Categories: Social Media

14 Tips to Increase Instagram Engagement (Free Tool Inside)

Why should every marketer focus on increasing Instagram engagement?

Because Instagram is one of the biggest and busiest social media platforms. With over one billion monthly active users worldwide, it is the sixth-most used mobile app.

But it’s not just the massive audience that makes Instagram ideal for your social media marketing strategy. The fact that the platform promotes visual marketing and video content is also an important factor.

Why so?

Because marketers who post visual content and video content regularly tend to witness better visibility and more engagement over time. This is because social media users love to share and engage with visual and video content.

More than that, the above numbers mean that Instagram has one of the largest engaged audiences as well.

Consequently, the platform is brimming with brands vying for their target audience's attention with their high-quality visual content.

That brings us to a burning issue: With so much Instagram content in every niche, how do you cut through the noise and grab your audience’s attention? How do you get people to engage with your Instagram content above others?

To help you with the task, I’m going to discuss 14 great strategies that can help increase Instagram engagement for your brand.

Disclosure: This content has a few affiliate links, which means if you click on them, I will get a commission (without any extra cost to you).

What Is Instagram Engagement?

Before we move on to discussing the actual strategies that can help your business, let’s first try to understand what constitutes Instagram engagement.

Engagement rates, on any social media platform, can be considered as a measure of your followers’ loyalty towards you.

It’s not about the size of your audience. The degree of their involvement with your brand's Instagram content is what matters most. It’s the measure of their interest and interaction with your Instagram posts, Instagram Stories, Instagram Reels, etc. That’s what counts as marketing success.

Are there any other reasons why brands should obsess over a metric like engagement?


Data like engagement rate comes in handy when you invest in paid campaigns on social media.

How so?

Brands with high engagement rates are in a better position to negotiate with influencers and brand ambassadors to advertise for them at lower rates. Likewise, influencers with engaged followers can command higher rates from potential clients.

If you’re not sure about your engagement rate on Instagram, you can use this Instagram Engagement and Money Calculator:

Note: The above Instagram Engagement Money Calculator is provided by HypeAuditor. The results are generated based on their computer vision machine-learning algorithm. Shane Barker does not guarantee the accuracy of these results. If you have questions regarding them, you can reach out to them directly.

If you want to track your engagement manually, some of the key parameters you should be looking at are:


This is an obvious factor that you should be monitoring. The size of your audience or that of your influencer is important, but it’s not the most crucial parameter. Follower growth is a more important indicator of “influence” or “engagement” than follower volume.


Likes are another fundamental parameter that contributes to your engagement rates. It’s a base-level measure of whether your Instagram posts are well received by your followers. It’s a rather straightforward indicator of how popular your Instagram page and Instagram posts are amongst your target audience.

But, just like followers, likes is a vanity metric that doesn’t give any indication of real engagement.


Comments are the next metric you want to look at when tracking the increase in your Instagram engagement. Analyzing comments will indicate what your followers really think about your Instagram posts. It’s a qualitative assessment of your engagement.

Since writing comments takes time, you can assume that your commenters are deeply involved with your Instagram posts, Instagram Stories, Instagram Reels, etc.

What’s more?

Of course, the quality of comments is just as important. Often, people leave simple comments like “Nice” or “Looking good” which don’t really mean much. Just look at the spammy emoji comments on the Instagram post below to understand what I mean.

Image via Instagram

You should be more concerned about comment sentiment rather than comment volume if you are passionate about engaging your audience.

4. Shares and Reposts

Building on the above, the number of shares and reposts of your Instagram posts is also very important. If a user is willing to share your Instagram post with their friends, then you know they really liked the content you’ve posted.

How to Increase Instagram Engagement

Moving on, let’s take a look at some strategies that can help you increase your organic engagement on Instagram.

1. Leverage Hashtags

The power of hashtags on a platform like Instagram cannot be understated when planning your Instagram marketing strategy. The right, and more importantly, most relevant, hashtags help you grow and reach the right people on the platform.

Naturally, you want your hashtags to be relevant to your brand, products, Instagram post, and the message you’re trying to convey.

But how do you find the right hashtags to use with your Instagram account? You can try using tools like HashtagsForLikes to find the most trending and relevant hashtags for your brand and niche. This tool will help you reach your target audience in an organic manner.

The AI-powered hashtag generator can also analyze the efficacy of your existing hashtags. Just enter your hashtag into the search box, and the tool analytics will display all the statistics you need to know about it.

2. Conduct Giveaway Contests

One of the best comments is in which a user tags their friend(s). Such comments indicate real engagement, plus they bring new people to your audience. You have an opportunity to convert these new people into fans, followers, and possibly customers with your content.

You can rake in loads of such comments by running giveaways and contests on Instagram.

Need an example to inspire you?

MVMT runs regular giveaways. In their Instagram captions, they ask users to tag their friends in exchange for a reward, as you can see below.

Image via Instagram

But, if you’re new to contest marketing, you need a few pointers and a great contest hosting tool like VYPER. This robust tool helps you design slick landing pages for your giveaway/contest.

Using its drag-and-drop page builder, you can develop landing pages without any coding or design knowledge.

While the tool takes care of your landing pages, you can focus on more cognitive tasks such as campaign tracking and lead generation.

3. Post Meaningful Content

What better way to increase Instagram engagement than by posting meaningful Instagram Stories, Instagram Posts, and Instagram Reels that encourage users to engage?

And, before you start brainstorming post ideas, let me dispel a few myths here.

It’s not just stunning imagery or catchy Instagram captions that grab eyeballs. The content format matters a lot too. You want to share content that highlights the value of your products.

And, what does that mean?

A fitness business, for instance, could share before/after photos of clients who’ve benefited from their services.

That’s exactly what fitness guru Kayla Itsines does to advocate her Bikini Body Program. She frequently shares her clients’ success stories on her Instagram page.

Image via Instagram

You can also create and schedule Instagram posts with video content to highlight the value of your products or service.

4. Be Mindful of Follower Fatigue

While platforms like Twitter are all about constant micro-conversations and interactions, that’s not the case with Instagram. Increasing Instagram engagement has more to do with posting high-quality content than posting frequently.

So, what should you do?

Ideally, you should limit yourself to one or two posts a day.

Over post, and you stand the risk of damaging your engagement rates due to follower fatigue. People tend to get disinterested if they think you spam a lot, which can lead to an eventual drop in engagement rates.

5. Use Instagram Stories

Instagram users spend around 28 minutes on Instagram Stories on a daily basis. Such is the popularity of the feature that around 300 million people use it daily.

What better way to engage your followers than share behind-the-scenes images and blooper videos with them?

Renault leveraged the feature wonderfully to promote their new Twingo Midnight models among millennials in the Instagram Story below.

Image via Instagram

6. Find the Right Filters to Use

Instagram is all about captivating audiences with visually stunning content.

One rather simple way to go about it is by using Instagram filters. Each filter has its own appeal and can add a unique dimension to your images.

Juno, Clarendon, Valencia, and X-Pro II are some of the more popular ones. It’s best to stick to one or two filters so that your followers start recognizing your brand style.

7. Try Instagram Feeds Themes

Instagram feed themes are another great way to add some visual appeal to your posts.

While a lot of people use filters, not everyone is capable of pulling off feed themes. That extra oomph factor will help increase Instagram engagements for your brand.

You could opt for something as simple as a black and white theme, or something more complicated.

Lauren Aston, for instance, prefers a mono-theme for her business that focuses on a recurring subject – her knittings.

Likewise, you should pick a theme that is scalable and relevant to your brand/product.

Image via Instagram

8. Leverage Geotags

Apart from hashtags, you can also use geotags to make your posts and stories discoverable.

Local businesses can leverage these to the fullest by adding location tags to their posts. It can help you engage with posts from other users in your physical vicinity.

Magnolia, for example, makes it a point to tag their location.

Image via Instagram

9. Experiment with Posting Times

One tactic you can use to increase engagement for your business page is to post on Instagram at the right times.

You can maximize your engagements by posting content when most of your followers are likely to be browsing their feeds.

How can you find the right time to post?

You can use Instagram’s native analytics tool to find times when your audience is most likely to be online. By posting then, you’ll gain more engagement within minutes of posting, which counts more than engagement gained ages later.

Take this a step further by using tools like Sprout Social’s Social Media Publisher to schedule posts beforehand.

Image via Sprout Social

10. Include Story Highlights on Your Profile

When a user lands on your page, you have a few brief moments to convert them into a follower.

One way to do that and increase Instagram engagement on your page is by using the “Highlights” feature. Instagram Stories last for 24 hours only but with Highlights, you can create permanent Stories.

So, gather your best BTS moments, accomplishments, and testimonials into Highlights and use them to impress your new and potential followers.

11. Add CTAs to Your Posts

A simple act of requesting your audience to comment, like, or reshare your posts can drive up your engagement rates in a big way. That’s why it’s important to include a call-to-action in your post captions.

What can CTAs do?

They encourage followers to engage with your content and spend more time on your post.

It’s a simple and effective means to increase Instagram engagement. You could try leveraging this tactic in a social media giveaway – something which we’ll see in just a moment.

Or, you could opt for a much easier approach like asking users a question.

Just look at this page @bestvacations and how they leverage CTAs to encourage users to engage with their posts.

Image via Instagram

12. Interact with Followers Through Comments

Another effective way to boost engagement is to simply interact with the people who like and comment on your posts. Take out some time on a daily basis to reply to comments and interact with your audience.

How can this help you?

Replying to user comments will make your followers feel special. They’ll be more inclined to stay loyal to you and interact with you on a regular basis.

You’ll be able to maintain a steady increase in Instagram engagements this way.

13. Engage with Similar Accounts

This nifty tactic can help you gain ground on your competitors. Go beyond just spying on their accounts to monitor the kind of content they’re posting.

Take it a step further by actually engaging their audience.

Find accounts similar to your own. Engage their followers – the ones they follow and the users that frequently comment on their posts.

You’d be surprised by the kind of relations you can build this way. What’s more, there’s a strong possibility that they find your content engaging too.

14. Measure and Optimize

The final piece of this puzzle involves constant data analysis and campaign optimization. If you know what you’re doing wrong or right, you can tweak your strategies and increase your Instagram engagement rates.

So, how do you get started with this?

You could use Instagram’s native analytics to track your content performance and audience behavior. You just need an Instagram business account to do that.

Additionally, you could also measure your overall brand engagement rate. Simply enter your profile name into the Instagram Engagement Calculator below and you’re good to go

Image via Shane Barker


Q1. How do you increase your engagement on Instagram in 2022?

A. There are numerous ways of increasing your engagement on Instagram. The best ones are:

  • Use the right hashtags
  • Conduct giveaway contests
  • Post high-quality content
  • Use Instagram Stories
  • Leverage the right filters
  • Experiment with posting times
  • Vary your geotags

Q2. Why is my Instagram engagement so low?

A. There can be several reasons why your Instagram engagement is low. Here are some of the common ones:

  • You’re posting content at irregular intervals
  • You’re not using hashtags
  • You aren’t experimenting with new content formats
  • You haven’t built a dedicated follower base
  • You post on Instagram at the wrong times

Q3. What is a good engagement rate on Instagram in 2022?

A. A good Instagram engagement rate in 2022 would be in the range of 1 to 3%. However, there can be a variation based on the type of content that you create. Reels are getting high engagement rates currently and may continue to do so in 2022 too.

Q4. How is engagement calculated?

A. Engagement is the total of all the interactions that your audience has with your content. These interactions include:

  • Likes
  • Shares
  • Comments
  • Save to Collection

Q5. What is the average Instagram engagement rate?

A. The average engagement rate on Instagram is about 3%. This rate is maximum for those accounts that are new or have relatively fewer followers. As the number of followers grows, the rate drops.

Q6. Who has the highest engagement rate on Instagram?

A. Higher education brands tend to have the highest engagement among all. They have an average Instagram engagement rate of 3.96%. Nonprofits and sports teams come in second with a 2.4% average engagement rate.

Q7. How to increase engagement on Instagram Stories?

A. Here are the various strategies that you can employ to increase engagement on Instagram Stories:

  • Use hashtags
  • Incorporate stickers
  • Add geotags
  • Ask a question
  • Use polls

Q8. Do emojis increase engagement on Instagram?

A. Yes, emojis can improve the engagement rates of your posts on Instagram. According to studies conducted in the past, emojis increased engagement rates of posts on Instagram by up to 48%.

Q9. How much do hashtags increase engagement on Instagram?

A. Hashtags have a major role to play when it comes to increasing the engagement of posts on Instagram. They help in improving the discoverability of the posts and thus boost the reach and engagement. Posts with a single hashtag get about 12% more engagement than those without them.

Q10. How can you organically increase Instagram engagement rate?

A. Some of the strategies that you can leverage to grow your Instagram engagement rate organically are:

  • Incorporate hashtags
  • Interact with followers through comments
  • Use different content formats
  • Conduct giveaways or contests
  • Try posting at different times
  • Vary your geotags

Ready to Increase Your Instagram Engagement?

The key to achieving marketing success on Instagram revolves around engagement rates. You need to experiment with the above strategies to identify the ones that work best for your brand. These tips will go a long way in helping you achieve that.

Do you have any questions about the best tactic to increase Instagram engagement rates? Let us know in your comments.

Disclosure: This content has a few affiliate links, which means if you click on them, I will get a commission (without any extra cost to you).

Shane Barker

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, product launches, sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.

View Comments

  • Hi Shane,

    Thank you so much for this amazing article. I have been trying to grow my Instagram account lately. It is not easy, I can tell you that. I have found that it is great to engage with similar accounts so that their audience can notice that you exist. It helps with being visible when they are opening their feed and recognize your account. I'm also testing different posting time and different hashtags. Some seem to do more than others, and I guess each business will find the sweet spot that suits them most.

    Thank you for sharing this!

    • Glad you enjoyed my article Stefan! And yes finding the "sweet spot" for your business is key. It takes time but once you figure it out you are off to the races! ;)

  • In the early stages of growing your Instagram account, comments are especially valuable engagements. Thanks for the great info.

  • This article is very helpful and very interesting and will definitely help in increasing engagement on Instagram.

  • Thank you for sharing this. All the information which have you share with us is really very helpful.

  • Shane I’m a nana that isn’t very savvy when it comes to the instagram lingo and all the great ways to use the tools to write great captions, how to use stickers and all the other great stuff. I read a lot of your articles but I really need a little more step by step guidance, can you please do a instagram for dummies, I really want to try and do something on instagram but I just have no idea how to do everything, and even though your writing are awesome!! for someone that is new to social media it’s like a foreign language for me ? please help a nana learn I know your the best at this . My name on instagram is southernmagnoliahouse will you dm me if you decide to do a article for first timers on instagram , and could you do a step by step visual walk through for all of us older folks. Thanks luv and have a great day ?

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