How to leave meaningful comments on Instagram

To maximise the opportunity of social media in reaching more people, we have to learn to move from simply producing content to having conversations.

If you want to reach more people, you need to be talking to more people. If it sounds obvious, it’s because it is.

But this is where so many of us get it wrong. Instead of engaging in conversations online in a similar way to how we do in person, we can often lose that personal touch and start to behave in ways that are a bit spammy.

So how do we have great conversations on Instagram that produce genuine connection and expand our audience? The simplest to start is in the comments section. A proper engagement strategy on Instagram will dedicate time to leaving meaningful and valuable comments.

Define your target audience

Who are you trying to reach? Because it makes sense to spend time interacting with those sort of people.

For example in my sphere, I spend time interacting with churches, creatives and thought leaders. Instagram is an endless game and you simply don’t have enough energy or resource to spend it with everyone.

Get ruthless and actually define your target audience. Note that for churches, your digital audience may well be very different to your Sunday gathering. And that’s ok. It reflects the reality that social media is much better suited towards digital evangelism as opposed to digital discipleship.

Focus on similar communities

If you’re a church but you’re leaving comments on a nightclub then you might be barking up the wrong tree. Not because those particular people don’t need Jesus but simply because it’s not a similar profile.

You can easily leave a few thumbs up or other meaningless emojis on any image but will that really help you create a conversation?

The biggest mistake churches make is to truly believe that everybody is in their target audience. Whilst it’s a nice and inclusive thought, the reality is very different. If you focus on everyone, you will reach no one. By watering down your emphasis, you actually become less palatable full stop.

Make a tangible list

Rather than just a general sense of who you want to interact with, make an actual list of 5-10 accounts that you’re going to start interacting with. They don’t necessarily need to be your target audience but have a shared community that you would like to introduce yourself to.

Avoid short and spammy comments

There is no shortcut to creating comments of value. It actually takes time and we would be foolish to think that we can skip this. So actually watch/read/think about the content you’ve just seen and then add your perspective.

Write a whole sentence or even a paragraph and you’ll instantly jump to the attention of those who scroll.

Be genuine, positive and personal

Say thank you for sharing. Tag the account in question (it may notify them which is an added advantage). Use first names where you can as well as emojis.

If you’re a church or a business then you need to decide your approach in how you personalise things. You can sign off as a volunteer name or you can simply be the brand itself. Just be consistent.

Write something that you loved about the content. Or a question that you have about it. Make it clean, simple and just genuine interaction. Enjoy the process of talking to people.

Focus on being helpful above all

Don’t copy and paste comments all over different accounts. You need to personalise your approach. One of the ways you can do this is by actually responding to other people who comment as well as the account holder.

If you take the time to answer questions others may have, you’ll find them trickling through to follow you.

Allocate time for commenting

After reading above, you may be realising that commenting on Instagram is actually proper work. It requires energy, time, effort, thought and heart to succeed. So instead of checking Instagram every 20 minutes, why don’t you allocate a proper session (30-60 minutes) where you are active in conversation and community. Use the power of batching to help supersize your productivity in this area.

We all know a fake spammy comment when we see one. So don’t be a robot – bring your humanity to the equation and watch and see as people will interact with you and become part of your community too.

Hi I'm Sats Solanki aka the Digital Rabbi.

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