6 Essential Instagram Community Management Tips

Instagram on iPhone on Table

By Mikey Dunn

Facebook and Twitter are often perceived as the "Top Two" in social media, but many people think that Instagram is becoming a new contender. Instagram has already surpassed Twitter in the amount of monthly active users (over 300 million as of July 2015), and its growth rate continues to skyrocket. Based on these statistics, Instagram should be in the Top Two along with its parent, Facebook.

Despite its growth and user base, many business professionals struggle to grasp the value of Instagram. There is a lot that brands just don’t understand about Instagram, so they either avoid the platform or treat it as a side project and don't put much effort into it. As time goes on, priorities will likely shift as mobile continues to dominate. With this, the perception of Instagram will also likely change.

Every social media platform has a community, and Instagram is no exception. There are tons of articles about community management for Facebook and Twitter, but not as many for Instagram. Managing a community on Instagram is different than managing a community on computer-based social platforms, but it’s nothing to fear.

Here are six essential tips for community management on Instagram:

1. Check Your Notifications Often

Once you post your content, be sure to keep an eye on your notifications in real-time. Most people will see and engage with your photos when they are first posted. Currently the notifications pane in Instagram only shows you the eighty most recent comments, so be sure not to miss anything below the fold once your content goes live!

2. Reply to Comments

Writing back to your community in the comments is important on any platform, but on Instagram it's often ignored. Get conversations going, ask questions, and engage! Make your followers see your brand as accessible and willing to listen. Personal connections and loyalty will follow. And be sure to begin all of your engagements by tagging the person's username so he or she will be notified! An easy way to do this is to swipe left on the comment and then tap the reply button. 

3. Encourage Users to Tag Their friends

Depending on your content, you may find that most comments are people simply tagging  their friends. This can be a little discouraging since you can't engage much with just a username, but encourage it! More eyes on your content can result in more engagement and followers.

4. Use Iconosquare

What throws most people off about Instagram is that it’s mobile-based. Its current browser version doesn't allow you to post photos or even see your notifications. Third party web-based services such as Iconosquare can come to your rescue to make checking your notifications easier and more convenient.

5. Use Instagram Direct to Run Giveaways

Run a comment-to-win sweepstakes! (Make sure to follow FTC Guidelines.) Comment-to-win sweepstakes are great for boosting comments. You can then select your winners and then tell them you'll reach out via Instagram Direct message. (It's Instagram's version of a Facebook private message or Twitter direct message.) Then you can privately request their email address and pass along the prize!

6. Check Hashtags for UGC

Depending on your brand, your fans may be posting content on Instagram about your products! This is almost always a given for food-related brands. Try searching a few hashtags and see what's out there or, better yet, search a hashtag of your brand name. Engage on their photos with likes and comments. They'll probably be thrilled to see the recognition (and they're likely to follow your brand if they don't already).

Showcase your community by featuring user-generated content? Use Instagram Direct to reach out and get permission, and then regram or post their photos. Just be sure to always give credit!

If you like my essential tips, please share this post using the social media icons below or to the left. Also: check out 5 Ways to Enhance Your Brand's Instagram.

Do you engage with your communities on Instagram? What takeaways do you have from your engagements? Let me know in the comments below!