Crafting an effective Instagram engagement strategy takes time and money. But not everyone has a lot of time on their hands to dive head first into what makes Instagram tick.

That’s why I’ve done the research and spent the time uncovering the hidden secrets behind increasing Instagram engagement with the perfect strategy. 

Let’s take a look.

Disclosure: This content may contain a few affiliate links, which means if you click on them, I will get a commission (without any extra cost to you).

What Is Instagram Engagement?

Instagram engagement involves all the different ways users on a the social media platform interact with your posts, whether they be Stories, Reels, or posts on your feed.

A high engagement rate means that your audience is actively participating with your content, whether they are commenting, clicking on links, or liking to your posts.

When your audience is engaged like this, it means there is a much higher chance that they will purchase a product from you.

Are there any other reasons why brands should obsess over a metric like engagement?


Data like engagement rate comes in handy when you invest in paid campaigns on social media.

How so?

Brands with high engagement rates are in a better position to negotiate with influencers and brand ambassadors to advertise for them at lower rates. 

Likewise, influencers with engaged followers can command higher rates from potential clients.

How to Measure Instagram Engagement

So what’s all this talk about Instagram engagement worth, if you don’t know how to measure it?

Engagement rate is simply the calculation that will show you the percentage of your followers that have engaged with your content.

To calculate it, you divide the total number of comments and likes by your follower count. Then multiply by 100 to get a percentage.

This should tell you whether your audience is engaging with your posts or not.

rhett mclaughlin
Image via Instagram

This is Rhett McLaughlin’s Instagram account. He’s part of the famous YouTube duo Rhett and Link.

As you can see, he has 1.3M followers currently. To get the engagement rate, we need to take a look at one of his posts.

At the time of writing, this post has 76,068 likes and 433 comments. 

If we add that up, it equals 76501. Rhett has 1.3M followers, so let’s divide 76501 by 1.3M, then multiply by 100 to get the percentage. Let’s see:

(76,068 + 433) / 1,300,000 x 100 = 5.88%

This post has an engagement rate of 5.88%, which means about 5.88% of his followers engaged with the post.


If you’re not sure about your engagement rate on Instagram, you can use this Instagram Engagement and Money Calculator.Note: The above Instagram Engagement Money Calculator is provided by HypeAuditor. The results are generated based on their computer vision machine-learning algorithm. Shane Barker does not guarantee the accuracy of these results. If you have questions regarding them, you can reach out to them directly.

Key Instagram Engagement Parameters to Measure Manually

If you’d prefer to track your engagement manually, you need to make note of these 4 important parameters.

1. Follower Count

This is an obvious factor that you should be monitoring. The size of your audience or that of your influencer is important, but it’s not the most crucial parameter. 

Follower growth is a more important indicator of “influence” or “engagement” than follower volume.

2. Likes Per Post

Likes are another fundamental parameter that contributes to your engagement rates. 

It’s a base-level measure of whether your Instagram posts are well received by your followers. It’s a rather straightforward indicator of how popular your Instagram page and Instagram posts are amongst your target audience.

But, just like followers, likes is a vanity metric that doesn’t give any indication of real engagement.

3. Number of Comments

Comments are the next metric you want to look at when tracking the increase in your Instagram engagement. Analyzing comments will indicate what your followers really think about your Instagram posts. It’s a qualitative assessment of your engagement.

Since writing comments takes time, you can assume that your commenters are deeply involved with your Instagram posts, Instagram Stories, Instagram Reels, etc.

What’s more?

Of course, the quality of comments is just as important. Often, people leave simple comments like “Nice” or “Looking good” which don’t really mean much. Just look at the spammy emoji comments on the Instagram post below to understand what I mean.

victorias secret - increase instagram engagement
Image via Instagram

You should be more concerned about comment sentiment rather than comment volume if you are passionate about engaging your audience.

4. Shares and Reposts

Building on the above, the number of shares and reposts of your Instagram posts is also very important. If a user is willing to share your Instagram post with their friends, then you know they really liked the content you’ve posted.

How to Increase Instagram Engagement

Moving on, let’s take a look at some Instagram engagement strategies that can help you increase your organic engagement on Instagram.

1. Leverage Hashtags

The power of hashtags on a platform like Instagram cannot be understated when planning your Instagram marketing strategy. The right and more importantly, most relevant, hashtags help you grow and reach the right people on the platform.

Naturally, you want your hashtags to be relevant to your brand, products, Instagram post, and the message you’re trying to convey.

But how do you find the right hashtags to use with your Instagram account? You can try using tools like HashtagsForLikes to find the most trending and relevant hashtags for your brand and niche. 

This tool will help you reach your target audience in an organic manner.

The AI-powered hashtag generator can also analyze the efficacy of your existing hashtags. Just enter your hashtag into the search box, and the tool analytics will display all the statistics you need to know about it.

2. Conduct Giveaway Contests

One of the best comments is in which a user tags their friend(s). Such comments indicate real engagement, plus they bring new people to your audience. 

You have an opportunity to convert these new people into fans, followers, and possibly customers with your content.

You can rake in loads of such comments by running giveaways and contests on Instagram.

Need an example to inspire you?

MVMT runs regular giveaways. In their Instagram captions, they ask users to tag their friends in exchange for a reward, as you can see below.

mvmt increase instagram engagement
Image via Instagram

But, if you’re new to contest marketing, you need a few pointers and a great contest hosting tool like VYPER. This robust tool helps you design slick landing pages for your giveaway/contest.

Using its drag-and-drop page builder, you can develop landing pages without any coding or design knowledge.

While the tool takes care of your landing pages, you can focus on more cognitive tasks such as campaign tracking and lead generation.

3. Post Meaningful Content

What better way to increase Instagram engagement than by posting meaningful Instagram Stories, Instagram Posts, and Instagram Reels that encourage users to engage?

And, before you start brainstorming post ideas, let me dispel a few myths here.

It’s not just stunning imagery or catchy Instagram captions that grab eyeballs. The content format matters a lot too. You want to share content that highlights the value of your products.

And, what does that mean?

A fitness business, for instance, could share before/after photos of clients who’ve benefited from their services.

That’s exactly what fitness guru Kayla Itsines does to advocate her Bikini Body Program. She frequently shares her clients’ success stories on her Instagram page.

kayla itsines - increase instagram engagement
Image via Instagram

You should be more concerned about comment sentiment rather than comment volume if you are passionate about engaging your audience.

4. Be Mindful of Follower Fatigue

While platforms like Twitter are all about constant micro-conversations and interactions, that’s not the case with Instagram. 

Increasing Instagram engagement has more to do with posting high-quality content than posting frequently.

So, what should you do?

Ideally, you should limit yourself to one or two posts a day.

Over post, and you stand the risk of damaging your engagement rates due to follower fatigue. People tend to get disinterested if they think you spam a lot, which can lead to an eventual drop in engagement rates.

5. Use Instagram Stories

Instagram's users spend around 28 minutes on Instagram Stories on a daily basis. Such is the popularity of the feature that approximately 300 million people use it daily.

What better way to engage your followers than to share behind-the-scenes images and blooper videos with them?

Renault leveraged the feature wonderfully to promote their 50 years of the Renault 5 campaign. 

Highlighting a vintage style that appeals to modern audiences, they posted on their Story the hashtag #50year5, which has over 6K posts on Instagram already.

Image via Instagram

If you are posting on Stories, but aren’t finding much success, check out why your Instagram Stories views are down and how to fix it.

6. Find the Right Filters to Use

Instagram is all about captivating audiences with visually stunning content.

One rather simple way to go about it is by using Instagram filters. Each filter has its own appeal and can add a unique dimension to your images.

Juno, Clarendon, Valencia, and X-Pro II are some of the more popular ones. It’s best to stick to one or two filters so that your followers start recognizing your brand style.

7. Try Instagram Feeds Themes

Instagram feed themes are another great way to add some visual appeal to your posts.

While a lot of people use filters, not everyone is capable of pulling off feed themes. That extra oomph factor will help increase Instagram engagements for your brand.

You could opt for something as simple as a black-and-white theme, or something more complicated.

Lauren Aston, for instance, prefers a mono-theme for her business that focuses on a recurring subject – her knitting.

Likewise, you should pick a theme that is scalable and relevant to your brand/product.

lauren aston - increase instagram engagement
Image via Instagram

8. Leverage Geotags

Apart from hashtags, you can also use geotags to make your posts and stories discoverable.

Local businesses can leverage these to the fullest by adding location tags to their posts. It can help you engage with posts from other users in your physical vicinity.

Magnolia, for example, makes it a point to tag their location.

magnolia increase instagram engagement
Image via Instagram

9. Experiment with Posting Times

One tactic you can use to increase engagement for your business page is to post on Instagram at the right times.

You can maximize your engagements by posting content when most of your followers are likely to be browsing their feeds.

How can you find the right time to post?

You can use Instagram’s native analytics tool to find times when your audience is most likely to be online. By posting then, you’ll gain more engagement within minutes of posting, which counts more than engagement gained ages later.

Take this a step further by using tools like Sprout Social’s Social Media Publisher to schedule posts beforehand.

sprout social increase instagram engagement
Image via Sprout Social

For more about the right times to post on Instagram, read when is the best time to post on Instagram?

10. Include Story Highlights on Your Profile

When a user lands on your page, you have a few brief moments to convert them into a follower.

One way to do that and increase Instagram engagement on your page is by using the “Highlights” feature. Instagram Stories last for 24 hours only but with Highlights, you can create permanent Stories.

So, gather your best BTS moments, accomplishments, and testimonials into Highlights and use them to impress your new and potential followers.

11. Add CTAs to Your Posts

A simple act of requesting your audience to comment, like, or reshare your posts can drive up your engagement rates in a big way. That’s why it’s important to include a call-to-action in your post captions.

What can CTAs do?

They encourage followers to engage with your content and spend more time on your post.

It’s a simple and effective means to increase Instagram engagement. You could try leveraging this tactic in a social media giveaway – something which we’ll see in just a moment.

Or, you could opt for a much easier approach like asking users a question.

Just look at this page @bestvacations and how they leverage CTAs to encourage users to engage with their posts.

best vacations - increase instagram engagement
Image via Instagram

12. Interact with Followers Through Comments

Another effective way to boost engagement is to simply interact with the people who like and comment on your posts. Take out some time on a daily basis to reply to comments and interact with your audience.

How can this help you?

Replying to user comments will make your followers feel special. They’ll be more inclined to stay loyal to you and interact with you on a regular basis.

You’ll be able to maintain a steady increase in Instagram engagements this way.

13. Engage with Similar Accounts

This nifty tactic can help you gain ground on your competitors. Go beyond just spying on their accounts to monitor the kind of content they’re posting.

Take it a step further by actually engaging their audience.

Find accounts similar to your own. Engage their followers – the ones they follow and the users that frequently comment on their posts.

You’d be surprised by the kind of relations you can build this way. What’s more, there’s a strong possibility that they find your content engaging, too.

14. Measure and Optimize Your Campaigns

The final piece of this puzzle involves constant data analysis and campaign optimization. If you know what you’re doing wrong or right, you can tweak your strategies and increase your Instagram engagement rates.

So, how do you get started with this?

You could use Instagram’s native analytics to track your content performance and audience behavior. You just need an Instagram business account to do that.

15. Post Creative and Original Memes

Meme culture has taken the world by storm and is now a normal part of online social interaction. People send GIFs of famous memes, as well as create new ones that encompass current world events and entertainment.

Image via Instagram

Sebastian Tribbie, better known as @youvegotnomale, has built his whole Instagram persona around posting and commenting on memes. 

As you can see, he’s been very successful, amassing over 142K followers.

If you want to know more about using memes in marketing, read marketing memes: how to use memes in marketing to gain traction.

16. Collaborate With Other Influencers on Reels

Posting Reels on your Instagram account in and of itself is already a great way to boost engagement. Now add on another influencer who also posts the Reel on their channel linking yours, and you have yourself an excellent way of boosting engagement.

If you want to know more about how to make Reels, check out how to make Reels on Instagram like a pro in 7 easy steps.

17. Post Consistently

It’s not just important to post your content at the right time, but it’s also important to make sure you are posting consistently. 

If you struggle to stick with the schedule you are currently using to post, then it might be time to consider re-evaluating your schedule.

If you’re still uncertain about how many posts a day you should post, read how many Instagram posts per day for success.


Q1. Why is my Instagram engagement so low?

A. There can be several reasons why your Instagram engagement is low. Here are some of the common ones:
– You’re posting content at irregular intervals
– You’re not using hashtags
– You aren’t experimenting with new content formats
– You haven’t built a dedicated follower base
– You post on Instagram at the wrong times

Q2. How is engagement calculated?

A. Engagement is the total of all the interactions that your audience has with your content. These interactions include:
– Likes
– Shares
– Comments
– Save to Collection

Q3. What is the average Instagram engagement rate?

A. The average engagement rate on Instagram is about 3%. This rate is maximum for those accounts that are new or have relatively fewer followers. As the number of followers grows, the rate drops.

Q4. Who has the highest engagement rate on Instagram?

A. Higher education brands tend to have the highest engagement among all. They have an average Instagram engagement rate of 3.96%. Nonprofits and sports teams come in second with a 2.4% average engagement rate.

Q5. How to increase engagement on Instagram Stories?

A. Here are the various strategies that you can employ to increase engagement on Instagram Stories:
– Use hashtags
– Incorporate stickers
– Add geotags
– Ask a question
– Use polls

Q6. Do emojis increase engagement on Instagram?

A. Yes, emojis can improve the engagement rates of your posts on Instagram. According to studies conducted in the past, emojis increased engagement rates of posts on Instagram by up to 48%.

Q7. How much do hashtags increase engagement on Instagram?

A. Hashtags have a major role to play when it comes to increasing the engagement of posts on Instagram. They help in improving the discoverability of the posts and thus boost the reach and engagement. Posts with a single hashtag get about 12% more engagement than those without them.

Q8. How can you organically increase Instagram engagement rate?

A. Some of the strategies that you can leverage to grow your Instagram engagement rate organically are:
– Incorporate hashtags
– Interact with followers through comments
– Use different content formats
– Conduct giveaways or contests
– Try posting at different times
– Vary your geotags

Ready to Plan Your Instagram Engagement Strategy?

The key to achieving marketing success on Instagram revolves around engagement rates. You need to experiment with the above strategies to identify the ones that work best for your brand. These tips will go a long way in helping you achieve that.

Do you have any questions about the best tactic to increase Instagram engagement rates with an Instagram engagement strategy? Let us know in your comments.


  1. Perfect, thanks for sharing this information!

  2. William Sauls says:

    In the early stages of growing your Instagram account, comments are especially valuable engagements. Thanks for the great info.

  3. Nice article. This article helps me to understand more about building Instagram engagement.

  4. Hi, very good article. A lot of information with examples. Thanks for this one!

  5. This article is very helpful and very interesting and will definitely help in increasing engagement on Instagram.

  6. Your Instagram strategies are the best.

  7. Drew Smith says:

    Well noted! Very informative.

  8. Thank you for sharing this. All the information which have you share with us is really very helpful.

  9. Tammy green says:

    Shane I’m a nana that isn’t very savvy when it comes to the instagram lingo and all the great ways to use the tools to write great captions, how to use stickers and all the other great stuff. I read a lot of your articles but I really need a little more step by step guidance, can you please do a instagram for dummies, I really want to try and do something on instagram but I just have no idea how to do everything, and even though your writing are awesome!! for someone that is new to social media it’s like a foreign language for me ? please help a nana learn I know your the best at this . My name on instagram is southernmagnoliahouse will you dm me if you decide to do a article for first timers on instagram , and could you do a step by step visual walk through for all of us older folks. Thanks luv and have a great day ?

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