Increase your Instagram engagement rate

How To Increase Your Instagram Engagement Rate - 11 Expert Tips

August 11, 2023
David Olsen

At its core, a successful Instagram engagement strategy is all about creating a thriving and interconnected community.

Increasing the Instagram engagement rate for your brand or small business account requires a crafty combination of creative content, consistent interactions, and strategic content planning. By focusing on crafting engaging Instagram posts and Reels, utilizing Instagram Stories, fostering conversations, using relevant hashtags and collaborating with influencers, you can strengthen your online presence and build a loyal and engaged community.

Remember, engagement is not just about capturing attention momentarily; it's about building meaningful connections that resonate with your audience and inspire them to keep coming back to your brand. Armed with a clever social media marketing strategy and a great analytics tool, you’ll be equipped to cultivate an environment that fosters genuine engagement.

In this blog we’ll delve into some practical tips and data-driven insights to breathe life into your Instagram strategy and help you build up your own thriving community.

11 key strategies to increase Instagram engagement:

1. Encourage Two-Way Conversations:

Remember, nurturing engagement goes beyond just posting content; it's about creating a vibrant community built on reciprocity, where your followers feel valued and heard.

Engage with your audience by responding to comments, liking their posts, and acknowledging their contributions. Building a sense of community really encourages your Instagram followers to participate in conversations around your brand, so those two-way conversations are an integral part of consolidating followers who not only support your brand, but also champion it among their own networks.

Creating a thriving community on Instagram requires genuine interactions on your behalf. Show that you’re paying attention by responding promptly to those comments and DMs, and take the time to engage with your followers' content as well. Within your Instagram content, pose thought-provoking questions in your captions, seek opinions, and invite your followers to share their experiences or ideas. By encouraging dialogue, you create a safe space for your community to share their thoughts and connect with each other.

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Using the right tools to manage conversations on Instagram makes a difference

‘It’s one thing to want to encourage two-way conversations with your community on Instagram, the real challenge is how to do it, effectively, at scale

Sure, the built-in community management tools provided by most social networks can be a good place to start. 

But when you need to manage multiple Instagram accounts, or use multiple social networks, you soon find you’re spending all your time manually managing bespoke processes (spreadsheets) to keep the lights on behind the scenes.

Which is great if you’re a social media manager who loves spreadsheets, right?

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Instagram Engagement - Made easy

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Get notifications when tagged in Instagram Posts

2. Know the best time to post:

We know that timing is everything in the fast-paced social media landscape, and understanding when your audience is most active can significantly impact the visibility and success of your content.

To determine the best time to post, start by analyzing your Instagram Insights. Using a social media analytics tool like Sked’s Optimize feature is the simplest way to determine your perfect timing, allowing you to track metrics across all of your social media channels, giving you detailed insights into what’s working for you and what isn’t.

Optimize provides valuable data on when your followers are most active and most engaged. Look for patterns in the days and times when your posts receive the highest engagement rates. This will give you a clear indication of when your audience is most likely to be scrolling through their feeds. Keep in mind that optimal posting times can vary depending on your specific target audience and time zones. If you have a global following, consider scheduling posts to accommodate different regions' peak activity hours.

There are some universally recommended times that tend to work well for good engagement- weekdays during lunch breaks (12 PM to 1 PM) and early evenings (5 PM to 6 PM) are generally prime posting windows, catching an audience who are taking breaks or browsing on the commute home.

However, don't be afraid to experiment and adjust your posting schedule based on the real-time data you find in your engagement metrics. Consistency is key, but it's equally important to adapt to your audience's changing behaviors and preferences.

3. Let Your Stories Shine:

Instagram Stories are a powerful tool to boost engagement and connect with your followers on a more personal level, and should be a cornerstone of your Instagram marketing strategy. Stories hold prime real estate at the top of a user’s feed, so they’re an excellent way to maintain visibility and encourage interaction with your content.

For small businesses, Instagram Stories are the ideal platform to showcase promotions, flash sales, or limited-time offers. With the ability to add clickable links or swipe-up features (for accounts with 10k+ followers), Stories provide a direct path for your followers to explore your website, shop your products, or take advantage of exclusive deals.

By leveraging the sense of urgency created by the temporary nature of Stories, you can also encourage immediate interactions and responses from your followers. Use your Stories to share spontaneous moments, conduct interactive Q&A sessions and quizzes, run polls, or just give your Instagram followers a glimpse behind-the-scenes to give your content a more personal touch.

By showcasing authentic moments, involving your followers in interactive features, and leveraging their prominent position in the feed, you can really elevate your engagement rate and kick up those analytics.

4. Engage Your Audience with Stories Stickers:

Stories Stickers are a treasure trove of engagement opportunities. By incorporating these interactive elements into your Stories, you can create an immersive experience for your audience, building a sense of connection and community while encouraging higher engagement rates.

A popular sticker for brands and small businesses is the Poll sticker, where you can ask your followers questions, seek opinions, or have a little fun with joke options. The Emoji slider sticker adds a playful element to your Stories, allowing your followers to express their feelings on a sliding scale - a fire emoji or heart eyes slider for a new product, perhaps. The Countdown sticker lets you display a countdown to a specific time in your Stories, a fantastic tool for building anticipation around an upcoming event, a product launch, or a big announcement.

And if you're looking to gather suggestions or get to know your audience better, the Question sticker is your go-to. It opens up a direct line of communication, asking your followers to share their thoughts, experiences and any questions they might have about your brand or products. The Mention sticker lets you tag other Instagram users in your Stories, so it’s a fantastic way to give a shout-out to collaborators, customers, or influencers.

By utilizing Stickers creatively, you’ll add interactivity and personality to the images and video content you post in Stories, encouraging your followers to interact, respond, and actively participate in your brand's narrative.

5. Utilize the ‘Add Yours’ Sticker:

This playful and interactive sticker allows you to invite your followers to contribute to your Stories, making them an integral part of your overall Instagram content strategy. The "Add Yours" sticker opens up an excellent opportunity for user-generated content (UGC), which is a powerful way to build trust and authenticity around your brand. By featuring the contributions of your followers in your Stories, you not only strengthen the bond with your community but also motivate others to get involved.

You can prompt your audience to share their own favorite photos and videos on a specific theme or topic - a throwback to 5 years ago, travel memories, a favorite outfit. Share your favorite contributions in your Stories, giving shout-outs to your active followers and making them feel like an important part of your community.

6. Educate your followers with informative Carousel Posts:

Carousel Posts allow you to share a series of images or videos in a single post, crafting an immersive storytelling experience. This content format is highly shareable, and a great way to expand your reach and brand awareness. Carousel posts are great for the Instagram algorithm, asking a user to pause, swipe, and explore.

When presenting your content in a Carousel Post, aim to make it easily digestible and visually appealing. Start by identifying the type of content that resonates with your audience and aligns with your brand or small business - it could be step-by-step tutorials, in-depth guides, or little fun facts related to your product or field of expertise. Break down complex information into bite-sized pieces and use engaging visuals and infographics to complement the experience.

And don’t forget to incorporate a call-to-action in your Carousel Posts to encourage user interaction. This can be anything from asking for opinions, inviting questions, or prompting users to visit your website and explore.

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7. Boost engagement with relatable memes:

Memes have become a universal language on social media, and leveraging their power can hugely enhance your social media marketing strategy .By tapping into the cultural zeitgeist and understanding what makes your followers laugh, you can significantly increase engagement via sharing, tagging and reposts.

Keep up with those trending memes and popular formats, but don't be afraid to put your own creative spin on them. Infuse your brand's personality into the memes you create. Whether it's witty, sarcastic or sincere, post content that lets your unique voice shine through.

Timing is crucial in the world of memes. Stay on the ball with viral trends or current events and strike while the iron is hot, and you're more likely to ride the wave of viral engagement.

8. Drive engagement with great CTA:

A great call-to-action will ignite curiosity, incite action, and ultimately lead to higher engagement rates.

When it comes to crafting effective CTAs on social media, clarity and specificity are key. Clearly communicate what you want your audience to do, whether it's liking, commenting, sharing, tagging a friend, or clicking on a link. The easier it is for your followers to follow through, the more likely they'll engage with your content. These can be really simple prompts - think "Comment below with your favorite summer activity ☀️" or “Tag a friend who needs to have this.”

To make your CTAs even more effective, create a sense of urgency or exclusivity. Limited-time offers, giveaways, or contests with clear instructions like "Double-tap to enter our giveaway ending tomorrow!" can entice users to act quickly. Use action-oriented language like "Swipe up for more" or "Tap the link in our bio," directing your followers clearly and concisely wherever you’d like them to go.

And of course, make sure to track the performance of your CTAs using your Instagram Insights and Sked Social analytics. Analyzing engagement data can provide valuable insights into which CTAs are resonating with your audience and which ones may need a bit of a tweak. Continuously experimenting with different CTAs will help you refine your approach and create a winning formula for higher engagement rates.

9. Collaborate with Influencers and Partners:

In an age where consumers value authenticity and transparency, influencer marketing offers brands access to niche communities and audiences that may be challenging to reach through other means. Whether it's targeting a specific demographic, location, or interest group, influencers provide a direct line to these highly engaged and receptive audiences.

Influencers already have their own dedicated and engaged following, and their endorsement of your business or brand can introduce your brand to a horde of potential new followers. As followers view influencers as relatable and trustworthy, their recommendations carry significant weight.

Teaming up with Instagram influencers or complementary brands can significantly expand your reach and boost engagement. Influencer marketing should align with your brand's values and aesthetics, and give a real sense of authenticity in the partnership. Collaborations can take the form of sponsored posts, takeovers, or joint giveaways, offering something exciting to both your followers and the influencer's audience.

10. Build a buzz with giveaways:

Sparking interest with Instagram giveaways is a surefire way to engage your audience and attract new followers. Everybody loves free stuff, and hosting a well-planned giveaway can skyrocket your brand's visibility and foster a sense of camaraderie with your followers.

Start by setting some clear goals for your giveaway. Are you looking to increase followers, boost engagement, promote a new product, or just show your appreciation to your loyal fans? Knowing your objectives will help you tailor the giveaway to achieve the desired results.

Choose a prize that aligns with your brand and appeals to your target audience. It could be your own product, a special edition item, or something related to your niche that your followers would love to get their hands on.

Promote the giveaway across all your social media platforms to maximize its reach. Craft eye-catching graphics, use compelling captions, and use hashtags to generate buzz and entice participation.

11. Expand your reach with relevant hashtags:

Hashtag Engagement Instagram

Instagram Hashtags are like signposts that lead new followers to your content. Use them strategically to increase the discoverability of your instagram account and attract an engaged audience interested in your niche. Keep an eye on popular and relevant hashtags that align with your content, brand and audience. A combination of broad (think #design) and niche-specific hashtags (#scandinavianinteriordesign) will help strike a balance between reaching a wide audience and targeting your ideal followers.

To boost engagement, integrate hashtags seamlessly into your Instagram captions or add them as the first comment. Be mindful of the number of hashtags used, as an excessive amount may come across as spammy and create visual clutter. A good idea is to aim for a balance of between 5 to 10 well-chosen hashtags per post. Stay up-to-date with trending hashtags and incorporate them into your content when relevant. Participating in trending conversations can amplify your visibility and encourage more interactions from Instagram users who are actively engaging with those topics.

Additionally, don't forget to create branded hashtags to foster a buzz around your brand and encourage user-generated content, with your brand-specific hashtag giving users an easily clickable destination to explore.

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Supercharge your Instagram engagement with Sked Social:

All of the Instagram engagement-boosting strategies we’ve covered here can be utilized via Sked’s suite of content optimization tools.

Sked Social offers a powerful suite of tools to optimize your social media presence across multiple platforms, allowing you to consolidate your social media planning, publishing, engagement, and analytics in one super simple platform.

Sked makes it easy to Increase your Instagram Engagement with these key features:

One Social Inbox - Engage as a team across all of your accounts

Sked’s Inbox is the only tool you need to manage all of your social engagement in one place. Your unified social media messaging hub to manage engagement across accounts and channels. Collaborate with your team to efficiently triage, escalate and respond all in the one place, and work smarter with Captivate AI suggestions on the perfect reply.

Connect your Instagram account to reply to Instagram comments, DM’s and mentions. Be notified the moment you’re tagged by fans in posts, allowing you to comment and engage directly with fans. Or add this user generated content to your Sked Library and effortlessly publish UGC driven posts with full source attribution.

Get best time to post recommendations for Instagram

Sked's "Best time to post" feature goes beyond general best practices, providing you with precise times to post on Instagram and Facebook for optimal engagement. Moreover, you can monitor competitor and industry trendsetter performance with AI-powered analysis of their strategies.

Instagram analytics that tell you more than Instagram does

Sked takes Instagram analytics to the next level, providing detailed data on Reels and Stories, including performance by story type. With filters across date range, interactions, impressions, reach, plays, and more, you can uncover the overall narrative behind your social media performance and adjust your Instagram strategy to perfection.

Sked Social empowers you to be the best version of your brand by providing the insights you need to fine-tune your Instagram content, understand your audience better, and outperform your competitors.

Sign up for a free 7-day trial of Sked Social and increase your Instagram engagement rate today!


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