How to Boost Your Instagram Engagement Rate (8 Proven Strategies)

Your engagement rate is one of the best measures of how well you’re marketing your brand on Instagram. This important metric is calculated by factoring in the number of comments, likes, and shares that your content receives relative to your follower count.

In many ways, your Instagram engagement rate can be even more important than your number of followers!

You see, your follower count is meaningless if your audience isn’t interacting with your content. Plus, followers that don’t like or comment on your posts, are also not likely to visit your website or purchase your products or services.

If you’re wondering what you can do to give your Instagram engagement a boost, keep reading. You’ll learn 8 proven strategies for getting your audience to interact more with your Instagram posts!

Tip #1 to Boost Your Instagram Engagement: Make Sure Your Content Provides Value

New Instagram influencers gain popularity each day. So, there’s a lot of competition when it comes to grabbing the attention of Instagram’s 500 million daily users.

Instagram users are continuously scrolling through their feeds. That’s why it’s important to create posts that feature eye-catching photos, videos, and graphics that can “stop the scroll.”

Along with posting high-quality visual content, you’ll also want to make sure that your content provides value to your target audience. Don’t post just for the sake of posting, and don’t let promoting your brand become your main focus. For the most engagement, you need to offer content that either educates, entertains, or inspires your audience.

Gary Vaynerchuk is a prime example of an influencer who creates valuable content. He creates Instagram content that informs his audience about marketing and entrepreneurship. His content also inspires his audience to pursue their business and financial goals. He often uses popular memes to educate and inspire his audience in an entertaining manner.

Gary’s style may not be an exact fit for your brand, however, the key is posting with intention. It’s important to remember that users visit Instagram for entertainment and useful information, rather than ongoing sales content. When you post content that stimulates your audience, you’ll definitely see your engagement rate improve.

man pouring gasoline on fire meme

Tip #2 to Boost Your Instagram Engagement: Respond to Your Comments and DMs

When it comes to Instagram engagement, it’s important to follow the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

If you don’t interact with your audience, then you can’t expect them to interact with you.

Many brands overlook the importance of responding to comments and direct messages. It’s a good general rule to try respond to any comments you receive, especially within the first few hours of making a post. You should also try to respond to any direct messages within an hour of receipt.

Being responsive on Instagram shows your audience that you appreciate their support. It also allows your audience to feel more connected to your brand and helps to foster an online community.

If you begin implementing this strategy, then over time, you’ll begin to notice more people chiming in and interacting with each other in the comments section. Ongoing conversations in your comments section lead to an overall increase in the number of comments that you receive.

Interacting often with your audience is also a great way to work with Instagram’s algorithm.

Since 2016, Instagram has promised to show users “the moments they care about first.” In order to accomplish this goal, Instagram’s current algorithm takes its users’ activity into account when determining the unique order of the posts that show up in each user’s feed.

The more you interact with your audience, the more Instagram’s algorithm will prioritize your posts in their feeds. And as long as you are posting relevant, valuable content, you’re sure to see an increase in engagement using this strategy.

instagram tweets about algorithm changes 2019

Tip #3 to Boost Your Instagram Engagement: Post When Your Audience is Online

Another great tip for increasing the number of likes and comments that your Instagram posts receive is to make sure that you’re posting when most of your audience is online.

With Instagram’s latest updates to its algorithm, the first couple of hours after you publish a post are crucial. If your posts don’t receive a decent amount of engagement within the first few hours of being posted, Instagram will be less likely to prioritize your posts in your followers’ feeds.

That’s why it’s so important to know when your audience is online. If you post while the majority of your audience is using the app, your content will receive more views and impressions. Getting your posts seen by more people naturally leads to more engagement.

The good news is that it’s relatively easy to find out your following’s peak activity times. Insights regarding your audience are available directly from your profile if you’re logged in to a business account.

Viewing Insights on Instagram

Simply tap the menu button from your profile page and select Insights. This will be the first option on the list. From there, you can view valuable analytics about your activity, content, and audience.

When you select the Audience tab and scroll to the bottom, you’ll discover a table that highlights the days and times in which your audience is on Instagram.

instagram analytics

It’s a great idea to use this information to schedule your posts at optimal times for more engagement.

Tip #4 to Boost Your Instagram Engagement: Optimize Your Captions

There are many ways to optimize your captions to boost your Instagram engagement rate. One of the most common methods is including a call-to-action in each of your captions.

A call-to-action is a statement that encourages your target audience to perform a specific task. On Instagram, you can include a CTA in your caption that inspires your audience to like or comment on your post.

Many popular brands and influencers do this by asking a question and asking the audience to respond with a comment. You can also use CTAs to encourage your audience to “like” your post or tag a friend in a comment.

Another Instagram caption hack that can increase your engagement rate is writing longer captions. Instagram allows users 2,200 characters for post captions, so be sure to take advantage of this feature.

Writing longer, more engaging captions will lead to your target audience spending more time viewing your post. This will increase your post’s dwell time, which is a key factor for Instagram’s algorithm. Posts with longer dwell times are considered to be more relevant and high-quality. This will give your posts more of an opportunity to rank and reach those who may not be following your account.

girl with sunglasses instagram selfie

Tip #5 to Boost Your Instagram Engagement: Use Hashtags Effectively

Hashtags are one of the best ways to get your posts seen by users who may not be following your account. Research has shown that using just one hashtag can increase a post’s engagement rate by 12.6%. However, in order to reap the benefits of hashtags, it’s important to avoid misusing them.

The days of being able to use popular hashtags that aren’t relevant to your posts are over. It’s also no longer a good idea to cram 20-30 hashtags into your caption. Overdoing it with hashtags can cause your posts to be marked as spam. Misusing hashtags can also lead to having your posts shadowbanned, which is when Instagram hides your posts from accounts that don’t follow you.

When utilizing hashtags, it’s important to keep the number that you use to a minimum. Most social media experts recommend using between 5-15 hashtags per post.

It’s also important to make sure that the hashtags you choose are absolutely relevant to your post. Social media coach and influencer, Samantha Kozuch, recently noticed that using generic hashtags like “#love” was causing her posts to be shadowbanned.

Having your posts shadowbanned can cause a dramatic dip in your engagement rate, so be sure to use hashtags effectively.

instagram post woman on the beach with bookbag

It’s also a good idea to choose hashtags of varying popularity levels. The reason for this is because, depending on your follower count, it can be harder to compete with more popular accounts using the most popular hashtags.

If your account has less than 100,000 followers, then you’re more likely to make it to the top posts feed for hashtags with less than 1 million posts. You can still use the more popular hashtags, but make sure you’re including less popular ones as well. If you get a decent amount of engagement from less popular hashtags, then you’ll be more likely to rank among the top posts for more popular hashtags.

Tip #6 to Boost Your Instagram Engagement: Participate in an Instagram Engagement Group

Joining an Instagram engagement group is another great way to improve your engagement rate. An Instagram engagement group is a private group of 10-15 accounts, usually within the same niche, that collaborate for guaranteed engagement.

Members of Instagram engagement groups message each other when new posts are made. Then, each member of the group views the post, likes it, and leaves a thoughtful comment. This improves the post’s rank and encourages others to engage.

You can find out about the Instagram engagement groups within your niche by networking and interacting with other brands. You can also find Instagram engagement groups to join on Facebook.

Once you’re accepted into a group, it’s important to follow the guidelines and do your part. Don’t be a freeloader and reap the benefits without paying it forward to your fellow group members.

Although the engagement you receive from Instagram groups isn’t exactly organic, groups of this type do not violate Instagram’s user guidelines.

It’s a good idea to only participate in engagement groups with members whose content you genuinely value. That way, you won’t have to worry about compromising your brand’s authenticity.

💡 Related Post: The best ways to get more likes on Instagram

Tip #7 to Boost Instagram Engagement: Post Instagram Stories

Engagement on Instagram is more than just likes and comments on feed posts. Posting Instagram stories is another great way to reach your audience. With over 400 million people posting and watching Instagram stories each day, you definitely shouldn’t ignore this feature!

It’s easy to get your followers to interact with your brand with Instagram’s engagement stickers, which are specifically for story posts.

You can use the question sticker, which allows you to host a question and answer session in your stories. This gives your audience a chance to learn more about your brand in an unscripted format.

There’s another engagement sticker that allows your audience to participate in polls. You can also use the “Swipe Up” option in your story posts as a call-to-action to direct traffic to your website.

instagram story poll garyvee

Tip #8 to Increase Instagram Engagement: Diversify Your Content

Although still images were the primary medium used by Instagrammers when the platform first gained popularity, it’s important to mix it up from time to time with video content.

The platform began allowing users to post videos in 2016, and since then, they have increased the allotted video time from 30 seconds to 60 seconds. Research has shown that video content receives more engagement on average than other types of posts. Videos tend to stand out amongst the many still images posted on the platform.

Another form of content that can boost your engagement rate is Boomerang videos. Similar to gifs, the Boomerang app creates mini-videos by stitching multiple still photographs together. This creates a more dynamic moving image.

Boomerang videos play on a loop which leads many users to watch them continuously for a couple of minutes. This can help to increase your dwell time and improve your post’s ranking (which means it will be seen by more people!).

It’s no secret that Instagram is a highly competitive platform, so you should always put your best foot forward in order to stand out. By following these 8 proven strategies, you’ll be able to boost your Instagram engagement rate and attract new followers to your online community.

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