How to increase engagement on your Instagram posts

Instagram is one of our favorite tools for connecting with potential customers organically. We think it does a great job of creating communities around brands, locations and causes. Interaction among users is one of the best parts of Instagram. It’s also an important part of Instagram’s algorithm.

When Instagram left its chronological timeline behind a few years ago, it needed a way to determine what posts should go first instead. Now, the images you see in your feed are determined by how likely you are to find the images interesting. This is measured by how many other people have interacted with a post already and your relationship with the account that posted it.

Posts with more likes, comments and saves get more attention, but that’s just one reason to focus on Instagram engagement. When you build a relationship with followers, they’re more likely to turn to your business the next they need whatever it is that you sell.

What is Instagram Engagement?

First, let’s talk about what Instagram engagement actually is. If you have an Instagram business account, you can see your posts’ engagement within the Insights section of the app. Tap the Content tab and scroll down to Posts. Tap See all. Your posts will automatically be sorted by engagement, which Instagram measures by adding the number of likes, comments and saves your post received.

To calculate the engagement rate (by reach) for an Instagram post, go to the post and click View Insights. Add together the number of likes, comments and saves. Divide by the number of accounts reached. Then, multiply by 100.

Insights from a Parkway Digital Instagram post

(92 + 6 + 0) / 344 x 100 = 28% engagement rate by reach (ERR)

Comparing an individual post’s engagement rate to your average engagement rate is a great way to determine what types of content your followers love.

3 Ways to Increase Your Instagram Engagement

Now that we know what Instagram engagement is, how can a small business increase theirs?

1. Create Engaging Content

This is definitely easier said than done. High-quality photos, thoughtful captions, open-ended questions and contests are a good place to start. Sticking to a consistent posting schedule and sharing when your followers are active can also help rack up the engagement.

2. Engage with Others

You can’t post a few photos, close Instagram and expect the likes and comments to come flooding in. This is a platform where you get what you give. There are two parts to engaging with other people on Instagram:

  1. Interact with people on your posts by responding to and liking their comments.
  2. Leave thoughtful comments on potential customers’ and partners’ posts. Start by sifting through posts tagged with your neighborhood’s location and relevant hashtags.
Posts tagged with Hertel Avenue location on Instagram

If your business is located on Hertel Avenue in Buffalo, it makes sense to engage with Instagrammers visiting the area’s public art.

3. Stay On Brand

It’s important to create engaging content, but not at the cost of your company’s identity. Lots of your followers engage with you because they liked you before Instagram. Those followers, as well as the new ones, should be able to see the connection between your Instagram grid, website, retail store, etc.