July 2, 2019 by Alexz Miller

What is Engagement Marketing and Can It Get You More Real Instagram Followers?

Are you using engagement marketing to connect with your customers?

There are so many ways that you can reach your ideal clients. You can build an email list, send mailers, create in-person events, and you can use social media, just to name a few. Social media though, is likely one of the most effective choices, especially in today’s growing digital world.

But with so many options, it can be difficult to decide where to focus your marketing efforts.

Even if we just look at social media, there are so many platforms: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat…the list goes on. Then, inside those platforms, there are so many different choices.

On Facebook, you can have a business page, a group, or both. On Instagram, do you want to post pictures to your feed? Your story? IGTV? Do you want to go live? And what about ads on all of these platforms?

It can easily get overwhelming. But before you give up on yet another form of marketing,
let’s return to our beginning question: are you using engagement marketing to connect with your customers? Do you even know what it is?

What is Engagement Marketing?

If you don’t already know, engagement marketing is a way to attract new people to your business, through authentic connections built on engagement on relevant messages and posts.

Many people are growing less susceptible to traditional methods of marketing, instead wanting to feel a real connection and establish a relationship with brands they like and support.

People want to buy from people and brands they feel connected to. Social media has made engagement marketing much easier to implement.

Brands have direct access to their audience and can authentically share their message with their followers. Instagram is one of the best platforms for engagement marketing because, there are so many businesses active on the app, and it has the highest rate of engagement – 10x more than Facebook. 

About 80% of Instagram users follow at least one of the 25 million businesses that have active profiles on the social network.

So, if your company doesn’t have an Instagram account yet, that’s your first step. Then you can start to build your follower base by using engagement marketing.

Find your ideal followers and start liking their photos. Leave a comment on one of their posts. Create meaningful engagement and respond when they do. Interact with them the way anyone else on the app would.

By following this type of Instagram engagement strategy, you’ll begin to build authentic relationships with people, creating a loyal community instead of an audience. You’ll also show them how to interact with you, helping to increase your Instagram engagement rate.

What is engagement marketing

Here at Kicksta, we specialize in Instagram engagement marketing to help you get real followers for Instagram.

We work hard to grow your following with real users who truly want to follow you and are primed to convert into customers. Try Kicksta Today!

Comparing Engagement Marketing to Other Instagram Strategies

There are certainly plenty of other ways you can market and advertise your business on Instagram. Let’s see how engagement marketing compares to three other popular strategies: ads, influencers, and social media managers.

Engagement Marketing vs. Instagram Ads

Running ads might be the first thought for many people looking to use Instagram to grow their business and audience.

After all, Instagram users tend to be more open to ads, and they have a higher conversion rate than ads on other social platforms. However, there is the ever-practical consideration of cost.

For example, Kicksta has two-pricing plans to choose from: $49/month for up to 30,000 or $99/month for up to 45,000 impressions (Plus, other premium features.)

This breaks down to a cost of impression between $0.16 and $0.22.

The cost of Instagram ads can be much higher than that, depending on who you’re targeting with your messaging. Instagram ads cost is different, depending on the day of the week, quarter of the year, country, and demographics of the targeted user.

On average, Cost per click campaigns on Instagram can reach as high as $0.70 to $1, or more per click. CPM impressions campaigns are closer to $5 to $7.

Beyond a financial cost, there’s also a time, energy, and skill cost of Instagram ads.

It takes a skilled person to create an overall ads strategy, as well as the individual graphics or videos and high-converting copy to go with each ad. If you or someone on your team is skilled in all of these areas, it will take you time. If you have to outsource this to an expert, it can be costly.

Engagement marketing through Kicksta doesn’t require any added time or work from your side.

Engagement Marketing vs. Instagram Ads

Engagement Marketing vs. Influencer Marketing

You might have already thought about using Instagram influencers to expand your audience. After all, by using an influencer, you can gain access to a new, sizable following.

But have you ever looked at the cost of Instagram influencers? Depending on who you’re thinking of and the size of their audience, prices typically range around $0.10-$0.30 per follower.

Micro-influencers tend to be cheaper, with most posts coming in between $250-$500, and they are often very trusted by their following.

Again, influencer marketing can have semi-hidden, non-monetary costs, just like ads.

Working with influencers involves an entire strategy, from creating goals and KPIs, to finding the right people. This can take a lot of research and relationship building with the right influencers, so they trust your brand and learn more about it before sharing it with their audience.

You’ll also need to work out an agreement with the influencer and track their results. With Kicksta, you just have to provide some ideal followers and we’ll get to work. Plus, we create an analytics dashboard so you can see your new followers and what’s working at your convenience.

Influencer Marketing vs. Influence Marketing

Engagement Marketing vs. a Social Media Manager

You might be wondering why you should have Kicksta do your engagement marketing, rather than hiring a social media manager to do manual outreach on your brand’s behalf.

That’s a good question because engagement marketing is certainly something that can be done on your own.

However, it takes time to create quality engagement. It’s incredibly inefficient for a social media manager to try to do engagement by hand. Chances are you’ll be paying a lot more for their time than for Kicksta’s service.

Besides that, social media managers are highly skilled and could (and likely should) spend their time working on higher-level projects, like determining a social strategy, staying updated on the ever-changing algorithms, analyzing your metrics, and community management.

When using Kicksta, once your audience grows, a social media manager is an essential person to have to cultivate those relationships by responding to messages and comments and handling any last-minute, real-time social post changes. They’ll be able to handle your inbound Instagram engagement (comments & DM’s users leave on your profile).

Engagement Marketing vs. Social Media Manager

So How Should I Market on Instagram?

The best Instagram marketing strategy is likely a mixture of all four of these methods.

Ads can help you reach a massive amount of new users, while an influencer can share your brand with an audience that trusts them.

Having a social media manager is always a great decision, especially for strategy and community management.

Engagement marketing is one of the cheapest options, and it can help you get hyper-targeted, real followers for Instagram. You’ll begin to build relationships with new people, because engagement marketing isn’t just inflation of your numbers.

Ideal Instagram  outreach strategy

Finding a Quality Engagement Marketing Tool

Hopefully now you can agree that engagement marketing is a smart strategy, but it’s a tactic that should really be automated, rather than having someone try to do it by hand.

But maybe you’re worried about investing in an Instagram growth service to help you get organic instagram followers. Perhaps you’ve heard horror stories from people who’ve purchased a tool that didn’t work out well.

Let’s get one thing straight: The purpose of getting more followers is to increase your Instagram engagement. Being followed by fake or low-quality accounts won’t help with that.

Yes, there are some low-quality, spammy Instagram growth tools that can lead to negative outcomes, like having accounts shadowbanned or removed from Instagram. However, these tools use questionable methods and the followers they attract for you will likely be low-quality and will likely unfollow you.

Let’s take a look at how you can determine which tools are good and which tools to avoid.

Engagement Marketing Tactic to Avoid

Let’s start with the bad. There are a few things that should definitely send you red flags if you see them on a company’s site.

Engagement Marketing Tactics to Avoid

1. The “Guaranteed” Outcome

Any tool that says they will guarantee you a certain number of followers is one you should avoid like the plague. Instagram users need to be able to make their own choices about who they follow.

If a company promises a particular number of followers, you can bet that they won’t be real people, they won’t be organic, and chances are they’ll unfollow you soon. If they don’t unfollow, you can be sure that they won’t turn into customers.

2. The “Instant” Growth

You also don’t want to use any service that involves purchasing followers. Again, these followers won’t be organic and they won’t convert into customers.

Most likely you’ll get a large number of ghost followers on Instagram, or fake or inactive accounts that follow you but never interact with any of your posts.

Ghost followers can negatively impact your performance on Instagram. If there’s a big discrepancy between your number of followers and the engagement numbers on your posts, this is a red flag for many users. If you choose to purchase followers, be warned: this is against Instagram’s terms of service and could actually get your account banned.

3. The “Pre-established” Account

The third method to avoid is purchasing a “preloaded” account that automatically comes with thousands of followers. Like we mentioned earlier, most of these followers are probably ghost followers and won’t ever interact with your posts.

In the off chance that you do actually purchase an account with real followers, there’s no guarantee that they will actually care about your business or your brand. They’ll likely unfollow you or at least never turn into paying customers. 

Engagement Marketing Tactics to Look For

Not all Instagram growth services are bad though.

Many services will actually help you get real followers who want to engage with your posts and potentially become customers or clients.

How to find a good Instagram Growth Service

1. An Emphasis on Organic Growth

When you’re evaluating tools, you want to look for a company that talks about organic growth. This is the only natural method of gaining followers on Instagram. Organic growth is the opposite of the spam tactics we mentioned earlier that bad growth services offer.

2. A Focus on REAL followers

You also want to find a growth tool that talks about helping you gain real followers for Instagram. Real followers, again, are the opposite of ghost followers. You want there to be real people behind the accounts that follow you. That’s the only way to be able to build community and relationships with your followers. You can’t have a conversation with a fake account. Any service that you consider using should talk about ghost followers and how they’ll bring you real followers instead.

3. A High-Level of Transparency

Finally, a good Instagram growth service will tell you their method. Services know that you’ll be looking for “organic” and “real” in their descriptions. Don’t just assume that because their tagline includes those words that they’re a stellar service. Look for proof, like Kicksta’s step-by-step video of how their process works. Above all else, quality services will be honest, open, and transparent about their platform and method.

How to Optimize Your Instagram Engagement Marketing Efforts

Instagram engagement involves more than just liking some random picture or signing up for a growth tool.

There are a few ways that you can make sure that your engagement efforts are going to be successful.

1. Pick the Right Audience

Make sure you’re targeting the right audience. Spend some time focusing in on your ideal follower and understand who they are.

Then you can pick accounts, hashtags, and locations your ideal audience would actually tag or follow.

Engaging with users on Instagram is pointless if you aren’t engaging with the right users.

So it’s important to test lots of different kinds of “targets” and see which ones give you the best results.

This is also helpful if you use a service like Kicksta. A good Instagram growth service will give you detailed analytics to help you better understand the types of targets that work well with your account.

Look for other accounts with similar themes and brand images as yours as these users may be more likely to identify with your branding.

2. Adjust Your Filter

If you’re conducting engagement marketing manually, you may find yourself struggling to determine which accounts are worth your efforts.

Here are some things to look for:

  • Do they fit your demographic? (Gender, Age, Income)
  • Do they follow any brands that are similar to yours?
  • Do they have post often?
  • Do they have an even follower-to-following ratio?

As an alternative, you can save time with an Instagram automation tool that will let you customize your preference and automatically weed out any undesirable accounts.

For example, Kicksta has a set of proprietary filters that helps ensure that none of the accounts we interact with on your behalf are spammy or fake. We’ll also adjust our filters as we learn more about your followers.

Whatever your strategy is, make sure you’re adjusting your filters occasionally to test different markets.

3. Optimize Your Content

People only want to engage with high-quality content. Evaluate your posts with the eyes of your followers. Are you creating posts that they would actually want to comment on or like?

One of the best pieces of data is your Instagram engagement rate – how much your followers interact with your posts. Kicksta has a handy tool to help you calculate your rate and see how you measure up. The higher your engagement rate, the more likely it is that your followers are loyal customers.

Also, make sure you’re posting the right types of photos. For instance, pictures with faces receive 38% more likes than those without faces.

Inside the Kicksta Dashboard, you can easily track engagement on each individual post to spot trends at a glance.

It’s also a good idea to try out different types of content. For example, shoppable posts, moving images, and multi-image posts are currently performing very well.

That being said, every audience likes different things, so it’s important that you test out different posts for your specific followers, which brings us to our fourth tip.

4. Utilize Your Data

Your Instagram business account provides you with analytics (and so does your social media scheduling tool, if you use one).

If you aren’t using those analytics to their full potential, you’re missing out.

With that data you can determine what types of photos your followers like, when they’re most active, and how well they engage with you.

Who Can Benefit from Engagement Marketing?

Any brand, influencer, marketing agency, or social media manager can benefit from engagement marketing.

If you’re looking to increase your following with real accounts, engagement marketing is one of the best ways to do that. We have worked with thousands of brands and influencers across many different industries. As long as your audience is on Instagram, engagement marketing can work for you. 


Sally Harris, a Social media manager at Raindrop Marketing Agency found that she and her colleagues were overwhelmed with Instagram.

As Raindrop Marketing grew, so did their need for Instagram services for their clients. With the ever-changing Instagram algorithms, they knew they needed help in order to give their clients the best results.

They handed over the follower growth to us so that they could better focus on serving their clients in the unique way that only they can. Their clients began to see more followers, more sales, and users that felt connected to their brands.


Individual businesses can benefit from engagement marketing, too.

Todd Pickney partnered with us to help grow his Instagram to generate leads for his photography business.

As a solopreneur, his time was spread between social media marketing, accounting, branding, client work, and more. By outsourcing the Instagram follower growth to us, Todd has been able to consistently grow his following with real people, and he’s now getting 12 leads per month just from Instagram alone.


Engagement marketing is one of the best ways to target people to increase your following, as it will bring you real people and begin building relationships with them. The more you engage with your followers and strengthen those connections, the quicker they will turn into paying customers and loyal, raving fans who share your brand with their friends and followers. 

Instagram engagement can be tedious and time-consuming, and we have a feeling there are other things you could be doing that require your time and efforts. That’s why we offer engagement marketing services.

Let us take over your engagement marketing and grow your following so you can focus on creating stellar content to grow those relationships and your business.

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