5 Hacks to Increase Instagram Engagement

It’s not just you – everyone is wanting to increase Instagram engagement these days.

It’s no secret that since the Instagram algorithm was introduced, people have been getting less engagement on their organic posts, and have tried everything from comment pods to “new post” stories in an effort to increase Instagram engagement.

The good news is that Instagram will be releasing a new Instagram algorithm soon, which will hopefully help your posts get seen by more of your followers.

But in the meantime, here are some hacks to help you win the algorithm and increase Instagram engagement in 2018:

increase instagram engagement

Why Instagram Engagement is Different in 2018

Instagram engagement used to be simple. “Engagement” equaled likes and comments, and your goal for increasing Instagram engagement was to get more likes and comments.

But Instagram has rapidly evolved, and with new features like Instagram Stories changing the platform, the definition of “engagement” has changed too.

Instagram engagement in 2018 is still likes and comments, but it’s also views, shares, saves, swipe ups, and DM’s.

Views alone can mean multiple things: there’s views on a video post, views on your stories, and views on your highlights!

It’s time that we start changing how we think about Instagram engagement. Instead of limiting engagement to just the likes and comments on each of your photo posts, you should be thinking  about the engagement of your entire account.

What matters most is that your customers and followers are engaging with your business on Instagram. If you’re getting a ton of views on your stories but not as many likes on your posts, that’s totally okay.

How to Increase Instagram Engagement: Use Instagram Stories Highlights to Create Super Fans

If you want to increase Instagram engagement, a great place to start is with your most active followers. An easy way to turn your regular followers into super fans is by using Instagram Stories Highlights.

Think of your Instagram Stories Highlights like content buckets for your profile. By creating different categories of your highlights, you’re inviting your followers to spend more time engaging with your business, watching your content, and learning more about your products or services.

A great example of someone who uses Instagram Stories Highlights to engage her existing followers is Erin Ireland, a vegan Instagram influencer who shares her delicious recipes through her Instagram Stories every day.

After she makes a recipe on her Instagram Stories, Erin pins the recipe to her Instagram profile by turning it into an Instagram Stories highlight, so people can watch the recipe right on her profile whenever they’re ready to make it at home. 

After you’ve created your Instagram Stories highlights, it’s time to get your existing followers to watch them by driving views of your highlights from your regular Instagram posts.

Add a call to action in your Instagram caption to watch your highlight for more, like Erin does:

Existing followers rarely visit your Instagram profile after they’ve followed you, so it’s important that you encourage them to check out your highlights, because they might not know they even exist if you don’t tell them!

Then, when your followers go to your Instagram profile to watch the specific highlight you mentioned in your post, they’ll be surprised to find that you have a ton of other Instagram Stories Highlights that they’ll be interested in, and they’ll become even more engaged and watch more!

Suddenly, you have turned your Instagram profile into a valuable resource that your followers will visit over and over again, growing your brand engagement without having to do any extra work.

You can follow this strategy for every industry, creating highlights of different workouts, free downloads, blog posts, travel guides – the possibilities are endless!

How to Increase Instagram Engagement: Use All of Instagram’s Features

It’s true that the Instagram algorithm favors accounts that use all of Instagram’s features, so if you’re only posting photo posts on Instagram, you’re not doing yourself any favors.

Start experimenting with carousel posts, or create a poll in your Instagram Stories! Instagram is constantly coming out with new features, so even if you don’t love them, it’s worth trying them out to boost your performance in the algorithm.

Another easy way to increase Instagram engagement? Switch to an Instagram business profile.

best time to post on instagram

Despite the rumours, there is zero evidence that Instagram business profiles get lower engagement. Instagram business profiles have access to powerful Instagram analytics that you can use to help you learn more about who your audience is, and what type of content they like, which will help you create more engaging content!

Plus, Instagram business profiles get access to more Instagram features, which can not only help you with engagement (like adding links to Instagram Stories) but also help you in the algorithm.

Here are some of the additional features you’ll get only with an Instagram business profile:

  • Adding links to Instagram Stories: accounts with 10k+ followers can engage their audience and drive traffic by adding “swipe up” links to stories
  • Shopping on Instagram: tag specific products in your organic Instagram posts (learn more here)
  • Scheduling Instagram posts: save time by scheduling posts that automatically publish to Instagram
  • Boosted Posts and Instagram Ads: get more likes and comments by boosting your Instagram post to a similar audience, or run ads to get followers or sell your products
  • Instagram Insights: get detailed analytics about how your followers are engaging with your account

Ready to make the switch? See how to set up an Instagram business profile here.

Increase Instagram Engagement by Scheduling for Your Best Time to Post

If you want to get more Instagram engagement, you’re going to have to put in the time engaging with other accounts on Instagram too.

But what if you don’t have the time to do this?

Scheduling Instagram posts helps you save hours of work per week, which means you’ll have more time to spend each day creating Instagram Stories content or  following, liking, and commenting on other people’s posts from your brand account.

Instagram recently announced changes to their API, giving Instagram business profiles the ability to schedule posts directly to Instagram for the first time ever. Now, if you’re a business profile and schedule your posts through Later, your posts will automatically be published to Instagram at the time you set.

This means you no longer need to set any alarms or rely on push notifications to tell you when to post, and saves you a ton of time!

But that’s not the only benefit to scheduling Instagram posts – if you want to increase Instagram engagement, you should be scheduling posts for when the majority of your followers are online.

Not only does the Instagram algorithm care about how much engagement your post gets, it also cares about how quickly you get that engagement.

If you post at a time when most of your followers are online, you give yourself a better chance of racking up those likes — quickly!

If your post gets a lot of likes and comments shortly after it’s posted, this signals to Instagram that your Instagram post is quality content, and the algorithm will then show your post to even more of your followers!

By finding out your personalized best time to post on Instagram, you can hack the algorithm to increase your reach and get more likes and followers.

Later’s Best Time to Post feature calculates your top 7 posting times for the most Instagram engagement, and displays it in your content calendar so you’ll always know them when scheduling.

Posting at your best times will become even more important as the brand new Instagram algorithm rolls out – because the new algorithm will feature more recent posts and have a “refresh” button to see the latest posts, posting at your best times will help you get your post seen by more followers.

And now that you can schedule Instagram posts that automatically post for you, you don’t have to worry about waking up at 6am if your best time to post is in another time zone.

If you’d rather do the math yourself, you can follow the steps in our blog post here to find your own best time to post to Instagram! 

Post to Instagram Stories Consistently to Build an Engaged Following

One of the best hacks to increase Instagram engagement is to think outside of likes and comments and instead focus on views.

Instagram Stories is quickly becoming the hottest social media platform, but many businesses haven’t caught on to the trend yet, or are hesitant to go all in on Instagram Stories.

Since Instagram Stories are still so new, now is the time to really build an engaged audience before it becomes too saturated. One of the best ways to do this is to be consistent and post regularly.

The good news is, your Instagram Stories content doesn’t have to be super exciting every single day! I don’t post photos on Instagram that often, but my Instagram account @taylor.loren has been steadily growing just because I post to Instagram Stories every single day.

People are creatures of habit, and they just like to watch the same people on their stories day after day. By posting to your stories consistently, you are training your followers to expect content from you, and they will continue to watch if you continue to post.

Just by posting to your story every day, you can create a cult following for your brand on Instagram. Plus, using features like polls to ask questions and get advice is a great way to get people invested in your stories!

Right now, people just love to watch Instagram Stories, and if you’re putting out relatable, personable content on a consistent basis, people will watch.

Instagram Stories is a free, easy way to stay engaged with your followers, even if they aren’t liking or commenting on your regular Instagram posts. In fact, more and more Instagram users are starting to spend more time watching stories than scrolling through the feed!

Instagram Stories are the future, and now is the time to really work on building out your Instagram Stories strategy and audience before everyone else does.

Need some help with stories? Check out our free Instagram Stories course to learn everything you need to know in under 1 hour:

Adjust Your Posting Frequency to Increase Instagram Engagement

Similar to finding your best time to post on Instagram, if you want to increase Instagram engagement you should also find out how often you should be posting to Instagram.

Because of the current Instagram algorithm, you’ve probably noticed 3-day-old posts appearing on your feed, and new likes popping up on photos you posted days ago. Instagram posts now have a longer life span, living beyond the first few hours after they’re posted. So does that mean you should post less if you want to increase Instagram engagement?

It’s hard to say. Some accounts have noticed a decline in engagement if they post again before their previous post is done “living” (aka, still getting engagement).

But at the same time, some accounts are posting up to 6 times a day and still getting a lot of engagement! By posting more often, the theory is that you can reach a wider audience and ensure your followers are seeing at least a few of your posts each day.

If each of your Instagram posts are getting less engagement and reach, you could potentially increase the total amount of reach and engagement by posting more often.

The best thing you can do is to test and find out what works for you! Switch up your posting frequency for a week or two and track the total reach and engagement using Instagram Insights.

If you decide to post to Instagram more frequently, it’s important that you are still posting quality, engaging content –  never post for the sake of posting!

Ready to take your social media marketing to the next level?

Written By

Taylor Loren

Taylor Loren is the Head of Marketing at Later. She was named a LinkedIn Top Voice for social media marketing, and you can follow her writing on LinkedIn or connect with her on Instagram at @taylor.loren.