How to get more engagement on Instagram

By Leann Priebe on February 12, 2020

By Leann Priebe on February 12, 2020

Is your organization active on Instagram? Maybe you’ve moved past the Instagram basics for businesses and want more people liking and commenting on your Instagram posts. Of course you do! After all, the Instagram algorithm likes it when people are more engaged with your posts.

The key is to get followers that are more likely to engage with you. So how do you do that? It can take some work, but this system is pretty straightforward.

Step 1 – Find relevant hashtags

The first thing you need to do is find hashtags relevant to your industry that other people are also using. If you’re lucky, you’ve already been doing this when posting and can start with those hashtags. If not, you may need to do some research.

Need help finding relevant hashtags? Here are four tools to check out:

  • Tagdef – Discover what different hashtags mean.
  • Hashtagify – Uses Twitter to analyze hashtags, but useful for Instagram as well.
  • Hashtag Generator Tool – Upload a photo and it will give you possible hashtags.
  • Instagram – Simply type in a hashtag in the search box up top and it will give you related hashtags up toward the top.

Step 2 – Find active people

Once you have your hashtags picked out, search for them on Instagram. You’ll end up with some top posts and recent posts. Pick a post that seems like it would appeal to your target market. In other words, someone who liked that photo is likely to like your photo as well.

Take a look at the people that are commenting on the post. Click through each person until you find someone that is posting on a regular basis through their own Instagram account. And also make sure they actually follow people. If their following count is way higher than their followers count, you might skip them and move on to the next person in the list.

Step 3 – Comment

Go through that person’s posts and leave some thoughtful, real comments. Nothing too short or generic.

As a guideline, the more specific your reply can be to their photo, the more real it will feel to them. If you could leave the same exact comment on any number of Instagram posts, then it’s too short and generic.

Want to follow them as well? That could increase their chances of following you back, but it’s not completely necessary.

Step 4 – Rinse and repeat

Doing this once may or may not get you a new follower who’s likely to engage. But doing it many, many times over a few months will almost definitely result in more engaged followers!

In an ideal world, you would employ this tactic 4-6 times a day, finding 1-5 people each time. Then you would repeat the tactic for 2-4 month to really see some results.

Let’s do some quick math. If you did this tactic just 4 times a day and found 2 people each time, but kept it up for two months, you would follow about 500 more people. And if just 10% of those people follow you back and end up being engaged, you’ll have about 50 more followers that are much more likely to engage with your posts on Instagram!

Bonus: More tips

Okay, that’s a super specific method. But obviously you also have to be posting great pictures on a regular basis. In fact, here’s a short list of some other best practices if you want more engagement on Instagram:

  • Use those hashtags you researched in your own posts on a regular basis.
  • Post consistently. As a rule of thumb, the more often you post the more engagement you can get. Most small and medium businesses will max out around once a day, and shouldn’t post less often than once a week.
  • Ask questions! Specific questions with a photo will be more likely to get comments.
  • Stay engaged with your followers. Reply to comments, like their posts, and even share their posts using apps like Repost.
  • Take better photos. Seriously. A better camera doesn’t always mean better photos. Become a student of photography, or hire a professional.
  • Run Instagram contests!

And above all, have fun! People can tell whether you’re having fun or not, and it will get you more engagement.

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