Do you feel like your Instagram account is stuck in a rut?
You post and post, but only a fraction of your followers see your content, let alone engage with it. With the platform’s ever-changing algorithm, it can feel like an impossible task to keep your posts visible to your audience.
You’re also not alone.
The average Instagram engagement rates on all post types are:
• 0.71%, 0.59% for photo posts
• 1.26% for carousel posts
• 1.23% for Instagram Reels
But there is light at the end of the tunnel.
With the right engagement-boosting strategies, you can cut through the noise, get your content the attention it deserves, and see your Instagram engagement rates soar.
Ready to dust the cobwebs off your account? Here’s how to increase your Instagram engagement rate ASAP.
What Engagements Are Most Important to the Instagram Algorithm?
Before diving into strategies to increase engagement on Instagram, let’s look at the key engagement metrics.
When deciding to recommend or bump a post up on your timeline, the algorithm considers how likely you will:
• Tap on the profile
When planning Instagram content for your brand or business, you need to ensure every post inspires engagement or actions from viewers. The best way to do this is adding a call-to-action to the end of your Reels and captions that prompts users to do something. The more users that like, save and share your posts, the more likely the algorithm is to prioritize your content in the algorithm.
• If you want to increase saves, ask yourself, “Is there a reason for someone to tap save and revisit this post later?“
• If you’re looking to boost profile taps, ask yourself, “Is there a call to action to prompt users to visit the link in my bio?“
• If you want to expand your reach, ask yourself, “Is this a post someone would want to share with their friends or family?“
Answering these questions will help you plan better content and help you hack the algorithm.
How to Boost Instagram Engagement
Looking for the ultimate Instagram strategy to increase engagement? You’re in the right place. Here are some of the best ways to encourage followers to double-tap, comment, share and save your posts.
1. Post High-Quality Content
Here’s the thing.
Blurry, poorly cropped, low-quality images and videos won’t increase Instagram engagement.
If you want to get the Instagram algorithm (and your followers) pushing your content, give them a reason.
Take the time to learn:
• How to compose shots (hint: Google the “rule of thirds”.)
• How to edit videos and photos (we’ve created a complete guide to how to edit your Instagram content for free!)
But the technical side of content isn’t the only thing that makes “high-quality” Instagram posts.
Your content needs to hold value for your audience.
For example, is it:
• Inspiring or aspirational
Let’s unpack this one step further and look at @amandamccants account.
Amanda posts humorous, relatable viral videos (mostly about moms and daughters) but doesn’t have a super fancy high-end production team. She uses minor colour grading and basic editing techniques (like zooming in for dramatic effect).
Despite her minimalistic approach, her Instagram Reels still perform well.
Amanda is consistently creating videos her audience finds funny.
That’s what makes her content high-quality and valuable.
She is proof that all you need is a smartphone, a free editing tool, and a good concept to create engaging content on Instagram.
2. Keep a Consistent Posting Schedule
It’s the not-so-secret ingredient to getting what you want.
Is your Goodreads reading challenge set at 20 books for the year? You’ve got to commit to forming a reading habit.
Want to save up enough money to spend the summer in Greece? You need to put away money every month to hit your goal.
Are you looking to grow your Instagram audience and build a community of super fans? A consistent posting schedule is an ace up your sleeve.
But it’s difficult, right?
You know a content calendar will help you, but it’s a habit you keep breaking.
If that sounds like you, here are a few strategies to make sure you always have a steady stream of optimised posts ready to go live at peak engagement times.
1. Use the free Plann social media content calendar to schedule Instagram posts: It comes with niche-specific post ideas, a library of trending audio sounds, and an AI-driven caption generator to kick procrastination and writer’s block to the curb.
2. Repurpose old content: Listen. If you have a post in your archives that did well and it’s evergreen, queue it up to wow your audience again. Think of it like watching re-runs from your favourite TV show. Plus, not everyone in your audience saw it the first time or remembers your content as well as you do.
3. Batch create your content: Decide on a day and block out a few hours in your calendar to focus on your Instagram posts. Batching helps you knock out multiple ideas in one sitting, helping you get ahead (and stay ahead) of your posting schedule.
Once you have conquered consistency, a higher engagement rate is around the corner. Instagram wants users to keep coming back to the app, and if you’re delivering content helping the app achieve that goal, your Instagram profile will be on the good side of the algorithm.
Plus, you’re training your Instagram followers to “anticipate” content, and that’s a powerful emotional connection to tap into for boosting your Instagram engagement rate.
[Insert GIF of Plann calendar]
3, Use The Right Hashtags and Keywords in Your Posts
Think of hashtags like breadcrumbs.
You’re leading your target audience a trail to follow and discover your content.
Let’s look at an example.
You’re a vegan restaurant owner in Cape Town, South Africa, with the following two hashtag options:
1. #foodies #capetown #burgerandfries
2. #veganeatssouthafrica #vegancapetown #plantbasedfoodie
While there isn’t anything technically wrong with option #1, the hashtags in #2 are hyper-specific to the type of person you’d want to visit your restaurant.
And there’s a good chance those users already follow and like Instagram content around those keywords.
One way to discover relevant hashtags to boost your engagement on Instagram is with Plann’s Hashtag Tool. You can search pre-populated hashtag sets for your niche, save them to your profile, and create your own from scratch.
Lastly, think about the keywords you’re using in your captions.
Sprinkle in variations and related phrases to your topic.
For example, if you’re a manifestation coach and you’re writing a post about limiting beliefs, some of the keywords and phrases you could include in your caption (and verbally in your video) are:
• What are limiting beliefs?
• How to overcome limiting beliefs
• How to identify limiting beliefs
The algorithm reads your text to understand the post, and Instagram is working towards becoming a fully-fledged search engine and going beyond relying on hashtags to categorize content. Learn more about mastering Instargam SEO in our complete guide.
[Insert Plann GIF for hashtag tool]
4. Post More Instagram Reels
The most popular Instagram post types?
Every month, 2 billion people watch ’em, and Instagram Reels get 22% more engagement than a standard Instagram post.
So, even if video content is out of your comfort zone, it’s worth figuring out.
You’ll almost be guaranteed to get more eyeballs on your Instagram content and see your engagement stats hit an uptick.
Need a little help getting started?
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5. Use Instagram Stories Stickers to Drive Engagement
Instagram Stories are a 10/10 engagement hack.
Well, you have prime real estate at the top of your follower’s feeds. If someone consistently watches your Stories, you’ll always come up first.
Plus, it’s a powerful relationship-building feature.
Only your most loyal followers are taking the time to see what you’re up to – so make the most of it.
Use Instagram Stories stickers to encourage audience engagement. The more engagement you get, the higher the algorithm will boost your Story on users’ feeds.
What are the best Stickers to use?
• Emoji slider
Psst…Want to boost your Stories’ visibility and engagement rate? Start each day with an engagement sticker.
6. Create a Genuine Relationship With Your Audience
One of the major ranking factors for the algorithm is “relationship closeness”.
What does this mean?
It’s how likely you are to be friends or family with the user.
Instagram uses this as a metric because users naturally want to see and engage with content from the people closest to them.
As a brand or influencer, it’s a hurdle you can overcome by developing genuine relationships with your audience, leading to higher Instagram engagement.
This looks like replying to all your comments, answering your DMs, and using tactics like Stickers and strong call-to-actions in captions to encourage a conversation.
7. Create Value-Adds in Your Captions to Increase Engagement
Likes and comments down?
That doesn’t mean your content holds no value and Instagram is dead.
Instead of only focusing on those vanity engagement metrics, readjust your point of view.
Saves and shares are far more valuable to your audience and the Instagram algorithm.
It means your followers want to come back to the content (hello, repeat views!) and are pushing your Instagram post out to other people without you having to pay for ads (hello, free exposure!)
You can start increasing your saves and shares by writing value-add captions.
What does this look like in practice?
• Sharing travel tips for a destination
• Writing out step-by-step instructions for a recipe
• Posing questions to your audience
• Talking about an experience that changed your life
Writer’s block standing in your way?
Meet Plann’s done-for-you social media captions.
One user, RDE Consulting, uses these social starters on her posts, and it helped 10x her business grow in a year.
And the best part?
You won’t find any cheesy, lazy “double tap if you agree” captions over here.
Each one is purposely designed to fit your goals and increase your Instagram engagement rate.
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8. Collaborate with Influencers or Brands in Your Niche
To succeed in your mission to boost those Instagram engagement numbers, team up with Instagram influencers or brands in your niche.
Collaborating with the right people gets you in front of your ideal audience and brings a whole lot of credibility to your page. It’s the online equivalent of word-of-mouth – when a trusted figure introduces your brand, their followers will likely take note.
One of the most popular ways of boosting engagement is with giveaways.
The rules are simple.
Your followers need to follow everyone else involved in the giveaway, like, and share the post to their Stories.
The more entries, the higher the engagement and the more exposure your brand receives.
It’s a win/win.
(And it’s a whole lot cheaper than running Instagram ads.)
9. Use Instagram Analytics to See What’s Working
Here’s the reality.
You can follow all these tips to increase your Instagram engagement rate and still see little to zero change.
You’re not looking at your Instagram analytics.
And the secret sauce to growing on any social media platform lies in your data.
It tells you crucial information like:
• What is your top performing content (and what is your worst)
• Who is your audience
• When are your followers online
• Which posts have the most likes, saves, shares, and comments
By analysing your data, you’ll start to notice trends.
And instead of guessing what content will foster engagement, you’ll have a data-backed decision driving your content creation.
Chrissa Sparkles is a fantastic example.
After her first Barbie-inspired Reel had more engagement than usual, she turned it into a series, and it blew up her account. While she still posts other content promoting her pilates classes and clothing line, her Barbie Reels continue to perform and propel her brand no matter what.
If Chrissa ignored her numbers, she would have missed out on growing her community and using it as a launching pad for her multiple businesses.
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Plann to Boost Your Engagement on Instagram
There you have it.
Eight tactics for increasing your engagement on Instagram.
Start using these strategies, and you’ll set yourself up to build a thriving Instagram community that looks forward to your next post.
Sign up for your free 7-day trial of Plann Plus today.
Get access to unlimited scheduling, a full brand calendar, one-click cross-posting, an AI caption generator, and everything else you need to boost your engagement rate like a pro.