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I am listening to a lot of podcasts about online marketing and social media recently. If many talks a lot about Instagram and the importance to own your platform – because no one is protected from their favourite social media from closing – nobody tells you how much Instagram is a great networking tool.

As of September 2017, Statita – one of the leading internet statistics companies in the world – has reported Instagram now have 800 million of active users. If you think about it, we are now 7,5 billion on earth, and almost 1 billion of people in the world are actively using the visual app. If it doesn’t make it the most powerful app in the world, I don’t know what it is!

The power of Instagram relies on its visual aspect enabling people to be storytellers by posting pictures, videos and stories. Though the trend among users is to comment mostly using emojis, the app has been great in developing new ways to communicate – the polling feature being one of the most recent examples. Who hasn’t seen his/her favourite influencers post reactions from their followers on stories? Who hasn’t seen his/her favourite brand post a job offer on the grid and in stories or live stream an event? There is something about Instagram making it an excellent tool for communication because stories offer a glimpse of spontaneity that the perfectly curated images of the grid don’t; this could be the main reason why people are more likely to react to stories rather than commenting on a post. And when I say respond I mean articulated sentences and thoughts, not emojis.

If stories have the power to create more engagement, why not think of Instagram as a great way to network, thus develop relationships while growing your audience. So here are some tips to make this happen.

  1.    Be authentic

This is probably the most overused piece of advice, but if you have something to say, say it and if you don’t, don’t. Commenting with a ‘love it’ or emojis won’t get you far in building real bonds. How can you expect people to visit your profile if you don’t show a real interest in theirs?  What you will get from the type of comments aforementioned are at least, a like or a ‘thank you’ but that won’t make the person go and visit your profile. So be sure to comment genuinely.

  1.    Start a conversation

It might be that you went to an event and collected Instagram profiles. Instead of following them for following them, have a look at what the people behind these Instagram accounts are up to. And if you like what they do, watch their stories, like their pictures, write a little message or comment – you would be surprised how much people remember who follow them once you reach out to them for a project.

  1.    Answer questions

Your favourite entrepreneur or influencer is asking a question via their stories using the polling tool? Use it, and if you think you have something more to say, leave a message on the story. If they do the same on the grid, answering with honesty can trigger conversations between followers and get people interested in you, thus get more eyeballs on your profile.

This is my definition of engagement/networking on Instagram, what about yours? What do you use Instagram for?


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