Last Updated on May 4, 2020 by ellduclos
Best Practices to Increase Instagram Engagement
This is a long overdue post & HIGHLY requested. Many were interested in an updated post on how to increase Instagram engagement, so here it is! It’s no secret that there are so many “totally cool” influencers on Instagram, living what seems to be the “dream life”. But we all know that what we see on Instagram isn’t necessarily what their life is like in real life. SO DON’T BE FOOLED! BUUUT as bloggers, biz owners, influencers, – Instagram plays a HUGE part. If I was using Instagram for personal use, I wouldn’t care at all! BUT since it’s important to have a well grown account on Instagram that reaches my ideal audience, I needed to learn a thing or two.
PLUS, if you want to work with brands and all that jazz, having an engaged Instagram is important! However, Instagram doesn’t make this easy for us, just like anything else that comes with blogging, you need to put in some effort and work for it.
Today I am sharing with you some of my FAVORITE engagement tips that have helped me grow engaging audiences on Instagram. I started my EllDuclos Instagram account a year and a half ago, and my BossGirlBloggers Instagram about 8 months ago. Surprisingly my second account grew a lot faster and I think this has to do with a few reasons:
- I was more experienced when I started it.
- I already had a large audience because my BGB Instagram is based off of my FB community for female entrepreneurs & bloggers which is now over 30,000 members.
- It’s also a feature account where as EllDuclos is strictly JUST ME.
ANYWAYS – Let’s jump into the tips!!
Dislaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means if you purchase via my link I receive commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I love and use because I believe in 100% honesty! Read more about my policy here. Thank you for the support!
BUSINESS OR PERSONAL INSTAGRAM ? That is the question.
One question that many ask is should I have a business instagram account or personal?? There have been a lot of debates about if it matters and here’s my opinion:
- You get to look at your photo analytics etc to see which photos get the most engagement which can help you decide on what to post and when to post it. (HOWEVER – there are tools out there that will do the same thing for you.)
- You can link in your Instagram stories if you are a business account and have over 10,000 followers.
- You can create ads and have Instagram promote your content for a fee. (I have tried this and my results weren’t great… I think once you have a larger audience the ads would be worth it, but if you are just starting out it might be a waste of money.)
- You can add a contact + e-mail button to your page which makes it easier for brands to contact you etc.
Something I have noticed however, when I was on a business account my engagement was far less. I am thinking it’s because as a business account Instagram lowers your reach so that you are more likely to pay to “promote” your posts. BUT again, I am not sure how true this is, it’s just what I have noticed from personal experience!
I personally love being a personal account until hitting 10k because then I can add links to my Instagram stories which is SUPER convenient!
If you are doing sponsored posts etc. you should be on a business account for best practices and rules. But there are many who don’t follow by this. IDK – the choice is ultimately yours!
Create A High Quality Feed
Listen, I know you might not be the best photographer in the world. I understand. BUUUT – Instagram is a visual platform, if you have terrible quality images it’s going to be MUCH HARDER growing your account. The truth hurts, but it’s TRUE.
Here are some examples of gorgeous curated feeds I follow.
Even if you don’t have the best camera, there are ways to help create gorgeous images.
For example: Editing!!! Editing goes a long way. Here are a few of my favorite editors:
- Lightroom (THE BEST!) They have a free app you can use on your phone as well. PLUS you can purchase presets which are filters that are already adjusted to the perfect edit that you can put over your photos so that each photo is edited similar, creating a curated beautiful feed! I am sure you have heard of Aspyn Ovard. She has a gorgeous Instagram (as seen above) and sells her own presets. OR you can check out creative market for a ton that you can purchase as well!
- ColorStory – I love this app because you can purchase presets on here as well, PLUS they have a ton of presets already to choose from for free! It also helps you really focus in on color as well.
- FaceTune – Not a huge fan of facetune but I figured i’d mention it for those who like to fix problem areas. (even though you’re beautiful just the way you are!) It’s a bit too intense for me.
And to search and buy presets I definitely recommend checking out creative market! They have everything.
Here’s some before & after edits!
Having good lighting is super important! Bright & clear images tend to do the best on Instagram. If you are like me and have super terrible lighting in your home, then I suggest you check out these two products:
- Neweer Ring Light – (perfect for selfiesss!)
- LimoStudio Box Lights – Helps to create bright and clear images indoor!
Invest in a Quality Camera
I am not saying you have to, but if you want gorgeous images I recommend the Cannon G7X. I love it!
Do Your Instagram Images Tell A Story?
I find the more in depth I get with my images, the better the engagement. Don’t be afraid to tell a little story in your caption! GET PERSONAL. I see tons of Instagram accounts out there that are afraid to show their face &/or personality. Most will just fill their Instagram feed with stock images and quotes. It’s really hard to stand out if all you use are stock images and quotes on Instagram. Create a brand for YOURSELF. Don’t be afraid to put a face behind your account.
Whenever I share an image of me or my dog, or me and a friend, they receive much more engagement than my photos of make up products, or a cup of coffee. Make your Instagram come to life!
If I see an account that is clearly stock images or 70% quotes I most likely won’t follow unless it’s quotes that are specific to my niche. If you want to share quotes try to keep it consistent. Make the quotes all match and flow, and have an image every three photos or so!
Ask Questions in your Instagram Captions!
You can get your audience to interact on your images by asking questions in the caption. I do this often and it works a lot of the time!
*TIP: Have your audience tag other’s in the comments. For example: let’s say you share an image of you and your daughter, and you write a nice caption about loving motherhood. You could say: Tag a boss mom who deserves a nice vacay !! OR something like that.
Hashtags Are Relevant!
I try to use 15-20 hashtags per image that I post! Hashtags really help to increase your Instagram engagement and helps to get your images seen by a larger audience!
How to choose the right hashtag? I try to make sure the hashtag has no more than 600k uses, because if it has over millions of uses it means the hashtag is EXTREMELY active, making it almost impossible to be displayed on the “top” or even “recent” section.
If it has less than 10k uses the hashtag isn’t popular at all and it will also decrease the chances of your photo being seen.
Try and do hashtag research using the search bar on Instagram to see which hashtags are popular. This will also show you other related hashtags that you can use!
You can also check into other bloggers in your niche who seem pretty successful and see what they use!
*Tip: If your account is private and you use hashtags, it won’t work! Your photos will not come up under the search with a private account.
Besides using hashtags on your photos, you can also look through hashtags related to your niche and like and comment on recent photos. This get’s you engaging with others who are interested in the same topics as you which helps to target the right audience!
BEFORE YOU POST A NEW PHOTO:
Try to go through your followers and like their most recent photo & comment on their latest photos right before you upload a new photo!
AFTER YOU POST A NEW PHOTO:
Go through hashtags relevant to the photo you just posted and like and comment on recent photos that catch your eye.
This helps make an impression and hopefully gets you engagement back!
Don’t Think Like A Blogger
This is kind of contradicting but let me explain! Let’s say you are trying to attract an audience that isn’t using instagram for their blog + biz. It’s important to try and attract an audience who IS using their Instagram as a personal account.
WHY? -> Well for starters they are less likely to do the follow/unfollow game! They don’t care about their numbers so they will follow you even if you don’t follow them. & chances are they will stay following until you post something they don’t like.
MOST personal Instagram users are NOT using hashtags, mainly because they think it looks tacky. I GET IT. But what do they use instead?
Many will use the Geotag feature, for example, if they are on a trip in Cali or something like that. What you can do is search different locations and once you find someone, go to their account and like the first 3-4 images and even comment on their latest! This will make an impression and they will most likely go to look and see who you are and even engage back. If they are interested, they will follow!
You can also go to larger bloggers that you follow and click on their latest image and see who liked/commented on their photo. Repeat the same process.
WHEN SOMEONE COMMENTS ON YOUR INSTAGRAM PHOTO…
You should always return the favor! If someone comments on my photo I will always try and reply to the comment. (especially if it happens within the first hour of me posting because Instagram expands the reach of images that are getting high engagement within the first hour or so.)
I also make sure I go to their profile and comment on their recent photo to return the favor. This will tell them that I am an engaging person and that they can expect engagement in return every time they comment on my posts!
In order to get engagement you have to give it!
I had a love hate relationship with giveaways but recently I have been participating in a few and have been seeing great results. My last two each got me over 200 new followers (who mostly stuck around!)
When it comes to Instagram giveaways try to keep this in mind:
ONLY participate in giveaways related to your niche. If you are a beauty blogger giving away a home depot gift card…you might attract the wrong audience… JUST SAYING. So make sure your giveaway makes sense for attracting your ideal audience!
I will usually try to team up with some bloggers in my niche that are a part of my BGB FB Community! We all pitch in $30 or so and buy one large prize to give away. The better the prize the more participants which means more followers gained!
The strategy behind giveaways is that in order to be entered they must be following your account and all other’s who are taking part in putting on the giveaway! Then a winner is chosen at random.
It can be a successful tactic if done properly! I try to put on my own giveaways rather than going through a follow loop company, just because I don’t completely trust the follow loop companies. Sometimes I feel like I am getting bot followers and such which is pointless!
Giveaways like the ones I participate in are different than “buying followers” in my eyes because:
- You are giving back to your audience.
- You are gaining REAL followers and not fake bot followers which you receive when buying your followers.
MAKE PERSONAL CONNECTIONS THROUGH INSTAGRAM STORIES + IGTV
I personally haven’t tried out IGTV yet BUT I know that the more personal you are with your audience, the more engaged they become.
Get out of your comfort zone and come face to face with your audience by talking to them on your IG stories. IDK why, but now a days people love watching others live their life.
I am not sure what’s so exciting about seeing what someone’s home looks like, or seeing someone interact with their dog. (WAIT YES I DO, GUILTY. I watch them all the time) BUUUT people love to watch and listen.
So pick up your phone and get to talking! YOU CAN EVEN GO LIVE (scary I know) But the key to growing an engaged Instagram audience is to make connections and make people want to keep coming back for more!
You can even do IG story series, (a month of fitness tips if you are doing a fitness challenge or journey, a self care journey challenge, the list is endless!)
TAG BRANDS + INSTAGRAM FEATURE ACCOUNTS
If you want the opportunity to get your post in front of more eyes, then tag brands that you are wearing and tag feature accounts!
For example: BossGirlBloggers is a feature account for female entrepreneurs and bloggers. If you follow, tag and use #bossgirlbloggers you have a chance to be featured!
There are many different accounts out there like this, you just have to find them! I know some feature accounts make you PAY to get featured, not sure if it’s worth the money so be careful with those!
Participate in Engagement Pods
I know it sounds a bit inauthentic, but it totally can be authentic if you join the RIGHT pods.
What is an engagement pod? Many are on the app – Telegram and it’s like a big group message. When you share a new post on instagram you copy the direct link and paste it into the group. The catch is, you usually have to comment/like all photos that were shared into the group within the last 24hrs! It’s pretty simple and can bring you a ton of engagement!
When choosing a pod keep in mind:
- Join only those related to your niche!
- Join only those that don’t have insane amounts of members otherwise it becomes overwhelming and takes up too much time.
If you join niche related comment pods you may actually find some amazing Instagram accounts out there to follow! I have met some super cool people through engagement pods. Though, I don’t participate in as many as I used to because they are time consuming, it was still a fun way to gain some engagement when Instagram was being lame and not showing my posts to anyone!!!
Well! That completes my list of Instagram Engagement tips! I hope that you found them helpful! Would love to hear from you in the comments!
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Amy Boyle says
Thank you for this!
I love Instagram although it is a pain in the ass most of the time. I think we should not be moved by the numbers. I have almost 2k followers but I don’t care my number is low because for me the most important part of Instagram is making a real connections! Thank you for sharing all this valuable information! I hope many people will see it and understand what’s the best about this social media! ?
Yes I completely agree!! Thank you so much!!
Thank you so much for writing this. I’m still struggling with Instagram. I will definitely take your pointers into consideration.
I hope it helps! Thank you so much!!
Hala Sahlman says
You always have the BEST tips!! Thanks for all the time and effort you put in! Can’t wait to up my insta game 🙂
Aww thank you! That means a lot (:
You have the best tips, girl. Thanks for sharing as always! <3
That makes me so happy! Thank you so much!!!
Evelyn Hernandez says
Instagram is so frustrating! Thanks for sharing these tips, I will follow some of them, hopefully it will help our engagement.
You are so welcome! Thank you, glad you liked it!!
I loved this post so much! Lauren Conrad has one of my favorite instagram feeds – it’s absolutely gorgeous! There were so many helpful tips in this post – and I am going to try some out right now!! Thank you!
I thought I already knew a lot but you gave some extra helpful tips! Thanks!!!
Great tips here!! I personally don’t agree with pods, but the rest of the tips are right on point.
This is the most helpful article I’ve read on the subject. Thanks!
Makes me so happy to hear that! I am so glad to help! Thank you!!
Amazing points. I’ve recently started out as a Fashion Blogger.
Thank you so much!
Excellent article & a good read. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you so much!
I’ve only just started building my Instagram page. It’s so taxing and I’m stuck at 1470 followers 😢.