Step up your Instagram commenting game with some structure.
Commenting can be a very powerful way to mold new relationships on Instagram. With a bit of finesse, you can achieve consistent, predictable follower growth. Comments can open up discussion with potential influencer partners or new long-term fans. The platform is approaching 1 billion users and they’re all within your reach. With this approach, commenting becomes a means of cold outreach.
Instagram auto commenting is a plague.
If you’ve spent any reasonable amount of time on Instagram, you’ve seen just how garbage marketers are at using comments. People go for a spray and pray approach, shooting out as many comments as possible with automation. The problem here is that to cover a wide variety of content types, their auto-comments are the epitome of generic. Great shot! Nice photo! 🔥🔥🔥💯💯💯. What do comments like this achieve? I’ll bet any amount of money this approach comes bundled with a low conversion rate.
What kind of comments perform best?
When thinking about the performance of comments, you have to consider what your KPI will be. Followers gained from comments would be the first to pop up in our heads. How can we attribute what followers are gained from comments? There’s a few Instagram bots that give conversion rate in their analytics but not all of us have that luxury. On top of this, we want to test out comment variations manually before scaling up with automation. It’s a lesson straight out of The Lean Startup.
When doing manual tests, I like to use reply rate as my KPI. In fact, it’s the only commenting metric I record at all. Not all growth hacking is complex: testing Instagram comments is just simple split testing. Write a few different comments and leave equal amounts on similar content. To check if you’re using a large enough sample size, I recommend Optimizely’s split testing calculator. Optimizing for reply rate can be done by testing different copy or how you target content to comment on.
To get the creative juices flowing, I’ll search a hashtag to check out what people are posting. From here, I’ll write a caption that applies to each of the latest (or Top) 9 posts. Keep in mind that if a manual test is proven successful after multiple runs, we will be scaling up our efforts with automation. If you need help, I’ve written a guide on choosing an Instagram bot.
Asking probing questions has proven to be the most powerful way to use Instagram comments for growth.
However, the effectiveness may go down over time once more marketers catch on to this approach. Just like how there’s a saturation of generic comments, maybe one day the platform will be saturated with open-ended question comments.
It can be a tricky task coming up with a single question that applies to a variety of content types. The shortcut to the finish line here is to get extremely targeted. Look for niche hashtags within your industry that are used often but aren’t too popular. The less popular a hashtag is, the less variation it will have in the types of content tagged with it.
The risk with using Instagram bots to scale up your commenting is that you might leave comments that don’t apply to content. It would be pretty embarrassing to ask a deep, probing question on a completely irrelevant post. I’ve made that mistake and have been called out on it before. It’s embarrassing and some might even mark you as a spammer. That’s one of the most common ways people get shadowbanned from Instagram.
Target Region-Specific Hashtags with Comments
One of my favorite ways to get specific in my targeting is to go regional. This won’t work for all brands, but fishing for sales and followers is a cinch with local targeting. My Instagram account, @ctwtn is a travel blog and region-specific hashtags have been my best friend. I’ll ask for restaurant or lodging recommendations. Rather than simply dropping compliments on others’ travel photos like everyone else, I ask questions about their trips. I’ll ask if the tourist heavy attractions are worth the effort or not. I’ll ask what they didn’t like about the trip.
In the fitness industry, you could ask what supplements or diet someone is using. If you’re a vegan restaurant, maybe look for people who do home gardening and ask for pointers. There’s always an effective commenting angle that you can run with.
Instagram Commenting Brings in New Followers
If handled with TLC, Instagram commenting can completely transform your brand. I typically leave 25 comments per hour with an Instagram bot. That’s 600 probing questions sent out to regionally-targeted nomads and backpackers. My average reply rate is a monstrous 93%, after 8 months of optimizing my targeting options. The majority of these replies make for brief conversations that don’t end up in a new follower. The great conversations always lead to new contacts though. Not just a new follower, I now have a personal relationship with this person to build upon. TYBG.
If you use a different approach in your comment game, let me know in the comments. I’m always open to trying out new methods.