13 Strategies to Boost Instagram Engagement

You posted a great photo, but the number of likes and comments doesn’t meet your expectations. Getting followers to engage on Instagram takes more than just posting quality content: engagement is more of an art than a science.

While it may be hard to know why certain posts don’t perform as hoped, there are strategies you can implement to improve and encourage engagement on your posts. These tips have found success for Instagram influencers and gurus on the web. Check out our best practices to boost engagement and get your followers to like, share, and comment on your posts.

What is Engagement?

Engagement is the measure of how much your followers interact with you. Everyone wants to have lots of followers, but what’s the point if those followers never like, comment on, or share your posts?

Engagement measures how well your posts perform. There are different ways to calculate engagement. Instagram counts engagement as likes, comments, and saves on a photo or video. To get an idea of what percentage of your followers are engaging with posts, you can calculate your Instagram engagement rate.

Calculate Your Instagram Engagement Rate

Curious what your Instagram engagement rate is? Click here to learn how to calculate your engagement rate on Instagram so that you can track your progress as you work to improve engagement.

If you want an average engagement rate for your Instagram account, click the button below to use Social Buddy’s free analytics tool and assess your average engagement.


Why Is Engagement Important on Instagram?

Engagement is important because the point of sharing on Instagram is not only to reach an audience, but to engage with them. If you saw an account with a high number of followers but only a handful of likes per post, you would probably think it was spam or a fake account.

Engagement shows that users enjoy your posts. A post with good engagement reveals what your followers are interested in seeing, while a post with bad engagement shows what they don’t like. Tracking engagement can help you to optimize your posts and share the content that you know will perform well for your audience.

Perhaps the most important reason to worry about engagement is related to the Instagram algorithm. The non-chronological algorithm ranks posts based on various factors, but one of them is engagement. A post with a lot of likes and comments will be placed higher on your followers’ feeds and has a greater chance of making it on the Instagram explore page.

Instagram influencers have high rates of engagement, so if you want to become an influencer or make money on Instagram, engagement is key.

Brands and businesses on Instagram should also aim for high rates of engagement so that they can connect with their target audience, build a relationship with customers, and attract new customers.

How To Increase Engagement on Instagram

Improving engagement takes time and careful strategies. We’ve compiled tips that have worked for other popular Instagram accounts. Try a few, or try all of these strategies to improve engagement. Make sure you track your progress as you grow your Instagram account and note what works and what doesn’t so that you can optimize your engagement.


Post Quality Content

This may be a given, but to get likes and comments you need to share high quality content. Only post photos and videos if they are clear and visually appealing. Edit your images tastefully, and try to use the same filters or tools to create consistent visuals across your grid. Posting poor content will hurt engagement as well as potentially cause you to lose followers.

Use Hashtags

Hashtags allow you to reach a larger audience based specifically on the topic of your post. Since your hashtags should match the content of your post on Instagram, smart use of hashtags will place your post in front of an audience that is interested in that hashtag and, therefore, your content. Focused Instagram hashtags can improve both reach and engagement.

If your account is for your brand or business, using a branded hashtag helps to group your posts and create consistent branding. Creating a brand hashtag can allow others to follow your hashtag, and you can track the use of the hashtag to further engage with users talking or posting about your brand.

Using just one hashtag improves engagement by 12.6% according to Instagram, so start tagging your posts with (relevant) hashtags.

Ask A Question or Include a Call To Action

Your captions should be interesting and engaging. One way to get users to engage with your posts is to ask a question in your caption and encourage followers to comment their answers. This will not only increase comments, but it can create a conversation online if it takes off.


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Depending on what question you’re asking, you can get feedback from followers or customers if you run a business account, or learn what kind of posts they want to see in the future.

If you can’t ask a question, try to include another call to action to get users to engage with your post. This could be asking them to like the post, asking them to comment in some other way, asking them to share the post, or telling them to check out your website.

Interact With Your Followers

If you want your followers to engage with your posts, you need to engage with theirs. Think about it – you’re more likely to like or comment on someone’s post if you know they’re a loyal follower who does the same on your posts.

Like and comment on your followers’ posts, especially if they share similar content to your own account. If you really want to engage with followers, consider sending them a DM. You could message them a general greeting, thank them for the follow, or ask what kind of content they’d like to see from you. Building relationships with your followers will improve engagement.

Know How Often to Post

. . . but be sure to post regularly. Knowing how often to post on Instagram is not always easy. If you aren’t sure how much to post, try sharing more one week and less the next and see how it affects engagement.

If posting more often leads to equal or more engagement, then you can post more since your followers are still interested. If you post more and it leads to less engagement, scale back to your normal routine.

Regardless, you should still post regularly to have an active and engaging Instagram account. You don’t want followers to forget about your account, nor should they get bored if your content is stale.

Post At Peak Instagram Hours

This may seem obvious, but if you want likes and comments on your pictures, you need to post them when your followers are online. Posting at peak hours of activity is important so that users can see and engage with your post while they’re on the app.

Learn the best time to post, or use Instagram Insights to see when your followers are most active if your Instagram is a business profile.

Maintain a Consistent Aesthetic

To create a loyal follower base, your Instagram should have a consistent aesthetic and a general theme. If you run a brand or business, you should already be consistent in your branding and clear about your purpose on Instagram.

engagement on instagram

Maintaining an aesthetic on Instagram helps followers better understand who you are, and allows them to expect consistency from you. If they enjoy your content, consistent branding can help to improve engagement, as they’ll like and comment on your pictures regularly.

Host a Contest or Giveaway

Brands have had great success holding contests and giveaways for followers on Instagram. Holding a contest with some sort of prize gives users an incentive to engage with you online, and can lead to more followers if they’re hoping for another future giveaway.

Depending on your specific Instagram account, you can provide small prizes to incentivize this contest or giveaway. Once you’ve figured that out, ask users to follow you, like or comment on a specific post, or share a post or story of their own and tag your brand. This can help you grow your following, increase brand exposure if they share something, and will lead to increased engagement.

Share User Generated Content

Similar to contests on Instagram, encouraging user generated content for your account to repost is another great way to engage with followers. If you have a brand hashtag, this is an easy way to find posts about your brand. Encourage users to tag your account or use your branded hashtag for a chance to get a shoutout when you repost their photo.

Sharing user generated content connects you to your followers, which will improve engagement as well as spread brand awareness. An added bonus: you don’t have to find your own photos to post.


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Start ’em young. #BuiltForTheWild | Photo: @shallowwaterexpeditions

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Engage with Instagram Stories

Instagram stories are a great way to engage with users. Stories are regarded as more casual than posts, so you can share different types of content and post more frequently without blowing up your feed.

Stories have great interactive stickers like the question sticker, polls, emoji sliders, and more to get your followers to respond. This not only engages your followers, but it can allow you to get feedback.

instagram story gifs

Instagram stories have grown in popularity and engagement, so be sure to make them apart of your social media strategy. Learn how to use Instagram stories for business, as branded Instagram accounts have found great success with stories.

Tag Your Location

Tagging your location is helpful for engagement, as you can engage with followers in your area and potentially find new local followers. Location tags can help your post or story appear on to explore page for that location, which could help you reach new followers or customers.

Local businesses and brands on Instagram should always use location tags to find customers and followers in your area.

Track Engagement with Instagram Insights

If your Instagram account is a business profile, you have access to Insights about your account. Use this tool to track how many impressions, likes, comments, and more each post receives. Insights is also helpful to learn more about your followers, including when they are most active.

instagram engagement

Check out Insights to see top posts and learn which posts were most successful. From here, you can replicate the factors that made those posts successful to improve engagement. Keep tabs on how each post performs and try to learn from both successes and failures.

Sign Up With Social Buddy

Social Buddy is an Instagram growth service that brings helps you increase followers and engagement. Social Buddy is not a bot that gets you fake followers – we help you get real, targeted followers in your niche industry. Learn more about Social Buddy and improve your engagement today!

Written by Erin

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