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21 Proven Tips To Boost Your Instagram Engagement

Want to boost your Instagram engagement? Learn the top engagement secrets of influencers and why interactions matter.
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How to Increase Instagram Engagement
Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

Instagram uses six main metrics of engagement to determine the value of your content and if it deserves to be promoted.

Creators need to remain consistent with their posts and create more content that their audience already loves.

Work on your bio, posts, Reels and other forms of content to find ways to increase engagement.

Polls, questions, quizzes and similar content are all great opportunities to boost your account’s engagement.

Increase Instagram engagement and you’ll tick the biggest box on the algorithm’s checklist to grow your audience. Engagement fuels the platform and leads to your posts landing on the Explore Page or being recommended to other users.

Instagram engagement is all about metrics, which Instagram follows to determine which of the 1.35 billion users (according to Statista’s 2020 – 2021 survey) have their account and content promoted.

Your posts are “judged” based on:

  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Shares
  • Many others (we’ll cover these shortly)

If you want to boost your engagement on Instagram, that’s exactly what we will cover in this guide. We’re going to begin by explaining which metrics will impact your account’s growth and are monitored closely by the algorithm.

6 Instagram Engagement Metrics That Will Impact Your Account’s Growth

Instagram evolves and changes. Even influencers who everyone assumes are doing everything right will work on growing their accounts daily (read tips here) and obsess over engagement.

High engagement also helps you secure:

  • Sponsorships
  • More money from sponsors

The six metrics that are all intertwined into your account’s engagement are:

  • Like
  • Comments
  • Shares
  • Saves
  • Click-throughs on stories and bio links
  • Dwell Time: Time spent on posts (Carousel Posts, Videos, Tutorials)

A healthy mix of engagement across all six metrics is the key to success on every social platform. Insta values these performance indicators more than any others. Focus your attention on these areas and you’ll “crack” the influencer code.

21 Tips To Increase Instagram Engagement That Work Year-after-Year

You know the value of engagement and want to increase it, but how? Where do you start? If you want to farm this metric and give your content an additional push to get seen by the most people, these tips work time and time again.

Note: You’ll find additional tips further down in this section that work across all content types.

Hacking Your Way to Massive Engagement on Instagram Posts

Pull out your phone, snap a photo of an awesome cat and post it. Simple posts are a simple way to engage your followers and keep people interested in your account. You can:

1. Create Top-Performing Post Content📈

Some content performs better than others across the entire platform. You can view your account’s most popular posts by:

  • Tapping the hamburger icon in the app
  • Selecting Insights

Analyze the posts that people view and engage with the most. Why did this post work well? What did this post do differently than others? Create more content like this.

2. Post More Carousel Posts

Carousels increase dwell time because users will interact with multiple slides. Create a story with your post, and you’ll encourage people to interact with it. 

3. Add a Call to Action

What do you want users to do when they view your post? Direct them with a simple call-to-action (CTA). Write in the post description: “Double tap” to show some love. Or, add a small message on the post telling people to “leave a comment and tell me what you think about this post.”

4. Create High-Quality Visuals

Content creators are killing it on Instagram. You need to edit your photos, add text and create near-professional visuals because your competitor accounts are already doing it. 

Here are a few of the editing tools that work well for helping spruce up your visuals:

  • Canva is a great, all-around tool for creating images and videos. You can sign up for free, but the Pro version is more powerful.
  • Adobe Lightroom does have a trial, but you’ll have to pay just under $10 to use the platform.
  • Pixlr offers a free and paid version if you don’t want to pay for Photoshop or Lightroom.

You’ll find hundreds of apps and platforms that make creating high-quality visuals easier.

Drive Attention to Your Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels engagement has a lot of potential because this type of content reaches 10.9% of the world’s population. A few tricks that lead to more people liking, commenting and sharing your videos are:

5. Answer FAQs

Followers want to connect with you on a deeper, more intimate level. You can use Reels as a way to:

  • Ask questions
  • Answer questions

People want to know more about you, your feelings and your thoughts. Answer questions that people ask you in comments or DMs, or if you’re a business, answer the most common questions that you’re asked by customers.

Create a list of questions before filming your Reel and be 100% truthful with your answer.

Followers crave genuine content and creators who are transparent with their content. Your Reels answering these burning questions hit all of these marks.

6. Creating Part 2 Videos

Cliffhangers keep people thinking about your Reel and checking your profile to see if you post a part 2. Multi-part videos with proper breaks between postings are always a massive hit. Movie trailers work on this same concept by:

  • Introducing what the Reel is about
  • Hooking the viewer in with a question or scenario
  • Ending in a cliffhanger right before you complete the action

You don’t want to create too many “part 2” types of videos or you risk losing followers. However, adding a few of these cliffhangers to your post schedule per month can help drive massive Instagram engagement.

7. Use Trending Sounds and Music🎵

Music and sounds are attention-grabbing. Creators must leverage sounds to help keep user attention. If you watch any of the top Reels, you’ll notice right before someone loses attention or is ready to click off, there is some kind of sound effect that keeps them hooked.

You can

use sound effects to keep people’s eyes on your Reel.

Trending sounds and music should always be part of your creation process. Users will click on the song’s name (or sound) and see a whole new Explore-type page with other Reels that use these sounds.

Creators can leverage trending music and sounds to:

  • Attract new followers
  • Land on an entirely new type of Explore page

When you edit your next Reel, it’s worth taking time to consider the sound and music that you want to add that fits with the content. Every aspect of your Reel should be planned to ensure it’s “on brand” and give you the best chance of engagement.

Not sure how to create Reels that will resonate with your audience? We have an extensive guide on creating Instagram Reels.

Create Attention-Grabbing, Interactive Instagram Stories 

Instagram Stories are watched by 42% of users, as reported by eMarketer in 2020 report. Your audience wants to see your Stories, but you need to take a proactive approach to engage your audience with them.

If your Stories are being viewed but no one is interacting with them, you can do a few little things to change that:

8. Polls

Add polls to your Story and watch your Instagram engagement rise. You can access polls by tapping on the Stickers icon and finding Poll. You can have between 2 – 4 answers with each poll.

You can view response percentages and even share them on your Story, too.

Polls allow you to do a few things:

  • Learn more about your audience.
  • Gather feedback from your audience in real-time.
  • Interact with your followers in new, exciting ways.

You can create polls on anything, such as upcoming events, ask followers what product or outfit they like, which movie you should watch or even poll your audience on the type of content they want you to create.

9. Slider Stickers

Slider stickers are a great way to interact with your followers and get them to give you honest feedback. The slider allows you to ask a question and the person slides the slider from lowest to highest.

For example:

  • How does this outfit look on me? The user can slide all the way to the right if they love it or leave it on the left if they don’t like the look.
  • How much do you love this cat? Slide right if you love the cat or in the middle if you’re indifferent.

10. Quiz

Quiz stickers are used by brands, such as Netflix, to quiz their audience on a popular show. For example, “Which actress plays Wednesday in Wednesday the hit show on Netflix?”

  • Jenna Ortega
  • Christina Ricci
  • Amy Adams

And people can see if they chose the right answer from the quiz right on your Stories.

11. Your Recent Posts

Stories are right in your audiences’ faces and are not easy to overlook. Your posts are subject to Instagram’s algorithm, and they may not show up on some users’ feeds. If you want a new post to be seen by as many followers as possible, create a Story about it.

You can do this by:

  • Going to your profile
  • Tapping the post you want to add to your Story
  • Clicking the airplane icon
  • Sharing to Stories

12. Questions

Ask your audience a question using the Questions Sticker. You can ask your audience anything you wish, but a common trend is to make the question related to your post.

For example, you can ask the following questions based on these backgrounds:

  • Paris: What is your favorite place to visit in France?
  • Team logo: Who is your favorite player on TEAM NAME?
  • Outfit collage: Which outfit do you like best?

Sit down and think about your audience, what posts of yours they like the most and create questions that you want them to answer.

13. Sneak Peak of Upcoming Releases

Whether you’re trying to grow your brand’s engagement on Instagram or you have an awesome series of content that you plan to post, you can tease about it in your Stories. Celebrities are notorious for using this tip with their latest movies.

You’ll see movie stars showing:

  • Behind-the-scenes takes.
  • Pictures of the movie script.
  • Stills from the movie.

And on the Story, they’ll often say, “I can’t wait to share this with you guys!” After a few days or weeks of teasing a major upcoming release, you can share more info and keep your audience hooked.

Other Tips You Can Use Across Your Posts to Increase Engagement

We’ve shared a ton of post-type specific engagement tips, but we have a few more that we just can’t wait to share with you below:

14. Engaging Captions

Creating engaging captions on Instagram takes time and patience. It’s easier to ignore your captions, but you’ll miss out on crucial interactions with your followers, which the algorithm loves to see.

Great captions will stop people from scrolling and skyrocket your dwell time because people want to read them.

A few tips when writing captions are:

  • Short and long captions should be engaging.
  • Break up text to make it readable.
  • Add emojis in important sections to draw the person’s eyes to it.
  • Create a story or provide in-depth information in your caption.
  • Add a call-to-action if you want people to comment on or like the post.

Micro-bloggers really mastered the art of captions, which leads to a following of people who engage with them more often. 

15. Hosting Giveaways and Contests

Brands and influencers should hold giveaways and contests. People love free things. We even make it easy to pick winners for your giveaway by using our free Instagram Giveaway picker. You can begin using it by:

  • Going to the URL above
  • Pasting in the contest or giveaway post
  • Click Start Scanning

Follow the prompts and you’ll be picking the winner in just a few seconds. Contests and giveaways are great forms of content that your audience will love, but there are so many more types of content that you can post.

16. Diversify the Type of Content That You Post

Instagram’s algorithm wants you to work hard to get exposure. Diversify your content to include:

  • Images
  • Video
  • Reels
  • Stories
  • Go Live

You also need to create content that your followers want to see. If you’re struggling to brainstorm content ideas, consider the following:

  • Contests and giveaways
  • Product demos
  • Testimonials
  • Guides
  • Behind-the-scenes posts
  • Q&As
  • Respond to questions
  • Quizzes, questions and polls
  • Memes
  • Lifestyle posts
  • Seasonal posts
  • Quotes
  • Carousel posts
  • Milestone and major achievement posts

And you can expand this list further on your own to create a content calendar that will keep followers engaged.

17. Make Intentional Errors in Your Content

“With great power comes great responsibility.” Sure, Spiderman said this first, but it’s the first quote that comes to mind with this great tip. The idea is simple:

  • Make a post
  • Intentionally make an error
  • Profit

You need to do this sparingly because your audience will catch on and may even unfollow you if they realize that you’re tricking them into increasing Instagram engagement.

For example, you may:

  • Mention someone’s name and say it 100% wrong.
  • Create a 5-point list and number them 1,2,4,5 and skip the third point.

Why would you do this? Followers will call you out on anything that you do wrong, and these interactions will spike your engagement.

You can even add in the next tip to keep the trend going.

18. Reply to Comments with a Question

If you reply to comments with a definite answer, the conversation comes to a quick end. Instead, end your response with a question. I recommend spreading this out a bit:

  • Monday the person comments for the first time.
  • Tuesday you reply back to the comment and end it with a question.
  • Wednesday the original responder comments back.
  • Friday you reply again.

Using this method, which I like to call trickle engagement, will allow you to appease the algorithm for multiple days.

19. Use the Collab Feature with Influencers and Brands

Collaborating is your ticket to boosting your followers on the back of another account’s following. We believe that collabs are so important that we’ve created an entire guide on the topic (read it here).

Your account must be set to public to invite others to collab on a post.

Both parties must consent to the collab, which will:

  • Place your name and the collabing account’s name on the post
  • Share the post on both accounts

If you can collaborate with influencers or other brands, this is a powerful way to gain exposure and have people interact with your account. You want to reach out to the account you want to collaborate with ahead of time and seek permission to make this process as smooth as possible.

20. Send Automatic and Manual DMs

Direct messages (DMs) are also counted in the whole spectrum of engagement. You can send automatic DMs as a welcome message to new followers, but an even more powerful option is to reach out to people with manual DMs.

You can reach out to:

  • Thank people for following you.
  • Reply to a comment that was left.
  • Check up on a loyal follower.

Your followers want to be seen and heard. DMs are one of the most powerful tools for deep engagement on Instagram.

21. Hop on Instagram Live 

A DataReportal report found that Instagram Live is used by 300 million people each week. Your followers want to know that you’re real and genuine. Live allows you to interact with followers in real-time.

Add Instagram Live into your content schedule once or twice a month and see how it resonates with your audience.

Followers will hop on Live to watch you and interact with you. Just be sure to respond back to as many people as you can.

When Is the Best Time to Post on Instagram to Increase Engagement?

Optimal Timing for Instagram Posting

The best engagement times on Instagram are:

Day of the WeekBest Time to Post (PST)Best Time to Post (EST)
Monday9 AM – 10 AM12 PM – 1 PM
Tuesday9 AM – 10 AM12 AM – 1 PM
Wednesday5 AM, 11 AM, and 3 PM8 AM, 2 PM, and 6 PM
Thursday12 PM and 5 PM3 PM and 8 PM
Friday9 AM – 10 AM and 5 PM – 6 PM12 PM – 1 PM and 8 PM – 9 PM
Saturday8 AM – 12 PM11 AM – 3 PM
Sunday10 AM – 2 PM1 PM – 5 PM

Do Emojis Boost Engagement on Instagram?

Yes. Facelift, a social media marketing tool company, says emojis can boost interactions and engagement on Instagram by 47.7%.

If you’re looking to improve this metric, start using engagement stickers on Instagram in your Stories and Reels. And add regular emojis into your captions wherever it makes sense.

How Much Do Hashtags Increase Engagement on Instagram?

Not much. Hashtags can help your content get found, they don’t necessarily boost engagement directly.

The key is to use the right number of hashtags (3-5) and to make sure they’re relevant. Relevant hashtags will send the right kind of users to your content – people who want to see it and will probably like and comment on it.

Hey! Not sure which hashtags to use? We have a great tool created for this very reason. Click here to get hashtags for your next post.

How Can I Optimize My Instagram Bio for More Engagement?

Your Instagram bio is one of the first things people see when they visit your profile. Yet so many people overlook it as a place to boost engagement.

Here’s how to optimize your bio to boost engagement:

  • Tell people what you’re all about. Examples: Beauty Guru, Business Coach, Financial Advisor.
  • Use emojis to make your text stand out.
  • Add keywords and hashtags that are relevant to your audience and niche.
  • Mention promos or giveaways whenever you host them.
  • Highlight your best content and top-performing posts.

Make sure that you’re updating your bio regularly to keep things fresh with new and relevant info, like upcoming events, new products or recent accomplishments.

Paid Instagram Engagement Vs Organic Instagram Engagement

Paid and Organic Instagram Engagement

Engagement is one of the most important metrics for Instagrammers to track. If your current rates are low, you may be wondering: Should I buy likes, views or comments for my Instagram posts to increase engagement?

That depends on your goals. You can buy likes, views and comments to kickstart your engagement and use other strategies to increase organic engagement.

  • Organic engagement = natural likes, comments and views from Instagram users
  • Paid engagement = paid likes, comments and views

Both paid and organic engagement can have a place in your Instagram growth strategy as long as you’re working with a reputable service provider. 

How To Calculate Your Engagement Rate on Instagram?

Calculate Instagram Engagement Rate

Your engagement rate is just as important – maybe more important – than your follower count. Because when it comes to things like sponsorships, brands want to know that people care about what you’re posting.

You can have a million followers, but if only a handful are liking and commenting on your content, that follower count doesn’t mean much.

But how do you calculate your engagement rate? It’s simpler than you think. Just use the formula below:

  • Engagement Rate = (Likes + Comments) / Followers X 100

Let’s say we had a post with 43,000 likes and 100 comments and we had 240,000 followers. Here’s what the engagement rate would be:

  • 17.9% = (43,000 + 100) / 240,000 X 100

This example post has a super high engagement rate, which means people are really loving this kind of content.

If you’re trying to grow your Instagram account, you don’t have time to manually calculate engagement rates for every post you publish. The great news is that there are tools that can do these calculations for you automatically, including:

What Is a Good Engagement Rate on Instagram? 

Iconosquare, a social media analytics platform, says the average engagement rate for Instagram is 4.7%

Is that a good rate? Yes!

Hootsuite, one of the top social media management tools, says a good engagement rate is between 1% and 5%.

Why Is My Instagram Engagement So Low? Common Mistakes to Avoid

Has your Instagram engagement dropped? You’re not alone. Most Instagrammers will see a dip in engagement at some point.

Typically, a decline in engagement is caused by one of these mistakes:

1. You’re Not Active Enough

Inactivity is one of the top reasons Instagram accounts lose engagement. If you haven’t been active at all for a few months, inactivity is the likely cause of your engagement loss.

It’s okay to take a break for a week or two, but if you stop posting for 2-3 months, you’ll see a sharp decline in your engagement.

2. You’re Ignoring Trends

What kind of content have you been posting? Are you still using the same formats and styles that were popular a year ago? Maybe you’re still covering topics that no one is talking about anymore.

If you’ve been ignoring trends, you may be losing engagement because you’re no longer relevant.

3. You’re Ignoring Your Target Audience

When you create content, do you have your audience in mind? Are you thinking about whether they’ll actually enjoy the videos you’re making or the photos you’re taking?

For example, if your audience is new moms and you’re posting content about starting a business, your followers may not care about what you have to say and stop following you. 

If you’re not creating content that appeals to your audience, your engagement rates will plummet.

4. You’re Overusing or Misusing Hashtags

Hashtags can help your content get found, but you have to be strategic when using them. Yes, you can add up to 30 hashtags, but just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should.

Hashtags may be to blame for your engagement loss if:

  • You’re using too many of them
  • You’re using irrelevant tags
  • You’re misusing them

5. You’re Not Interacting with Your Audience

When people leave comments, do you reply? Do you try engaging with your audience in your Stories or regular posts by asking them questions or talking to them directly?

If your audience is interacting with you but you’re not returning the favor, engagement will eventually decline. Think about it – would you keep reaching out to someone who just kept ignoring you? 

6. Your Images and Videos are Low Quality

You can have great content ideas, but if your video and image quality is poor, your engagement will also be poor. 

It may be time to invest in some new gear to boost the quality of your content or change your technique. Poor lighting, bad angles and noise can really hamper the quality of your images and videos.

7. You’re Not Evolving with the Instagram Algorithm

The algorithm is always evolving. Are you evolving with it? If not, your content may not be seen in your follower’s feeds or on the Explore Page. 

Make sure that you’re staying up to date on the latest algorithm changes to keep engagement high.

8. You’re Posting Horizontal Content 

Vertical content is the way to go on Instagram. Everything from Reels to Stories and even regular posts look better when they’re in the vertical format.

If you’re still posting videos and photos in landscape mode, this may be why your engagement is down. Make sure you understand Insta’s format requirements before creating and posting content.

What Type of Content Gets the Most Engagement on Instagram?

What’s the secret formula to creating a highly engaging post on Instagram? While there are no hard and fast rules to creating engaging content, posts that get a lot of likes and shares have some similar characteristics.

  • Images are still considered the most engaging type of post on Instagram
  • Carousels have the highest average engagement rate
  • Highly engaging posts have 4-5 hashtags

These are useful insights, but it’s important to remember that it’s the content itself that will have the biggest impact on engagement.

You can post a carousel with 5 hashtags and get zero likes and comments.

The key is to create content that:

  • Resonates with your audience
  • Is unique and interesting
  • Has a purpose or adds value

To get a better idea of what engaging content looks like, check out other Instagram influencers with high like and comment counts. 

Instagram Influencers That Will Inspire Your Content Creation

Want to create content that people like, comment on and share? Look to other successful Instagrammers for inspiration, like the creators below:

1. Ethan and Grayson Dolan (@dolantwins)

The Dolan Twins haven’t been active since 2020, but at their peak, their account was getting massive engagement. 

Many of their posts had 1+ million likes and tons of comments.

What’s the secret to their success?

  • Authenticity. They’re not afraid to be themselves.
  • Fun and unique content.
  • Consistency. They posted new content regularly.

Follow in their footsteps, and you’ll keep your audience engaged.

2. Dávid Julián Dobrík (@daviddobrik)

David Dobrik has over 10 million followers on Instagram and recently opened his own pizza brand. His content regularly receives 1-2+ million likes and thousands of comments.

Why?

  • He’s always smiling. It’s hard not to find a photo, video or Reel where David doesn’t look like he’s having the time of his life. People love upbeat, positive content.
  • His content is interesting. From a $100K TV to car giveaways, David is always creating new and exciting content.

3. Zane Hijazi (@zane)

Zane Hijazi has over 3 million followers on Instagram. While he’s known for his YouTube content, his Instagram account is a great source of inspiration for creating engaging content. 

Why?

  • He gives you an inside look at his everyday life. His content is authentic and relatable in this way.
  • He also gives behind-the-scenes looks at his YouTube content, which people love to share and comment on.

4. Olivia Jade Giannulli (@oliviajade)

Olivia Jade is a YouTuber and Instagram influencer with over 1 million followers. Her Instagram content has a high-fashion feel and gives you glimpses into her travels around the world.

Why do people love her content?

  • Her photos and videos have a certain aesthetic
  • High-quality photography

These influencers have mastered the art of engagement. Study their content and learn from them to create better content that your followers can’t help but like and share.

What’s the Future of Instagram Engagement?

So far, we’ve covered the top engagement tips to use today. But what about the future of engagement?

Keep an eye on these emerging trends.

Instagram e-commerce and Shopping Will Grow

In 2021, Instagram said that nearly half of the people they surveyed used their platform to shop weekly. And that figure is likely to grow as more users become aware of Instagram shopping and more influencers hop on board.

What does this mean for engagement? 

Shoppable posts will become a new source of engagement. It also opens opportunities to create new types of content, like Reels and Stories that feature your products.

All you have to do is tag your products, and users can purchase them right from their feeds.

The Algorithm Will Continue to Evolve

Instagram’s algorithm changes as often as the weather. That’s not going to change anytime soon. If you want to keep your followers engaged, you’ll need to stay on top of these changes. 

There’s no way to know how or when the algorithm will change, but there are some trends to keep an eye on:

  • Video content will continue to dominate
  • Storytelling and authenticity will be crucial
  • Users will continue to love unique, relevant and valuable content

Feeding the algorithm what it wants will keep you in your follower’s feeds and help you grow your account.

Conclusion

Engagement is one of the most important metrics to track if you’re trying to grow your Instagram account. When people like, comment and share your content, it means that they like what they see. High engagement rates can lead to more sales on your site or attract the attention of brand deals and sponsorships, allowing you to monetize your account. 

Our guide will help you understand how engagement affects your account and strategies you can use to start increasing engagement today.

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