The Ultimate Instagram Engagement Guide for Businesses in 2020

Instagram has changed considerably in recent years. There are currently over 500 million daily active users from around the world. 

Businesses should take full advantage of the opportunities and exposure that the platform provides. As a business owner, you can choose how to best represent your business, interests and so much more to your target audience. The reality though, is that many businesses today do not believe that Instagram is worth their time, or they simply don’t know how to navigate the platform. 

Keeping this in mind, we’ve decided to put together the following guide on how to improve your business’ Instagram engagement. Read on for everything you need to know about using Instagram to successfully promote your business.

What Is Post Engagement on Instagram?

When it comes to post engagement, distinguishing between users that briefly check the app and users that can be drawn into a deeper interaction is key. Ideally, you want to catch the attention of those users that like, comment, save or share what they see. These users are more likely to increase awareness of your content.

Ultimately, it’s important to take an active role in boosting your Instagram engagement rate, which, in turn, will lead to better quality followers, and a stronger presence on the platform. 

How to Increase Your Engagement on Instagram

Increasing engagement is all about establishing the right kind of relationship with your audience. 

With Instagram’s algorithm, it’s now more important than ever to share high-quality content that your viewers will want to share or save for later. Instagram prioritizes posts that have the most likes and comments, rather than those that just receive passing views.

To do this, businesses have a number of content options including offering promotions, discounts, sales, etc. Whatever you choose to post, the most important thing is that you continue to develop relevant, informative content that your audience will find to be valuable. 

For instance, if your business has a cooking blog, you might want to repurpose that content into feed posts recipes or nutritional information that people will want to save for later. For food industry businesses, this type of strategy could be used to generate a considerable amount of interest in the brand.

Giveaways are also extremely useful when trying to increase your Instagram engagement. 

How To Reach More People On Instagram

Never underestimate the power of a call to action (CTA)! In fact, people like being encouraged to get on board to something. 

So, something as simple as ending your post with “comment below with your thoughts!” can be a great way to increase engagement. These types of captions are often successful because they speak directly to the reader and tell them exactly how to best interact with the content. 

However, it’s not uncommon for businesses to miss out on the opportunity that a CTA provides.

For inspiration on how to incorporate effective CTAs into your marketing strategy, look to brands like Sprouts Farmers Market. In many of their posts, they include clear CTAs like ‘Tap the link in our bio to learn more!’

In order to reach a greater audience, it’s also a good practice to comment on posts from accounts you admire that are relevant to your business. Create a list of influencers and other brands that are similar to yours, and start interacting! The more insightful and valuable the comment, the better. 

How to Increase Likes on Instagram

Content that tells a unique story often performs the best. Many Instagram users fall into the trap of being formulaic with their posts, and end up telling the same story time and time again. They tend to believe that a certain type of content is a safe bet because it worked in the past. However, this is actually one of the fastest ways to get people to lose interest in your account.

Therefore, it’s vital to always be creative, and remember that you don’t have to use words to tell your story, especially on Instagram, which is mainly a visual, photograph-based platform. 

It’s also a good idea to try and establish a certain theme or series for your feed. This leaves your audience wondering what will be posted next. So, for example, if they know that every Tuesday you post a marketing tip to your account, you’ll eventually have your audience thinking about your business every Tuesday on a weekly basis.

instagram engagement small business

How to Increase Views on Instagram

According to MoonDustAgency, there are more than 25 million businesses on Instagram, and a third of all viewed Stories come from businesses. So it stands to reason that one of your goals should always be to set yourself apart from the other 25 million businesses that are active on the platform. 

Therefore, it’s crucial that you come across as being genuine at all times, which means that you’ll have to do your homework and find out what your followers want and what’s been grabbing their attention lately. 

Always make sure to present your business as a source of valuable information, rather than just another business sharing the same type of overused content. In the end, by offering value and interesting information, you’re almost guaranteed to see an increase in views. 

How to Get More Comments on Instagram

One excellent example of a type of post that gets a lot of comments is the carousel post. 

A carousel post allows users to post up to 10 images or videos that their followers can swipe through. They can be used to explain relatively complex ideas, which may include short business presentations, lifestyle tips, or simply illustrations of a given topic. Here’s an example from @boosted_social:

Carousel posts are also great for promoting products because they can walk your audience through everything there is to know about it, while displaying the products via eye-catching visuals. 

Check out this HubSpot article to learn more about how carousel posts can be used to promote your business. 

Lastly, there’s a common misconception that carousel posts get fewer likes simply because users are too busy to swipe through the images/videos. However, this isn’t true at all. In fact, carousel posts are known to receive anywhere between 3 and 5 times more likes than a standard image post.  

Think about it: each time a follower swipes from one image to the next, they’re being drawn in, wanting to find out more. Therefore, if you’re able to learn how to use carousel posts effectively, you’ll easily be able to draw in your viewers and have them liking, commenting, and sharing your posts in no time.

What Type of Posts Get the Most Likes in 2021?

The key to engaging with your followers and getting more likes is always to convey information that provides them with as much value as possible. 

Try to always include a hook that will push your viewers to want more. In other words, engaging posts need to compel your viewers, in a relaxed manner, to follow your business. This is in opposition to the aggressive marketing techniques that are all too commonly used. 

Optimizing Captions to Improve Instagram Engagement 

Captions are used to articulate your business’ message to its audience. 

Therefore, one powerful way to optimize your captions and increase engagement on your feed posts is by asking your viewers questions. You can ask all kinds of different questions, which allows you to cast a broad net capturing the attention of a much wider audience. 

Storytelling and using warmhearted humor are also excellent ways to optimize your captions. Chipotle’s profile, for example, includes a good variety of captions that employ both brief storytelling elements, as well as humor.

Check out our blog 9 Common Instagram Caption Mistakes That Tank Engagement for more insights. 

How to Get Instagram Likes Fast

Hashtags are one of the absolute best ways to get your posts seen by a large number of people in turn, getting you more likes. 

In fact according to studies, businesses that use hashtags on Instagram are capable of boosting their engagement rates by up to 12.6%. 

Therefore, it’s a good idea to always know what the most popular hashtags are, which will help you align your posts with other accounts and topics that are currently trending. Check out our guide here for insights on how to build an Instagram hashtag strategy. And of course, make sure your page is in the right category and go check out our complete guide for Instagram business categories.

instagram hashtag strategy

The Challenges Surrounding Instagram Likes in 2021 & Beyond

One of the biggest issues that businesses have on Instagram is being too serious with the tone of their posts. However, this can easily be remedied by opting for a more personalized tone in your captions. 

In fact, your content will perform significantly better if you’re friendly and if you invite your audience to take part in your journey with you. In other words, you need to directly explain to them why it is that they should care about what you’re presenting to them. 

Don’t forget that your posts should always be about what your audience finds interesting and addresses their needs your content should be much more than a series of selling points. 

So whenever possible, be warm in your delivery. For a great example, check out UPS’ Instagram profile, which is full of heartwarming images and captions meant specifically to endear its customers: 

Getting More Views on Instagram Videos

When posting Instagram videos, you need to create descriptions that introduce what the video is going to be about, without leaving the viewers feeling as though they’ve seen it. In other words, you want to try and use language that evokes the high-quality nature of the video content, without giving it all away. You can try out an app like Boosted to create high-quality videos for your brand. 

Overall, the process of reading the video’s description, and then watching it, should feel natural and seamless for the viewer. 

Additionally, posting videos at peak times is a critical factor when it comes to gaining a lot of views. This has a lot to do with knowing your audience and when they’re most active. For instance, if your business sells to other businesses, you may want to post videos during regular business hours. Or, if you sell to regular consumers, you may want to post at night, which is when they’re most likely to be leisurely scrolling through their newsfeeds. 

How to Measure Instagram Engagement

There are several ways to measure Instagram engagement. 

The way you measure engagement depends on what you would like to get out of your follower interactions. For example, some businesses are happy with gaining likes, while others prefer to see a lot of comments. 

To calculate an account’s actual engagement rate, you’ll need to find the average number of likes or comments on all of its posts throughout a given period. Typically, you’ll want to avoid including very recent or very old posts. So, in general, it’s best to count the total number of likes from the account’s fifth to its fifteenth post, which will give you a better idea of its actual engagement levels. 

measure instagram engagement

Then, you take this number (average number of likes or comments), divide it by the total number of followers the account has, and then multiply it by 100, which will give you the engagement rate.

So, let’s say that your account has an average of 42 likes per post. If you had a total of 1,000 followers, you would divide 42 by 1,000, which gives you 0.042. Multiply this by 100, and you get an average engagement rate of 4.2%.

What is a Good Instagram Engagement Rate?

Typically, anything above 6% is considered to be a very high engagement rate. Between 1% to 3.5% is considered to be average. Less than 1% is considered low.

However, amongst business profiles, the average is usually around 5%.

In the end, your engagement rate is a powerful way to determine what works and what doesn’t for your audience. 

So, if your engagement rate is high, then you know that you’re doing something right and that your followers are actually interested in your content. If not, you know that you have some work to do. 

Why Has My Engagement Rate Dropped?

There are many reasons that could cause your engagement rate to drop. 

For instance, you may have recently changed the style of your content in a way that no longer speaks to your audience as strongly as it previously did. However, this could also be compounded by a change to the platform’s algorithm, which affects everyone.

The case may also be that there has been a sudden decrease in the popularity of the hashtags that you’re using. 

Or, finally, a final cause for a decreased engagement rate is when a business posts too often, without offering any real value to their viewers. In this case, people may start seeing the content as useless or poorly thought out.

The Truth About Instagram Engagement Groups and Pods

One common, yet illicit, strategy to boost engagement is the use of Instagram engagement groups, DM Groups, or pods. 

With this tactic, an account will let the entire DM group know when they’ve posted anything new. Then, the other members will like and comment on it, which will help give the post a boost. In turn, this tells Instagram’s algorithm that the post is a good one, and that it should be shown to a broader audience. 

The downside to this is that it promotes a fictionalized appeal of the account, misleading the platform’s users by propelling certain brands and people into important spaces, such as Instagram’s Explore page.

instagram algorithm

Fortunately, Instagram has been actively cutting down on this type of activity, and considers these types of actions to go against their terms of use. 

In other words, engagement groups or pods are not worth the risk. For more insights, check out our blog on the topic here

The Truth About Instagram Engagement Apps

Engagement apps may seem especially useful for businesses that don’t know the best ways to interact with their audience.

While it may be tempting to download an Instagram engagement app, they present a real concern over the lack of personalized engagement, which is exactly what will happen when you go for numbers rather than actual interactions with your audience members. Above all else, using an engagement app violates Instagram’s terms of use.

The Truth About Buying Instagram Likes

Because Instagram has become so popular, many users are now buying likes from fake accounts. Although this may seem like a good idea when you’re trying to promote a business, the reality is that it’s a pretty unwise decision. 

This is because it won’t actually reflect your business or its sales, nor a type of engagement that you’ll be able to sustain in the future. 

In other words, it will look like your business did quite well at first, but then, you’re almost guaranteed to hit a slump from which you might not ever recover.

In the end, when using Instagram, being authentic is a big deal. 

In fact, today, most users are able to see right through a fake account. And they might even go as far as to call you out on this, which could generate all kinds of bad publicity. And worse, Instagram may shut down your account. It should go without saying: Don’t buy likes!

Optimizing and Improving Instagram Engagement Rates

Like with any business venture, being successful on Instagram is all about building relationships with your audience.

Therefore, a successful Instagram account will always have a positive message that resonates well its desired audience.

Finally, you’ll also need to be active on the platform by posting regularly, and by liking and commenting on other accounts’ posts. In turn, this will help you demonstrate that your company is involved and actively listening to what its customers have to say.

In the end, it may be hard to get into the flow of things at first. But once you’ve mastered how to use Instagram to engage with your audience, being successful on the platform will come naturally to you and your business. 

Instagram Engagement Calculator:

Check out our instant Instagram calculator to see the metrics and engagement statistics of any IG user:

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