5 Honest Ways to Get More Engagement on Instagram

Since the origins of Instagram, it has always used engagement as measurement. Likes, comments, shares, DMs, and saves determine the quality and relevancy of our posts. From this understanding, it has become a bit of a numbers game and people are always chasing more. While this is a blog about ways to more engagement on Instagram, I also want to preface this by saying this: don’t solely chase the numbers. Switch your mindset and start measuring success by how many people you are helping and the real conversations you are starting, because rumour has it that single emoji comments don’t even count. So here are my favourite non-sketchy ways to more engagement on Instagram:

Get Personal 

One of the ways to foster real human connection and conversation is to get more personal on your feed. If me mentioning this got you slightly uncomfortable, you’re not the only one.

You don’t have to spill your heart and soul to your followers, but I want you to think about ways you can open up more. My favourite trick is to think about what I’d be comfortable sharing with an acquaintance if we got into an unexpectedly deep chat. This varies for everyone, but I am pretty much an open book.

This can even be as simple as sharing what you do in a day, talking about an obstacle you’ve recently overcome, or your personal goals! These are all a great place to start and they allow for people to get to know you, and make points of connection with you.

If someone resonates with what you say, or has a similar experience, chances are they will comment.

This also goes hand in hand with posting pictures of yourself! Almost everyone I know (myself included) gets double the engagement when they post pictures of themselves.

Unsure of how to get started on this? Watch my ‘Take Better Photos of Yourself Part 1 and 2’ on Instagram.

Tell Your Followers What to Do

This might sound aggressive, but telling your followers HOW to engage with you is actually an amazing tactic. This is where a good call-to-action comes in, to make sure your followers are engaging the way you want them to.

This can look a lot of different ways, but my favourite is including a question at the bottom of my caption and asking my audience to ‘comment below’. 

It seems super obvious, but it really does make a difference. Other examples include:

  • Double-tap if you agree Seinfeld is the best show ever!
  • Click the link in my bio to read more about why Seinfeld is the best show ever
  • Who is your favourite character on Seinfeld? Mine is Elaine. Comment below!
  • DM me if you ever want to exchange Seinfeld memes

Can you tell I love Seinfeld? It’s like when you’re in a conversation with a friend and they are holding back advice because they aren’t sure if you want to hear it. Simply asking can open up the conversation.

Poll it Up

Instagram polls have been used in so many creative ways. My favourite way to use them is to start 1-1 conversations without just showing up in their DMs like a creep.

A recent example is: I asked my audience a simple yes or no question whether they were most productive in the morning. The response was overwhelmingly ‘yes’. I am most productive in the morning too, so this could be a chance for me to connect with someone on this and start a conversation in the DMs. 

If their answer was no, then maybe the following story would include the question: ‘would you be interested in learning about how to make your mornings more productive?’. Say you have a course about optimizing your mornings, then if someone answers ‘yes’, this is a perfect opportunity to send them more info.

This is a great tactic for promoting your products or services if you’re totally against cold-pitching (which I am!). Instagram polls are a great way to invite someone to connect with you or learn more.

Become Shareable and Saveable 

Another way to get more engagement on Instagram is by tweaking your content to become shareable and/or saveable.

Instagram engagement has changed since likes are now hidden on posts. This is why comments, shares, and saves are so important. 

Scroll through Instagram stories and you’ll see quickly what’s considered ‘shareable’ – quotes and informational posts are a few that do really well. Text-heavy or list-style captions do very well broken down into graphics, and people are likely to save these if they contain all the information they need to do something.

I have saved posts that include: toxic ingredients to avoid when shopping for beauty products, camera settings for shooting large groups of people, things to say when setting boundaries for yourself, the best books for entrepreneurs.

Think of content someone might want to refer back to (kind of like what they would ‘bookmark’ on their computer) and that will make for great saveable content. Bonus points for including a call-to-action asking your audience to save the post!

Share the Love

My last tip – and possible the most effective – on how to get more engagement on Instagram is to engage back! There are so many lies out there telling us to post killer content and the follows and comments will come flooding in, but more often than not, this is not the case.

It’s time to start viewing Instagram as a platform of give and take. This means engaging with your followers (and potential followers) on a regular basis. No more posting and ghosting.

Instagram said it itself: ‘what shows up first in your feed is determined by what posts and accounts you engage with the most’. 

What this means is that the content you are interacting with (by leaving comments, hitting ‘like’, sharing, etc.) will show up first, despite the chronological order. It may seem pointless to comment on someone else’s content to boost your own engagement, but this gets the ball rolling. 

If you comment on someone’s photo and they comment back, then all of a sudden they are engaging with you! The more times this happens, the more Instagram sees a connection and the more it will show said content because it knows you are interested in it. And vice versa for the person responding to you.

Another way this works is by drawing attention back to your page. If you are authentically engaging and leaving meaningful comments, that person will be more inclined to pop over to your feed and return the ‘favour’ – especially if you have something in common. This is where targeting your ideal followers comes in handy.

Engagement on Instagram is one of those topics that is made out to seem way more complicated than it is. Getting more of it can be as simple as adding a question to the bottom of your caption or engaging with a follower’s content. Try each of these tips slowly and thoroughly to see what works for you. I use Instagram Insights on a monthly basis to see what content was most valuable to my audience.

If you’re starting from scratch and are looking for something a little more basic, check out my blog: ‘How to Create a Sustainable Instagram Strategy With Minimal Effort’. It covers everything from figuring out your target audience to how to plan your content a month in advance.


I also teach a course a couple times a year called Instagram Brand Breakthrough. This course is your guide to creating a brand you LOVE on Instagram, with easy and effective systems you can stick with. Created by a photographer (me) and copywriter (my pal, Sarah Blake!), this course is for you if you’re ready to build your presence and community on Instagram in a way that fits your schedule, priorities, and vision. Check out our course page to see when we’re open next and join the waitlist!

December 11, 2020

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