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How to Increase Engagement on Instagram with Later


By Benjamin Chacon

Published December 11, 2019

11 minute read

Wondering how to increase engagement on Instagram? You’re not alone! With an ultra-smart algorithm and tons of creative brands competing for people’s attention, growing your Instagram engagement can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. On the bright side, Instagram is still one of the best places to reach your target audience and build a community

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Stay on top of the biggest social media marketing trends!

Wondering how to increase engagement on Instagram? You’re not alone!

With an ultra-smart algorithm and tons of creative brands competing for people’s attention, growing your Instagram engagement can sometimes feel like an uphill battle.

On the bright side, Instagram is still one of the best places to reach your target audience and build a community of engaged fans. So don’t be disheartened by a little competition!

Here are 5 strategies to increase engagement on Instagram with Later:

Increase Engagement on Instagram Tip #1: Post More Consistently (& Frequently)

There’s no denying the importance of consistency on Instagram.

By keeping to a regular posting schedule, you’re essentially letting your followers know what to expect from you. It builds a consistent experience for your audience.

Posting more consistently can also help with your Instagram engagement. When your followers expect you to post, they’re more likely to interact and engage with your content.

You’ll be more top of mind and, thanks to the algorithm, top of their feeds too!

That being said, keeping a consistent posting schedule isn’t always the easiest to do. Life sometimes gets in the way and that post that was supposed to go out on Tuesday — well, it’s getting pushed further and further into the week.

If you’re looking for a quick solution, you could consider scheduling your Instagram posts with a tool like Later — you can easily schedule your photos, videos, carousel posts with just a few clicks!

By planning and scheduling your Instagram posts in advance, you can build a regular posting schedule and get content out even on days when you’re super busy.

Plus, by using Later’s Best Time to Post feature, you’re more likely to rack up a lot of quick engagement on your posts because they’re publishing when your audience is actively scrolling through Instagram.

What about posting frequency — as in, how often you should post to Instagram?

Unfortunately, there’s no hard-and-fast rule for posting frequency — some brands can get away with just 1 post per week, while others will post as many as 30 times a day!

But how much is too much?

It really depends on your audience, industry or niche, and how much time you have to dedicate to your Instagram marketing strategy. For example, a fashion brand with several unique product lines might have an easier time posting more frequently than a SaaS business.

This also ties back to the quality vs. quantity debate. As we’ve said before, posting for the sake of meeting a regular schedule isn’t going to do your brand any favors, especially if the content you’re posting is subpar.

A much better strategy is to post great content on a less frequent basis.

That being said, from a purely statistical point of view, posting more frequently isn’t necessarily going to impact your engagement.

According to a Social Media Today report, which collected data from 476 fashion and apparel brands, when business post more frequently (upwards of 16x per day), their engagement rate decreased but only slightly.

In other words, posting a ton won’t drastically harm your engagement rate.

Whatever your posting frequency, keeping a consistent posting schedule is a great way to rack up more engagement!

Ready to increase your Instagram engagement? Sign up for a Later account and start getting your Instagram strategy ready for 2020!

Increase Engagement on Instagram Tip #2: Optimize Your Hashtag Strategy

We’ve spoken about the importance of having a strong hashtag strategy on Instagram before. But are you truly optimizing your hashtag strategy for engagement?

According to data from our State of Influencer Marketing Report, influencers that use 10+ hashtags on their posts get more engagement — and this translates over to businesses and regular users as well.

If you’re struggling to find inspiration (let’s face it, 10+ hashtags per post can feel like a lot), you should consider using Later’s Hashtag Suggestions feature!

Hashtag Suggestions works by automatically finding relevant hashtags for your posts based on other hashtags that you use.

All you have to do is know one relevant hashtag, put it into Hashtag Suggestions, hit “Suggest,” and the feature will immediately generate 30 other hashtags, sorted by relevance.

You can then pick and choose which of these hashtags to add you to your post. The whole process takes less than 30 seconds!

Once you’ve found some hashtag winners, it’s a smart idea to categorize them into different “buckets,” like brand, industry, audience, and location.

For example, if you’re a sustainable clothing brand like Patagonia, you might create a list of relevant industry hashtags like #organiccotton, #ethicalclothing, and #ethicalfashion.

This is another area where Later can help. By using our Saved Captions feature to create hashtag lists based on your best and most frequently used hashtags.

All you have to do is click “Saved Captions” while writing your post’s caption and then click on the appropriate hashtag list to instantly add those hashtags to your caption.

If an analytical approach is more your thing, looking at the performance of the hashtags you’ve used in the past can be a super strategic way to decide what hashtags to use again in the future.

With Later’s Hashtag Analytics, you can track key insights about the hashtags you use — including a breakdown of which hashtags are driving the most likes, comments, impressions, saves, and reach on your Instagram posts.

Plus, as you continue to add new hashtags, you’ll be able to accurately track how they perform for your content.

Increase Engagement on Instagram Tip #3: Schedule Your Instagram Stories to Get More Views

People use Instagram Stories to discover and engage with content they care about — whether it’s celebrating a movement like Pride Month or interacting with a brand’s behind-the-scenes content.

Building a large and engaged audience on Instagram Stories can do wonders for your brand — it can help you promote your business, build brand awareness, and drive product sales.

But Instagram Stories only live for 24-hours (unless they’re saved as highlights), so you only have a short window to reach your audience.

So how do you increase your audience engagement on Instagram Stories?

Like with your regular Instagram posts, sharing Instagram Stories on a consistent basis (+ when your audience is online) is a great hack to get more engagement.

To do this, start by spending some time monitoring and tracking your Instagram analytics to learn when the best time to post is for your audience.

Start by checking your Instagram Insights by tapping the bar chart icon in the top right corner of your profile page. Anyone with an Instagram Business account will have access to their profile’s analytics.

Under the Audience tab, you’ll find a whole host of information about your followers, including a breakdown of when your audience is most active on Instagram.

Once you’re clear on your best times to post, you can then batch edit all of your Instagram Stories for the week, and schedule them for your most optimized times using Later!

Creating and sharing Instagram Stories using the native Instagram app isn’t the easiest or most user-friendly experience. So it’s easy to see why some brands avoid doing it altogether!

By using Later, you can storyboard your content, add captions or links, collaborate with your team, and visually plan and schedule Instagram Stories right from your desktop — something you won’t find on any other marketing platform.

Later’s Instagram Stories scheduler is available now on all paid plans, starting at $9/month. Upgrade now to get access or start scheduling stories!

Increase Engagement on Instagram Tip #4: Write Longer Captions that Keep Your Audience Engaged

Instagram used to be all about the visuals — a cohesive aesthetic, high-quality photography, and on-brand images were a must. But now we’re seeing Instagram captions take center stage on the platform!

According to data from our State of Influencer Marketing Report, the average caption length has more than doubled since 2016.

And by 2020, our feeds will be filled with an average caption length of 405 characters — which averages out to be 65-70 words!

This might seem like a lot, but when you dig into the data, you’ll find that longer Instagram captions tend to drive more engagement than shorter ones.

Now, we’re not saying that every caption has to be thousands of words long, but even writing a full sentence instead of just a few emojis could help you increase Instagram engagement.

Of course, writing a long-form caption in the Instagram app can be tricky. The caption editing box in the Instagram app isn’t the most user-friendly and it’s very difficult to review and edit your copy in such a tiny window on your phone!

Plus, let’s face it: writing Instagram captions is hard.

Instead of constantly trying to come up with a caption on-the-go when you need to post, you can save time and write better captions by scheduling Instagram posts for free and creating all your captions at once.

Scheduling your posts using a free Instagram scheduler like Later means that you can write your captions from the comfort of your desktop computer, and you can wait until you’re in the right creative zone for writing.

Once you’ve clicked and dragged your media onto the Later calendar, you can begin to draft your caption and schedule a time to post.

In the Later editing box, you can spend time crafting your caption and really take advantage of the word limit. Plus, you can save your posts’ caption even if you haven’t decided to schedule it yet! So if you want to come back and edit your caption later, you can.

Plus, if you’ve ever been frustrated with how Instagram removes your line breaks from a caption when you publish, you’ll be happy to hear that will never happen with Later! 

This is a great way to optimize your captions for engagement!

Need help with your captions? Take our free How to Write Engaging Instagram Captions workshop with Instagram pro Elise Darma — just sign up below!

Increase Engagement on Instagram Tip #5: Always Reply to Your Instagram Comments & DMs

We all know how great Instagram is for generating leads and driving sales, but it’s also a great (and super important) tool for social media customer service.

And as it turns out, the more vigilant businesses are about replying to their followers’ questions and comments, the more likely their followers are to engage with their content.

This isn’t a huge surprise. According to data from AdWeek, 80% of customer inquiries on social media go unanswered.

So responding to comments and DMs is more often the exception than the rule.

This is actually a blessing in disguise. With so many brands ignoring their comments and DMs, you can make a really great impression by simply listening to your audience and responding to both positive and negative feedback.

Lululemon is a powerhouse when it comes to social customer support. Despite having over 3 million followers to manage, they’re great at replying to questions and comments on their posts.

Of course, replying to your comments and DMs isn’t always the easiest thing to do — especially if you’re a small team with limited time.

If you’re having trouble staying on top of your Instagram comments, you should consider using Later’s Conversations feature. It lets you view (and reply to!) all of your most recent Instagram comments from your desktop computer, so you’ll never miss an Instagram comment on an organic post again — even if it’s on an older post.

This simple act of showing your followers that you’re listening to them is a great way to build a loyal and engaged audience.

Plus, the more comments, likes, shares, and DMs your posts get, the more likely the algorithm will rank it as quality content and it could be displayed to wider audiences on the Explore page!

There’s no denying that social is a competitive place, but there are still tons of ways that you can increase your engagement on Instagram.

So next time you’re planning and strategizing your Instagram content, try to incorporate these tips and see how your audience responds!

Ready to increase your engagement on Instagram? Sign up for Later to write better captions, post at your best times, track your analytics, and more – it’s free!

Stay on top of the biggest social media marketing trends!

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