Instagram is a great platform that allows you to do so many things. On top of that, it’s actually very entertaining and fun to use. However, it can sometimes get extremely overwhelming to think about all the small details that affect your Instagram profile. One of those details is Engagement Rate – the holy grail of every successful Instagram page.

If you want to succeed on Instagram, you have to have high engagement rate.

What Exactly Is Engagement Rate? 

Engagement Rate is simply a metric used to determine how your audience responds to your posts. You can actually calculate it yourself:

Average # of Likes + Comments / #Number of Followers = % Engagement Rate

Just as an example: Let’s say you have an average of 150 likes and 20 comments per post. And with that, you have 1000 followers on your Instagram account. So your formula would look like this: 150+20 = 170 / 1000 = 0.17 * 100 = 17% Engagement Rate.

In order to calculate average # of likes / comments per post, you have to calculate likes & comments from all your posts, and then divide them by the number of posts. It’s a lot easier to just use some online website calculators like Phlanx for this. 

Simple, right? But…

It’s a little bit more complex than that. We can only calculate it like this because this is the only info that we have. However, Instagram’s algorithm works a little bit differently to calculate engagement rate, and it considers other things like story replies for example.

Why does this matter? 

Because Instagram pages with higher engagement rate (the hidden algorithm one) get recommended more often to new, random users. This way you’re getting more organic traffic (think of it like SEO for Instagram) to your page, without even knowing about it.

So, that’s what Engagement Rate is. And that’s why it matters. And with that…

Let’s take a look at 10 ways you can boost engagement on your posts to make your growth skyrocket, bringing you one step closer to success.

1. Focus On The Right Audience

The first step to take is to know the right audience for you. When you know the right audience, you can put all of your effort towards appealing to them, and that will make things a lot easier for you. If you focus on the right audience, your content will naturally be more attractive to them and in return – you will have way more engagement than if you just shared your content with random people.

One way you can do this is to find a specific niche to focus on. Finding a specific niche will make a huge difference when it comes to engagement rates. It’s no wonder that those photographers with less than 10 000 followers sometimes make more money than accounts with 100 000 followers. The reason? – they found the right audience.

With the right audience, all of your posts will be welcomed and eagerly awaited. This means your followers will like and comment on your content more often, unlike some random strangers who don’t care about you or your page.

2. Post High Quality Content Only

If you want to have great engagement, you have to put in some time and effort in order to create the best pieces of content. Ever wondered why those infographics go viral? Well, they’re pretty, entertaining and informative – and they took a lot of effort to be made.

This is how your content should be as well. Your audience will really appreciate high quality posts that they can relate to. Let’s face it – nobody likes to be spammed and showered with low quality content, it’s too common and it’s everywhere. However, high quality content is rare and when you do find it, you really come to appreciate it.

“But what do you mean by high quality content Tom?!” 

Well, that will depend on your niche/business. But whether you’re a photographer, fashion guru, passionate traveler or simply a business selling some product, there’s something you can do to provide higher quality.

That can be something as simple as posting a higher quality, well-edited and properly mapped out picture or creating great caption for it (more on that later).

3. Utilize Instagram Stories

Using Instagram stories is one of the best ways to impact that secret Instagram algorithm that will grow your page organically.

Why?

Because people love to interact with IG stories and live feeds. Usually, when you post a story, it’s something a little more raw, spontaneous, “in the moment” and your followers enjoy this because they feel more connected to you. They will reply to your stories, vote on polls, ask questions and all of this counts towards that engagement rate.

There’s a lot of very cool ways to use instagram stories, so feel free to express your creativity and experiment with it. And your followers will love that as well! Win/Win.

4. Use Proper Hashtags

Using hashtags is another great way to improve your engagement. They can help you reach some audience that you normally wouldn’t be able to. It’s simple. More followers, more interaction, better engagement rate.

If you’re a part of a specific niche, this will be a little bit easier as you can use those specific hashtags to reach your desired audience. And if you’re not – worry not. There are still a lot of ways to find perfect hashtags that will help you increase engagement, and bring you some new followers too.

If you want some help – check out this article for Instagram hashtag hacks.

5. Great Captions Make a Huge Difference

Looking back through history in Instagram, you have to admit one thing: The most memorable posts you’ve seen all had amazing captions to ’em. Great caption comes like icing on the cake – it’s the final, finishing touch to complete an amazing picture.

It can often be hard to come up with a good caption, it’s a difficult task, yes. Personally, I sometime spend more time thinking of caption that the picture itself. It’s hard work but it’s necessary in order to have great post.

And every audience loves great captions because they make pictures come alive. When you share your thoughts, experience or memories through captions, it really connects your audience to that post – giving them even more reason to engage with it. If you give them a great, unique story, they will shower you with their engagement and as a result, your connection will grow even further, and that’s always a good thing for your page.

5.1. Use Call-To-Action in Captions

A good trick to use with captions is to have a “call-to-action” at the very beginning or at the end of your post description. It can be something as simple as asking your audience:

  • What do you think of this picture? or
  • What do you think about this story? (that you just told in description)

It’s an incentive for them to comment on the post and engage with you, and it works well. You can use many call to actions so feel free to experiment with them and see what works the best for you and your audience.

6. Post At The Right Time

Timing can be a very important thing when it comes to engagement. Think about it:

When are you more likely to get more likes? At 6PM or at 3AM?

Well it’s obviously the former. You want to make sure you’re posting when most of your audience is online and active. This will lead to your post being seen by more people and therefore you will have more engagement.

However, there are a lot of different variables when it comes to the “right time” to post, and sometimes even 15 minutes can make a huge difference. You could actually bump your engagement by quite a bit just by posting 15 minutes earlier than you normally would. Sounds insane, right?!

Well, not really. We have a whole post dedicated to this topic – check it out!

7. Interact With Your Audience

The more you engage with your audience, the more they will engage with you. 

It sounds too good to be true, but it actually is. The truth is that people like being noticed and appreciated by their favorite Instagram pages and influencers, and if you give them even a small dose of interaction, they will be very grateful for that.

But Tom, what do you mean by “interacting” with my audience? 

Well, it’s simply responding to their responses to you! You probably get a lot of comments on your posts, compliments like “great stuff, love it” or their own thoughts on the matter. You want to take some time to respond to all of these, simply by saying “thank you!” or providing some additional clarification if they have questions. People love when you interact with them, and in return – they will engage with you more often. You just have to give them the incentive to do so.

You may also be getting a lot of responses to your stories, or simple DMs asking you all kinds of questions, well, all of this is considered important if you’re looking to stand out. Give your followers some interaction and build connections with them. Great connections always lead to more engagement and better results and most importantly – success.

7.1. Do a Livestream

Live-streaming is another great way to interact with your audience – they get to ask you questions in real time, and they get to see you at the same time. Doing regular, weekly / monthly live streams is a great way to build connection with your followers and as I said earlier, great connections lead to great results.

8. Use Instagram Ads

Using ads can sometimes be seen as a bold and aggressive move, but it’s really not. If you have a great ad marketing strategy, you can target the perfect audience and expand your following / engagement by broadcasting your posts to them.

And the best part is that these people don’t even follow you in the first place. That means it’s completely new and original traffic that’s going to interact with you. And since they don’t follow you, they count to your engagement rate only in a positive way (remember that formula from earlier?).

Don’t let anyone tell you that using ads on Instagram is a bad, unethical thing.

If you provide amazing, high-quality content, it is your DUTY to share it with the best audience. You’re not doing anything unethical or morally wrong. And besides, they can choose whether they want to engage with your or not. Instagram ads are definitely a big plus in my book – use them to skyrocket that engagement rate and your follower count.

9. Host Contests / Giveaways

What better way to get people to engage with you than to give them something for free?!

Everyone loves getting free stuff. If your budget (or time) allows it, you should definitely consider hosting some contests / giveaways. It doesn’t have to cost you that much. Give your audience more reason to engage with you, share your content and participate in fun and entertaining contests – for a reward. I promise you that every and any kind of audience will be receptive to this kind of interaction. It’s a proven formula for a long time now – you’re giving out value for free and in return you are getting something much more valuable in return.

10. Analyze The Data

And finally, the best way to boost your engagement rate is to analyze all the data.

Yes, all of these methods work and they will bring great results. However, analyzing your data, statistics and studying the charts will lead to the best results. Why? 

Because when you analyze your data, you get to see what works and what doesn’t. You also get to see what works better than something else. When you study your statistics, you will have a lot deeper insight in to your audience and your growth in general. You can then use this fully to you advantage by doubling down on what works, and cutting out what doesn’t.

It always comes down to the 80/20 rule – 80% of results come from 20% of actions.

That means that the other 80% of your actions only bring you about 20% of the results. And this is a proven, scientific principle (The Pareto principle) that can be applied to many things in life, including your Instagram page.

Instagram has a lot of built-in features that allow you to see specific results, but you can also use 3rd party apps and websites to get even more information. Whatever you do, you can’t go wrong. Knowing the data is always the first step towards improving it. So go ahead and spend some time studying your stats before you decide to move forward, see what works and use it to your full advantage.

Final Thoughts

Engagement is such a fascinating thing to explore and study and there are definitely a lot of ways that you can improve it. These 10 methods will, if followed properly – will make your engagement rate go through the roof. In fact, it’s probably going to be the end of all of your worries.

So go ahead and use them to your full advantage. I’m looking forward to see your success with implementing these steps and, please do let me know if they helped you!