How is your Instagram engagement? Instagram is a platform that can be daunting to many entrepreneurs. When it was first introduced, many got caught up in creating the “perfect” feed with the right look, color schemes, patterns, etc. While you do want to have visually appealing photos, Instagram has grown over the years to be so much more than pretty photos for others to double-tap to like.

Over the years Instagram has grown to include live-streaming, their own answer to YouTube, video chats and much more.

This month I want to share with you a few people I know who are using Instagram in different ways to connect with and grow their audiences.

IGTV To Connect and Teach

You can watch IGTV videos directly on Instagram or through the standalone IGTV app. As of late, videos must be uploaded via the IGTV app (honestly, not a fan of this) or directly from your desktop through the Instagram website.

The great thing about IGTV is that you can include clickable links in the video descriptions. You also want to include a few hashtags within your description to assist with your reach. Do not go hashtag crazy with IGTV – up to five is sufficient. Many users see that using too many will cause issues with uploading them to the platform.

Andrea Stenberg helps Baby Boomer entrepreneurs overcome their fear of marketing. She shows them how to incorporate social media and other technologies into their overall marketing strategy. Andrea is totally rocking it out on Instagram – especially with her use of IGTV.

Instagram Engagement Done Right: Andrea Stenberg uses IGTV to teach connect and engage her online community

Andrea shares a variety of content that appeals to her community's personal and professional development. Her videos are easy to follow and include actionable tasks to incorporate within your social media strategies.

Why I love this? 

Andrea was an early adopter to IGTV and has consistently encouraged her community to implement them into their social media strategies. She takes away the excuses with her behind the scenes and how-to videos to make creating content simple to do.

Use Instagram Stories to Promote Your Blog

How can you apply this to your own account? 

Create the videos, y'all! Determine what simple problems you can solve and questions you can answer. Many times the things that seem very easy for us to do are not for others. You can also look at frequent questions you get from clients and customers and create a video around them. IGTV has recently introduced series, so you can group similarly themed videos together.

Cultivating an engaged community through Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories completely changed the way we connect on Instagram. If you are not incorporating stories into your Instagram social media strategy, then you are missing out on engaging with your community in a more sincere way.

What are they? Many refer to them as Instagram's response to Snapchat. Launched in August 2016, InstaStories allows you to post photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours. You can save some of your favorites to your profile with the use of Highlights. Over 500 million Instagrammers use stories daily!

Instagram Engagement Done Right: Amiyrah Martin greets her community daily with her coffee songs on InstaStories

A few years ago, my friend Amiyrah Martin gave me the boost I needed to use InstaStories regularly. I love her dedication to showing up consistently for her community. She has cultivated a very engaged community via her Stories. Amiyrah teaches her community of moms how to live a full life on less. Her stories include a behind-the-scenes look at how she manages her business and life while homeschooling her three children.

On Snapchat, Amiyrah would share her morning coffee with a fun song. When InstaStories was introduced, she transitioned her #coffeesongs, and it has become something her Instagram community looks for daily. It seems very simple, but that one engagement piece has enabled her to connect and engage in other ways. Her choice of songs and mugs often align with other projects that she is working on within her business.

Why I love this?

I am all for simple and fun ways to connect with your community authentically. Often we overthink how we will show up when it's simply sharing what we already do.

How can you apply this to your own account?

Many of the women I work with either love Instagram Stories or absolutely hate them. Seldom do I see an in-between. The resounding push back I get is “I don't understand what I should share!” The great thing and what I love about stories is just about anything and everything will work. As I stated previously, don't overthink how you show up. Your community wants to see behind-the-scenes and learn more about you. Watch and engage with others to build a community and get an idea of how others are showing up so you can see what pulls you in as a viewer.

Partnering with other experts

We cannot talk about Instagram and not mention the photo challenges. A quick #photochallenge hashtag search will show that there are photo challenges for almost any niche you can think of.

LaShawn Wiltz and Jennifer Borget introduced their own photo challenge collaboration this year to encourage their respective communities to take and share photos of their daily lives. The project #CherishEveryday365 offers a simple prompt daily and participants can share images on their main feed or within their stories using the hashtag.

March prompts for #cherisheveryday365

Why I love this? 

The collaboration between these ladies was perfect. They both are photography experts and encourage their communities to document the moments that matter most in their lives. Jennifer recently had a viral video of her youngest daughter greeting her big sister when she got off the school bus. This is a part of their normal routine (remember what I said earlier) and she makes it a point to document and share this moment of happiness within the hustle and bustle of her day as a full-time entrepreneur with a toddler at home.

Collaborating with others is a wonderful way to uplift and support others. I believe it is important, especially with female entrepreneurs, to share our gifts and talents with one another when possible.

How can you apply this to your own account?

There are so many ways that you can implement this strategy:

  • create a photo challenge
  • do an Instagram takeover
  • highlight one another on your respective pages
  • host dual live streams on one another's accounts
  • create an evergreen hashtag around a shared interest
  • host an Instagram summit or engagement challenge
  • create a videos series together and upload to IGTV

I cannot wait to see how you show up on Instagram in a way that works best for you and your community.

About The Author: Michelle D. Garrett

I blog full-time over at Divas With A Purpose and am passionate about helping fellow female entrepreneurs show up authentically on social media for their communities. Feel free to connect with me online and see me in action on InstagramPeriscopeFacebook, and Twitter.

About the Author

I'm Michelle, the founder of Divas With A Purpose. My site provides tools and resources for women to show up as DIVAs - driven, inspiring, victorious, and called to action - in all areas of their lives.

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  1. You know, I’d kinda given up on Instagram because it wasn’t my thing. I understand lots of others love it, but nothing I did seemed to connect with people. After reading this blog post, I just might have to give it another go :)

    1. That makes me so happy! There are so many ways to connect on Instagram and finding what works best for you and your community is important. Also, remember IG now connects directly to Facebook so you can automatically share IG posts and stories to your FB business page if you have them connected.

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