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13 Best Tips To Boost Instagram Engagement

How to boost Instagram engagement blog post


Social platforms are a great way to market and create exposure towards your business. Whether it be through thoughtful captions, colorful pictures or stimulating videos, platforms such as Instagram are the most interactive way to visibly market your brand, gain more attraction from potential fans, and build a network of connections with other brands as well as your target audience.

If you are just starting off on Instagram, it can often times feel like an uphill battle to gain your ideal amount of account engagement.

You start to wonder “how do these other accounts have hundreds or thousands of likes and comments on their posts?” while you’re stuck with 25-75 likes on a good day.

Just know you’re not the only one experiencing this, there’s thousands of accounts out there (even some with huge followings) that are all experiencing the same issue boosting their account engagement. So give yourself a break, even top accounts like Kim Kardashian only get a ~1.5% engagement rate.

You’re probably thinking “Tell me something I don’t know, how do I boost my Instagram engagement?”

Although it may be difficult in the beginning to see meaningful engagement, we’ve devised the 13 Top Tips to Boost Instagram Engagement in 2019 the right way.

1. Creating / Optimizing your account bio

Instagram gives you the ability to write a bio that is 150 characters long, which describes what the account is going to be about or anything of your choosing.

Fully taking advantage of the bio space while speaking directly to your target audience is what you should be aiming for. This allows for the ideal engaged audience to be attracted to your account and content. Be considerate of how your page differentiates from other similar accounts and why it might be appealing to your ideal audience and let them know this with your bio.

2. Include a link in your Instagram bio

More engagement also involves redirecting your audience to your own website. Sending them directly to your website is a simple click away by including a link in your Instagram profile description.

This allows for your audience to access your website, read about your business or brand, sign up for a newsletter, contact you, etc. More importantly, directing your audience to external communication sources that you’re in full control of ensures that you don’t have to rely on third-party platforms such as Instagram to share your content with fans. I.e. You can now get your fans attention via email newsletter or blog update about your latest Instagram post to boost post engagement.

I know what you’re thinking, do email newsletters really work to boost post engagement? Subscribe to our newsletter right now and we can show you 🙂

Remember that these social media platforms main incentive is to self-profit, so don’t be surprised if they make business choices and platform changes that might not be beneficial to you and your brand. If you don’t believe us, go watch The Great Hack on Netflix.

3. Be creative with your posts

Through your posts and instagram stories, be creative with your content. Creative and authentic posts allow you to showcase the astonishing properties and information regarding your brand or business.

Not only does it showcase your brand, but these types of posts are more appealing to the audience and will organically garner higher engagement. Generate content that is unique, eye-catching and share-worthy! For example, studies show that brighter pictures get 592% more likes than darker ones, so brighten up those shots! We will recommend you some of our favorite photo editing apps later on in the article.

Let’s do a photo comparison! Which photo below would you be more likely to notice and engage with below?

A raw unedited photo of a burger, fries and Old Fashion taken with a professional DSLR camera.
A brighter version of the SAME photo from our content creation work with Magnolia House in Pasadena. See the difference?

4. Consistent Posting Schedule

There isn’t a rule on instagram where you have to post at the same time daily, however it is beneficial to be consistent. Studies show that there is a certain time each day where followers are more active, usually mid-day or nighttime.

Being consistent with when you post is beneficial for engagement because users are more active.

You’ll need to review your analytics page (we’ll explain this in more detail later) and observe what times your followers are most active on each given day of the week and plan your posting schedule as such.

Instagram has already made past public statements mentioning that recency is a factor that plays into your post viewership numbers, which means the more recent your post is published to a follower being active on Instagram, the more likely that they will see it. It’s simple, more active followers online at once means more people likely to see your post and engage.

5. Adding location to your posts

Easy opportunity for more discovery & engagement

Adding a location to your posts builds more discoverability. People are often looking for instagram posts in a particular area, event, or popular location, so this allows your posts to possibly be discovered by a new user. Any new methods of brand discovery can lead to more new followers and increased engagement.

For example, when you post a picture of camping at Yosemite National Park in California and add “Yosemite National Park” as the location, it will appear under that location tag. With Yosemite being a popular national site, it will help your account gain more attraction.

When tagging locations, be mindful of what you’re tagging. The key to location tagging is using the smallest possible location that is available. Many people tag an entire city expecting to be discovered but what can end up happening is your post will be lost in an overly saturated location tag such as “Los Angeles” where there is too much competition. Tag the actual building, venue, business, or area that you are in. If you choose to tag more generalized areas, then blend a diversified strategy where you switch between broad and specific locations between posts.

6. Start Conversations with Instagram Stories Stickers

The unique feature of Instagram is that it gives you the option to have polls, ask questions, and more on your stories. Adding this to any of your stories allows for you to engage one on one with each of your followers. It’s also a great way for your followers to share their opinions with you.

The question sticker gives your followers the opportunity to get to know your brand and ask for more information about you, your products or your services. You can even share their responses and answer them on your stories, this allows for other followers to see what other followers shared and help inspire further engagement.

There’s another powerful psychological factor that comes into play when you constantly give your followers the option to engage with your story stickers. By allowing your followers to consistently engage with your stories, you’re innately getting your fans into a habit of engaging when they see your posts.

7. Replying to your Direct Messages and Comments

Never leave your followers hanging when they reach out to you through Comments and Direct Message (DM).

This step is both beneficial and essential towards boosting engagement.

Building and maintaining a relationship with your followers creates credibility and delight towards your brand or business and it shows the audience that you genuinely care about what they have to say.

Always be sure to spend time listening and responding to their feedback whether it be positive or negative.

The simplicity of showing your audience that you are actually listening to their opinions helps build online conversation and a community that inspires further engagement.

Additionally, Instagram appears to prioritize “stronger relationships” between accounts when it comes to post impressions so keep up with actively responding to followers to boost your engagement on a personal- and algorithmic-level.

8. Use branded and relevant hashtags

Hashtag marketing makes your content more searchable, builds impressions, and encourages your audience to interact with your brand.

Creating your own branded hashtag is the first step to building your hashtag marketing. Think of this as a personal forum where you and your fans can generate more buzz surrounding your brand while allowing for discoverability in a “one-stop shop.”

You can create a range of branded hashtags but to start off, create branded hashtags that allow you to better keep track of :

  • Promotions
  • Contests
  • Giveaways
  • Sponsored Events
  • Product Launches
  • Product Updates
  • Product Reviews

The key to any hashtag strategy is understanding which hashtags your target audience are most drawn to.

Some important questions to ask when doing hashtag research:

  • “Is my target audience engaging with this hashtag?”
  • “How many posts per minute does this hashtag receive? Will my post get buried in the feed?”
  • “Are there enough people viewing / following this hashtag?”
  • “Does this hashtag mean what I think it means?”

A variation of your top hashtags should be used consistently through content that is posted on your account.

9. Look at your analytics

Using a gut-feeling approach when it comes to your brand is risky. Knowing the importance of data and how it interacts with your overall marketing plan is essential. Using Instagram analytics lets you better understand what’s working and what isn’t for increasing your engagement rates.

Analyze what times your followers are most active each day.

In order to gain access to the free analytics provided by Instagram, you’ll first need to make sure that your account is setup as a Business Account in order to access “Instagram Insights.”

The following is a breakdown of some of the key features that Instagram analytics can offer your brand:

  • When your followers are active by time of day and by day of the week.
  • How many “profile visits” that your profile acquired within the past week.
  • The total amount of “taps” or “clicks” that your posts and/or profile have gained within the past week.
  • The amount of “get directions”, phone calls, or emails that users have placed through your profile.
  • How many “website clicks” that users made from your profile within the past week.
  • What your top performing post or story is.

There are many premium tools to help measure your Instagram marketing efforts but these options can often times be costly. However, these tools allow you to track your content such as post performance, comments, and measure the amount of likes that each post receives, and much more.

If you’re working with a digital marketing agency, they will most likely have a wide set of tools that they use to track your metrics on a more enhanced level, so make sure to request a performance report. And if you’re not in touch with a digital marketing agency, you 100% should be, just a quick 15-minute conversation about your brand’s current situation can unlock huge potential insights and gains for your business.

10. Have a “Theme” for your posts

Having a theme for your posts doesn’t necessarily mean posting the same type of content, but instead stick to one Instagram filter for example. Creating a theme with the type of filter you use is visually attractive to the audience and keeps your account organized. Stick with a filter that you feel defines your business the most and that you feel comfortable with. You can either use the filters that Instagram provides or use an app.

I’d like you to take a look at the difference between the two Instagram feeds below. Believe it or not, both feeds belong to the same account. The feeds are a before and after from one of our clients, WeHo Bistro, where we applied a stylized theme and curation to their content.

Before (Without themed content)
After (With a stylized theme)

Now that you’re hopefully convinced, here are some photo editing apps you can start playing around with:

  • VSCO
  • Prisma Photo Editor
  • Snapseed
  • Aviary
  • Afterlight
  • Camera+

11. Write structured Instagram captions

Instagram captions can be up to 2,200 characters long. Not all characters have to be used, but use the amount to your advantage to write up a long and attractive Instagram caption.

Having a well thought out caption keeps your audience informed about your brand goals, brand mission, products, and anything else.

Here’s our recommended Instagram Caption Format:

  • Hook. Always start your caption out with a “hook” that helps attract your audience to read on and hopefully engage.
  • Line. Provide the core content as it relates to your picture here. Offer the reader value here whether it be something entertaining, informative, etc.
  • Sinker. This is your “Call to Action” (CTA) where you prompt an immediate response from your followers. In most cases, you’ll want to prompt the user to comment on your post since more comments equal more engagement and visibility.

12. Use the right image size

Make sure that your Instagram posts are sized correctly because nothing is worse than having a photo that is cut off or isn’t posted how you envisioned it.

Here are the sizing for ideal Instagram posts:

  • Profile photo: 320×320 px
  • Instagram stories/IGTV: 1080×1920 px
  • Square photos: 1080×1080 px
  • Portrait photos: 1080×1350 px
  • Landscape photos: 1080×566 px

13. Target your ghost followers

Your “ghost followers” are followers that view your posts but are still not engaging despite deploying everything from the first 12 steps. The issue here is that Instagram’s algorithm is designed to show your new post to a small percentage or subset of your followers. Based on that subsets feedback aka engagement on your post, Instagram uses that data as a factor in whether or not your post is considered high-quality and if it will show your post to more followers or the general public.

So when ghost followers continuously don’t engage with your content, they can actually be harming your overall Instagram health.

There’s a few different tactics that you’ll want to deploy to help resolve this but we’ll mention two main suggestions:

  • Removing your ghost followers. This can be done by blocking and unblocking or removing that follower.
  • Re-engaging your ghost followers. This is the preferred method since you don’t want to lose followers on your account. You want to perform outreach with your ghost followers and try to re-attract them to re-engage with your content. This can usually be done via DM’ing, liking or commenting on their posts!

We suggest any accounts that are experiencing a high amount of ghost followers to do a full review of their last 30-120 posts to map out which of their followers are engaging with their posts, which followers are not engaging (ghost followers), and which non-followers are engaging with their post. This review allows your account to uncover a lot of new opportunities for you to better engage and convert your fans. If you’re interested in having this service done for you, just send us an email and we can help you get started.


Incorporating these tips in the way you market your business on Instagram can help boost the engagement on your account. Spend some time to juggle different ideas on how you want your profile to look and be creative with whatever you choose to post. Thousands of successful brands and businesses have been built through highly engaged Instagram accounts, yours could be next!


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Jimmy Huynh

Jimmy Huynh

Jimmy is the co-founder of Velvet Media & Marketing, Inc. His background consists of consulting with some of the top tech companies in LA, Silicon Beach, Silicon Valley, and beyond as well as receiving high recognition by the California State Assembly. Feel free to Follow him on LinkedIn.

Does your brand want more growth & engagement?

Find out how we've been able to triple our client's revenue and online traffic.