Looking for ways to grow your Instagram engagement?

You probably know how it feels when you see people leaving comments on your competitors’ post, yet nobody engages with your content.

Have you ever been stuck in a low engagement zone for so long that you were ready to give up on Instagram altogether? Well, don’t! What if I told you that increasing your engagement is not as hard as you think?

11 Instagram hacks cover image showing a girl on a phone with the text instagram engagement hacks

In fact, in this post, I’m going to share 11 Instagram hacks to help you grow your engagement. In fact, these are the same strategies that we’ve tested and used to build a community of engaged followers on Instagram.

Let’s not waste time and jump right in!

Here are 11 Instagram hacks to help you grow your engagement

Instagram engagement hack #1: Spend 30 minutes to engage each time before you post 💬 #

If you want people to engage with your posts, you need to be proactive and leave comments on their posts first.

I know this sounds like a lot of work, but what if I told you that you only need to spend 30 minutes a day engaging? This is probably less than what you’re already doing.

Introducing: The 10/10/10 method for engagement

This 3 step engagement process was first mentioned by @boutiquesocialdc and it can help you grow your audience in just 30 minutes a day.

What you need to do:

Step 1: Start by setting a 30 minutes timer

This step is very important, so you don’t end up caught in a vortex of scrolling on Instagram for hours. (Yes, it happened to me before!)

Step 2: Engage with Instagram posts by leaving thoughtful comments. Following this rule:

Spend 10 minutes engaging with the posts shown on your feed

An Instagram post showing how to engage by leaving thoughtful comments.

Spend 10 minutes engaging with your followers’ stories

A screenshot of the Instagram story scrollbar, which you can use to engage with your followers stories.

Spend 10 minutes engaging with the most recent posts on your industry hashtags

A screenshot showing the most recent posts under a hashtag on Instagram.

Done. Now what usually happens when you engage with other people’s posts, they'll receive notifications that you’ve left comments and they’re more likely to visit your profile and engage with your latest post.

Instagram engagement hack #2: Entertain your audience using polls & quizzes on Stories 😂 #

When people reply or take part in your quiz, Instagram will see this as engagement. So, the next time you’re sharing a post on your feed or story, Instagram will bump your post in the feed so a higher % of your audience will get to see your posts.

Here are some ideas of quizzes anyone can implement:

Create a trivia quiz

People love these! It’s a fun way for your followers to learn new facts and things about your brand.

You can then give a shout out to the people who guessed it right. Your audience will love it!

A screenshot of a trivia quiz in an Instagram story with the title Trivia Time.

@girlsgoneworking

Ask people to choose between 2 options (A or B)

You can ask your audience “does pineapple belong on a pizza?” This will spark a fun debate and it’s a great conversation starter. Or just do a survey to get to know your audience.

A screenshot of an Instagram story survey, asking the reader to choose between two options.

Instagram engagement hack #3: Share your Feed posts to Stories 📡 #

People just love Instagram Stories and for good reason. Stories offer a more personal connection than feed posts and they open up countless opportunities for one-on-one engagement. So being active on Stories is a must!

A screenshot of how to preview your feed post in your Instagram story.

Since Stories are the first thing people check when they open the Instagram app, you should share previews of your feed posts on Stories to grow your engagement.

Instagram engagement hack #4: Track your post insights and find out top posts by engagement #

Analytics are a super hack when it comes to engagement! The better you understand what gets people to engage with your posts, the more successful you’ll be on Instagram.

A simple thing you can do is to check your Instagram post Insights.

  1. Tap on Insights
  2. Go to Posts
  3. Select “Engagement”

A screenshot of the Instagram post insights section with Engagement selected.

Next, analyze your top 10 most engaged posts:

  • How did you write the captions?
  • Any common visual elements?
  • Are they carousels/images/videos?
  • Tap on the most engaged post to check insights

A screenshot of the insights of a single Instagram post.

You’ll probably notice that your top most engaged posts have the highest number of saves and shares. Take note of the common elements and recreate this type of post in the future.

Instagram engagement hack #5: Post relevant content for your audience 🖼 #

If you have an account in the business niche, then your posts should match with your audience’s expectation. Posting random images of food, cats, or babies will result in disengagement and a high number of unfollows.

The key to having high-quality content that your audience loves is to find out what your audience wants and give them exactly the type of content they expect from you.

Relevant content:

  • Addresses a problem your target audience is facing
  • Educates or entertains your audience
  • Meets your followers’ expectations
  • Helps you achieve your goal (eg. grow engagement)

⭐️ Pro Tip: Make sure you’re using only relevant hashtags for each post. When your hashtags are not related, you will get less engagement. Imagine you’re looking at the hashtag #nailart and a photo of a sports car pops up. You’ll likely scroll past it instead of engaging with the post.

Instagram engagement hack #6: Boost engagement with short videos 📹 #

A 2019 study by Mentions shows that short video content (<60 sec.) gets more engagements (ie. comments) than images and carousel posts. Video tutorials and recipes are some of the top-performing content on Instagram over the last few years. So try to explore and incorporate more videos in your monthly posting.

Here are some things you can share:

  • Short video tutorials
  • Product launches
  • Promotions
  • Funny memes & GIFs (repost from TikTok)
  • Anything that people will re-share

Screenshot of dunkin donuts Instagram post using a short video to try and boost engagement.

Source: @dunkin

Instagram Engagement Hack #7: Cultivate relationships with followers in the DMs 👋 #

The secret to an engaged community is building relationships with your followers. One of the best ways to get to know your followers individually is by starting conversations using direct messages (DMs). When you take time to reach out to people through personalised messages, your followers will be more inclined to comment on your future posts.

So how should you message someone without sounding like a sleazy salesman?

Don’t sell them anything. Instead, you can say something like this:

“Hi [name], I noticed you’re [an iced coffee lover] too and I’m obsessing over that Purple Iced Macchiato you just shared. Do you make your own coffee?”

Or

“Hello [name], I’m Jenny - a [content writer]! So happy you’ve followed me. I’m currently planning my content for the month and I’d love to know what’s your no.1 struggle with [content marketing]?”

Instagram engagement hack #8: Answer your followers’ questions in your captions ❔ #

Try to put yourself into your readers’ shoes. Why should anyone engage with your Instagram post? What’s in for them?

With so many posts from brands being promotions, they’ll likely pass on leaving a comment. That’s why you should use a copywriting hack to motivate people to interact with your post.

Introducing the PPB (Preview-Promise-Bridge) method. This technique has been proven to work for blogs but it’s also effective in social media captions. Here’s how it works:

  1. Preview: Tell your audience what they’ll get from you
  2. Promise: Explain how you will solve their problem
  3. Bridge: Use a transitional phrase to create a bridge to your call-to-action

Example:

Preview: 5 skincare products that will completely change your skin.

Promise: In fact, these are the exact products that I’ve used to clear my hormonal acne marks and sunspots in less than 3 months.

Bridge: Are you excited? Let’s roll it.

Screenshot of thebodyshop using a preview promise bridge method in their Instagram post.

Source: @thebodyshop

Instagram engagement hack #9: Run an Instagram contest 🎉 #

Contests and giveaways are an excellent way to increase engagement on Instagram. A well-planned contest can even help you to attract more followers, with very little effort.

There are a few things you should keep in mind when hosting a contest:

  • Make it as easy and simple as possible for someone to participate. You can ask people to like your post, share it on their Stories, or answer a question in the comments section
  • You only have 3 seconds to capture a person’s attention, so make your graphics bold and eye-catching
  • Optional: offer a prize to the winner (it can be a FREE trial, coupon, products, etc.)
  • Use a randomiser tool to select the winner
  • Make sure you comply with Instagram’s contest rules

A screenshot of later.com using a contest to increase their Instagram engagement.

Source: @latermedia

Instagram engagement hack #10: Do a content cleanup & archive old posts 🧹 #

If you’ve used Instagram for business, you’re able to check your Insights and find out which posts bring the best engagement.

So, a trick to boost your engagement is to remove your old posts from your profile and keep only relevant posts for your audience.

Archiving vs. deleting posts on Instagram

Many marketers strongly advise against deleting your old posts, and suggest archiving them instead.

When you archive your old posts you’re removing them from your public feed but you can still check the analytics and see the comments on your posts.

How do you know which posts to keep and which to archive?

Here are some guidelines for archiving your old Instagram posts:

  • Remove any non-evergreen posts from you feed - eg. posts that were trending at a point in time but are no longer relevant
  • Remove all posts that are “expired” - eg. posts of past promotions, services or discounts you no longer offer
  • Did you go through a rebranding? Then you should remove any posts with your old branding and recreate them using your new branding

Ready to archive some old posts? Just go to your feed post. Tap the 3 dots “...” at the top right corner and choose “Archive”.

A screenshot showing the menu that allows your to delete or archive your Instagram post.

Instagram engagement hack #11: Remove ghost and spam followers 🤖 #

Every account has a degree of ghost followers. Ghost followers are inactive accounts that do not engage with your Instagram posts, yet they add up to your follower count.

They can be bots, fake, inactive or spam accounts, but the main characteristic of these followers is that they don’t interact with your profile as a genuine follower.

There are several ways people end up with fake followers:

  • These bot accounts will start following you when you use hashtags that are very popular (eg. #ootd, #travel, #fashion) and try to sell you something
  • When you buy fake followers through unapproved apps (even when they promise you the followers are not fake)
  • When you engage in follow-for-follow activities you end up with a list of random followers who aren’t ideal

So why should you bother removing your fake followers?

The short answer: because they’re hurting your engagement.

The long answer to this question, we should take a look at how fake followers impact your Instagram engagement. Engagement is generally calculated as the total number of post interactions divided by your total follower count.

So, having a number of ghost followers will contribute to your follower count but not to your post interaction. As a result, you’ll have a lower engagement rate.

How to remove fake followers

Since you shouldn't use any third-party apps to buy followers for Instagram, don’t use them to remove followers either. Using unapproved apps that claim they’ll help you to clean your followers’ list of ghost followers can be harmful because they use mass unfollow which is not something Instagram recommends.

Instead, remove your followers manually. Spend 10 -15 minutes each day scrolling through your followers list and remove 50 - 100 accounts that look suspicious.

This is what a fake (bot) profile looks like:

An example of a fake Instagram follower, that you should delete!

  • No profile picture
  • No bio description
  • No posts
  • Unhealthy follower/following ratio

When you identify a follower, tap on “Remove” and they’ll not appear in your followers’ list anymore. Also, don’t worry, Instagram will not notify these accounts that you’ve removed them.

That’s all for now! Make sure to try some of these hacks the next time you’re looking for an engagement boost for your Instagram page. But most importantly, remember to

Have you tried any of these hacks? Let us know which ones have worked for you!