8 Easy Ways To Increase Engagement On Instagram
June 11, 2019 by Alexz Miller
Last Updated: March 20, 2020
With the Instagram algorithm frequently changing the way we use the app, it’s important to constantly try new strategies to increase engagement on Instagram. In this article we’ll talk you through 8 easy ways to do this, with real life examples that you can easily apply to your own account…
1. Post At The Optimum Time
A really simple way to please the algorithm and increase engagement on Instagram, is to post at the same time your target audience is online, and when your engagement rate is highest in the day. This is because the algorithm tracks how quickly your posts receive likes and comments, so you don’t want to post when everyone is asleep.
Unfortunately there’s no one-size-fits-all answer on the best time to post on Instagram, as it completely varies depending on audience age and location, as well as industry. However, if you have a business Instagram account, you can connect it to this best time to post tool to find out the optimum time for your posts.
If your audience is in different time zones, your optimum time could be in the middle of the night, which is when it’s useful to schedule your Instagram posts in advance.
2. Direct Messages
At the heart of Instagram is community, and a core part of that is conversation. There are a number of ways to utilize direct messages to increase engagement on Instagram. All of them focus around building community, and taking a genuine interest in people in your audience.
Reply To All Of Your Direct Messages
We mean all of them! Don’t just like the message or send an emoji back, start genuine conversations with your followers. For brands, it’s a great idea to introduce the person behind the keyboard as it helps to humanize your business and give it a voice.
If one of your followers has a positive and memorable experience chatting to you over direct messages, they will be more likely to like and comment on your posts in the future, which equals a higher engagement rate!
While the example below on the left is the quickest and easiest response, the one on the right is far more effective in building community, loyalty, and ultimately increasing engagement on Instagram:
Message Others In Your Target Audience
This is a two-way street. Not only should you reply to your direct messages, you should be messaging other people and brands in your target demographic, both existing followers and leads.
An easy and effective way to do this is by ‘reacting’ to people’s Instagram Stories. But don’t just leave it there, follow up immediately with a message linked to the Story. It’s a great conversation starter, and is another way to bring people into your community.
The more of these connections you have on Instagram, the higher your engagement rate will become, it’s that simple!
3. Instagram Story Stickers
A surefire way to increase engagement on Instagram is to utilize Instagram Story Stickers! Instagram has not slowed down with Story updates, and they’re definitely prioritizing features which give users new ways to engage with one another.
The Instagram algorithm tracks all kinds of engagement, and while Story stickers don’t get you more likes and comments on your posts, they increase the overall engagement rate of your account. This gives the nod to the algorithm that people like your content and are interested in your account, meaning your posts will feature higher up in your followers’ feeds!
There are many ways to use the polls, quizzes, and question stickers, with brands coming up with increasingly creative Instagram Stories as a result. Here are a few ways you can increase engagement on Instagram using them:
Who needs customer surveys? Poll stickers allow Instagram users to ask their followers’ opinions on anything and everything. They are great for market research, feedback, or just a bit of fun to get to know your audience.
Poll stickers increase engagement on Instagram because they only reveal the results once a user has voted themselves. Human curiosity leads to the majority of viewers voting on a poll, plus it’s only 1 tap of effort!
The question sticker is a great way to give your followers the chance to learn more about you or your brand. Many influencers and brands use this sticker to encourage their audience to ‘Ask them anything!’ and share their answers on their Stories. This can be done by typing or recording a video answering the question personally!
Alternatively, you can ask your audience a specific question and crowd source their answers!
The latest addition to Instagram Stories, ‘Quiz Stickers’, allows you to test your audience about your brand, a topic important to you (i.e climate change), or generally gather an overall consensus.
If your followers are at all curious or competitively inclined, you can guarantee using a quiz sticker will increase engagement on Instagram Stories.
Check out how @nikerunning used the Quiz Sticker to test and inform their followers about their industry:
4. Post On Social Media Holidays
Utilize the rise in hashtag traffic on social media holidays to increase engagement on Instagram! Trends such as #EarthDay and #WorldGinDay take social media by storm, and many brands and influencers plan content to join in on the celebrations.
There’s a social media holiday for every industry or occasion, and it’s highly likely people in your audience will engage with the trends and topics that resonate with them.
It’s also a good idea to post a Story with the social media holiday hashtag so you’ll feature on the Hashtag Story and increase your reach! More reach = higher chance of engagement.
5. Ask Questions In Your Captions
If it’s comments you’re after, make it as easy as possible for your followers to engage with your posts by asking questions in your caption. With attention spans dwindling more rapidly than ever, a simple call to action goes a long way.
Asking for opinions, ideas, or inspiration is a great place to start, as people generally like sharing this kind of knowledge.
As with tip number #1, ensure you reply to all comments on your Instagram posts! Keep the conversations alive, and show that you appreciate your followers by taking the time to put their opinion across on your post. Fostering and nurturing this community will only help you increase engagement on Instagram.
6. Run A Contest
Instagram contests are a definite way to increase engagement, as entry typically requires liking and commenting on a post. This not only boosts the post in the eyes of the algorithm, but also introduces new users to your profile if you require entrees to ‘tag a friend’.
Giveaways are the most common form of Instagram contests, so if you have a product or subscription to use as a prize it’s a no brainer! If your niche is more creative, you can also run a photo contest, where entrants post a photo on their own profile of something within a theme you’ve set. Remember to decide on a unique hashtag to keep track of all entrees!
When hosting an Instagram contest, make sure you outline your:
- Methods for entry
- Details of prize
- Deadline to enter
- Date winner is announced
7. Collaborate With Other Accounts To Increase Engagement On Instagram
Another great method to increase engagement on Instagram is through collaborations! By working with brands and influencers who have the same audience as you, you’re introducing yourself to a whole new group of people that your content is tailored towards.
Instagram collaborations or partnerships can take many different forms, such as takeovers, contests, influencer campaigns, and brand partnerships. Contests are particularly good to partner on, as you double your reach and therefore increase engagement on the contest post.
See how Soap and Glory collaborated with Hotel Chocolat on a contest:
The communities of both accounts are likely to engage with the content, as well as potentially follow you!
8. Animal Content
Did you know that Instagram posts with animals in them receive higher engagement? And it’s not a small difference: brands can see up to a 295% increase in comments on posts featuring pets (Source).
It’s a no brainer: humans love animals. Brands on Instagram have successfully utilized this weakness, with trendy (dog friendly) co-working space WeWork even establishing their own hashtag #DogsOfWeWork.
This is a simple but highly effective strategy to increase engagement on Instagram, so find a photogenic pet and get shooting some awesome content!
These are just a few easy and low cost ways for brands of all shapes and sizes to increase engagement on Instagram.
However, the important thing to remember is to track everything. Use Instagram Insights to keep an eye on which type of content produces the highest engagement. Test and perfect your content strategy to produce the kinds of posts your audience loves. This, alongside your community-building efforts, are sure to produce an increase in engagement on Instagram!
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