram may not suit your business. Your time would be better spent on the other platforms.

If you’re Instagram is lacking in engagement or followers then keep on reading as I share a few strategies to put in place.

Most of us review our competitors and in some instances influencers and wondering how they are killing it on Instagram. You know the ones. Everything they post has thousands of fans liking and commenting with numbers just going through the roof!
The reason why, they have figured out what resonates with their audience and if you take a look at their feed, you’ll see certain patterns.

Use of colour blocks

Colour patterns, content patterns and what I mean by that, you’ll see a make-up post, a fashion post, a lifestyle post and a out with the girls post. They’ve devised content pillars and curate and create content within those pillars. More about that below.

Then there are brands or influencers who have tonnes of followers but their engagement levels are low. They have 100k followers and only 100-200 people are liking their posts.

What are the doing wrong you might ask?

At a good guess – they’ve bought followers. Fake followers.

Sure they are Instagram accounts, but they are not active nor is there a real person at the end of that account actively engaging with a brand or more importantly, they are never going to buy from that brand. They appear to be more popular, and the thought process here is if my feed looks popular others will follow me’, right?

That has some truth, however in the end they are never going to buy from you and they’re also effecting your reporting results.
You’ll get spammed by people commenting on your posts to buy followers, they PM your inbox and you’ll see lots of ads across other social platforms. Don’t get sucked in, stick with and get there the honest way.

Whoops I’ve bought followers – help!

If you are reading this and thinking, whoops I’ve bought followers, how do I get rid of them – there’s an app for that! It’s called Cleaner, its super cheap and I’ve used it across client accounts many times and its super easy to use.

If you buy fake followers and you don’t remove them, you’ll never determine true reporting results as your fake/ghost followers are letting skewing your figures.

There are ways to engage your audience and grow followers. Let’s take a look…

Be Social

When you first start on Instagram it’s not as simple as post and forget. We wish! You need to put in some time and get your brand social.
What do we mean by this?

You need to engage others across the platform, go and like their pages, commenting on things you love and be consistent with it. Don’t just do it for a day or a week and give up – you need to stick with it.

Don’t spam people with your product. And what I mean by that – don’t leave a comment on someones post that introduces your services. People will see it, they don’t like it and won’t engage. Same with spamming their inbox. If it’s not relevant to them they’ll just ignore it and it can be detrimental to your brand. So use your time wisely.

Think outside the box. It’s kinda like when you started your first day at school. You’re a bit nervous, don’t know anyone, you have no friends, but be nice and people will love you back.

So get your brand socialising!

Don’t Advertise

The key to social media is in the name. It’s not called spam media or advertising media.

Too many times I see brands advertising their wares across their Instagram feed. 30% off, we’re on sale, buy 1 get 1 free. If you are one of these brands, go and look at those posts compared to a more inspirational post and see the difference between the likes and comments. I’m not saying don’t put those up, because you want to tell people when you’re on sale, but post once and then engage them again with inspirational content. Do a follow up post to your sale and then engage again.

I also see people only using their campaign imagery across Instagram. You need to mix it up with some campaign, and some inspiration that is in keeping with your brand.


We are digital marketing agency and we’ve decided to use our Instagram account as an inspiration page rather than talking about what digital marketing is and how we can help – because… that’s advertising our services and no one would engage with us.

Social media is a great way as a brand to let down your guard, let down the wall and engage the customer at their level. Notice I said at their level. Customers love to feel a part of your brand’s journey. They like to feel what they say makes a difference and that you’re listening. Also speak to them in a casual manner – like you do when you’re with your friends. Don’t use fancy corporate words. It doesn’t resonate.

Use emoji’s when writing your posts and commenting back to customers and on other feeds. They are a great way of just being natural!

Stop the Scroll

Ah! How to stop that scroll. You know the one – look around when you’re next on public transport, everyone is scrolling through image after image after image on Instagram. So you need to think hard about your audience and what it is they want to see on your feed. What is going to engage them? What is going to stop the scroll?

You may not get this right at the beginning but keep at it and see what is resonating with them and give them more of that.

Create content pillars are super useful! We do this across all clients we work with when managing their social media.
Look at your brand and create around 5 pillars. The pillars represent different types of content that fit around your brand. So for example if you are a homewares store you may have:

Pillar 1: Product
Show your actual product but do it in a non advertising way. Show your product in a setting or create flat lays with other household items.

Kmart Australia do a great job with their homewares on their Instagram. They shoot product together in a setting, it’s aspirational rather than showing let’s say – a cutlery set. How uninspiring would that be, but put it on a table with glasses, plates, napkins, food and suddenly that image becomes a lot more engaging. People are now imagining how this cutlery set could look in their home…probably along with a few other items they have seen in that image.

Pillar 2: Inspiration
Show what inspires you to create the products you create. It could be patterns, colours, wallpaper, objects, buildings, material and the list goes on. Also include some quotes in this pillar as they do resonate with people.

Pillar 3: Interiors
This is where your product will sit and you could show interiors that work with your brand personality. You don’t need to show your product, these are aspirational images.

Pillar 4: Travel
This could work within this category as inspiration as your homewares may be sourced overseas. Also, travel pics attract high engagement. If you sell moroccan products, how cool would it be to show shots of Morocco.

Pillar 5: Coffee, food, entertaining
Something I see time after time with say homewares and the food category is not enough entertaining shots. When I think of homewares and food, I think of entertaining, my family and my friends.

Be Thought Provoking

Whenever you post imagery or written content, try and provoke an emotion within someone, within your customer. We’re not talking about filling your feed daily with inspirational quotes, there are other ways of doing this.

Look at the image you’re about to post and what emotion does that image provoke in you – then write about it. If it doesn’t provoke an emotion, chances are it won’t in someone else. So find another image!

There are billions of images across Instagram, Pinterest and the internet. Take your time to create your content pillars and then curate thought provoking, scroll stopping content and write to engage your audience.