Secret to Success: 12 Instagram Hacks to Boost Engagement

by Mariyum Noor
11 minutes
Boost Instagram Engagement

How do you truly stand out on Instagram?

The content you post on social media has the power to turn fans into loyal brand advocates. That’s why it’s so important to devote your time to a well-thought-out, research-based, and comprehensive social media strategy in your Instagram posts to boost Instagram. 

While there’s no secret cookie-cutter strategy for increased Instagram engagement, there are a few tips you can follow.

Of course, it differs for every brand, industry, and target audience.

In a nutshell, set goals, create meaningful content that aligns with your goals, market your content on the right platforms at the right time. Analyze results, and tweak your strategy accordingly to boost Instagram.

In this blog, I will share some of the strategies I used to increase Instagram engagement.

Follower Growth Instagram

So how to increase engagement on Instagram?

Why Should You Care About Instagram Engagement?

On Instagram, engagement is the sum of comments, likes, shares, and saves.

These engagement metrics are essential because they prove that people actually care about what you have to say. It means that your content is making an impact on your audience.

Not only that, but it makes Instagram’s algorithm happy too which in turn is good for organic Instagram growth!

Posts with a higher engagement rate will be boosted up in the newsfeed, attracting even more people = bringing in more organic leads!

Growing your brand’s social media account can also boost your business in numerous ways:

  • It helps you strengthen your community

When your customers frequently engage with your posts, you’re presented with an amazing opportunity to strengthen your relationship with them. Resolve their queries, and get to know them. That’s the best customer service your brand can hope to offer! Go above and beyond.

Make it a habit to reply to every person that has commented on your post.

Acknowledging each and every comment will make your audience feel seen and heard. They’ll also be tempted to converse and engage with you more often!

Instagram post comments

Related Read: How to Create the Perfect Instagram Grid

  • Enhance Customer Loyalty

Aim to make your customers fall in love with your brand. When you frequently interact with them, they will start to trust you more and more. 

Remember to treat Instagram as a two-way street. Social media is a conversation, so remember to build close relationships that will enhance customer loyalty in the long-run.

You can do that by re-posting the shares and tags in your stories. When your audience will see that you’re tagging others in your story, they will be compelled to tag you as well!

  • Increase Sales

lead generation

When you go the extra mile for your customers, this ends up accomplishing the following:

  • Reduces churn rate

Did you know that businesses face losses of $1.6 trillion every year due to customer churn?

  • Increases customer lifetime value

Your customers will not switch over to your competitors!

  • Increases sales

Increases WOM, they will refer you to their friends and family. 

Before you think of boosting Instagram followers: Keep in mind that: 500 engaged followers are way better than 5,000 ghost followers!

So, how do you measure your brand’s social engagement?

Depending on your brand’s goals and objectives, you can use built-in Instagram’s Insight or use ContentStudio’s Instagram Analytics tool to analyze that data.

Now let’s discuss 12 Instagram strategies I used to Increase Instagram engagement for the ContentStudio Instagram page!

Identification and setting up goals

The first step of growing our social media was understanding why I wanted to grow my brand’s social presence in the first place. 

Of course, there’s no right answer to what your “why” or “what” the goal should be. 

If you’re confused, here are social media marketer’s top goals for reference:

Social marketers goals

Since ContentStudio was still in the Growth phase, our objective was to increase brand awareness and bring organic leads. 

Here’s what my SMART goal somewhat looked like:

  • Specific: “I want to increase engagement on Instagram”
  • Measurable: “I will measure the Instagram engagement rate by ContentStudio’s Analytics feature”
  • Achievable: “Increase Instagram engagement by 50%”
  • Relevant: “This will help increase organic Instagram traffic growth, and help me build meaningful relationships with clients.”
  • Time-bound: “I will achieve this by the end of three months.”

Setting up these goals would help me evaluate my metrics and check the engagement rate of Instagram at the end of the quarter, and help me take a data-driven approach by holding myself accountable.

Conducting a Social Media Audit

The next step for me was to evaluate the content I had posted. Each content behaves differently for each social media

That’s why it’s so important to understand what works and what doesn’t.

I studied the following:

Evaluate consistency

  • Is my Instagram profile properly optimized?
  • Had I set up an updated company bio?
  • Are my brand handle and brand personality consistent across different social media?
  • Are the posts consistent across Instagram? Can people tell what the business is about, based on the last ten posts? 
  • Make sure that bio-link leads to an appropriate landing page.

Study Past Engagement

  • What’s the optimal time for posting? best time to post on Instagram
  • Are optimal hashtags being used?

ig hashtags

  • Which are the most popular posts, and which get the least engagement?

social media scheduling

Related Read: How To Conduct A Successful Social Media Audit [+Free Template]

Identified Audience

  • Am I posting different kinds of content? (Make use of stories, carousel posts, IGTVs, Reels, Infographics, videos)

Identify your audience

  • Which type of content was most popular among my audience? For this, I explored the type of engagement of the content I had already posted. 

how to write captions

  • What were my audience demographics? The demographics of  brand audience are essential to hone the content strategy

audience demographics

While these questions are a lot to consider, analyzing these properly helped me understand the audience, brand personality, and understand where you lack so I could work on them accordingly. 

Also Read: 7 Brands that are Killing It with Their Strong Meme Game on Instagram

Get to know the audience

After conducting in-depth market research, I tapped into their psychographics. I create a brand personality that resonates with my audience. This helped me develop a more meaningful connection. Only then I could grow an engaged audience!

How could I do that? Let me explain.

I learned about ContentStudio’s audience’s behavior:

  • What drives them?
  • What are the challenges they face?
  • What do they like?
  • What content will they want?

ContentStudio’s target audience is mainly entrepreneurs, businesses, and marketing agencies who want to optimize their marketing presence. 

I also learned that most searches are influenced by three of these:

To inspire: I need ideas.

To educate: I need help/guidance

To execute: I need to get something done.

During Instagram Q/A, I asked our followers which content they’d like to see and the answers reflected the same.

Afterward, this is what I concluded:

  • What drives them? To succeed in their industry
  • Challenges: Targeting content for their audience, how to generate leads, how to increase organic Instagram growth and paid promotion growth on Instagram, to increase sales
  • What do they like? Inspirational, educational, guidance tips 
  • What content will they want? Content that will help them get the most out of their socials and content marketing

Get experimental! 

Based on this evaluation, I started to experiment with sharing a different type (IGTV, Carousel, videos, stories, infographics) and different kinds of content: educational, informative, and meaningful.

Side by side, I carefully started to make note of what kind of content works, and what doesn’t.

Think about what content is “working” would look like.  

For example, I could consider the following posts successful:

increase views on Instagram

You also need to set up relevant Instagram KPIs to track.

Which Instagram metrics/KPIs are you going to analyze to measure if it works or not?

It’s best not to measure everything or it’ll prove too exhausting. Just set up 3-4 goals and stick with them.

So how to boost an Instagram post?

The key is to experiment and test freely, regularly. 

But keep your observation level high. 

If it works well, keep on doing more of that!

If it doesn’t, don’t beat yourself over it. Take it as another lesson that you know “doesn’t work”

This will help you in the future, and keep you from making the same mistakes. 

You may as well keep a marketing diary, or record your activities on a planner to take a look at all the things you’ve already done. By experimenting a lot, you’re sure to get to the strategy that works!

Post Carousel

Studies showed that Instagram posts are likely to be more successful if they contain a carousel vs a single post. The images that tell users to “swipe left” also tend to perform better!

In my evaluation, I came to the same conclusion: Carousel posts (multiple Instagram images) fare better. It may have something to do with the fact that the algorithm re-serves these posts to followers who haven’t viewed them before, increasing views on Instagram post.

crousel post

Post Videos

In 2021, video marketing is more popular than ever, and you don’t even need a huge budget for it!

Videos receive 38% more engagement than a regular post. Thanks to Instagram Stories, IGTV, Instagram Live,  posting videos has become more accessible to business owners than ever before. It doesn’t have to be “polished” or overly edited.

I realized that if you bring in more authenticity, people would prefer that!
An engaging video with the right Instagram video dimensions will bring more Instagram video views.

video marketing

Use the Right Hashtags 

With the right Instagram hashtag strategy, I aimed to increase brand reach, build engagement rate, boost Instagram and establish a community. Studies show that even with just one hashtag, your Instagram engagement rate increases by 12.6%

This is an example of a post that attracted 45% new audience, solely from hashtags. There’s a potential for Instagram hashtags to do so much more.  

see post insights

Now, if you use popular hashtags like #l4l, #f4f that will just get lost in the noise. 

Instead, using relevant and targeted hashtags that have a smaller niche will help you find an engaged audience.  

While hashtags may not seem like such a priority, they remain one of the most important aspects while you promote an Instagram post

Hashtags are an important way to expand your audience and boost the Instagram post. When you use a hashtag, your post will appear on the page for that hashtag. If you use a hashtag on your Story, Instagram story views increase for it could be included in the relevant hashtag Story, which also appears on the hashtag page and will promote the Instagram story.

Hashtags might not seem like much of a priority on the surface, but they remain one of the most important aspects of promoting your Instagram.

Pro tip: You may want to check out ContentStudio’s hashtag suggestions to find related hashtags you can experiment with. 

Contentstudio app

Marketers often question: 

Why are my hashtags not performing as well? 

How does Instagram determine if your post is worth showing up on the top?

The truth is that hashtags are just a tiny part of your overall Instagram marketing strategy. You still need to make sure you have valuable content and an engaging audience for hashtags to properly work.

Here’s how it goes.

Step 1: You post on Instagram.

Step 2: Your audience engages with your post.

Depending on the reaction your post gets within the first few hours, Instagram promotes your post within the hashtags accordingly. That’s why it’s so important to post when your audience is online so your post can perform better.

Maintain Consistency and Show Up Everyday!

It’s essential that you are consistent in what you put out. That includes everything

The way you reflect brand personality in your social media copy, graphics, the way you act with customers, the type of content you have shared. 

Make improvements and tweaks as you go. 

We could describe ContentStudio’s brand personality as positive, friendly, and cheerful. So I designed posts that resonated with that tone, keeping in mind:

  • copy of our posts 
  • the aesthetics, or the brand colour to increase brand recall and develop a unique brand personality.

contentstudio instagram

  • Showing up every day
     I made it a rule to post to Instagram every single day keeping in mind the best time to post on Instagram for the Industry. Connect with your audience daily. It’s called social for a reason. 

Schedule Posts in Advance

If you’ve planned out a schedule in advance, that’s going to help you a lot to stay consistent. 

Planning in advance can also help you take note of social media holidays, important events, and announcements that you might otherwise overlook.

Instagram scheduling tool

Read More: Top 10 Instagram Planning Apps You Must Have In 2024

Write Strong Captions 

Captions are for telling a story. 

It’s important to make your caption as engaging and meaningful as possible. You know how pictures are worth 1000 words? So are words. 

Writing a meaningful caption that describes what your graphic is about. This will definitely add to your brand personality and invite people to share their feedback!

how to write instagram captions

You can even include CTA’s to encourage users to take action. 

Call-to-action is a piece of content that inspires your users to take action. If you’re posting a story or your point of view regarding your topic, encourage users to do the same!

call to action

Focus on Stories

One of the tips to boost Instagram is to use Instagram story hacks. You can share your post as your stories so that users can view your post in case they missed that on their feed.

I repeatedly reposted and share others’ relevant content. 

promote instagram story

How does this help?

Your customers will realize that you’re the go-to brand to follow, whether the advice is coming directly from you or not. Your social media should provide them with relevant, engaging, and interesting information, even if it’s not yours. 

Sharing others’ posts helped me build communications in the industry, ultimately, helping me in the long run.  

For your best stories, you can share highlights on your Instagram page like I did:

promote instagram account

These highlights aimed to give a new user a brief overview of what my brand was about and what to expect in the future.

Also Read: Instagram Alt Text: A Complete Guide For Everyone

Create Saveable Content

The most important tip is to create valuable content that’s worth saving.

Creating reference material that your audience can look back at will help increase your engagement threefold!

I added “Save this for later” at the end of my carousel posts to encourage users to come back and visit the content later on.

Saveable content can be:

  • How-to guides
  • Tips and Hacks
  • Infographics
  • Rich captions to support the content
  • Ever-green content
  • Instagram quotes

I’ve also tried to vary up the content:

boost instagram post

Ultimately, I  tracked Instagram saves to see which content my audience is most interested in!

instagram like booster

Also Read: How to Boost Sales During the Holiday Season Using Social Media?

Moving on

Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to “secret”  to boost Instagram. The road to genuine and authentic Instagram engagement is hard work and consistency. 

Let me know if you’ve liked the Instagram growth strategies I’ve shared! I hope you learned something new.

What are your strategies and hacks for Instagram growth? Let me know!

Related Read: How To Use Instagram DM To Improve Conversion Rates

Mariyum Noor

Mariyum Noor is a content marketer who is passionate about learning new things! She writes research-based blog posts for SaaS platforms that are seeking better ways to delight and engage their readers.

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