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The tips and tricks you need to know to increase your engagement on Instagram

December 01, 2020

The tips and tricks you need to know to increase your engagement on Instagram
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Tune in to this exclusive episode that shares Instagram data that you can use to your advantage.

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Happy Tuesday! Welcome to another episode on The Radcast.

In this episode, host Ryan Alford and co-host Reiley Clark, share Instagram data that you can use to your advantage. And when we say can, we really mean *should*.

To see the charts we talk about in this episode, watch the full video on our YouTube channel.

If you enjoyed this episode, share it on Instagram and tag us @the.rad.cast | Do you want to hear more from our host? - Give him a follow @ryanalford on Instagram. | The Radcast is a product of @radical_results | #theradcast 


Ryan Alford[00:00:24]Hey guys welcome to the latest edition of the Radcast. We're going to call this a special edition, a little impromptu. It was the It-Can't-Wait-Until-2021-Trends edition of the Radcast. Today, we're going to talk about how attention is currency, both now and especially in 2021. I'm joined by the lovely Reiley Clark. Reiley, great to have you on. 

Reiley Clark[00:00:48]Thank you. Glad to be here.

Ryan Alford[00:00:50]So I'm going to call it a Micro Cast. I'm developing brand names as we move along. But in all seriousness, there's a lot going on and there's a few things have kind of been getting to me lately with the lack of taking advantage of social channels that's happening combined with this notion of how scattered attention is right now. I'm going to start this. Are you in your early 20s? So, we'll call you GenZ-Millennial. Do you have linear TV or do you have cable TV in your home? ‘No, I DO not. Other than a live sporting event that you probably watch with a friend or something. Right. When's the last time you watched, like, TV, linear TV? 

Reiley Clark[00:01:54]If I'm being completely honest, I actually think it might have been the Thanksgiving Day parade like last year, last year. Like, I'm thinking about it as a year ago. And yeah, I would have said Thanksgiving Day parade last year. 

Ryan Alford[00:02:07]So, again, my point is this. there's cable cutters everywhere. And there's very little linear TV going on between Netflix, all the social media channels, YouTube, all of those things. Budgets still remain heavily in the TV format for most advertisers. And then you have a situation with all of these channels where attention - 15 years ago when I was in marketing, you had print, radio, out of home. Facebook was just I don't think it's 15 quite it's 15 years old. But I mean, it was so it was not in the main adoption's days. I'm not gonna count it. Out of home, TV, radio, newspaper. And so in 15 years, the number of channels with which there is marketing and content has exploded. You have the internet 15 years ago. So you had blogs and those kinds of things. But you're it was TV in a movie, right? There are videos that went out of the video and the man was just kind of getting underway, sort of it sucked the experience with choosing what's right. It may or may not work on TV. So my point in all this I'm getting on my soapbox a bit is because attention is so fragmented now. And the reality is, for businesses and brands, particularly small to medium businesses. And I like to say medium business, more often classified as medium, the large brands with big budgets, they are running content calendars, their content on TikTok and they've got their A game for the most part, the bigger brands going on. I'm sure there's some that are still especially in finance and stuff which we work with, which are part of what we call it Radicals. We're helping companies kind of get past that hump. But for the most part, medium brands, I think, are the worst offenders because they kind of have the budget and they think they're checking the box by doing a Facebook post. They are not being thoughtful for what garners attention in 2021 or 2020 for that matter. TikTok videos, Reels, Instagram. But I'm going to talk momentarily about the opportunity with Instagram that's still think is lost. But there's three key trends that I want to talk about today. First one is this notion of short format video. OK, how often do you go on TikTok a week? Multiple times a day? What gets your attention on TikTok?

Reiley Clark[00:04:54]It needs to start out catchy. I'm a music person so if there's a good music beat or whatever, I mean that's obviously encouraging, to have something kind of animated to start out with, or if it's something that if someone starts off like immediately laughing in the beginning of their video unit something's come in and you kind of want to watch it to see, like, what's going to be so funny. But apart from that there's animations or whatever you can throw into any kind of real or TikTok is, 

Ryan Alford[00:05:27]Is it safe to say that every Zillennial - I think there's at least 20 percent ADD just by the nature of how fragmented attention is right now. I'm not diagnosing anyone with conditions here or using it as a broad scrape here. Because of how many popping around to Snapchat, TikTok and all that. So it's got to get your attention, right. Drama. Music, interest. Something of note or borrowed interest from something else that you've seen. Oh I if they're playing off. 

Reiley Clark[00:06:20]Exactly. I mean even then I think some of the TikToks that I immediately go to are I like the couple, like the comedy couple TikToks like yours, you look at the hashtag too, how the hashtags on tech talk are like right there. So you kind of already know the themes because basically they're using hashtags as like the theme of what's in the video. So it's like a couple comedy. And so you're like, oh, this is going to be a prank or is going to be something kind of funny. But it encourages I don't know, it just encourages engagement that way, which I think is a pretty authentic way to get people to watch what you're about to  produce to people. 

Ryan Alford[00:06:55]Have you bought anything from seeing something on TikTok? 

Reiley Clark[00:07:00]Not yet. 

Ryan Alford[00:07:02]So again, not diminishing TikTok, by the way. It's a behemoth that's grown so quickly, it's only growing. The only thing TikTok has going against it is it's new and it's going to it has ad tools. We use them for certain brands that it makes sense for. But the reality is the bigger point here is the type of content that brands are creating that will garner attention and not just for old Zillenials, but for 43 year olds like me or anyone else. The reality is our attention spans are so spread out. You have to get attention. And not for. And you need to think through the lens of your consumers and not through the lens of the brand itself. And so what are your thoughts? 

Reiley Clark[00:07:56]Well, I was only going to say I mean, I know this kind of tees up into what we're talking about, but it's obviously important to know your platform specific stats. And so without that, like, you're not going to be able to fully understand what needs to be on a certain platform. And that's kind of what you're talking about right now as far as TikTok is obviously going to be a certain kind of content. Instagram is going to be a certain kind of content and so on, which is obviously what you're talking about to your point about medium sized businesses. You don't just want to check your box of “OK, like I have my poster for today.” It's like, OK, to your point, what is it doing? Like, what's it here for?

Ryan Alford[00:08:31]And for anyone listening, they're going, OK, a lot of talk about tick tock, but I have limited marketing dollars. I really belong on TIkTok. Good point. That's where I'm going to lean into Instagram and some real key stats specific on Instagram, which I know we have to talk about a few of those first. So some key traits for Instagram and what garners attention engagement there. Let's talk about the first few ones. Number one, we were just talking about this, video gets two times the engagement. Yep. And it needs to be the right video. So I'm going to really counsel anyone listening to go. We need to do a video. There needs to be the right video. And how do you  know what the right video is? Hey, go look, use the search button and see what your competitors or even bigger brands and yourself are doing. What are they doing and what's getting the most attention? There's a lot of tools for seeing the types of content that gets engagement. Second thing, which is really actually pretty interesting, tagging other accounts. Did this surprise you? 

Reiley Clark[00:09:36]I was really shocked with this. Like when I saw this, part of me was thinking to myself, there is no way that's correct. 

Ryan Alford[00:09:44]Tagging other accounts lowers your engagement. 

Reiley Clark[00:09:47]But people tell you all the time, tag, tag. I'll make sure you tag me here, make sure you tag this business, whatever. But I actually think it kind of creates an unauthentic post because some people like the online tag in that way. They have more people like in this or more people are able to share whatever it is. I think it kind of defeat the purpose of the whole point of the post.

Ryan Alford[00:10:06]I think Instagram is figuring out like the algorithm for what people do to kind of spike it or they assume potentially, it's not just it's not right, I would just say it because that tagging someone else is borrowing interest, which means the content you're posting might not be strong enough on its own. I think that's where it's headed and that's what it's suggesting. And so do I say never tag anyone in your content? No. I'm not saying that. But you need to be judicious about it and have a very specific reason. If you're doing a partnership or paid partnership with someone, if you're working with an influencer, obviously, some of this goes out the door and the tools within Instagram will allow you to kind of impact that. And I think they take that to account versus an organic post - non paid, non promotion, non influencer. Where you are just doing something organic. That's when you need to be judicious. If you need to really tag something else, let the content be good enough to stand on its own. Third, engagement is highest on Wednesdays. I think this is hump Wednesday. Everybody's looking for. I'm chalking this up to just what natural human behavior is. And I'm speaking mainly from the U.S. consumer point of view on this. I know we have some international people that listen and I can't speak to this. A lot of this data is from us followers and from data that we gathered. So, in the middle of the week you're building towards a weekend. Maybe everybody's a little overworked at that point and maybe more engagement. I don't have a lot to chalk this up to other than it just being the reality of the data. Does it mean anything to you from a user of social from both a business standpoint, working at the agency, much less as a consumer, make sense to you? 

Reiley Clark[00:11:51]It makes sense. And it's also interesting. Wednesdays are the highest for other platforms, too. I mean, I know we're a podcast. It’s the highest for a podcast like podcast listeners as well. And if anything, it's I don't know if it's just the middle of the week, I just need to recharge, like, everything's kind of just coming in the middle because I say this to say that this is from a global perspective. But if you look at this, the highest is obviously on Wednesday here. Yeah, but it's between 11 and 3. So it's like the middle of the middle. Do what I mean? It's like the middle of the middle of the middle now is when things are going to be the highest. And I think it's just because psychologically everyone is kind of like either some sort of mental break, wanting to check the feed, some sort of whatever it is, they need a sense of entertainment. Middle of the week. There it is.

Ryan Alford[00:12:45]It is ironic. It is dead in the middle of the work week and the hours are dead in the middle of the work day. 

Reiley Clark[00:12:51]That's what I'm saying. It's like, how much more of the middle can we get? 

Ryan Alford[00:12:54]But if you see, bring that chart up one more time. I think that will be interesting. If you see, though, generally speaking, from 11 to 5, I say every day is the best time period for posting. Everyone's doing it at work. So I'm getting ready. I want people both consuming and working, so I'm OK with it. But yes, interestingly enough. And then lastly, public figures have the biggest engagement. Not surprising, right? The more known you are, the more attention you have. And this back to my point, actually, overall for the podcast, which is if you want consumer attention, you need to be using the content, using the influencers, using the medium in the right way. And I dare say we are so past the point of checking the box of duty. The social opportunity in 2021 is so great for a few reasons. But we're so past the point of - we posted today with no thought before we posted the brands that we posted our brand video today on social media. I love it. It got 60 likes by our 200 followers. If even that. And so great. Again, it doesn't have to be gimmicky. But here's the Tip of the Day. I said this the other day, and sometimes I say things that are smart, not all the time this, but I actually like this. That makes sense. Think about you and not I. Think about the customer and not the business. If you'll think through the lens of what's interesting to them, what problem am I solving? What is making this at least entertaining or wanting me to engage with it is going to make better content. Sharing your speeds, feeds, products, services in a just standard bullet form video or content piece or your employees and how happy they are at work today isn't getting any engagement. You might as well not be doing it right. It's not just good enough. It's like you're actually hurting the brand. And I think that's what I want to get anything across a day. Attention is currency, and I would argue that bad attention is killing you and it's killing your brand. 

Reiley Clark[00:15:21]Well, I’ll also say this to you. I'm going to want to bring this up here. I found this chart too. And it's why consumers want brands to take a stand on social media anyway. And I think all these charts, I think there's credibility here, but brands need, I guess, to realize that it's not just having a social media presence. It's also how you're engaging with your consumers, with your customers, with your audience on social media. And it's also how you're interacting with your competitors on social media, how you're making yourself stand alone on social media, those kinds of things, that I think brands as far as their social media presence specifically on Instagram. This is kind of what we're talking about right now, we need to start putting this kind of stuff in practice. 

Ryan Alford[00:16:07]It's a great point because back to what I said, either I would rather not do it at all. If you're going to do it generically. I would say this, if you at least take a stand and if you do nothing but use social media as your purpose driven medium, that would be a winning approach versus standard picture standard, generic brand content standard anything. At least you just use it for -- how you give back, how your social responsibility is, what your stand is within the geopolitical nature that we are within reason. Within reason. I'm not asking to talk about who they're voting for. At least where you stand on core things, whether it's climate, whether it's free trade, whatever it is, depending on your business. I think it's really important. Lastly, I think get on Instagram. And the reason that I think it's so underserved for businesses is the engagement rate on Instagram is still, other than some dimensions with TikTok that have certainly overcome this. But let me just say within the mainstream social media channels. TikTok is the fastest growing one. I know what it is. I know it is. But I'm talking about business and for very specific reasons. Instagram is still underserved. A lot of businesses don't use Facebook. They're reposting the same thing on Instagram. They're not leveraging the opportunity to sell within Instagram. And I'm talking about B2B and B2C. And the biggest thing I'm going to see for 2021, my number one trend is the increase in social commerce. What's happening here is and I've talked about this on previous podcast, but I think I just want to, like, drill it down with a final point, you're meeting this really great place; there's been demand to buy socially for a while. There's been the ability and someone, again, listening, going well. I've been selling with video ads on Instagram for five years. What is he talking about? This new place? Here's the difference. You can actually link your products. It's become so much easier and more capable within the platforms themselves, both Facebook and Instagram for ecommerce specifically to buy and shop and engage within the content. You're meeting a real intersection of demand from consumers, with capability, with the platforms, with the products and services that all line in that. And so there's such an opportunity and I don't care if it's B2B or B2C, there's an opportunity to sell socially more than there ever has been. And we are at like the pinnacle peak opportunity where capability, demand meet. And we have to realize this. This is why I'm heavy on Instagram compared to TikTok. TikTok is getting there; don’t get me wrong. They have a great integration with Shopify now. But Instagram is just further along in the evolution of their platform within Reels. You can shop within all of your content. You can shop, you can load all your products. You don't even have to have practically an e-commerce site anymore, which I'm not suggesting that he would not necessarily have their own site for a lot of other reasons. You want to get data, you want to build your customer list, obviously, but you can literally sell through these platforms greater than you ever have. And if you're going to see, I think, double digit increases in social commerce in twenty one, my number one trend for 2021, we're going to do a big trend episode in December. But I can tell you right now that's going to be my highest one because I think people are talking about it, but I don't think they're really putting all the eggs in the basket. That could be for that. I mean how many things have you bought on Instagram in the last thirty days? 

Reiley Clark[00:19:58]Last thirty days? Actually, nothing. OK, but a month before that. A few things a month for sure. But I think the other thing is, like 90 percent of accounts are following a business, at least one, and I mean, I follow at least gosh, like six or seven probably, even 20 brands, I think it's probably one hundred, probably. Probably. But the thing is, I think a lot of people got upset with Instagram at first when they changed the layout of their platform or whatever, but it further proved the point how strong they're trying to get on the e-commerce side of things. Because when you look at the Instagram app now, you've updated your phone. You would look at this. But on the Instagram app where the where your notifications used to be is now the shopping platform. And it's now where companies that you interact with have their products right there for you. And it's dangerous. It is because I'm over there like, oh, gosh, okay. And I'm saving everything, I'm going through it that way. But it's smart. And it further proves your point that things are going more in an e-commerce way. Instagram is becoming more of a shopping platform, which is totally fine. I think it's great because where else are brands going to be able to connect their message with their audience, with content with their products? 

Ryan Alford[00:21:21]And then you have this rain cloud overhead that's driving all of it called Covid, which I almost didn’t want to mention in this episode. But the reality is with case scoring and things going on, e-commerce is just going to grow even more. No matter where you fall on it, people are not going to be in store shopping as much as they were. So that's another variable that's driving all of this. The last thing that I want to mention with this, and it's back to where attention is, is messaging and communicating with customers within social platforms. It's been around. No, it's not new. But what's happening is a couple of things, both within the platforms and text messaging, SMS/text. SMS is the technical term, but text messaging, automation and things like that are going to boom in 2021 are already growing now, but also Facebook messaging, Instagram. Facebook has now integrated all of their messaging, whether it's Instagram, Facebook, you can do it all within their business messenger platform. And so what you're seeing and this is for B2B and B2C, there is an acceptance level here for communication through those channels. And we're doing a ton of ads that drive straight into messaging for certain projects. The biggest thing you can do for a consumer, whether you're B2B or B2C. Yes, we would love for them to add something to your cart and recall a sales rep and buy something today. That is the ideal approach. But in that purchase funnel, in that cycle, whatever you want to call it, there's usually questions that the people have and the fastest they can get to you or you can get to them for that. Direct communication is key. And so, again, you have this demand and expectation for customers meets opportunity within these social channels, be it SMS text or through the social channel platforms. And so I dare say you to take advantage of those no matter what size business you are, because that is wide open. That is, there's a ton of white space there. And yes, I'm sure there's brands that  say, “we're doing that. We've been doing that for years.” But again, I can tell you, because we see the data and we know the customer, the number of clients that walk in our door that are million and billion dollar companies that do not do this. And so it needs to be taken advantage of in the right way. And their strategies for that, we're not going to get to every one of them. But these are things that need to be paying attention to and testing. There's so many opportunities. That's the thing is get off the blocks and test some of these things. Any other key thoughts that we had in any of the charts or anything like that? 

Reiley Clark[00:24:14]The only other thing I was going to say is and this is not to freak anyone out or whatever, make anyone upset. But I think there's a lot of businesses that are probably even listening to what we're talking about right now and going, “well, it's OK. I'm already doing everything they're already talking about.” And respectfully, you're still not. Like respectfully, there's a different approach you can have to drive a higher engagement level to then drive a higher relationship with your audience. Because you've talked about this before with Josh on the podcast, having that audience loyal to your brand loyalty, you create that when your brand has a persona, social media presence, it's your social media profile. It's like who you are on a digital platform, make it human and there's so many more opportunities than just to recap just your one post today. It's not cutting it. Reach out to your customer. Reach out to people, check out their stories, interact with them, it's significant. It makes an impact. 


Ryan Alford[00:25:18]I don't think that, again, we've even wrapped our heads around the complete opportunity here. And I think that's the point of this. So we appreciate everyone listening to this episode of the podcast, as you may, if you're watching on video or Instagram live, we do produce these now. We have a very dynamic production suite thanks to our lovely Reiley Clarke. So you check it all on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram. We will post a video that's got dynamic interactive content that goes along with everything that we're talking about. And you can always learn more at TheRadcast.com. Thanks, Reiley. 

Reiley Clark[00:25:55]Sounds good. See you guys next time. 

“Yo guys, what's up? Ryan Alford here. Thanks so much for listening. Really appreciate it. But do us a favor. If you've been enjoying the Rad Cast, you need to share the word with a friend or anyone else. We'd really appreciate it and give us a review at Apple or Spotify. Do us a solid, tell more people, leave us some reviews. And hey, here's the best news of all. If you want to work with me to check with you, to get your business kicking ass and you want Radical or myself involved, you can text me directly at 8647293680. Don't wait another minute. Let's get your business going. 8647293680.”