Instagram has at least 1 billion active users going on the platform every month, but it's not just for selfies and beautiful travel photos. According to recent statistics, 81% of users turn to the platform to search for products and services. For brands and businesses, this means more opportunities to sell their products and gain customers. However, you can’t just post and wait for your followers to come. If you want to boost engagement and build a thriving community around your brand, here are some things you can do.

Interact with followers

Interacting with followers lets them know that you care about them, and they expect a response especially if they’ve left you a question in the comments box. Aside from acknowledging or replying to whatever comes your way, Business 2 Community suggests encouraging customers to take a photo of themselves when they use your product/service and use your hashtags or tag your account. This encourages people to be involved and be associated with your brand. Take note, of course, that it's just as important to address negative feedback. Don't delete or ignore these comments! Instead, engage with that customer and provide solutions. This shows that you want everyone to have a good experience and aren't ignoring any possible lapses in your business.

Provide content that is valuable to your audience

You may be a business, but you can’t just post about your services and products all the time. Give them informative content that catches their attention and provides value. For instance, if your business is in the fashion industry, you can share tips about how to style or take care of the garments. Or if you're a food brand, you can provide recipes and tips on how best to enjoy your products. This helps establish your page as more than just a shop — but also a lifestyle resource that they can turn to for relevant content.

Post consistently

Instagram algorithms favor accounts that post regularly and consistently. However, aim for consistency rather than frequency because posting too many times a day can over-saturate your audience. Worse, it can even lead to an Instagram shadowban. Therefore, it’s definitely a good idea to create a content calendar to plan your posts. To make things easier, you can use an Instagram scheduler to help you visualize your posts, and even what your feed will look like. Using these tools, you can just drag and drop content to the calendar — and you’re done. Making your presence known consistently will help you stay top-of-mind for audiences too.

Tap influencers

Influencer marketing entails tapping into "authority" figures with significant followings to promote your brand. These can include celebrities, industry leaders, or simply active users who fit your business and can promote it well. To ensure its success, you'll also need to build a relationship with these Instagram influencers. Do a background check on their audience to see if they are also in line with your target market, and if they seem engaged with what the influencer posts. Remember that engagement is more important than having millions of followers.

Utilize Instagram Stories

Posting an Instagram Story is a quick way to engage your followers. Plus, there are several features you can take advantage of — such as polls, questions, and even quizzes. Don't be afraid to get creative with them! As we previously discussed, Stories are also a great way to establish a more personal connection with users. Here, you can post unedited videos, candid photos, and more behind-the-scenes content. Consumers nowadays definitely appreciate authenticity.