Having an engaged audience on Instagram is a sure way to keep growing your brand on social media, but as more and more businesses turn to Instagram for their marketing, it can be difficult to keep engagement rates high. If you’re looking for ways to please the Instagram algorithm in 2021 and increase Instagram engagement, here are 12 Instagram engagement hacks you can try.
1. Reels, Reels, and More Reels
Like anything with Instagram, you’ll be rewarded for trying out new features. Lately, this means jumping on the Reels trend. The short-form videos are Instagram’s way of competing with TikTok, and often get great engagement.
If the idea of dancing around and pointing to text on a screen makes you cringe, don’t worry. There’s no one “right” way to make a Reel, and there are lots of options that don’t involve you showing your face (although showing your face will probably get you more engagement)!
Instagram Reels have a longer lifespan than normal Instagram posts and have the potential to go viral days or weeks after you originally post them. To increase your chances of having lots of engagement on your Reel, look for an up arrow next to sounds that indicate they’re trending.
2. Create Content People Want to Save
You know that little bookmark on the right side of Instagram posts? Whenever someone saves one of your posts, that’s a form of engagement, and it signals to Instagram that your post is valuable and worth sharing with more people. Value-added content is often the kind of content that gets a lot of saves. This can look like travel tips, lists of restaurants to try, or other posts that offer solutions or answers to a common problem your audience has.
To increase the likelihood a user will save the post, give them a reminder to save the post for later in the caption!
3. Use All the Instagram Stories Features
Ask yourself what content you usually engage with when you open up Instagram. Is it more feed posts or stories? Instagram Stories are a great way for brands to be able to interact directly with their audience and show off their personality in a way that might not make sense in a normal Instagram post.
To get more people watching your Instagram Stories, make sure you’re using all the features available to you, including the music, polls, questions, and quizzes. Everyone loves sharing their opinion, so use a question box to ask for book or podcast recommendations, or even host a Q&A about your destination.
The poll sticker is an especially good way to increase Instagram engagement. Try doing a series of “This or That” questions. It can be related to your niche, or something that everyone has fun talking about, like pizza toppings or coffee preferences.
4. Comment on 10-30 big accounts daily
If you’re looking to get engagement from new audiences, take advantage of other Instagram accounts that have already built their audiences! Follow thought leaders or other popular accounts in your niche and engage with their content. Not only are you likely to build a reciprocal relationship with them, but your comments might also attract attention from some of those accounts’ followers. Don’t leave meaningless comments like “Love this” with a bunch of emojis, though; that often comes across as disingenuous. Take your time to write a thoughtful comment that’s relevant to the post.
5. Engage With Your Existing Audience
While you’re trying to grow your following, don’t forget about the followers you already do have! It’s easier to get your current audience to engage with you than trying to convince new users to both follow and engage. Every so often, start watching stories from the left side of your story feed. Those are the accounts you tend to engage with the least, so you might be neglecting them a bit! You can also make a note to leave some likes or comments on the first few people who engage with your Instagram post. Those users are likely your biggest fans!
6. Ask Questions in Your Caption
You should be using a call-to-action in the captions of your Instagram posts. A call-to-action is something that asks the reader to do something (the action). This may be a reminder to save the post, share it with a friend, or something that encourages them to leave a comment. All of these actions are types of engagement, and Instagram rewards posts that get a lot of engagement by sharing them with a broader audience.
To get your Instagram followers to leave a comment on your post, give them something to respond to! Ask a question related to the caption, ask for suggestions or their opinions on a take you’ve shared… the opportunities are endless!
7. Reply to All of Your Comments
As with most content algorithms, Instagram’s favors organic engagement and will show your posts more if you have comments and responses within the first hour of posting. Along with your question in the caption to encourage comments, make sure you’re responding to those comments. It counts towards your post’s total comment count, and it’s a great way to start conversations with your audience. If you become known for being a responsive Instagram user, other users are likely going to want to continue commenting on your posts and engaging with your content.
8. Post at the Best Time of Day
If you’re posting in the middle of the night when most of your followers are asleep, your post won’t get great initial engagement, meaning Instagram is less likely to show your post to more people. You want to make sure you’re posting on Instagram when your audience is most active. There are a few ways you can decipher this, and it’s going to be different for every account.
First, if you check your follower insights, you can scroll to the bottom of the page and see both the days and the hours that your audience is most active. Take note: the times are displayed in Pacific Standard Time, so adjust as necessary.
You can also see how many of your followers are on the Instagram app throughout the day by swiping right to open up the Instagram Story camera. At the bottom, change “Story” to “Live” – don’t worry, we won’t be going live! But you will be able to see the exact number of followers that are active at that moment. If it’s super low, you might want to avoid posting until more followers are online.
If you’re using a third-party tool to schedule and post your Instagram photos, they’ll likely have their own way of analyzing this data and figuring out the best times to post for you, but it’s always good to be able to check for yourself.
9. Share Your Posts to Your Story
Maximize the chance that your audience will see a new post or Reel by sharing it to your Instagram Story. There’s a good chance that not all of your followers will see the original post, and some might only watch your stories, so you’re doubling your chances here!
10. Add Links to Your Instagram in Other Places
You don’t have to rely solely on Instagram to grow your following. Promote your Instagram content in other places, too! Some ideas include:
- adding a link to your Instagram page in your email signature
- including your Instagram feed on your website
- linking to a relevant Instagram post from a similar blog post
Cross-promoting your Instagram account on your other online spaces may capture some of your audience that didn’t know you had an Instagram account and can help you grow your following without much extra work.
11. Welcome Your New Followers
If you have the time to do this genuinely, consider sending a DM to your new followers thanking them for following you and offering to answer any questions (if relevant). You don’t have to go overboard with this, but make it authentic and genuine; don’t just copy and paste a template. At the very least, make an effort to use their first name to make it more personal.
12. Use User-Generated Content
If you want your audience to engage more with your company on Instagram, make a point of repurposing user-generated content in your Instagram content. User-generated content is exactly what it sounds like: content that other users create. If someone tags your account in their stories or post, reshare it to your stories! Your other followers will see that you’re actively engaging back with your audience and may be encouraged to do the same. These tags on their accounts will also serve the purpose of advertising your business to those individuals’ followers.
Encouraging user-generated content is also a great way to get reviews and testimonials to use in your social media marketing strategy. Share reviews you get, whether it’s from Facebook, Google, or just an extra-nice DM.
The Truth About Instagram Engagement Hacks
These Instagram hacks are all tried-and-true ways to increase your engagement and are good tips to try if you’re trying to grow your brand on Instagram. However, your social media strategy shouldn’t just rely on hacks and always trying to keep up with an ever-changing algorithm. If you’re ready to create a social media marketing strategy that sticks and brings in authentic engagements with your dream customers, Jetsetter Social is here to help!