How to Increase Instagram Engagement: a Complete Guide

If you’ve been using Instagram for a while, you’ve probably seen your engagement on Instagram drop.

For some, quite substantially, for others, a little less.

Instagram engagement is the fuel for success on the platform, because after all, Instagram is a social media platform, and if people aren’t engaging with you or your posts, really, what’s the point?

If you’ve been experiencing your Instagram engagement dropping, you’re not alone. Over the years, an obvious trend on Instagram is that the engagement rate tends to decrease on accounts. Not only does the engagement rate tend to decrease as the accounts grow, but in more recent times, with the introduction of the Instagram algorithm, the engagement rate has significantly decreased for virtually every user on the platform. In fact, a study made by Quintly found that Instagram post interactions had decreased by 33% in just one year.

It’s never fun when something goes in the opposite direction of positive, and with the decreasing Instagram engagement, many users have become frustrated. But the good news is that it doesn’t have to for your account.

The good news, however, is that if your Instagram engagement has dropped, you don’t have to stand there helpless as you can actually do a ton of things about it to get your Instagram engagement back to the amazing levels it once was at, or, maybe even better.

Fortunately, there are a ton of approaches that will help you increase your Instagram engagement, and that’s exactly what I’ll share with you in this article.

Without further ado, let’s dig in, and skyrocket your Instagram engagement.

Why the organic reach and Instagram engagement has dropped

Today, the average Instagram engagement rate is not what it once was. Throughout the years, the organic reach on Instagram, as well as the engagement rate has decreased for the vast majority of users.

The reason is simple.

As the number of users on Instagram has grown, more and more accounts have fought for a spot in the spotlight, which is your newsfeed, and with the chronological feed, it meant that every post which has been shared recently by the accounts you followed were chronologically showcased in your news feed. The catch, however, is that if 50 other accounts had shared a post, very few people would actually scroll all the way down to its feed and thus see the post. And if people aren’t even seeing your posts, how would they possibly be able to engage with it?

It was reported by Instagram that the average user misses 70% of the content in their feed. 

Eventually, Instagram introduced a new way of showcasing content in your news feed which was the so-called ”Instagram algorithm”.

Instagram algorithm
Source: Buffer

Rather than showcasing the most recent post in the newsfeed of its users, it would use an algorithm to try and find out which type of content from which type of accounts people would find Interesting and engaging. As such, the algorithm tries to figure out the relevance of each and every single post which has been shared by the accounts you follow and then presents these posts in your feed accordingly. Many of the posts from accounts you follow will never see the light of day in your feed.

With all of this in mind, posts on Instagram are seeing an ever decreasing engagement and organic reach with their posts on Instagram. People only have so much time to consume content, and that means a lot of posts on the platform will be filtered away, and thus miss out on being engaged with by its followers.

Today, it is the algorithm that is the middleman between you, your content and your audienc. The algorithm decides what people see or not, and this is why the algorithm is an important part of increasing Instagram engagement because if you understand the algorithm, you can make it work in your favor.

Now, there are many ways to increase your Instagram engagement, but there is only one way to increase your engagement rate.

I’ll be focusing on both.

Awesome, right?

Remember, however, that we’re talking about the organic reach and organic engagement on Instagram, though. Of course, you could just throw in a million dollars for running an Instagram ad to increase your Instagram engagement, but most people don’t have that kind of money to invest in Instagram ads.

1. Use Instagram hashtags Strategically

I really cannot emphasize just how important hashtags on Instagram are. Hashtags are the fuel for organic reach on the platform, and by using them strategically, you can get your posts in front of significantly more people, and thus dramatically increase your Instagram engagement.

Instagram hashtags

Since hashtags increase your organic reach and exposure, it will naturally lead to a higher engagement as well. This is why this method to increase Instagram engagement is focused on increasing your exposure to then increase your engagement. Not trying to increase your engagement rate.

Notice how there’s a difference there?

Mastering hashtags is an art, but it’s quite simple, and once you’ve figured out which the most effective hashtags are, you’ll be able to see quite significant increases in your Instagram engagement.

How do you use Instagram hashtags for maximum Instagram engagement?

Many people who use hashtags on Instagram make a huge mistake. They believe that the more popular a hashtag is (the more posts have been shared using that hashtag), the more effective it is, and the more it will increase your organic reach and engagement.

Most of the time, that’s not true. Here’s the deal:

When you use a hashtag that has been used by hundreds of millions of people, it means that people share a ton of single new posts every second. Since the posts seen in the hashtag sections are showcased in a timely order, which means the most recent at the top and the oldest at the bottom, already after a few seconds your post will have sunk far down, to a place where people can’t find them because they have to scroll so much.

Additionally, the hashtags that have been used by millions of people also tend to be very broad and have in mind that the purpose of Instagram in the first place isn’t just to reach anyone, but rather to reach the people who truly matter to you and who are in your target audience.

Instagram hashtags

The largest hashtags are often used by bots and spammers, and these won’t do any good for you.

As such, you obviously want to use, instead of broad and unspecific hashtags, targeted hashtags, which are a little less used by people, however, ensure that your post gets seen by people in your target audience – people who truly care about your industry, and will thus be far more likely to engage and interact with your post.

How many hashtags should you use?

A common question asked and debated is how many hashtags you should use. Before I say anything, I’m going to warn you that everyone says differently, however, what I’ve found from my five years on Instagram is that 30 hashtags which is the maximum tends to lead to the highest exposure boost and thus also the highest Instagram engagement increase.

The reason is simple.

The more places you are showcased on, the more exposure you’ll get, and the more engagement you’ll receive.

2. Add a Call-to-Action to Your Instagram Caption

This method is not about increasing your reach, but rather to increase your Instagram engagement rate so that more of the people who see your post actually engage with it as opposed to just look at it and then continue scrolling.

Call-to-action – also known as CTAs is one of the easiest and most frequently used approaches to increase the engagement on an Instagram post.

It’s no secret that calls-to-action are powerful in marketing, and can have a significant impact on how many people take action. Since engaging with your post is a form of interacting, using calls-to-action in your captions can have a great effect.

Instagram call to action

Many people don’t take action because they just don’t know what they should do, however, if someone explicitly asks them or tells them, they’ll know exactly what to do.

There are endless CTAs you can use, but it is important that you call to action is related to your post or at least your niche and industry.

You must ask your audience to perform an action which relates to something they care about and are interested in one way or another.

Here are some of the most common CTAs used on Instagram:

  • Comment below!
  • Like if you agree
  • Tap like!
  • Double-tap!
  • Let us know in the comments!
  • Share your thoughts below!
  • Tag a friend!

Make your CTAs short, punchy, and extremely actionable.

3. Ask questions

Questions are great for engaging your audience and getting more comments. By asking questions, you focus on having a conversation with your audience as opposed to talking to them, and not only does this help for increasing your Instagram engagement, but it also helps in making your audience more engaged and more loyal.

Instagram engagement

I don’t know about you, but more loyal fans seem quite attractive, don’t you think?

By asking questions on your posts, make your followers stop for a while and think about your question. Secondly, the more questions you ask, the more answers you’ll get. The best of all is that when you ask questions and get answers, you can ask follow-up questions only to each and every specific individual who responded, and this will help you build your customer relationship and make them more engaged in your brand. As such, they’ll become more loyal and tend to engage with you much more in the future due to the customer loyalty you’ve built.

Here are some common (and effective) questions asked on Instagram:

  1. What five things could you not live without?
  2. What are you most thankful for today?
  3. I’m inspired by _________.
  4. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  5. My favorite social network is__________.
  6. What is your favorite hobby?
  7. What’s your dream travel destination?

The opportunities are endless, really

As you ask questions, you hope for answers, and as you receive answers, you need to respond to them, and this brings me to my next point.

4.  Reply to comments (always)

I cannot emphasize enough just how important this step is.

Many people make the mistake of just focusing on getting other people – the audience – to do all the work, and then not do a damn thing themselves. This is absolutely and definitely the wrong approach.

Remember that Instagram engagement is about engaging and interacting. This means a two-way interaction. A conversation is between two people. Not one people talking and the other part not saying a single word.

When someone comments on your post, make sure that you always respond. No excuses.

If your audience has taken the time to interact with your post, the least you can do is take the time to show appreciation and engage with them back, right?

Thank them for their time, their supporter and loyalty. Make your audience feel loved and appreciated because when you do, they’ll be much more likely to continue to engage with you and your post.

My most loyal followers are individuals who comment and like each and every single post that I share, and what do you think that I’ve done to get to that point? I’ve responded to each and every single comment they’ve left, and I’ve also continued the conversation and asked follow-up questions and shown them that I truly care. Since this is something quite unique on Instagram, when you do it, you’ll separate yourself from the crowd and are able to increase your Instagram engagement.

5. Post at “the right hours”

Just like hashtags, it has been widely discussed when the best time to post on Instagram is. Some studies say one thing, others say something else, but I have developed my own theory which I share in the real answer to when the best time is to post.

I’ll go through the thesis here, though:

With the traditional chronological Instagram feed, all posts where showcased in a chronological order, and with so many posts being shared, in order to get people to see your post, you wanted to share your post right at the second when your followers logged in to the app, thus making your post waiting for them at the top, and thereby making sure that everyone saw it.

Now, on the other hand, with the algorithmic Instagram feed, the way posts are presented in your feed is quite different, as you know, and thereby, the time of which you share a post isn’t as important as it once was. Have in mind though, that this does not mean that the time you share a post doesn’t have any significance because it does.

The Instagram algorithm uses a ton of different ranking factors for deciding how they’re going to present content in your news feed, and one of these factors still is time. Obviously, no-one wants to see a post which has been shared weeks ago at the top of their feed, because it probably won’t be relevant.

What my thesis also includes is the theory or more so logical idea that there isn’t a ”universal time” which is the ultimate time to share a post on Instagram, because this varies. If I have followers from Europe, my ideal time to share a post for the highest Instagram engagement won’t be the same as if my followers would be from North America, right? Instagram’s goal with the algorithm is to present the most relevant content, and if a post is too old, it just won’t be relevant anymore. 

The good news is that if you have converted your Instagram account to a so-called business account, you can see the time when your followers are most active using Instagram Insights. When you know that, you can start by deciding the best time for you to post accordingly.

6. Arrange a contest

Arranging a contest on Instagram is a tremendously powerful and effective marketing strategy. After all, that’s the reason why you see so many people doing them.

The reason why arranging a contest is an especially good idea when you want to increase your Instagram engagement is that one of the criteria for joining can be (and most often is) to engage with your post.

Share a photo social media contest

In other words, the rules of entry of your competition are to comment on your post or like your photo.

Since the organic reach is decreasing on Instagram, you want to try to do everything you can to increase it, and that’s exactly what giveaways are especially helpful in doing.

One of the most common rules of entry for contests/giveaways on Instagram is to tag one, two, three, four friends in the post.

The good thing about this is that you use your existing audience to spread the word about your contest and thus gain it more traction. Accordingly, by asking people to tag a friend, you can gain traction quite quickly. If you just ask people to comment on your post, you have to rely on the fact that people see your post in the first place. If they don’t, no-one will join it. This is why I believe it is a big mistake to run contests if you have a small Instagram account with any other rules of entry than ”tag a friend”.

You might say that this is the most surefire way to increase your Instagram engagement, but the catch is that you obviously have to give away a price.

7. Engage with other users on Instagram

This is a tactic that I’ve found to be very effective.

The more people who know about you, the more people tend to engage with your posts, right?

Therefore, by going out and engaging and interacting with other people, mainly people in your industry, whether it be influencers or customers, you start to build a relationship with them.

As such, by engaging with them, chances are, many of them will engage back with your posts.

The most valuable fans and followers are your most loyal ones because these will interact with each and every single post you share. But in order to get to this point, you need to focus on building relationships.

Social media is called social for a reason. You’re meant to interact and engage with other people!

The more social you are, the more social other people will be towards you as well! Think of it this way: Instagram and social media as a whole aren’t any different from real life. The more you interact with people, the more they’ll interact with you.

To get, you first have to give, and you cannot expect everyone else to take the first step.

8.Leverage Instagram Stories

If you aren’t leveraging Instagram Stories, you’re missing out. Best of all is that Stories can be used as a tool to increase your Instagram engagement.

First of all, your regular posts are fighting for exposure under the iron fist of the algorithm, but your Instagram Stories play in their own league in a way, because these are presented at the very top of people’s feed, and since Stories still is (relatively speaking) new, the competition for getting exposure isn’t as though as it will be in the future.

Instagram Stories help you stay more connected with your audience, and best of all is that it helps you build a relationship with them as you’re humanizing your brand.

Now, you’re probably wondering how using Instagram Stories can help you increase your Instagram engagement, and the truth is, it can, in two main ways.

Firstly, Stories is a tremendously powerful relationship tool which helps you build and strengthen your customer relationships, making them more loyal. And what do more loyal followers mean? It means that they’ll be far more likely to engage with your future posts as well!

The other way you can use Instagram Stories is to include a call-to-action every now and then where you encourage your audience to go to your post to engage with it.

As a bonus tip, you’ve probably seen accounts take a screenshot of their feed and then cover up the latest post they’ve shared when they’ve posted a new post and then upload it to Stories telling people to check it out. The reason is that because of the algorithm, there might be people who don’t see the post, but see the Story, and so by letting people know you’ve shared a story, you can encourage them to check it out and engage with it.

9. Get on the explore page

If you get to the explore page, you’ll gain immense traction.

This is, of course, easier said than done, but getting your post to the explore page is an art, and if you understand the algorithm behind it, you can significantly increase your chances of getting featured there.

In the article on how to get to the Explore page, you get to learn everything about it and to get your posts featured there, but here’s a quick walkthrough:

If you’re unfamiliar to the Explore page, the Explore page is a page on Instagram where a bunch of posts is showcased, which Instagram presents based on your previous interactions and a number of factors. In other words, posts that Instagram thinks you’ll find interesting and relevant. It’s a way to help you discover new, inspiring and relevant content, as well as new Instagram pages.

Instagram explore page

Since the explore page is tailored, it looks different to everyone.

  • Get your post liked and engaged with by a big account – this will show your post to all of the people who are following that account in their Explore page
  • Get plenty of engagement on your posts
  • Try to gain traction for your post, and your post will further gain immense traction as it gets featured on the Explore page.

10.Use Stories polls

You know by know that the more you engage your audience, the more loyal they’ll become, and the more Instagram engagement on your posts you’ll receive.

Simple, right?

This is why you need to use every tactic possible to build and strengthen your customer relationships, and one way to go about doing this is to engage with your audience through Instagram Stories polls.

Instagram polls

Stories polls are just what they sound like polls that you incorporate in your Stories and can the have your audience ”vote” on.

Polls will increase Instagram engagement, as, by adding an interactive element to your Stories, you are able to create a dialogue rather than a one-way conversation.

11.Tag your posts

Apart from hashtags, a great way to increase your Instagram engagement is to tag people in your posts. You can tag a maximum of 20 users in your posts, and by tagging these individuals, you can, as long as you’re not tagging he major celebrities, be sure that you’ll have 20 extra people taking a look at your post as a result of being notified and becoming curious.

Don’t just tag anyone in your post though, as some might be confused, and some even angry. Make sure you tag people you’ve spoken and engaged with and that you know like your brand and posts. If you can tag 20 engaged individuals, you might be able to get 20 more comments on your post, and that’s quite significant.

Additionally, when you tag someone in your post, your post will be visible in the ”tagged in” section of their profile. This gives your post yet another opportunity for engagement.

12. Ask people to turn on post notifications

Post notifications is a feature on Instagram which enables people to turn on a button which sends them a notification every time a specific account shares a post.

The best part about getting people to turn on post notifications is that the second you share a post, they’ll get notified of it, and at least some of them will go to your post to check it out.

Accordingly, it will increase the number of people who actually see your post, and it will also increase the number of people who engage with your post.

Awesome, right?

A good idea is to share a post specifically made to encourage people to turn on post notifications.

Gary Vaynerchuk created one such post which got a lot of people to turn on their notifications for his account:

13.Leverage hashtags and locations on Stories

Your posts aren’t the only place where you can add hashtags and locations.

On your Stories, you can add hashtags and a location, and this will give you more places where your Story will be showcased, and this gives it more exposure.

Instagram Stories locations

The more people you reach with your Stories, the more people you can impact to engage with your post.

See stories as your fishing net with which you can catch in new prospects, and then with your post, you keep them glued to your page.

Instagram Stories hashtags

14. Check in at a location with your post

Another way to increase your exposure and thus increase your Instagram engagement is to add a location to your post.

A study by Simply Measured found that including a geotag in your Instagram post can achieve 79% more engagement!

The reason is that by adding a geotag, you make it possible for people to find your posts if they search by location, ad they might even be able to find your older posts.

15.Post quality content

This point is self-explanatory, yet still, I frequently see accounts that share boring, low-quality content, yet still ask the question why they have a low Instagram engagement.

With the increasing competition for getting seen on Instagram, it becomes more and more important to share quality content. With the increasing competition, the low-quality boring posts get lost in the noise, and only the best and most interesting will cut through.

Beautiful Instagram content

Compromising on the quality of your posts was okay when the only cameras available were the ones in your Nokia, but with the high-quality camera that is in your iPhone today, there’s no excuse to posting low-quality, blurry photos on Instagram. If you do, people will just continue scrolling, and not only will this prevent your chances of getting engagement from them, but it will also send signals to Instagram’s algorithm that they don’t find posts from your account interesting.

Remember that you only have a few seconds at max to catch people’s attention, and having quality content is the first step.

16. Ask people to tag a friend

The only way to get people to tag a friend isn’t to arrange a giveaway/contest. Simply asking your audience to tag a friend in your post can be convincing enough.

The more exposure you bring your post, the more engagement It’ll get, and so by leveraging your existing audience, you can get more eyeballs to your content and thus a higher engagement.

Instagram tag a friend

The most obvious way to get people to tag a friend is to simply ask them, but if you want to convince even more people to do it, you can also incentivize them. Now, this doesn’t have to be that you give away something physical or a prize like when you arrange a contest, it can be something so simple as a shoutout or a feature on your website.

17. Identify your top-performing posts

You’ve shared a post on Instagram and then see it gain immense unexpected traction.

Some posts just perform better than others, and while it may depend on a number of factors, most of the time, it depends on the content itself.

If you look through your posts, you know what a ”well-performing post” and a bad performing post.

The interesting part is identifying what the well-performing posts have in common, and how you can take advantage of that to share more of the well-performing posts.

Before Instagram Insights, you’d had to scroll manually to try and find the best performing posts, but if you have Instagram Insights activated, you can get access to your best performing posts instantly.

Simply to your Insights and tap ”content”. Now, tap ”see all”. Here, you’ll be presented with your best performing post the last year. You can also update the filtering criteria to find the posts that generated the most amount of likes, comments, etc.

Now that you’ve identified your best performing posts, answer these questions:

  • What do they have in common?
  • Do they use a particular filter?
  • What is the post’s message?
  • What colors are used in the post?
  • What is the post about?
  • What hashtags did you use?
  • What was the caption like

With the answers to this questions, you should be able to craft a recipe to more successful and well-performing posts which generate a higher engagement on Instagram.

18.Like posts related to your industry directly after you’ve shared a post

A way to boost your post’s engagement when shared is to like a bunch of posts the second when you share it. By liking related posts, people will get a notification that you’ve engaged with their posts, and therefore, they’ll be more likely to take a look at yours. With the Instagram algorithm, getting fast engagement is an important ranking as it shows Instagram that people found the most interesting and valuable, and as a result, they’ll reward it with higher rankings and more exposure.

Instagram hashtags

19.Stick to one niche

Okay, so you’ve attracted a bunch of followers on Instagram but what is your niche?

What are these people passionate about and interested in?

On Instagram, it’s important to focus on one niche and accordingly share posts that are related to that specific niche. If you share all types of posts that aren’t really connected in a way,  the vast majority of your audience won’t resonate with your posts, and additionally, many will make the decision of not following you because the content you share doesn’t interest them or don’t have a clear theme.

For example, if I am passionate about cars, and then follow an Instagram page that I think is dedicated to cars, and then all of a sudden, that page shares a photo of a horse, I probably won’t engage with the post, most likely just continue scrolling.

This is why it’s so important to have a clear and well-defined niche which your audience can expect your posts to be about. If you do, you’ll know what to post, and your audience will also know what to expect.

20. Post consistently

The worst thing you can do to harm your Instagram engagement is to post inconsistently and even worse, take a loooong pause from posting on Instagram which makes people think that you’ve quite Instagram altogether.

Posting consistently will have a significant impact on your engagement, and if you post consistently, you’ll be rewarded by a high engagement.

  • Firstly, Instagram rewards those who use the platform frequently.
  • You ensure that you’re always on top of peoples’ minds and never forgotten.
  • Your posts will be shown less frequently in people’s feeds.
  • Lastly, by posting frequently, you let people know when to expect posts from you.

By posting consistently and regularly, you leverage the fact that people are creatures of habit. When you post consistently, it will become a habit for people, and thereby, it will make them much more likely to watch your post, and engage with it.

In a way, you train your followers to expect content from you, and as long as you serve them with high-quality content, they’ll continue watching. But if you stop, they might leave you forever as their habit is broken.

21. Make your Instagram posts tall

My favorite hack to increase Instagram engagement is by leveraging the format of the posts strategically. Often times, people tend to share horizontal posts, and in terms of Instagram engagement, this is not the most effective format?

Instagram format
Source: https://colorlib.com/wp/size-of-the-instagram-picture/

Why? Because posts that are the tallest they can be on the platform take up essentially the whole screen when scrolling in the feed, and when people come across your post and you’ve shared a tall post, it will fully and completely immerse them in your post and ensure that they never miss it.

It makes sense, right?

The more space in people’s feed your posts take up, the more attention-grabbing it will be, and the less likely they’ll be to miss it.

As such, you want to take advantage of this little small hack by thinking about making your posts as tall as possible.

22.Understand the Instagram algorithm

The Instagram algorithm is a complicated thing, but by understanding how it works, you can work with your posts and strategies accordingly in order to make the Instagram algorithm work for you and benefit you instead of limiting your reach and engagement.

The way you can make the algorithm work in your favor is by reverse-engineering it.

For a complete guide about the algorithm, read How to make the Instagram algorithm work in your favor.

23.Spark interest in your new posts by building up the hype with Stories

Now, I’ve already spoken about one way to use Stories to get people to engage with your Instagram posts, and that is to screenshot your feed and hide the latest post.

This is a tactic that works, but an even more effective approach is to build up hype before sharing the post by talking about the topic which your post is focused about, and telling your audience when they can expect the post to go live.

In doing this, there are many different approaches you can take. The goal, however, is to spark engagement.

The most effective approach is to ask a question in your Stories which your audience should answer in your most recent post.

Here are some ideas:

  • Let me know what you think about my new ____
  • Share your thoughts on ____ in my latest post
  • Leave an emoji in my latest post on how you feel right now
  • Your most recent emoji describes your mood, leave it in my latest post
  • Huge reveal in my latest post (make sure you live up to it)

24.Study upcoming trends

Social media is ever-changing, and in order to remain relevant, it is important to stay updated with the latest trends and happenings.

Every now and then, special trends emerge on social media that gain immense traction, and if you can see them coming from afar, you can ride the wave of the trend’s popularity and explode in popularity, exposure, and engagement. You’ve probably seen various brands hop on different trends and ride the popularity that is the trend is seeing under a short period of time.

When people are into a particular thing, the trend, they’re more likely to engage with posts related to it.

Trends are amazing for gaining traction, but if you are late to the party, you’ll just get lost in the nouse,

As such, the way you can leverage social media trends to increase Instagram engagement is by spotting them before they gain traction.

Of course, this is often easier said than done, but if you are consistently using social media and taking part in the conversations, you’ll get a better insight into what’s hot and what’s not

 25.Reward your most loyal fans

By rewarding wanted behavior, you’ll see more of that behavior.

Just think of the reasons why you give dog treats to dogs when they’ve performed a wanted task, or reward children when they’ve done something food.

By rewarding your most loyal fans, you first and foremost show your audience that you value and appreciate them. Secondly, and maybe most importantly in the short run, you encourage all of your other fans to be more loyal to your brand.

There are a million ways you can reward your fans, and while many people believe that the only way to reward is through monetary or physical rewards, but it can be something as simple as a discount code a two for one, and anything in between.

26. Share user-generated content

User-generated content is tremendously effective on social media, and it is so because of several reasons.

First off, as a brand, leveraging user-generated content from your audience means that your message will be much more trusted than when you share professionally created content.

Instagram user generated content

In other words, user-generated content performs much better than regular promotional content due to the simple fact that people are very skeptical to the words of the brands because they know that they only have one agenda which is to sell more.

Here are some powerful user-generated content statistics:

Quite powerful, don’t you think?

Chances are, your customers are already sharing content about your brand, and if you aren’t leveraging it in your marketing, you’re missing out. If your audience isn’t sharing UGC content, you first need to encourage and engage them to do so, then, share this user-generated content to get a higher Instagram engagement.

The best part about UGC is that it gives you a chance to involve your audience in your own brand and make them a part of the process. Doing this will make them more loyal to your brand and help you strengthen your relationship, but most importantly, it will make them more likely to engage with the content as they themselves have been a part of creating it.

What’s more, by using User-generated content, you can decrease your content marketing costs since creating content is time-consuming and expensive, but if you can take advantage of the content that’s already being created, that’s great news.

Watch brand Daniel Wellington uses their hashtag #DWPickOfTheDay where they encourage their audience to share photos of themselves wearing their watches. Not only does this bring the brand exposure when the audience shares content of their products, but they can also get a higher Instagram engagement by humanizing their brand and bridging the gap between brand and audience.

27.Join an Instagram engagement pod

Instagram pods have been a discussed topic recently. Are they ethical, are they not, etc. I won’t go into details about that, but I will say that pods do work to increase Instagram engagement. In fact, they can be tremendously effective in boosting your engagement.

What is an Instagram pod, you may ask?

A pod is a group of users on Instagram created in Instagram Direct Message who have agreed to engage with each others’ posts. When someone has shared a post, they let everyone else know about it, and then everyone goes and interacts with it. Normally, pods consist of users with a similar follower count as well as accounts within a similar niche, and by doing this, users can get a higher engagement, not only from the people in the pod but have an easier time being featured on the Explore page and gaining traction more easily overall.

28. Write killer captions

It’s not just the visual content that matters, but also the captions.

Instagram is a visually-driven platform, and this means that the visual content you share on the platform will be the most important part. However, a misconception that people have is that accordingly, captions don’t matter at all, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

You should value your captions immensely and invest time and energy into writing appealing and captivating ones. Your captions will help bring context to your posts and storytelling to your audience. As such, with your captions, you’ll be able to capture your audience’s attention and keep them glued to your post. Accordingly, they’ll become much more likely to engage with your post.

29.Cross-promote your Instagram

A simple yet effective trick to increase Instagram engagement.

If you have other social media platforms (which you should), share posts that you’ve posted on Instagram and let these individuals know about your Instagram post. Have in mind that everyone who follows you on Facebook or Twitter might not follow you on Instagram, so make sure you leverage this audience and encourage people to engage with your Instagram posts as well.

30.Include emotional words in your captions and CTAs

As mentioned in the beginning, CTAs are tremendously effective for encouraging people to engage with you on Instagram and getting them to take action, but a way to further impact people is to include emotional words that truly impact your audience and makes them more likely to take action.

Examples of emotional and impactful words you can (and should) incorporate in your Call-to-actions are:

  • You
  • Guarantee
  • Results
  • Free
  • Because
  • New

Furthermore, another form of impactful CTA words is those that play on urgency. The more urgent it is, the more likely people will be to engage with your post.

31. Follow the 80/20 rule

The 80/20 rule means sharing 80% non-promotional content and 20% promotional content.

The thing is, social media is just that, a social media platform, not a promotional/advertisement platform. This means that people aren’t using social media because they want to have ads shoved in their face. Instead, they use it because they want to be inspired, engage with their friends, and see what their peers are up to.  Despite this, brands who haven’t realized this are using social media like any other promotional tool to shove ads down their customers’ throats.

This is, of course, not the recipe to increase Instagram engagement, but instead, only something that will push your audience further away from you and lead to your engagement consistently decreasing.

32. Try different types of content

Now, I’ve gone through the step of identifying your best performing content and then sharing content similar to that in the future, but the thing is, unless you experiment with different types of posts, you might never be able to identify the type of posts that your audience resonates with the best on Instagram.

Therefore, if you haven’t already, make sure you try different types of posts and then take notes of how your audience resonates with them. However, don’t mistake this as a recommendation that you should share posts that are unrelated to your industry, because that’s not what I am saying. Always make sure that your posts are aligned with your industry, and work to identify the content act your audience resonates best with.

33.Share fill in the blank captions and posts

A fun and engaging way to increase Instagram engagement is to share fill in the blank captions and posts.

In doing this, you can either create a post with a fill in the blank text on it, but what tends to be more effective is to use an engaging and attention-grabbing picture, and then using the caption to create a ”fill in the blank” question/statement.

People tend to engage more with fill in the blanks compared to regular questions, but then, the real challenge is to identify fill in the blanks that engage people and makes them want to answer. Ideally, you should create fill in the blanks that are related to your industry, but you don’t have to.

34.Use Instagram ads

How could I bring up ways to increase Instagram engagement without mentioning Instagram ads?

Instagram ads have proven to be tremendously effective, and are a tremendous tool for increasing your Instagram engagement.

The best part about Instagram ads is that you make your money work for you as opposed to you yourself having to do all the work as in all the other points listed here.

In fact, one of the marketing objectives of Instagram ads is actually ”engagement” and this type of ad focuses on getting people to take action and engage with you.

The more you invest in your ad campaign to boost your posts, the more engagement you’ll get, it’s that simple.

Then, you obviously want to work so that your engagement can be converted into an ROI, but that’s a different question.

35.Storytell

Storytelling is one of the most effective marketing tactics.

Humans are captivated by stories, and with Stories, you can submerge your audience into the point you’re trying you make, and make your audience more engaged in it.

The best part is that you can storytelling with images as well, and with Instagram being a visual platform, this is a great idea. Something worth trying here is to use Instagram carousels which allows you to share up to 10 photos and videos in one post which users can slide between. Through your multiple posts, you can tell a story, and impact your audience much more deeply.

36. Use emojis in your captions

Emojis are a simple way to increase your Instagram engagement. The thing with using emojis in your captions is that you make your captions stand out from the crowd and grab your audience’s attention.

Remember that humans are visual creatures, and emojis are just art, visual.

Instagram emoji

With emojis, you can convey your points better, and use them to emphasize your message in the text. 

Instagram has reported that nearly 50% of comments or captions on the platform feature emojis

37. Partner with an influencer to create brand authenticity

One of the ways to increase Instagram engagement is to get in front of more people. I’ve already spoken about several ways to do so, but another way to increase your exposure and reach and thus also engagement is by partnering with influencers.

Social media influencers have already established a presence on social media, are trusted individuals in their industry, and have built a strong presence on social media. By partnering with influencers, you can take advantage of their already established presence and audience and gain more exposure to your posts.

When running an influencer marketing campaign, though, make sure that you don’t just partner with anyone, but carefully select those that resonate with your brand, and maybe most importantly, are operating in the same industry as you. If they don’t, they might have a large audience, but that audience has zero interest any our brand and the industry you’re operating in.

Instagram influencer marketing

If you’re looking to get Instagram engagement, in particular, an effective way to leverage influencer marketing is to run a giveaway/contest at the same time. Then, ask the influencer to tell their audience to go to your page and interact with your post and follow the rules of entry.

38.Focus on having genuine conversations

The deeper and more authentic conversations you have with your audience, the stronger relationships you’ll be able to build.

But the point is that if you use social media as a relationship tool as opposed to an advertising tool, you’ll not only increase your Instagram engagement, but you’ll also be able to sell more to your most loyal advocates and fans.

39. Start to engage with the people who just started following you

If people have started following you, it was most likely because they found your content interesting. But the catch is that when they follow you, you’re completely new to them, and they don’t know what to expect. Also, many of the people who start following a page on Instagram might never engage with the post of that account.

So what should you do?

You should talk to and engage with the people who start following you.

Take the time to welcome them to your page, engage with their posts, thank them for their time, and express your gratitude towards them. The more authentic you are, the more loyal they’ll become right from the bat.

40. Have a Q&A

People often have lots of questions that they just haven’t come around and asked. By holding occasional Q&As, you will dramatically increase your Instagram engagement, but most importantly, be able to strengthen your customer relationships.

Give them the answers to all their questions, because the better they know you, the more loyal they’ll be.

41. Ask for your audience’s opinions

A great way to engage your audience and make them a part of the process is by asking for their options and thoughts. Best of all is that by doing this, you not only increase your Instagram engagement, but you get valuable insights into your customers’ options and thoughts, which you can leverage and use in future projects and the way you operate.

By asking them for help, advice, or feedback, you reinforce their loyalty to your brand and drive engagement.

How Do I Calculate My Engagement Rate on Instagram

Instagram engagement and engagement rate are two different things, but there’s still a lot of confusion between them.

Your engagement is the total engagement you receive on a post, for example, 525 likes or 16 comments.

Engagement rate, on the other hand, is the percentage of your total follower number who engage with your posts. What you define as ”engagement” may vary, as at its core, engagement is focused on mainly likes and comments, but it can also include views, shares, saves, swipe ups, and DM’s. This depends on how you count.

To calculate your average engagement rate for Instagram, you simply divide the number of likes and comments you get on average and divide that by your follower count. Doing this will give you a percentage.

For example, if you receive a total of 875 likes and comments on a post, divide that by your total number of followers. This will present you with an engagement rate.

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