High engagement content (inc. hashtags & reels)

As well as general tips/advice/stories, you could try some of the following ideas. These are likely to be ‘high engagement’ content….

  • A giveaway. Either on your own, or teaming up with others so that you all cross-promote.
  • Set up a five-day challenge. Get people doing something each day (keep it simple, so that they actually keep up with it) and create a hashtag. So I could do #womeninonlinebusiness and each day, offer an idea for what others working in online business could post about. Day 1 might be bigging up a peer, day 2 could be sharing an online business tip – and so on.
  • Do a countdown. You can have a number on each post and countdown to the launch of a new product/service. On each post, you’ll want to share a tip or story related to what it is that you’re launching, so by the time it’s available, you’ve got people hyped and they’ll be keen to buy it.
  • Give a taster. If you work in food, share a recipe. If it’s music, share a clip. If it’s online business, share a genuinely useful tip. Don’t be afraid of ‘giving too much away’ – you won’t, you’ll just get people really engaging with your posts, and then looking for more (ie. your products).
  • ‘Meet the founder’. Introduce yourself to your followers regularly. Tell them about you – where you’re from, what you love, what you hate. Share fun/interesting/silly facts. Tell a story.
  • Promote other businesses. When you big up another founder, you’re not losing potential customers; you’re showing support. And probably gaining customers. Because when it’s a genuine endorsement of someone else in your field, people love to see this. It creates a warm feeling – for you, for the other founder and for your followers.

And when you’re posting, click the option to share on Facebook too. Spread that content across both platforms.

Hashtags

How it works with #hashtags on Instagram is that when you add one, relating to the content of your post, it’s filed alongside all other posts that have been tagged with the same hashtag.

So if I put out a post on @therobora Instagram account about online courses, and use the hashtag #onlinecourses – anyone who goes searching for #onlinecourses on Instagram may come across my post – alongside all other posts that have added the same hashtag.

Instagram is used, by some, like a search engine. So people might go on there to find posts on a specific subject, and search using a hashtag. So when I post on The Robora’s Instagram feed, I tend to use hashtags like #onlinebusiness #womeninbusiness #digitalmarketing #elearning.

Depending on what you’re posting about, you might want to hashtag a location (though you can also ‘geo-tag’ where you are, if it’s relevant to your work). Or a trend. Or a campaign.

You can also create your own hashtags and get other people on-board. Like I mentioned above, you could launch a challenge, and have a hashtag associated with it, then everyone who joins the challenge posts using that hashtag. You want it to catch on.

When my book The Freelance Mum launched, I would hashtag all my ‘book’ posts #thefreelancemum – and this hashtag did catch on. Soon, other women freelancing around young kids were hashtagging their ‘working from home during naptime’ posts.

In terms of how many hashtags to add, it’s really up to you. In this Hootsuite article on hashtags (a reputable resource), they say 11 tends to be a good amount.

People often add their hashtags in the comments below their own post, or add a few spaces under the caption before hashtagging, because they don’t want it to look too desperate or ‘market-y’.

It’s worth experimenting. Try two similar posts – one with hashtags, one with none. See what happens. Also experiment with different types of hashtags. Try the most popular ones (there are ideas in that Hootsuite article) and also niche ones, related to your industry.

Personally, I find a whole barrage of hashtags after a post a little intense. It can even take something away from the post, making it feel less authentic. BUT let the data speak for itself. And if your hashtags get you more engagement, that’s the main aim.

Some examples of great and powerful hashtags

#parentingtheshitoutoflife (from Anna Whitehouse, @mother_pukka).

#flexappeal (also from Anna – about flexible work)

#blacklivesmatter

#metoo

The above are mostly political, but there’s no reason you couldn’t start a hashtag for your business that really catches on – just think about something that you talk about, and that others will also want to talk about – using your hashtag.

Like the Nike ‘Just Do It’ slogan – you could come up with a cool and catchy hashtag that becomes associated with your brand.

Reels

You may have seen people sharing video posts where they have music playing in the background, and they either stand still or dance – and then point above them and a caption appears. Next, they point down and a different caption pops up.

Like this…

These are ‘Reels’ and Instagram has created this option to compete with TikTok (apparently).

For this reason, they’re keen for this feature to take off so they’re rewarding people who do Reels by making sure their posts get more engagement.

And when I posted my first one on The Robora feed, it got really high engagement…

 

 

If you look at how many followers I had when posting – 1827 – and how many views that Reel had on day 1 of posting – 1330 – it reached a lot of my followers, and probably new people (so potential new followers). A few days later, that figure had more than doubled.

This may be because as well as appearing on your grid, and so on some of your followers’ feeds, there’s a dedicated ‘Reels’ section, where Instagram can put your Reels video in front of people who don’t already follow you.

Like all Instagram features, this is one that you need to learn through practice. So you can head to  your Instagram Stories and select ‘Reels’.

Here, you can film yourself much in the same way as you might a ‘talking to camera’ Instagram story. Except you will be creating a series of little videos, that link form one to the next.

So you hold down the circle button to film – yourself, or an object/someone else – and if you’re planning on pointing and have a caption appear, you’ll need to plan when you want this to happen.

You can edit the clip by clicking the left hand arrow, next to the big circle one.

Here, you can trim it down, using the scissors. So you might trim out the part where you get into place, for instance. Or delete it and start again.

Once ‘done’, you film the next section – pointing the camera phone at something else, or you in another position. And again, you can edit it. Then perhaps you have a third location/object to film.

To add the captions, you then click the right hand button, which takes you to the next screen. Here, you can see the ‘Aa’ in the top right corner, and you click it to write out a caption.

You can then move the caption around the screen so that it’s placed above your pointing finger, or product, or whatever it is that the caption is related to.

And you can also adjust the amount of time the caption appears for by dragging the bottom timeline back and forth. When the caption is signposted above the timeline, it can be tapped to turn black. This means it will only appear at the allotted time. If it’s white, it will remain there when other captions appear.

When you add a second caption – perhaps for your second section of film; or for the second thing you’re pointing at in the first section – again, you can adjust the timeline at the bottom so that it appears at the right time in your film.

As I said, this is one to play around with. Try the different options for filters and audio. And once complete, you can decide if it will appear just in your Stories or on your feed, too.

In terms of why this might be good for your business: it’s about getting you more engagement. So if you try something out and people find it funny/interesting/innovative – they’ll share or comment.

Also, like TikTok, Reels are meant to be fun. So don’t worry if you feel silly doing it. That said, if you have an idea for using Reels in a more impressive way – DO IT. And perhaps others will follow you.

For ideas, head to ‘Reels’ and watch other people’s. There are artists doing cool things with paint, interior designers showcasing different cushions/home shots and funny people doing funny stuff.