6 Ways to Increase Instagram Engagement


Rach Brind-Surch

30th July 2021

Instagram is a wonderful tool for digital marketing. It is second only to Facebook in terms of numbers accessing it each day, and so it’s potential reach is truly huge.

It’s unique value comes from it’s primarily visual content which is able to grab our attention quickly and keep us engaging for much longer. Because everybody and their dog ( literally ) is on Instagram, it is important you know how to Increase your engagement, in order to convert followers to customers.

Below are 6 top tips on how to do just that.

Girl looking at an iPhone and drinking an iced coffee

1) Discover Your Best Time to Post

A key part of any social media strategy is knowing what times you should be posting. Making sure that your posts go out at the right time and at regular intervals can make all the difference. Posting when your target audience is already very active on social media is an easy win as you are not working against their normal habits.

The Instagram algorithm likes posts which get a lot of engagement over a relatively short period of time. If it sees your posts performing well quickly then that post will be rewarded by being moved to the top of your followers feeds. 

There are some great paid for tools out there which will automatically calculate the best times for you to post, however you can also use instagrams built in analytics to learn what times you should be posting. Remember that Instagram is a global platform, so keep in mind that your audience may well be in a different time zone to you.

2) Test out new content regularly and analyse the results  

Whilst in design and branding we love consistency, this has to be balanced well with fresh and new content. You can never really100% know what is going to capture your audience's imagination and sometimes it can be something completely off field which grabs their attention and creates a stir. You may spend time and money curating what you feel is social media gold only to have a quick snap shot with a thoughtful quote gain traction. 

Change up your approach or style of content between: 

  • Memes

  • Quotes

  • Infographics 

  • User-generated content 

  • Selfies

  • Product shots 

  • Videos

By structured experimentation, you can find out what users value in your grid, what will attract more followers, what creates conversation and what just doesn't work at all. Keep watching those analytics to see how your posts perform. 

Don’t forget to play around with your Stories, Reels and IGTV. Longer and shorter videos may perform differently to each other depending on your audience so try both. It can feel a bit daunting spending time and money on something you aren’t sure will work. But keeping your page interesting and finding what works best for a growing and changing audience means you have to grow and change too.

A screenshot of an instagram post with long caption for Claii design

3) Write Longer captions

An instagram caption can be as long as 2,200 characters long. That’s a very large space on your social media which you need to be using effectively. The algorithms on Instagram take into consideration ‘the time spent on a post’ and so improving engagement on instagram, is to write a longer caption. 

Experts have found that caption length has more than doubled over the past 5 years and that those posts with longer captions and more words really do perform better. Currently the average caption length is around 405 characters, which is 65-70 words. Your caption should consist of a small amount of relevant hashtags, a clear call to action (a direction to your audience to further engage) and tag any relevant businesses or individuals who are relevant to your post.

4) Be authentic about your Brand and Business 

Being real, honest and vulnerable can be incredibly powerful on Instagram. Think of the really memorable marketing campaigns of recent years and they are the campaigns which are relatable and make us feel something. Creating content which authentically reflects your brand and sincerely reflects the lived experiences of our audience will encourage engagement. 

Showcasing your struggles and thought process through sneak peak or ‘back stage’ reels can help build a trust relationship with your audience. People connect with people, so creating a real personality and character for your brand account which individuals can laugh and cry with will help you connect more deeply and win more hearts for your brand. 

Sharing insights about why you do what you do, how those in your company cut loose, or how you care for your team will endear people to your brand. It’s why transparency and having a clear set of brand values and a strong identity is so important. This can be done through unfiltered photographs, personal videos, or even mini blog style captions which read more like a stream of consciousness than a sales ad. 

Ultimately though, what feels authentic to your brand will depend on your brand’s identity. Having a clear idea of your brand is the very first step to creating a truly authentic brand on Instagram, and so if this is something you struggle with, our team of brand specialists can work with you to figure out your brand strategy and brand positioning through our brand audit service.

A desk with paper cutouts of hashtag symbols in white laying over pink paper

5) Pay attention to your #hashtags

Hashtags can feel a bit confusing at times, but it’s important to understand them and which ones are particularly working for you. Sometimes it can feel like throwing hashtags at a wall and seeing which one sticks, but this is not the best method! Using too many random hashtags can look a bit desperate and also may well attract bot followers rather than real ones. Bots are not good for your engagement as although they may pad your follower numbers, they will ultimately not interact with your posts. This will result in poor performance for your posts and poor ranking in the algorithm.

In order to pinpoint which hashtags are working for you, use your analytics to see which posts are performing well, and have a high reach. Then work back to see which hashtags you have used in that post. Try new hashtags within your experimenting – but be intentional and don’t go overboard!

6) Create great Video content to take advantage of Reels

Instagram Reels were introduced in 2020 and this was yet another indication of the importance of video content on Instagram. Video content for Instagram is the ultimate growth hack right now so by increasing your use of video content, it’s guaranteed that engagement with your profile will also increase. 

Creating video can feel very daunting and time consuming but it doesn’t have to be. Videos can last for a couple of seconds, consist of free stock animation and only contain the slightest bit of movement. To start off you really don’t need to create a full blown production with a ring light.

Reels are designed to be fast and fun. They aren’t built to be super polished. Many are simply recorded on smartphones and tablets. As long as they are clear enough to understand the content, and entertaining it’s actually sometimes best to keep them short and sweet. They are a great way to experiment with short content, so be fearless! 

Some great ideas for reels are: 

  • Take idea from your FAQs

  • Listicles

  • How-to videos

  • Behind the scenes or a day in the life 

  • Recreating a trending video (current ones please - no ice buckets)

  • Before and Afters

  • Interviews or telling your story

screen shot of a IGTV video on instagram for parkrun UK

What Next?

When it comes to each social media platform, there is so much to learn, this is just the tip of the iceberg. But we hope that some of these tips will give you the confidence to start building Instagram into your social media strategy and digital marketing more.

For further advice or to talk to us more about how we can help with your digital marketing and taking your social media to the next level, please get in touch with us.

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