9 Ways to Increase Instagram Engagement in 2019
Wondering how to increase Instagram engagement in 2019? You’re not alone!
With an ultra-smart algorithm and tons of creative brands competing for people’s attention, it’s harder than ever to increase Instagram engagement.
Thankfully, Instagram is still one of the best places to market your brand online, gain a loyal following, and build a community that supports your business. So don’t be disheartened by a little competition!
Here are 9 ways that you can level-up your Instagram strategy and increase Instagram engagement in 2019:
Tip #1 to Increase Instagram Engagement: Start Conversations with Instagram Stories Stickers
In 2019, it’s time to reframe how you think about Instagram engagement.
Instagram engagement is no longer just likes and comments, it also includes engagement from your stories, people following your brand hashtag, IGTV views, and more.
While organic reach on Instagram declines as more users are following more accounts, Instagram Stories is only growing, with over 400 million people posting or watching stories every day.
Because of this, Instagram has been innovating by finding new ways for brands to engage with their followers, in the form of different engagement stickers for stories.
Instagram Stories stickers are a great way to encourage your followers to chat and share their opinions and experiences with you, which, in turn, will help create a loyal following that feels connected to your brand.
Here are a few ways you can get started with stickers to increase Instagram engagement:
The Question Sticker:
Nothing sparks conversation more than a good AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Instagram Stories. And while influencers have been known to use the Instagram Stories question sticker to help their followers get to know them more, there’s no reason why you can’t do the same for your business.
It’s a great opportunity for your followers to get to know your brand better, or get more information about your products.
On the flipside, it’s a great place for you to ask your followers some questions. You could spark a conversation about your next season’s color palette, or what product lines they’d like to see more of. It’s engagement, conversation, and customer feedback all wrapped up in one great post!
Get more ideas on how to use the Instagram Stories questions sticker here.
Poll and Vote Stickers:
Your followers’ opinions matter, and if you want to hear more from your audience while boosting your engagement, you need to start using poll or vote stickers!
Take a look at how celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin use poll and vote stickers to gain feedback from her audience for her collaboration project with luggage brand Calpak.
While promoting the launch, Jen shared the results from her Instagram Stories polls from last year, along with the features her followers helped create that can now be seen in the collection today.
Feeling a little overwhelmed with Instagram Stories? We have a brand new free Instagram Stories course to teach you everything you need to know:
Tip #2 to Increase Instagram Engagement: Write Longer Captions
Did you know that your Instagram caption can be up to 2,200 characters long? That’s a whole lot of space to share with your audience.
One of the factors that affects how your Instagram post performs in the algorithm is “time spent on post.”
So what’s an easy way to increase the time people spend looking at your post?
By writing an engaging (and long) caption.
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.
So how can you write Instagram captions that will increase Instagram engagement?
Instagram expert Jenna Kutcher says “there is always an opportunity it say something meaningful, so ask yourself: why does this post matter? How is it serving anyone other than me? Am I doing the story justice? Your captions shouldn’t just be adjectives strung together but more lines of a captivating story that leaves your followers eager for more.”
Last year, we saw a great new trend of brands and businesses really taking advantage of this character count and writing longer, more in-depth captions. Some even had to continue their caption into the comments section!
This is a great opportunity to open up to your audience and keep them informed about your brand and business goals, your products, your business mission or anything else that can’t be said in a one-liner and a few emojis!
But 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.
You can also use Later’s Saved Captions feature to keep track of your frequently used hashtags and captions! For example, if you run a yoga studio and regularly share the day’s class schedule in your Instagram post captions, you can use Saved Captions to quickly save, edit, and reuse your schedule!
It’s a great way to save time and help you write longer captions.
Tip #3 to Increase Instagram Engagement: Optimize Every Instagram Story You Post
While Instagram Stories is still a great place for spontaneous posts and some behind-the-scenes actions, you should still be putting time and effort into optimizing your posts.
Every time you post an Instagram story, you should think about including the following three things if you want to boost your exposure and engagement:
Include a mention sticker:
When you’re working with other brands or businesses on Instagram, or reposting some user-generated content (UGC), it’s really important that you mention their account.
Not only will the account be notified that you’ve mentioned them, but it goes a long way when it comes to building your community. That account may, in turn, repost and thank you for the mention, or even share it with their followers.
Add a location:
If you’re looking to boost your exposure and improve your engagement, you need to start tagging locations in your posts! Thanks to the location sticker, Instagram Stories are searchable by location, meaning that anyone who searches for that location in Instagram will be able to see your Instagram Stories.
For example, if you’re posting a story from a festival in San Diego, you can tag the location with a sticker, and your story might appear in that location’s Instagram Stories.
Don’t forget to add hashtags:
We know the importance of adding hashtags to your post captions, but are you adding them to every Instagram story too? Sometimes hashtag stickers can ruin the aesthetic of the Instagram story you want to post, but thankfully there are ways around it.
If you want to include hashtags in your Instagram Stories, you can either type out your hashtags (you can include up to 10 in your stories), pinch the text to make them smaller, and then place a GIF or image sticker over the hashtag text so it’s perfectly hidden!
Or you can select the color tool from the text option and choose a color that perfectly matches your Instagram story background. With just two taps, your hashtag content will magically blend into the background but still be searchable!
Tip #4 to Increase Instagram Engagement: Schedule Your Instagram Stories to Get More Views
Instagram Stories views are also a form of Instagram engagement, and acquiring more loyal viewers of your stories is a great goal to have for 2019 if you want to increase Instagram engagement.
But did you know that you could be really limiting your Instagram engagement by posting at the wrong time, or just not regularly enough?
To get around this, spend 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 when your audience is most active on Instagram broken down by day and by hours.
When you know your best times to post on stories, you can then batch edit all of your Instagram Stories for the week, and schedule them for your most optimized times using Later!
If you’re currently struggling with coming up with ideas of what to post on Instagram Stories, or you don’t have a lot of time to commit to stories, a good tip is to post your stories at the same time each day.
This way, if you were to schedule 3-5 stories for every day at noon, that would ensure that you always had active Instagram Stories running for your followers to engage with.
Instagram Stories scheduling is available now on all Later paid plans, starting at $9/month.
Tip #5 to Increase Instagram Engagement: Open Up About Your Brand and Business
These days, people on Instagram expect more from brands than just product shots — they want to know about your brand’s mission, the people behind the name, and where and how your products are made and manufactured.
Thankfully, Instagram is a great place to share these details with your followers and, in return, you may find your audience feels more connected to your business and actively follows and engages with your account.
For example, startup founder Jess Ruhfus regularly chimes into her business, Collabosaurus’ Instagram Stories and posts. She shares when the company is hiring new staff, when the website is having a revamp, or goes into detail about a new feature they launched and why it was important for the business to invest in it.
This year, you’ll start to see more business leaders and founders take to Instagram Stories to share the inner workings of the company, hosting live Q&As or just ‘popping in to say hi.’
So now’s the time to jump on the bandwagon and start sharing more with your followers to increase your Instagram engagement.
Tip #6 to Increase Instagram Engagement: Pay Closer Attention to Your Hashtags
We’ve spoken about the importance of having a strong hashtag strategy on Instagram on this blog before. But are you really paying attention to how they’re impacting your content?
If you want to increase your Instagram engagement, understanding which hashtags are driving more people to your posts is really important.
Start by categorizing your hashtags. For example, if you’re a business that targets female business owners, you may have multiple hashtags that you use on different topics.
Some may be specifically for women in business, while others might be about startups and business leadership. The key is to collate and categorize them so that when they are used in a post, you can easily tell which pulls in the most engagement on your post.
Later’s Saved Captions is a great way to keep all your hashtags in one place, plus you can search for hashtags and see their popularity right in the caption editing box!
Once you’ve honed in on your hashtag collections, it’s time to check in on your Instagram analytics to see how effective they are.
You can go to your Instagram Insights for each post by tapping the blue bar underneath your post. From there, you can see how many impression you gained from hashtags under the Discovery section. The stronger your hashtag game, the more impressions you can expect!
Tip #7 to Increase Instagram Engagement: Collaborate with Like-Minded Brands and Influencers
You’ve probably heard the saying ‘two heads are better than one.’ Well, this is definitely the case with Instagram collaborations!
The key is to collaborate with the right brand, business, or influencer. If you want to improve your Instagram engagement, as well as reach new followers, you need to spend some time researching and connecting with profiles that are the right fit!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by Instagram collaborations — don’t worry! We have a complete guide to influencer marketing that can help you get started. And it’s free!
If you already have some ideas on who you’d like to partner with, think about these 3 questions before you start your project:
Do you share similar business goals?
It’s really important that your Instagram missions are aligned. Even if you have different products or target audiences, if you stand for the same thing, your audiences will value the partnership more and will naturally be more engaged with the collaboration.
Would they be happy to work with you year-round?
We’re seeing a rise in ‘authentic’ campaigns this year as Instagram users are becoming savvier to #sponsored posts and Instagram ads. So the best partnership that you can strike is between you and a brand that truly is proud to work with you and promote your business year-round.
It creates an additional level of trust and loyalty that many businesses miss out on when they create a one-off sponsored collaboration project.
Like the collaborations between beauty blogger Caroline Hirons and Pixi Beauty which go back years, even to the days when we used borders on our Instagram photos!
The more trust, loyalty, and community you can build with your followers, the more likely they will be to actively engage with your content.
What will you be offering your audience with this collaboration?
If you want to improve your engagement, your collaboration project must offer something that your followers, and potential followers can’t get elsewhere. Whether that’s a physical product, or a service you can provide like an online course or guide.
Whatever project you plan to work on together, it needs to be unique and valuable to really encourage your audience to engage and get excited about the collaboration. Get it right and you’ll see a real boost in your engagement rates!
Tip #8 to Increase Instagram Engagement: Add an Element of Fun
Instagram Stories take time, effort, and planning to get right. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun with it!
We’re seeing more and more brands add elements of humor and pop culture references to their posts by adding memes and trending topics to their content.
In fact, this is something Later is actively doing on our Instagram Stories, and it turns out you guys love it! You might have spotted this stories post when we launched our much anticipated Instagram Stories scheduling feature:
We saw a great boost in people DMing us, sharing our post in their stories, or sending the post to their friends!
Of course, you need to honor your brand’s overall theme and tone — if memes don’t fit in with your Instagram aesthetic, then it’s better to leave them out of your strategy and not compromise on your look and feel.
But if you can include some fun moments into your strategy, get ready to see some real returns in your comments, shares, and likes!
Tip #9 to Increase Instagram Engagement: Reply to your DMs
This one may seem simple, but so many brands are still ignoring their DMs and comments on their feed. Or worse — turning off commenting completely!
Instagram’s roots are in community building, and that shouldn’t change. No matter how big your account becomes, make sure you spend time listening too and responding to both positive and negative feedback
Lululemon is a real powerhouse on Instagram — with over 2.4M followers and multiple accounts for various locations. But you will always see comments and responses from their social team on their posts, and they go to great lengths to provide customer care on Instagram too.
The simple act of showing your followers that you’re listening to them is going to help build that community and online conversation. 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 Instagram is a competitive place, but there are still tons of ways that you can creatively increase your Instagram engagement.
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 Instagram engagement in 2019? Sign up for Later to write better captions, post at your best times, track your analytics, and more – it’s free!