4 Ways Big Brands Engage With Their Followers

We sent a survey out to over 200,000 people on Instagram to get an idea of what they loved about Heartbeat. We weren’t surprised to see that 43% said it’s very important for a brand they promote to like or comment on their posts. Brands, especially big ones, get a lot of attention. But, we live in an Instagram world, and new brands are popping up everyday like countries waiting to be discovered. Consumers want some of that attention back, and companies like @netflix are noticing. They actively engage with their audience, using every feature in the Instagram toolkit, while getting their audience excited for new shows with teaser trailers, posters, wallpapers, takeovers and more.

The goal is simple: create real and authentic relationships with your audience while keeping them entertained. Here are four ways big brands are doing exactly that.

Regram it

Reposting content from your followers is one of the easiest ways to get free and distinctive posts for your handle. At Heartbeat, we call this user-generated content (UGC); any piece of content produced by someone on Instagram. Brands are skipping the photographers and studio lighting and turning to their audiences for marketing efforts. @urbanoutfitters recently reposted a photo with @maitreyabrooks wearing their UO Willow Fuzzy Drawstring Teddy Jacket. Followers who see the post and notice that this person is not an Influencer, feel like it makes the brand more relatable, and the person in the photo is someone they can identify with. Another great example is the women’s clothing and accessories company, @cultgaia who frequently reposts their followers’ photos on their Story. It’s a simple way to showcase real women wearing their products just like the ones they’re marketing to. Reposting makes followers feel really good when they see brands they’re loyal to reposting their content. Overall, it validates their choice to follow your brand and purchase your products.

Q&A your audience

The ‘Questions’ Sticker on Instagram Stories is one of the best features to engage your audience with. Brands can ask their followers anything they want and receive valuable feedback they might normally have to pay for. Each question is essentially a surveying tool for your followers, and there’s a lot of information to be learned. @Glossier has an entire Highlight on their profile dedicated to beauty and skincare Q&A with their followers. They ask questions, send them to experts in those fields, and then post the answers on their Story. @meundies posted a funny Q&A with their Founder, Jonathan Shokrian about his favorite prints and things he’s done in his undies. They put a face to the brand and made the Story a goofy and real experience.

Host a Takeover

Instagram takeovers are one of the most creative ways to collaborate and cross-promote with your followers. They can be for any amount of time with some lasting a couple of hours to a week. The overall purpose of a takeover is to educate, promote and inspire your audience. @nasa did some unprecedented takeovers with their astronauts on the @iss mission. For many, it was the first time seeing inside a space shuttle and listening to someone on Instagram talking from space. Promoting the lead -up to a takeover can also help get your followers excited and increase views. @girboss just posted a Spring Equinox takeover with @1meccanism and she told everyone about their full moon reading. @enews had couples take over their Instagram to promote the new season of The Bachelor. @sephora has beauty bloggers do tutorials highlighting products. In short, takeovers can be used for almost anything.

Comment back in real time

When we post a new photo on our @heartbeatcompany handle, there are no comments left unseen or messages unread. Imagine posting a new photo you’re excited about, and getting a ton of comments and likes. Same goes for our brand. We’re excited to see that our followers love what we’re posting and want to water those relationships like a field of flowers. The point of this is that we want our followers to know we are listening and are excited to have them following us. It’s also a great way to monitor the conversation or reaction to the post itself. Some followers live for your next photo so make it count! @dodgers does a great job of talking with their followers on their posts and even reply in English and Spanish.