How to Increase Engagement on Instagram: Grow Your Real Followers and Boost Genuine Interest

Profile photo of Karen Lin, author

Karen Lin

Instagram Growth | May 24, 2024

Want More Real Instagram Followers?

For skilled content creators, one of the biggest frustrations they have is low user engagement with their content. Why are people not liking or commenting on your beautiful photo or funny meme? You must know how to increase engagement on Instagram — all the tricks of the trade — to keep those likes and comments coming, boost genuine interest in your brand, and gain more followers. You must also address why your Instagram engagement rate is low. Here’s everything you need to know to keep your Instagram account busy as a bee!

A person taking a photo of a food spread to increase engagement on Instagram with appetizing content.

How to Increase Engagement on Instagram Posts

If you’re running a business account on Instagram, knowing how to increase engagement on your Instagram posts is a must to boost and sustain your Instagram growth. Low Instagram engagement rates can be attributed to common content strategy mistakes. You have to fix and avoid these mistakes, and apply the best practices for increasing content engagement on the platform. You should also take advantage of Instagram Insights to learn more about your account performance and engagement trends among your followers.

Before we lay out the tips and tricks to increase your engagement rate on Instagram, here are the questions you must address to figure out why engagement rates on your posts are low.

  1. Is your content targeting the the right audience
  2. Is your content consistent with your defined Instagram account goals?
  3. Are you posting your content at the right times to reach the maximum number of your target audience? 
  4. Are you using the right hashtags to optimize for visibility and discoverability?

Close-up shot of phone screen showing Instagram notification.

Increase Engagement Both Ways to Increase Engagement Rate on Instagram

The term “engagement” on social media simply refers to communication, and we all know that communication is a two-way street. So to increase your engagement rate on Instagram, you have to give at least as much engagement as you want to receive.

  • Ask a simple open-ended question in your caption or a comment to initiate conversation with your followers and/or would-be followers. People are more likely to respond when they are motivated to think or when they know they have an answer that may be helpful or may contribute to a discussion. This is a good way to keep a conversation going on your post and to make your presence known on another person’s post. 
  • Reply to all comments on your post. You have to take advantage of the real-time engagements you receive on a particular post. The sooner you reply to comments, the greater the likelihood that the commenter will see and engage with your response. And the higher the activity on your comments section, the higher your post will appear on people’s feeds. So make sure that you have time to post prompt replies to all comments on your content to increase your engagement rate on Instagram.  

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  • Tag people on your posts to tap into their own circle of followers. You can earn likes for your content from the followers of the people you tag, and they may even start following you, as well. You can tag people you know personally, as well followers who engage with your content frequently — as long as their privacy settings allow tagging and you’re certain that they won’t mind being tagged in that particular post. If you have exchanged a friendly DM or two with your most active followers, you can also give them the courtesy of asking first if you can tag them.   

A group of people working on the laptops and tablets and discussing ways to increase engagement on Instagram.

Put Yourself Out There to Increase User Engagement on Instagram

To increase user engagement on Instagram, you have to be bold and proactively make your presence known. Here are the best ways to do it.

  • Engage with similar brands by following them, liking and commenting on their posts, and interacting with some of their followers. They may be your competition, but this doesn’t mean you should snub them. On the contrary, you can gain invaluable insights about your target audience and stay up-to-date on relevant trends by following and actively engaging with businesses within your niche/industry. Just make sure you’re engaging with them and their followers in a friendly way; avoid overtly promoting your own brand. You simply want them to see you, period. You don’t want them to see you as an annoying spammer desperate for follows and engagement. 
  • Engage with your most active followers by visiting their profiles and liking and commenting on their posts to increase follower engagement on Instagram. It’s a good way to stay in touch, keep your brand’s presence always “fresh” and current in their social media consciousness, and even learn about their latest interests.   
  • Engage with other content directly before and after you post to increase the likelihood of getting a higher relevance score for your post. Instagram’s algorithm determines a post’s relevance based on how much engagement it gets within the first hour that it’s published. To increase your content’s visibility within this golden hour and increase your engagement on Instagram, engage with other people’s content before and after you post. Timing your engagement with your most active followers, and with similar brands and their most active followers before and after you publish content will increase activity levels for your account and can push your content higher on other people’s feeds.
  • Go live and give your audience something to watch that’s worthwhile, entertaining, inspiring, or helpful. Announce when you’ll go live to build up interest and excitement. Tag people, if possible.

Person sitting in front of a camera and going live to increase engagement on Instagram.

Create Engaging Content

To increase your engagement on Instagram, your content must be engaging and crafted specifically to appeal to the right audience!

  • Write catchy captions to get your audience interested enough to pause scrolling through their feed. That first line is all-too important and must immediately capture people’s attention. Your caption can make them curious, smile, laugh, or inspired — so much so that they’ll react to your post, comment on it, or even share it. Give them something to think and talk about. And always add a call to action to your captions! 
  • Share relatable memes, UGC, and other relevant content published by prominent profiles. You don’t always need original content to increase follower engagement on Instagram. Sharing memes, user-generated content, and trending or useful content published by well-known pages (whether they’re widely popular or are prominent only within your industry) is an effective way to keep your page feed fresh, current, and interesting. Just remember to only share a trending post that’s relevant to your business/industry. You can also get inspiration from a trending meme to create a similar one for your brand and which your followers will eagerly share. When sharing UGC, always credit the original creator; tag them, if possible. 
  • Create helpful content, especially quotes and graphics, which your followers will want to save for their own use and share to spread awareness, inspiration, or joy. Keep tabs of such content that receive the highest engagement — whether it’s yours or somebody else’s — and keep creating similar ones to duplicate the results and increase your follower engagement on Instagram. Of course, don’t forget the aesthetics of your content; they must be consistent with your brand’s image and must be high quality. If you’re sharing statistics, make sure to verify the information first! 
  • Craft content that meets the needs and preferences of your target audience. You won’t receive any engagement from your target audience if your posts are not aligned with their interests or concerns. So make sure you know your target audience well. Find out what hashtags they like to use and stay current with the relevant hashtags for your niche/industry. 

Woman taking a photo of mountains to create engaging content for Instagram.

How to Increase Engagement on Instagram Stories

It’s also critical to your business growth to know how to increase engagement on Instagram Stories. With more than 500  million people using Instagram Stories daily and 58% of users becoming more interested in a brand after seeing it in Stories, this widely popular IG feature is ripe with opportunities to boost engagement for your account. Here are more engagement hacks to give your growth more momentum through IG Stories.

  • Create polls to encourage participation. With a simple yes or no question or a fun quiz, made all the more engaging with Poll or Quiz stickers, you can substantially and organically increase follower engagement on Instagram. 
  • Use the DM Me Sticker, which can be especially useful when you’re promoting an event, promo, or contest, or if you want to gather feedback. 
  • Use Gift Card Stickers and Shopping Stickers to encourage people to support your business. 
  • Tag your business with Location Stickers to literally put it on the map so your target audience can easily discover or find you. 
  • Optimize your story for relevance and discoverability with the right Hashtag Stickers. 
  • Enhance your followers’ story viewing experience by adding a Music Sticker to your story
  • Give your followers the opportunity to get to know you better with Question Stickers. 
  • Add a clickable link to your story to make your content and profile more explorable.

A person taking a photo of a live concert to create content for Instagram Stories.

Final Thoughts: Genuine Engagement Is a Gift That Keeps on Giving

Knowing how to increase engagement on Instagram is just one of the steps that will lead you to last growth on the platform. You need to keep your followers interested, and also appeal to potential followers by connecting with them with the right content and through an engaging approach.

You can also grow your business on Instagram more effectively when you team up with a reliable growth company, like Path Social. You can be assured of getting genuinely interested followers who will deliver quality engagement with Path Social’s proprietary AI targeting technology and in-house team of social media experts. Start growing and gaining instagram followers today!